News from Class 3

Newsletter #32

News from the Classroom

Thank you to all of you that were able to attend the parent meeting last Wednesday. I am honored to have shared this third grade year with you and your children. Just a few short weeks till your 3rd graders become 4th graders! I handed out an article about parenting, as well as a book list for suggested reading. If you would like one, please let me know and I will gladly hand it over.

This past week we worked on measuring mass. The students had hands on experience weighing different objects around the room. They also had a chance to weight themselves and to weigh me. We focused on Greater and Less then and through the experience of mass, understood the concept of what it looks like to weigh more or less than.

I spent time re-teaching Long Division and will continue to work with this throughout the coming weeks. The children heard a story about Princes and Princess and how they dance with each other in a certain order. This story helped them have a better understanding of Long Multiplication. This next week we will hear a bit about Volume and take a trip to Slide Ranch to work on the farm!

We are in the middle of reading a book called The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein . The students and I are loving this book. It is the perfect bridge into our 4th grade curriculum.

The classroom needs boxes for moving day!

Slide Ranch- Please check the food sign up genius!

Tuesday May 17th-May18th is our field trip to Slide Ranch.

I have told your child that they may bring something from home that will help keep them from being lonely. Some have requested a stuff animal, and I have told them it is fine to bring it as long as it can fit in their backpack. Please send your child with one item, and do not let them bring any toys.

I am also asking that each child bring a book to read, incase they wake earlier then other students, in the morning.

Students will be asked to arrive at 8am on Tuesday May 17th, so that we can leave promptly at 8:30am. Chaperones are asked to be to school by 7:50am.

Packing List:
Weather can be chilly so please dress your child in layers including hats, rain jackets and sun hat.
No Trash is allowed, so make sure that you pack a lunch that has reusable containers.

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad
Water bottle
1 pair Long Pants that can get dirty (wear these on Tuesday)
1 pair of shorts (do not wear this on Tuesday)
2 pairs of Socks
1 pair of underwear
2 long sleeve shirt (wear one on Tuesday)
1 short sleeve shirt (wear this on Tuesday)
1 sweatshirt (wear this on Tuesday)
Warm PJ's or long underwear
Warm hat for at night
Sun Hat
1 Warm jacket
1 Rain Jacket
Sturdy shoes for hiking (tennis shoes are fine)
Warm shoes for campsite at night (a pair of slip on shoes)
A hearty lunch for Tuesday (no trash packaging)
(No eating kit needed)


*Put everything in your child's backpack except for your child's sleeping bag, sleeping pad and pillow which needs to be labeled and in a large LABELED trash bag.

Picture of your student with their Dad

Please email me a photo of your child with their dad, by Thursday, May 19th. We need it for Father's Day gifts! Wink....Wink!
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News from the Director- May 17th- Please attend!


It’s time to write a letter -

and to attend the City Council meeting May 17 at 6 pm.

Read all the way through to find out about getting your FREE Sebastopol Charter T-shirt

to wear with pride at the meeting.


Although the new campus project is outside Sebastopol city limits, the City Council as a matter of course was formally notified about the project by the County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) in late 2014. The school itself had also been in conversation with the City about the project. The City Council, without giving the school the opportunity to respond to their concerns, submitted a comment letter to PRMD to communicate their “issues with the planned location.”

The school responded thoroughly to all of the City’s expressed concerns in a detailed letter provided to the City, to PRMD, and to our Fifth District supervisor Efren Carrillo, whom several City councilmembers had also contacted.

The school’s letter is found here, and while it will take a few minutes to read, it offers the clearest picture of the City’s concerns and our response to them:


The short answer is that we don’t know, and won’t know, how the Council will respond until after discussion of our new campus at their May 17 meeting. During a recent meeting with Mayor Gurney, she reiterated a number of concerns, specifically fears about traffic impacts, decreased retail revenue downtown, and safety of the West County Trail crossing. From our thorough analysis and design of the project over the past two and and half years, we believe these concerns are without merit.

The school’s response to Mayor Gurney, also sent to each of the City Council members, can be found here:

We also provided Mayor Gurney with a voluntary study of local traffic impacts that the school commissioned, showing that the new campus location will result in decreased traffic in the downtown core, and in the neighborhoods between our Main Street and Brookhaven campuses:

While we have heard that the City Council might remain unsupportive of the project, and that one or more members of the Council may even plan to speak against the project at our upcoming use permit hearing on June 2, it is important to remember that we do not know how the Council will weigh in on the project. The desired outcome of our school community’s letters to the Council and public comment at the City Council meeting is that the City Council decides to support, or at a minimum not oppose, the school’s new campus.


  • Objection: The school’s new campus is a form of “urban sprawl.”

Response: Over 10 acres of the school’s 20 acre site will remain as open space or agriculture. Of the remaining almost 10-acre “developed” portion of the site, total building square footage is less than 1 acre. In fact, if our new campus weren’t built, the property could be developed as currently zoned for 10 residences, each with a second unit – a more intensive use than our new campus, providing no open space or agriculture.

  • Objection: The school’s new campus has “less than desirable” access.

Response: The school has car access directly off of Highway 116. Further, the West County Trail is located immediately adjacent to the site, and surveys of our school community show that more families intend to walk or bike to our new campus than do so currently.

  • Objection: The School’s new campus requires “creative interpretation” of the County’s General Plan criteria for schools.

Response: There are nine relevant criteria described in the General Plan Land Use Element, and the school’s new campus squarely satisfies each and every one of them. The County itself recognizes the project as fully compliant with those criteria.

  • Objection: The school’s new campus “is an affront” to the users of the West County Trail, and raises a “pedestrian/bicycle safety issue.”

Response: Rather than constituting an “affront” to such users, the school will be complementary to the Trail, the adjacency of which will support our students walking and biking to school. The school has worked closely with Regional Parks to design one of the safest and most protected crossings along the bike trail. Unlike many other, higher-volume crossings such as at Andy’s Market, car traffic to the school will stop at the tail to allow bicyclists and walkers the right-of-way. Signage, bollards, and pavement markings will further protect the crossing. Regional Parks, County planning staff, and other County agencies are all satisfied with the safety and convenience of the crossing.

  • Objection: Regarding sewer and water, “our City has limited infrastructure capacity and has not planned to serve substantial developments in the unincorporated territory.”

Response: The school’s new campus does not rely on City of Sebastopol infrastructure for either water or sewer. The septic capacity of the site is more than adequate to serve the school, as is the new domestic well. Projected groundwater use by the school is expected to be less than if the site were developed as zoned for residential use. The school’s design fully complies with water conservation measures, including low-water-use landscape and low-water-use fixtures.

  • Objection: The school’s new campus will increase traffic congestion in town.

Response: The school’s new campus location will shift, but not increase, the flow of traffic through the downtown. Moreover, once our school is united on our new campus, residential neighborhoods will be spared the almost 80 trips per day between our current Main Street and Brookhaven sites.

  • Objection: School families won’t spend as much money shopping in Sebastopol.

Response: A survey of our parent body indicates that the vast majority (about 90%) of school families expect to continue to shop in downtown Sebastopol as much as, or more than, they currently do. Additionally, it’s likely that families will patronize stores at the north end of town to a greater extent than they do now.


You should say or write about whatever you feel is most important to you about the new campus, or to address any of the City’s concerns. If you want to write a long, detailed letter, please do so.

Here’s an example:

If short and sweet is to your liking, that’s just fine! Even a simple one-sentence expression - “I am a parent at Sebastopol Charter and I urge you to support our school’s new campus.” - will make a big impact.

Please email all of the Councilmembers:

Mayor Sarah Gurney at

Vice Mayor Una Glass at

Councilmember John Eder at

Councilmember Robert Jacob at

Councilmember Patrick Slayter at

Letters can be mailed to the Councilmembers c/o:

Sebastopol City Hall

7120 Bodega Ave.

Sebastopol CA 95472

It’s fine to express yourself with enthusiasm and passion, while at the same time remaining respectful of the Councilmembers in their roles as public servants.


We want to have a strong showing of parents at both the City Council meeting on May 17 at 6 pm and the use permit hearing on June 2 at 2:30 pm. If you already own a Sebastopol Charter T-shirt, please wear it prominently and proudly at both meetings. If you don’t have one, come by the office and get a FREE shirt if you’re planning on attending one or both meetings. We’ll also bring a box of shirts to the entrance at each meeting to give to parents showing their support of the school’s new campus.

Please: write to the City Council, attend the meeting and express your support of our beautiful new campus!

Thank you,

Chris Topham

Executive Director