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Individualized Learning Since 2007

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Independent Study
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Education is the Foundation

We commit to providing innovative public education environments for students, their parents and teachers by empowering them to collaboratively create learning opportunities which will develop responsible and contributing members of society.

Below is the parent manual in it's entirety.  You may also view as a Google Doc for offline viewing and printing




1.1 Welcome Letter

Welcome to Sky Mountain Charter School! You have chosen an exciting form of education for your children—home-based personalized learning. We trust that this parent manual will be a helpful resource for you that you will keep handy and refer to throughout this school year.

Sky Mountain Charter School is managed by Innovative Education Management (IEM), a nonprofit public benefit education corporation which has managed a number of parent friendly public charter schools in California since 1993. Sky Mountain Charter School is also a fully accredited school through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Sky Mountain Charter School has a variety of educational offerings and policies that go above and beyond to support parent choice in education. This is most evident when you look at our exhaustive vendor list for curriculum purchases and classes, and the amount of funds allocated for the development and delivery of each child's educational plan.

Your school's administration understands the needs and day-to-day challenges of this type of educational model. And equally important, they know the joys that can come from seeing your child engaged and learning while developing the strong family values that can come from this type of educational setting.

Everything we do at Sky Mountain Charter School is in an effort to support your choices as a parent educator while endeavoring to make this type of educational model possible. We are truly excited to continue building a first-rate home-based program in partnership with families who want the best for their children.

Please do not hesitate to contact your ES at any time. Your commitment to our school is important and your feedback helps us to strengthen and refine our program.

We hope this will be a rewarding and memorable year for you and your family.


The Sky Mountain Administrative Team

1.2 School Contact Information

1.3 School Calendar

The calendar can be found on the school website at:


2.1 Mission Statement

We believe in educating each of our students for the 21st century by providing individualized learning opportunities that incorporate parental participation, choice and involvement in curricula offered in personalized learning environments.

2.2 School Terminology

The following is a list of commonly used terms at the school:

SMCS - Sky Mountain Charter School

Additional Education Specialist Services A - (AESS A) - An SMCS Independent Study Program that puts more of the responsibility for the student's education on the education specialist in that the specialist would be the one to make the daily assignments, choose the curriculum if the parent wishes, and meet with the student and parent face to face for one hour every other week. This meeting time may be spent evaluating student work, giving instruction, consulting with parents, observing student activities, explaining assignments, etc.

Additional Education Specialist Services B - (AESS B) - An SMCS  Independent Study Program that puts most of the responsibility for the student's education on the education specialist in that the specialist would be the one to make the daily assignments, choose the curriculum, grade the daily work,  meet with the student one hour per week or two hours every other week. This meeting time may be spent evaluating student work, giving instruction, consulting with parents, observing student activities, explaining assignments, etc.

Educational Activity - (EA) - An Educational Activity (EA) is an educational expense for one or more students in one family at one school by an approved business or independent contractor.

Education Specialist - (ES) - An Education Specialist is a term that our charter school uses to indicate a General Education teacher. The ES teacher is considered a highly qualified teacher under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESs work with parents as a partner, facilitating the student's educational plan.

Education Specialist Advisor - (ES Advisor) - ES advisors are highly qualified, credentialed teachers who represent the school.  The ES advisor trains, supports, and gives oversight to the ESs, and serves as additional support for parents if their ES is unable to help them.

Expected School-Wide Learning Results - (ESLRs) - The Expected School-Wide Learning Results are the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that the school wants each of our graduating seniors to have effectiveness in when they leave our school.

Education Plan - (EP) - A joint endeavor by the parent and ES, that takes into account the student's interests, learning style, and state/federal mandates to determine what will be taught and how it will best be achieved utilizing educational resources that are available within the school, the community, and the family.

Instructional Funds - (IF) - The dollars allocated for use by SMCS to carry out the student's educational plan. Instructional fund allocations are prorated based on the date of enrollment. All materials purchased with instructional funds are the property of SMCS .

Learning Record - (LR) - The documentation by the ES of completed assigned student work during the learning period and the ES's evaluation of that work.

Learning Period - (LP) - The instructional days between learning records meetings/the assignments.

Student Agreement - (SA) - This is the annual agreement between SMCS , the education specialist, the student, and the parent. It documents the course of study, curriculum, the time, manner and frequency of the monthly meetings, as well as other school enrollment requirements. Each written student agreement shall be signed, prior to the commencement of independent study, by the pupil, the pupil's parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the pupil.This document must be resubmitted each school year, and must be updated any time there is any significant change.

No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act - (NCLB/ESEA) - The name of the bill that includes the newest federal laws regulating education.

School Accountability Report Card - (SARC) - A report of the school's demographic and performance information posted to the school's website at:

Student Study Team - (SST) - An educational meeting consisting of a trained administrator, the parent, the student, the ES, and any other significant persons involved with the student's education, to determine and document what classroom interventions have and can be made to help with the identified learning and behavioral issues.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges - (WASC) - A committee of educators from within the state who evaluate and approve schools for accreditation based on the organization's criterion. One of their purposes is to ensure educational best practices.

2.3 WASC

SMCS received its initial WASC accreditation in May of 2009. The school received its renewal accreditation of a 6-year term in June 2012. In Spring 2018, we will have a WASC Self-Study visit in which we will share with the WASC Visiting Committee what we have done to improve on our critical areas of growth as well as a full review of our school and our high school programs.

The purpose of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) is to evaluate our school and to award our school an accreditation for our high school program. This accreditation allows our students’ courses, grades, and units to be accepted at more colleges and universities after graduation.

The WASC process is designed to allow us to go through an in-depth analysis of our school, focusing on our high school students and their success. We identify areas of strength and areas of need and then create an action plan to address those needs and better serve our high school students.

When a school becomes accredited, it:

  • certifies to the public that the school is a trustworthy institution of learning.

  • validates the integrity of a school's program and student transcripts.

  • fosters improvement of the school's program and operations to support student learning.

  • assures a school community that the school's purposes are appropriate and being accomplished through a viable educational program.

  • WASC accreditation is important because the military often requires applicants to be from accredited schools and many school districts and universities will only accept credits from WASC accredited schools.

2.4 Governance Structure

The Parent Council consists of 19 parents of enrolled SMCS students. The members of the Parent Council will be elected by a majority vote cast by the parents of SMCS students, and the term of office of each member will be two years. Elections will be held during May of each year via ballot. Each family having one or more student(s) enrolled in SMCS on the date of the elections will be entitled to one vote per enrolled student. No more than one parent from any family may serve as a Parent Council member at anytime. A quorum of the Parent Council which will be a majority of the elected members will be necessary for the transaction of business to occur. A charter school administrator will preside, but not vote, at all Parent Council meetings. All meetings of the Parent Council will comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code), will take place at least semi-annually, and will be held at a location within the sponsoring district. The charter school practices and policies will ensure parental involvement through the Parent Council activities.

The Parent Council will uphold the mission of the school, monitor the school's performance, take part is subcommittees, and act as an advisory council as they make suggestions to the school administrator for school improvements.Bylaws, parent council members, past meeting agendas/minutes, and current year meeting schedule can be found on the parent council page of the SMCS website.

2.5 Notification of Rights Under FERPA for Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records.  These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day the School receives a request for access.

Parents or eligible students should submit to school student records  a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect.  The school will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

  1. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.

Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the School to amend a record should write to school student records , clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it should be changed.  If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.

  1. The right to provide written consent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board.  A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as  an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.  A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Upon request, the school discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.  

  1. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20202

FERPA permits the disclosure of PII from students’ education records, without consent of the parent or eligible student, if the disclosure meets certain conditions found in §99.31 of the FERPA regulations.  Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to the parent or eligible student, §99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the school to record the disclosure.  Parents and eligible students have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.  A school may disclose PII from the education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent of the parents or the eligible student –

  • To other school officials, including teachers, within the educational agency or institution whom the school has determined to have legitimate educational interests.  This includes contractors, consultants, volunteers, or other parties to whom the school has outsourced institutional services or functions, provided that the conditions listed in §99.31(a)(1)(i)(B)(1) - (a)(1)(i)(B)(2) are met. (§99.31(a)(1))

  • To officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer, subject to the requirements of §99.34.  (§99.31(a)(2))  

  • To authorized representatives of the U. S. Comptroller General, the U. S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or State and local educational authorities, such as the State educational agency in the parent or eligible student’s State (SEA).  Disclosures under this provision may be made, subject to the requirements of §99.35, in connection with an audit or evaluation of Federal- or State-supported education programs, or for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements that relate to those programs.  These entities may make further disclosures of PII to outside entities that are designated by them as their authorized representatives to conduct any audit, evaluation, or enforcement or compliance activity on their behalf.  (§§99.31(a)(3) and 99.35)

  • In connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.  (§99.31(a)(4))

  • To State and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a State statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released, subject to §99.38. (§99.31(a)(5))

  • To organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to:  (a)  develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b)  administer student aid programs; or (c)  improve instruction.  (§99.31(a)(6))

  • To accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions.  (§99.31(a)(7))

  • To parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes.  (§99.31(a)(8))

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.  (§99.31(a)(9))

  • To appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency, subject to §99.36.  (§99.31(a)(10)

  • Information the school has designated as “directory information” under §99.37.  (§99.31(a)(11))

2.5.1 Notice for Directory Information

FERPA also requires that the School, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records.  However, the School may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures.  The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the School to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications.  Examples include:

  • A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;

  • The annual yearbook;

  • Honor roll or other recognition lists;

  • Graduation programs; and

  • Sports activity sheets, such as for wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.

Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent.  Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.  In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies (LEAs) receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with the following information – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the LEA that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.

If you do not want the School to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the School in writing of that fact by August 30 of each school year or at time of enrollment.  The School has designated the following information as directory information:  

  • Student’s name

  • Address

  • Telephone listing

  • Electronic mail address

  • Photograph

  • Date and place of birth

  • Major field of study

  • Dates of attendance

  • Grade level

  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports

  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams

  • Degrees, honors, and awards received

  • The most recent educational agency or institution attended

  • Student ID number, user ID, or other unique personal identifier used to communicate in electronic systems that cannot be used to access education records without a PIN, password, etc.  (A student’s SSN, in whole or in part, cannot be used for this purpose.)  

2.6 Child Find

2.6.1 What is Child Find?

Every SELPA and school district is required to have procedures in place to help locate students who may need special education services or have a disability. Please contact your ES (General Education Teacher) or Special Education Department if you have questions about referring a child for special education services. If you are concerned about your child's development, please contact your ES as your first contact.

This school actively and systematically seeks out all individuals with disabilities from TK to 12th grade. This school also, as part of its annual notification of parental rights and responsibilities, hereby provides notification that a student can be evaluated to determine eligibility for special education.

Assigned administrative personnel or their designee have the responsibility at the local school level for the coordination of the Child Find activities. Procedures are established at this school for informing the school community on a continual basis of the program alternatives available for disabled children within this school.

Child Find information is also available as it relates to education code: Education Code

2.6.2 Who Can Help Me If I'm Worried About My Child's Education?

Be sure to first address your concerns with your child's ES and school administration. The usual process is to discuss your child's educational progress with his or her regular and/or special education teachers, then with a General Education administrator and/or Special Education Administrator, if necessary. If you have any questions, please the Special Education office at 619-698-KIDS (5437).  

2.7 Covered California

Covered California FAQs

By law, most people are now required to have health insurance or pay a penalty when they file their taxes. Through Covered California, a program from the state of California, qualified legal residents of California and their families can compare health insurance plans and enroll in the one that works best for their needs and budget. Financial assistance is available to qualifying individuals and families to help them pay for health insurance premiums. This means the federal government may pay a portion of the health insurance premium. Individuals and families may also qualify for Medi-Cal benefits.

Visit to learn more, compare health insurance plans, choose the one that best fits your needs and enroll online. For free, confidential, in-person help, in your area, visit or call (800) 300-1506.

The open-enrollment period to enroll in Covered California health insurance plans happens once a year. Once the open-enrollment period closes, you may enroll in a Covered California health plan only if you have a qualifying life event that makes you eligible to apply. Some examples of qualifying life events are: losing your health coverage, getting married, moving outside your plan’s coverage area, having a baby and turning 26. To see if you qualify, visit:

To enroll during this time, you must apply within 60 days of your qualifying life event.

For more information and to find free, confidential, in-person help in your area, visit or call (800) 300-1506.

You can also visit our website for more information:


3.1 Parent Support Department

The school parent support secretary, Robin Cheves, is available to answer parent phone call and email inquiries in regard to enrollment process, general information about the school, navigating the website, student enrollment status, and other issues that may arise.The parent support secretary may call parents throughout the year to ask questions for the purpose of obtaining valuable parent feedback. To contact parent support please call 800-979-4436 to be directed to Robin Cheves or you can email

For parents of enrolled students, please contact your ES.

3.2 Parent Listserv

One of the main venues of communication to our parents is through our Parent Listserv. Parents on the Parent Listserv Group receive time-sensitive communication, parent specific school information, school deadline reminders, school vendor notifications, educational resources information, and any/all information that pertains to the whole school that is important for parents to know about. Parents must proactively sign up to be on the parent listserv by letting their ES know they'd like to be signed up. If you do not receive parent listserv emails within a week of signing up, follow up with your ES.

3.3 Student ID Cards

Please mail the school secretary a one inch by one inch index size picture with the enrolled student's full name, grade, and date of birth on the back of the photo. You also have the option of emailing a picture to as a jpeg attachment that can be printed the correct size. When sending a jpeg attachment image, please be sure to do a “save as” with the student's first and last name. Emails with a jpeg image attachment that is not titled with the student’s name(s) will be returned and delay the process of an ID card being issued.   

Mail picture to:

SMCS ATTN: Robin Cheves
4535 Missouri Flat Road, Ste. 1A
Placerville, CA 95667

Please allow three weeks for processing and mailing at the beginning of the school year, and two weeks thereafter for processing.

Please note, SMCS can only provide school ID cards to our enrolled students, not to their parents. Our parents are not officially enrolled or employed by this charter school, therefore it is not ethical to provide an ID card.

3.4 McKinney Vento Information

If you, or somebody you know, is in a situation that qualifies you as “homeless” based on the McKinney Vento definition below and you are interested in receiving information about resources available in your area please contact the school homeless liaison Robin Cheves at 800-979-4436.

Definition of homeless: The federal government’s legal definition of homeless based on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is anyone who:

  • Lacks a regular, fixed and adequate nighttime residence (substandard housing, no water or electricity).

  • Is sharing housing due to economic hardship (doubled up/tripled up).

  • Is living in a public place not designated for sleeping (cars, parks, abandoned building, motels, trailer parks and campgrounds).

  • Is an unaccompanied youth.

  • Is a child or youth awaiting foster care placement.

  • Is a child abandoned in a hospital.

  • Is a migrant child who qualifies under any of the above.

Homeless students’ rights:

  • Be immediately enrolled in school without a permanent address.

  • Continue in the school that the student attended before becoming homeless.

  • Go to school, no matter where the student lives or how long he/she has lived there.

  • Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of required school records or documents.

  • Enroll and attend classes even while the school and parent seek to resolve a dispute over enrollment.

  • Receive transportation to his/her school of origin as long as he/she is homeless, or if the student becomes permanently housed, receive transportation until the end of the academic school year.

  • Participate in tutoring, school-related activities, and/or receive other support services.

Sky Mountain Charter School (SMCS) will meet the McKinney Vento education rights following our regular enrollment policies. SMCS will enroll students based on Education Specialist availability within each service area. SMCS does not enroll any student after the enrollment cut-off date. SMCS is a home-based public charter school; transportation is not a part of the program.

3.5 Parent Forms

Parent forms are available on the school websites at:

Examples of forms available for download include:

  • Authorization for Release/Publication of Student Info (English | Spanish)

  • Transcript Request Form

  • Educational Activity Permission (GEA Permission Slip)

  • Change of ES Request Form

  • Vendor Request Form

  • Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty Form

  • Student Study Team - Instructions

  • Student Study Team Meeting Request - Form

  • SST Individual Checklist

  • Work Permits


4.1 Student Enrollment

A Student Enrollment Application completely filled out and signed by the parent must be submitted prior to a student being considered for enrollment in an IEM Charter School. All enrollment forms can be found on the school’s website at:

Student Enrollment Applications will not be accepted unless they are received complete and with all required documents. Applications may be received by mail, fax, email or through our Enrollment Online Application (EOA). Applications are considered complete when the family who wishes to enroll has submitted an application filled out in its entirety, signed by the parent or guardian and received with the following documents according to the student’s grade level:

4.1.1 Required Forms

  • Birth Certificate or other age verifiable document– All Students

    • Other acceptable forms include, but are not limited to

      • U.S. or foreign birth certificates

      • adoption records

      • passports

      • baptismal records

      • previous school records

      • other forms of U.S. or foreign government-issued identification

      • affidavits from a parent/guardian or pediatrician

  • Immunization record – All students (In accordance with Senate Bill 277, please submit record of any immunizations received. Records will be accepted whether complete or incomplete.)

  • Health Exam – TK, Kindergarten and 1st grade students

  • Oral Health Exam – TK, Kindergarten or students entering 1st grade who have not previously attended a public school in CA.

4.1.2 Required Forms if Applicable

  • Unofficial Transcript – (Please bring to first meeting with ES)

    • In accordance with CDE guidelines, schools have the right to accept or not accept credits from another school. High school students who were privately home schooled, may have their transcripts reviewed by the guidance department to determine what courses/credits will be accepted.

  • Caregiver Authorization Affidavit - If the person enrolling student is not the parent or legal guardian. Please note that this form does not provide educational rights as relates to Special Education nor allows a caregiver to make educational decisions related to Special Education.  

4.1.3 Special Education/504 Documents if Applicable

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) – Most recent, whether active or inactive

  • 504 Plan

  • Or, if no IEP, a copy of all assessment reports

Enrollment applications that are not received complete will be returned to the family with notice of what is needed to complete their application. The family will be expected to return the enrollment packet, with the requested documents in order for their application to be processed.

Acceptance of a student’s enrollment application does not constitute enrollment with an IEM school. Students are not considered enrolled until they have met with their Education Specialist and signed the Student Agreement.

4.1.4 Additional information regarding Senate Bill 277

SB 277 eliminates the option for parents to use a Personal Beliefs Exemption (PBE) for required immunizations. As a provision to SB277, students enrolled at an Independent Study School are exempt from the immunization requirements, however, schools are notexempt from continuing to collect, maintain, and report immunizations annually. What does this mean for you and your student(s)?

For existing and new families this means:

  • Beginning January 1, 2016, families are no longer able to use a PBE to waive immunization requirements. Medical exemptions will still be allowed.

  • Students who are enrolled at an Independent Study School are exempt from all immunization requirements meaning that new students can enroll without a complete immunization record and existing students can advance to 7th grade without receiving the Tdap (whooping-cough) booster and MMR vaccinations

  • Parents of active students advancing from 6th grade to 7th grade will receive notification by mail towards the end of the school year with a list of their student(s) who are in need of the Tdap and/or MMR vaccinations.

  • Parents are required to submit immunization information to schools whether complete or incomplete.

As a reminder, beginning January 1, 2016, students enrolled at an Independent Study School are exempt from immunization requirements but the schools are not; schools must continue to collect, maintain, and report immunizations annually.  Additionally, parents are still required to submit immunization records even if they are not complete.

4.1.5 Enrollment Application Acceptance Dates

Families who wish to apply for enrollment in the current school year may apply at any time during the school year up until enrollment has closed for the school year in March, at which time, they may apply for the fall/1st semester of the next school year.

Families who wish to apply in advance for future enrollment may apply under the following guidelines:

  • To apply for the fall/1st semester of the next school year - Applications will be accepted beginning January 1st. For example, to apply for fall admission in August 2017, parents may begin the application process in January 2017.

  • To apply for the spring/2nd semester of the current school year - Applications for the spring/2nd semester of the current school year will be accepted beginning on the first day of the school year.

For applicants who will turn 5 after December 2nd, and who wish to enroll in transitional kindergarten for the current school year, may not enroll until the date of their 5th birthday - Applications will be accepted beginning November 1st of the current school year.

Please note: Acceptance of a student’s enrollment application does not constitute enrollment with an IEM school. Students are not considered enrolled until they have met with their Education Specialist and signed the Student Agreement.

4.2 Enrollment Requirements

To be considered for enrollment, students must reside in the county of the charter school's granting school district or in counties that are contiguous to the granting district (San Bernardino, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties). According to charter law, students may not be enrolled in a private school while enrolled in a public school. A student may be enrolled in only one public school at a time. An inter/intra-district transfer is not necessary.

Before the student can be enrolled in this Charter School, specific documentation needs to be signed at an enrollment meeting with your assigned Education Specialist.These documents include the Student Agreement, the school's Charter Summary, and a "First Meeting Information Sheet". It is the responsibility of the Education Specialist to fully explain the contents of the documents being signed.

4.3 Age Requirement Chart

In accordance with California State Law, a student’s grade level placement will be based on their date of birth.

A student will be eligible for kindergarten enrollment if their birth date is on or before September 1st of the school year they wish to apply.

Grade Level Placement 2017-2018
First Enrollment or Enrolled in 2015-2016 School Year

Grade Level


Eligible for Transitional Kindergarten on fifth birthday up until enrollment closes for the school year (please review Enrollment Application Acceptance Dates and TK policy)

Birthdate on or after 12/3/2012

Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

9/2/2012 - 12/2/2012


9/2/2011 - 9/1/2012

1st grade

9/2/2010 - 9/1/2011

Parents may choose to enroll their kindergarten eligible students into the Transitional Kindergarten program if the child has his or her 5th birthday between June 1st - September 1st.

4.4 Do you offer Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Do you offer Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Yes, we offer TK. The following is our approved policy.

  • Kindergarten age appropriate students are allowed to choose TK if their 5th birthday is between the last day of the school year -September 1st.

  • A child is eligible for TK if he or she turns five between September 2nd-December 2nd.

  • Students who turn 5 after December 2nd will be eligible for TK on their 5th birthday and for the remainder of that school year. These students will need to start kindergarten in fall semester of the next school year and not continue another year of TK.

  • TK students are required to submit an immunization record if one exists (In accordance with Senate Bill 277 please submit record of any immunizations received. Records will be accepted whether complete or incomplete.)

  • TK students are required to have a completed health exam and oral health exam for school entry.

  • Children who are age-eligible to attend kindergarten, but choose to enroll in TK will need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form verifying that the parent/guardian agrees to have his/her child continue in kindergarten the following year.

If a family enrolls in TK, whether the student is kindergarten age or TK age, they are committing to the two-year program. The exception to a two year program is for students who turn 5 after December 1st but before the end of the school year. These students will not have a two year program and must begin kindergarten at the beginning of the next school year. Students actively enrolled in TK are promoted to kindergarten the following year. We do not promote from TK to first grade and we do not change grade levels mid-year for actively enrolled students.

4.5 Drops/Un-enrollments

If a student drops from an IEM charter, it cannot be reversed. A student may re-enroll as a returning student. Returning students will be subject to the same enrollment process that all applicants follow which includes filling out a new application and providing all documentation required for enrollment.

4.6 Grade Retention/Promotion

California sets guidelines for determining grade level placement, which IEM schools follow. Per Ed Code 48070 the school will consider parental requests for grade retention/promotion after certain criteria are met. Criteria considered include student academic performance, standardized test scores, iReady results, use of intervention supports and their outcome, impact of promotion/retention on the student, parent rationale for the change etc.  Begin working with your ES early in the year to gather the required information and the ES will present your request to school administration. If a grade change request is granted it will be implemented over the summer. Students will not change grades during the academic year.

4.7 Adult Student Enrollment

Effective July 1, 2004 California State Law prohibits the enrollment of any student age 19 years or older who has not been continuously enrolled since their 18th birthday and making regular progress towards a high school diploma.

4.8 Special Education Students

Students who are currently receiving special education services or who have received services in the past, will need to submit a copy of their most recent IEP with their student enrollment application. Our special education department must review each student’s IEP for legal compliance prior to the student’s enrollment with the charter as a means to ensuring Child Find requirements are met.

4.9 Enrollment Review Required

Previous Expulsion – Students who wish to apply that have been previously expelled from another school must have approval from the Assistant Director of Teacher Support Services. Please submit a copy of the expulsion report with your student enrollment application and your documents will be forwarded to the school Director for review.

Truancy – Students who were dis-enrolled from an IEM Charter School due to truancy must have the approval from the Assistant Director of Teacher Support Services to re-enroll.

4.10 Closed Enrollment

Enrollment for each school year closes on date that is to be determined in March of the current school year. At that time, parents will be notified of closed enrollment and will remain on our prospective student list unless the parent requests that the student be removed. Please note that remaining on our prospective student list for the next school year does not guarantee enrollment for your student.

4.11 Dual Enrollment

In accordance with California Education Code Section 47602(b) and Title 5, California Code of Regulations Section 11965(a), no student may be enrolled at an IEM charter school at the same time they are enrolled at another public or private school, with the exception of the approved concurrent enrollment in a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) or community college course.

Students who wish to enroll in a Regional Occupation Program (ROP) or community college course, must have prior written approval from the charter school in which they are enrolled. It is the responsibility of the IEM charter school’s, as a publicly funded organization, to carefully evaluate any educational program in which students concurrently participate. IEM school’s reserve the right to make the determination that a program be considered “dual enrollment” based on the organization’s interpretation of the Education Code that prohibits such “dual enrollment”.

4.12 Private Schools

The school Conflict of Interest Policy must be followed by Service Vendors. The policy states that the vendor may not be a California Department of Education (CDE) registered California private school that charges tuition and teaches core classes and that does not need to "enroll" our students into their private school in order for our student to take classes through them. This is based on the California Education Code that states that a student may not be enrolled in a California private school and a California public charter school concurrently.

4.13 Student Agreement

A current written student agreement for each independent study pupil shall be maintained on file for each participating student for each school year. Each written student agreement shall be signed and dated by parent (or legal caregiver), student, and ES and in effect prior to the start of reporting attendance (ADA) pursuant to that agreement.

Students must meet all elements of the written student agreement in order for continued enrollment in this charter school. By California law, each agreement shall include the following:

  • The manner, time, frequency, and place for submitting a pupil's assignments and for reporting his or her progress.

  • The objectives and methods of study for the pupil's work, and the methods utilized to evaluate that work.

  • The specific resources, including materials and personnel that will be made available to the pupil.

  • A statement of the policies adopted regarding the maximum length of time allowed between the assignment and the completion of a pupil's assigned work, and the number of missed assignments allowed prior to an evaluation of whether or not the pupil should be allowed to continue in independent study.

  • The duration of the written student agreement, recognizing that no written student agreement shall be valid for any period longer than one semester.

  • A statement of the number of course credits or, for the elementary grades, other measures of academic accomplishment appropriate to the agreement, to be earned by the pupil upon completion.

  • The inclusion of a statement in each written student agreement that attendance at this charter school is an optional educational alternative in which no pupil may be required to participate.

  • Each written student agreement shall be signed and dated, prior to the commencement of independent study, by the pupil, the pupil's parent, legal guardian, or caregiver, if the pupil is less than 18 years of age, the certificated employee who has been designated as having responsibility for the general supervision of independent study, and all persons who have direct responsibility for providing assistance to the pupil.

4.14 Learning Record and Attendance Documentation

4.14.1 Learning Records

The Learning Record (LR) is the ESs documentation and evaluation of the attempted assignments and learning for that Learning Period.The assigned ES, pupil, the pupil's parent, legal guardian, or caregiver are required to meet face to face at least once every 20 school days. In order to remain enrolled in this charter school, the student must demonstrate progress towards the student state standards. High school students must be attempting at least 25 credits a semester. Students receiving Additional ES Services (AESS) must meet with their ES weekly or bi-weekly, depending upon their contract. The Learning Record meetings typically take one hour per student to complete. Please plan for this amount of time with your ES when you schedule LR appointments.

All learning records must contain the following elements:

  • The working grade level for each growth area goal, with standards selected from that level

  • The course name for 7th to 12th grade students earning high school credits.

4.14.2 The Learning Record

  • Is an auditable, legal school document that becomes the course of study description for that course.

  • Is looked at by other schools because it becomes a part of the cume file if a student transfers.

  • Is read by college counselors to determine if prerequisites for courses have been met.

  • Is read by the superintendent of the school district and the board to assess the quality of the charter school and the students' achievement, and may be a determining factor in whether or not a charter is renewed from year to year.

  • Is read by a financial auditor who view items discussed in the LR almost like a PO. The LR must validate the school's instructional purchases.

  • Is viewed by a programmatic auditor to determine if we are complying with charter law requirements in stating activities, means of assessment/evaluation, school resources used, and objectives (standards) for each subject area covered.

  • Is compared to the transcript by the programmatic auditor to be sure it supports the awarded grades and credits.

Copies of Learning Records may be given to parents upon request by their ES as long as the students are enrolled in the school. BUT, after a student has dropped, the request for any school information needs to go to the IEM office for processing.

4.14.3 Determining the Assignment Period

The assignment period is determined by the agreed upon time and frequency of the regular assessment meetings between the ES and the student/parent as stated on the Student Agreement. It may not go longer than a 20 day period.

4.14.4 Assessment of Student Work

During the Learning Record meeting, the assigned ES will evaluate the student's work product and will note the activities and means of assessment/evaluation used (observed, recorded the grades, listened) for each work product. The ES is responsible for assessing the entire body of work from the previous learning period. The ES needs to verify all concepts learned during the learning period through viewing the body of work and interviewing the student. During the Learning Record meeting, it is possible that the ES will read examples of the student's work, listen to the student's explanation of a concept learned, watch while a student demonstrates an activity, taste a sample of a baking assignment, interview the student about what they learned, etc. The ES will determine which standards were met by the new learning in that learning period. Only new learning that occurs during the Learning Period will be recorded in the Learning Record. It is not necessary for repetitive learning to be documented unless a new skill has been learned. The standards recorded will be the ones that were worked on, but ones not necessarily mastered.

It is the responsibility of the ES to prepare the Learning Records. Parents are not required, but are strongly encouraged to keep lesson plans, take notes, and/or write learning records. Parent notes can be written by hand or sent to the ES electronically via e-mail. If the parent does document their observations of the child's learning, that documentation can be used as the basis of the learning record along with the ES's own observations. Even with parent documentation, the ES is still required to meet face-to-face with the parent/student in order to assess the work product. During the meeting, you can ask for suggestions about activities and resources to supplement your child's educational plan, or discuss challenges you are having with your child or your school day schedule.

4.14.5 Parent-Purchased Educational Materials

Parent-purchased materials that are sectarian in nature will not be used to determine apportionment credit.  Teachers (ESes) will not assign work from sectarian materials. Student work samples cannot be selected from sectarian materials.


Parent-purchased educational materials which are not sectarian in nature may be used for student academic work assignments and to determine apportionment credit, and may be selected for student work samples which may be included in a student’s portfolio.


4.14.6 Attendance Documentation

Attendance is filled out by the parent and ES.  A paper copy of the attendance roll sheet is given to the parent at each meeting to document the attendance for the next learning period. The roll sheet stays with the parent who records attendance daily on the roll sheet as learning occurs. The paper roll sheet does not require signatures because the information will be entered and signed electronically. The electronic roll sheet becomes the legal document. If for any reason the ES does not use the electronic roll sheet system then the paper copy must be signed and becomes the legal document.

When the ES visits the family to write the Learning Record, the paper attendance roll sheet for that Learning Period is turned into the ES. The days marked as attendance days must be validated by learning that is reported on the Learning Record, with portfolios samples to support the learning. If the ES determines that the student did not complete enough learning to constitute the full amount of attendance for that learning period, then the ES will complete the roll sheet to reflect this determination. These elements are required by law in order for our charter school to stay in existence.

4.15 Suspension and Expulsion Process

4.15.1 Suspension/Expulsion Definition

Students may be suspended or expelled from this charter school for non-compliance with the terms of the parent-student contract, or any material violation of any of the conditions, standards or procedures set forth in the charter school charter, the parent manual or of the school's policies and procedures.  This also may include a student who has committed plagiarism (see plagiarism policy).

If the student who is being suspended or expelled is a Special Education student, the Special Education Director will be involved in the discussions about suspension or expulsion for all identified pupils with disabilities.

Students, who fail to demonstrate adequate and appropriate progress toward the student standards, as determined by the professional judgment of the certificated Education Specialist assigned to that student, will be subject to our truancy policy.

This charter school will suspend a student from participation in any school events outside of the student's home if the student is found to have committed any act listed in CA Education Code 48900 that occurs during, or while going to or coming from, a school sponsored class, a school site, an assessment session, or any other school activity. If the student violates their written requirement to be at home during school hours and not at any location where the school is holding educational events, the student is subject to expulsion from the school.

4.15.2 Expulsion/Suspension Procedure

Expulsions or suspensions will be made by the Charter School Administration based on information provided by the assigned Education Specialist or course instructor according to school policy. A written notice of the suspension or expulsion will be sent to the parent. As required by Education Code 48902, a school administrator will notify the appropriate law enforcement authorities of the county or city in which the school is situated, of any acts of the pupil that may violate Section 245 of the Penal Code.

4.15.3 Expulsion Hearing

The parents of a student who has received an expulsion notice from the school Administration may request a hearing where the parent/student shall be given an opportunity to participate and present facts relevant to the issues set forth in the expulsion notice. In the event of any such request, the school administration shall appoint a Hearing Committee composed of five (5) members of the School Parent Council which shall conduct an expulsion hearing. An expulsion hearing, if requested, shall be conducted in accordance with the due process requirements established in Education Code 48915-48918. After an expulsion hearing, the Hearing Committee shall send its recommendation to the school Administration for a final decision. The school Administration will make all final decisions concerning suspension, expulsion, or reinstatement of suspended or expelled students.

4.15.4 Expulsion Procedure

Whenever a pupil is expelled from this charter school, the school shall notify the pupil and the pupil's parents/guardians in writing of the pupil's duty to attend the school district in which the residency of either the parent/legal guardian is located. The charter school will notify the student's district of residence of the student's expulsion.

4.16 Truancy Policy

4.16.1 Truancy Definition

The definition of "truancy" for this charter school is defined in the policy below as a missed appointment/attendance period. This is not the same definition of "truancy" as defined by California Education Code, nor are the practices and procedures below defined by California Education Code, but are defined by this charter school.

4.16.2 Truancy Policy

Charter School students who are truant for two school attendance periods (length of time between meetings with an ES, but no more than 20 days maximum) or have 2 missed appointments within the same school year, or a combination of the above, will be dropped from the school and will require the school Director’s approval to re-enroll.. Please note that the truant attendance periods within one school year do not have to be consecutive. Truancy is documented on the Attendance Roll Sheet as 50% or less attendance during any consecutive school days on the student's calendar track (example: 10 truant school days over a 20 day period). A mandatory assessment date that has been missed or any other required meeting that has been missed is considered to be a missed appointment that will result in a truancy being issued.

Mandatory assessments include, but are not limited to, End of the Year Assessment and state testing. Also, please note that there are no "excused" absences or "excused" missed appointments. Full attendance is based on work in 5 growth areas for a K – 8th grade student or a high school student attempting a minimum of 25 credits.

4.16.3 Truant Practices

It is required that the ES assess student learning every 20 school days; there are no provisions for illness. The ES must be able to assess the student's learning via the learning record meeting every 20 school days, or the student will be marked truant. Students who do not demonstrate sufficient learning and work to support the claimed attendance will also be marked truant. Again, please note that there are no "excused" absences or "excused" missed appointments.

Parents and students must make every effort to be on time for learning record meetings and other school appointments. Parents and students who are more than 15 minutes late to learning record meetings and/or other school appointments may be subject to a truancy. Two truancies will result in dismissal from Sky Mountain Charter School. Parents and students that receive a first truancy must meet with their ES within 5 school days of the initial truancy for a follow-up learning record meeting. Failure to attend this meeting may result in the issuance of a second truancy, thus resulting in a dismissal from Sky Mountain Charter School.

4.16.4 First Truancy notice

Students who miss an assignment, school appointment, or are at risk of falling below the required attendance requirements as defined above shall be sent a warning letter, reminding the student of this policy and requirements of the Student Agreement and may be invited to attend an Evaluation Meeting to discuss whether independent study is in the best interest of the student.

4.16.5 Second Truancy notice

Students who have missed two assignments/attendance periods, (who have an attendance record of less than 50% during two attendance periods) or two school appointments will receive a second truancy notice and be dismissed according to the school's truancy policy (noted above). Parents or students who have concerns with this action are invited to produce evidence relating to your student's truancies in the following ways:

  • Send a letter to the Executive Director of Teacher and Student Services, 4535 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 1A, Placerville, CA 95667 including all of the related facts you wish to be considered in the dismissal issue.

  • Call the Executive Director of Teacher and Student Services, at 800-979-4436.

The Administration shall take any information presented by the parent/guardian or adult student into consideration when determining whether it is in the best interest of the student to remain in independent study. Additional factors to be considered include but are not limited to the following:

  • student's grades at the time of the evaluation

  • teacher observation/feedback

  • standardized testing data

  • student's progress in independent study curriculum

The Administration's decision shall be provided in writing to the parent/guardian within three (3) days of the evaluation.The Administration may:

  • Find independent study is in the student's best interest

  • Place the student on attendance probation to be evaluated again at a later time

  • Use other alternatives to improve attendance

  • Find that it is not in the student's best interest to remain in independent study.

If the Administration finds that it is not in the student's best interest to remain in independent study, then the student shall be withdrawn from enrollment at the Charter School and the Charter School will notify the district in which the student resides that we no longer have your child enrolled in our charter school.

4.16.6 Special Education Students Truancy Procedure

If the truant student is an identified Special Education student, the ES will contact the Special Education Department with their documented attempts to contact the student/parent. If the ES receives approval from the Special Education Department, they will create and mail the 2nd truancy letter.  A review of the student’s IEP will commence in relationship to the student’s truancy.  

4.16.7 Appeal

The Administration decision that it is not in the student's best interest to remain in independent study shall be subject to an appeal. In accordance with the Suspension/Expulsion policy and the terms of the Charter, parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student may request a hearing where the parent and the student shall be given an opportunity to participate and present facts relevant to the issues set forth in the notice from the Administration.

The parents of a student who has received an expulsion notice from the school Administration may request a hearing where the parent/student shall be given an opportunity to participate and present facts relevant to the issues set forth in the expulsion notice. In the event of any such request, the school administration shall appoint a Hearing Committee composed of five (5) members of the School Parent Council which shall conduct an expulsion hearing. An expulsion hearing, if requested, shall be conducted in accordance with the due process requirements established in Education Code 48915-48918. After an expulsion hearing, the Hearing Committee shall send its recommendation to the school Administration for a final decision. The school Administration will make all final decisions concerning suspension, expulsion, or reinstatement of suspended or expelled students.

4.17 Academic Integrity

4.17.1 Plagiarism Policy

Definition of Plagiarism: According to, plagiarism is defined as:

  • The unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.

  • Something used and represented in this manner.

4.17.2 Examples of Plagiarism:

  • Quoting someone else's words, sentences, paragraphs, or an entire paper without acknowledging the source.

  • Paraphrasing someone else's ideas, opinions, or theory without acknowledging the source.

  • Imitating someone else's structure or argument without acknowledging the source.

  • Using more of a source than you acknowledged in your citation.

  • Copying a fellow student's work, paper, or/and essays and turning it in as your own.

  • Copying or allowing another student to copy a computer file that has your or their written assignments and then turning that in as your own work.

  • Buying an essay, paper, or any written work online without acknowledging the source.

  • If you do any of the above listed, even if you did not intend it, you have committed plagiarism.

4.17.3 Consequences of Plagiarism

The staff at all IEM Schools and Programs will not tolerate plagiarism. We strongly believe that plagiarism is a great insult to the authors as well as the readers. At the beginning of each school year, parents and students sign the Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty Form. If an ES suspects or has confirmed that a student committed plagiarism, a meeting will be held with the student, parent and the ES. This meeting will be conducted to:

1. Confirm the student has conducted plagiarism.

2. Consequences for plagiarism and academic dishonesty are as follows:

  • First Offense— will be assumed to be unintentional. Set up a plan to help the student learn about plagiarism and how to avoid it in the future.

  • Second Offense - The student will receive no credit for assignment.

  • Third Offense - Student’s semester grade will be lowered a full letter grade

  • Any additional offenses—Student will fail the class

  • If plagiarism occurs in more than one class, the ES, their advisor and the student’s family will hold a meeting to determine if independent study is appropriate for this student.

4.18 First Meeting Information Sheet and General Information Sheet

4.18.1 First Meeting Information Sheet

The First Meeting Information Sheet was developed to ensure that during the course of your initial meeting the ES and parent can determine whether or not Sky Mountain will be a good fit for individual families. Also, it is used to make sure that all parents are informed about the variety of school services available to them at the beginning of each school year. This sheet verifies that the parent has received a copy of the General Information Sheet, the school calendar, the parent version of the state standards for the grade level of their student for that year, the dates of the standardized testing, etc. The parent and the ES must sign this form at their first meeting, once each school year. It is a benefit for both the parents and the ES's to have a signed sheet that will indicate the information that was discussed at their first meeting.Take this opportunity to ask all your questions when each item is being discussed.

4.18.2 General Information Sheet

The General Information Sheet is to be given to each family by their ES at their first meeting of each school year. It provides the parent with the information they may need to use during the year: phone numbers, their student and parent numbers, the important test dates for the year, e-mail addresses, and basic information about the school.


5.1 The Education Specialist (ES)

Each student is assigned to a supervising teacher called an Education Specialist (ES). Siblings are assigned to the same supervising teacher if at all possible.The Education Specialist is a California certificated teacher who typically holds a multiple-subject credential or a single-subject credential(s),or both. Your ES will also be highly qualified in one or more areas.

After enrollment, your ES can help you determine your child's learning style and show you where you can read about the types of educational philosophies and learning approaches on the school's website.Your ES will find it helpful to know why you chose this educational model and what you hope to gain from it. For planning purposes, your ES will need to see an unofficial copy of your child’s high school transcript at the initial meeting. This can easily be obtained by requesting it from your child’s previous school.  He or she may also find it helpful to know what additional extracurricular activities your child participates in.  Using any background and assessment information available, the ES will help to advise and develop your child's individualized learning plan. Together, you will determine what resources (curricula, classes, activities, SMEs, tutors, computers) will be needed for the various subjects your child will cover this school year.

Each ES has a  base of educational knowledge to draw from to meet the individual needs of their students when advising on their individualized learning plan. An ES will be familiar with and able to explain the numerous curriculum options available, the various learning approaches, the ways that the subject matter expert requirement for each core subject may be met within our school, and the resources available within the school and in the community. He or she will explain the portfolio options, graduation requirements, Internet resources, and contract program classes.

The ES is required to meet with parents and their students at least once every 20 school days. The ES may opt to schedule the learning record meetings every 15-18 school days, in order to provide a buffer for unexpected circumstances such as illness. Some ESs will meet more often with their students because the parent desired to contract for Additional Education Specialist Services (AESS). The ES will meet with the parent at a mutually agreed upon location. Possible locations are a local library, bookstore, coffee shop or park. The monthly meeting is a very important event: monthly learning documentation must be provided, important school information communicated, work samples collected and an assessment of student progress must be made. As a result, neither party should accept missed appointments, late arrivals, or unpreparedness. Because everyone's schedules are so full, rescheduling appointments can be challenging for everyone. Make every effort to make the monthly meeting appointments a priority, and change them only if absolutely necessary (e.g. illness, death in the family, etc.)  In case of an extreme emergency, contact your ES for options.

The ES is the main liaison between the school and the family and is your primary source of information. At your first meeting with your ES, you should receive a General Information Sheet with important contact information on it. Communication from the ES to the family will occur at the monthly meetings, and through telephone calls, emails, and/or through the mail. Because much information is time-sensitive, you will want to let your ES know what method of communication works best for you between meetings. Your ES should also communicate his/her preferred communication and best days/times to reach him/her.

If a parent has concerns regarding the communication or relationship with their ES, he/she may contact his/her ES’s advisor for further support. The ES’s advisor contact information is on the General Information Sheet given by the ES at the initial meeting. The ES advisor will assist the ES and parent in working towards creating a positive working relationship.   If unable to resolve, a parent may request a different ES by filling out the Parent Request for Change of ES form (found on the website under parent forms). We will do our best to accommodate a parent request, so please be as specific as possible on the form.

5.2 The ES Advisor

Each ES is assigned to an advisor.  Their role is to help the ES be the best ES they can be. The ES advisor serves as the ES’s mentor, trains the ES on school policies and procedures, provides the ES with curriculum counseling, meets individually with them as needed, reviews and evaluates their performance, and acts as the ES’s professional growth advisor.  The ES advisors are also ESs themselves at their individual school;  Sky Mountain Charter School. They have first-hand knowledge of the ES job and an extensive understanding of the school's policies. The advisor is the extra layer of support should you need more help and information than your ES is able to provide.

Your first resource for information should always be your ES and the school website. If you feel you still need further assistance, then the ES advisor is there to help you either directly, or by helping your ES to help you. Either way, the ES advisor's job is to make sure that families are getting the assistance they need.  The General Information Sheet given to you at the beginning of the school year or at your initial meeting will list your ES advisor's name, e-mail, and phone number.

5.3 Report Cards

Report Cards are not required for grades K-8, but families may request them by asking their ES. While K-8 report cards are not required, they are sometimes necessary for other student endeavors such as sports teams, insurance, government verifications, etc. Please consider your family participation in these types of activities when deciding to request a report card or not. Also, we highly recommend that parents of 7th and 8th grade students request a report card as this type of documentation is frequently requested when transitioning into a traditional high school setting. All 9th -12th grade students are required to have a report card issued at the conclusion of each semester and are unable to opt out of having a report card.

It is the law in California that the highly qualified, "teacher of record" assign the official grades and credits. Students will be graded based upon the standards for the grade level in which the student is enrolled. Parents opting for report cards and parents with high school students should submit graded work at the learning record meetings for the ES to review. The grades and credits awarded on the report card represent the professional evaluation by the teacher of record of the student's progress toward the state and school standards.  If you requested a report card, your ES will give you a copy after grades/feedback is submitted.

5.4 Portfolio Information

A portfolio is an auditable, state required collection of student work which shows student learning and demonstrates student progress towards state standards and school goals as identified in our school charter.  It is the ESs responsibility to collect work samples for each student for each semester in each growth area for K-8th graders and each course attempted for high school students. The ES will be looking through and evaluating each student's entire body of work and collecting samples from each growth area at every learning record meeting.

The work samples an ES collects at your learning record meetings must be actual student work assignments for that growth area/course. The collected work samples will not be returned to the students. The assembling of a student portfolio is an important accountability job duty of your ES; it is not the job of a parent/student. The parent's responsibility is to allow their ES to collect a variety of actual student work assignments completed monthly when they are at each LR meeting with you, or take pictures of student activity/work demonstrated for their ES at the meeting.

Portfolios are used solely by this charter school to meet the yearly school audit requirement. Portfolios are not added to individual student's cume files, nor are they passed on to the next school your student may attend. They are stored for the state required time limit, then they are shredded.


6.1 Learning Styles

Each child has a specific mode or combination of modes in which he/she learns best.

Visual Learners: learn best by seeing flash cards, visual images, handouts, matching games, pictures and diagrams, puzzles, watching someone do something, printed material, charts, pictures, posters, wall strips, desk tapes, video tapes, timelines, and computer programs

Auditory Learners: learn best by hearing and benefit most from lectures, educational songs and rhymes, rhythm instruments, recitation, CD-ROMs, DVDs, videos, singing songs, and reading aloud

Kinesthetic Learners: learn best by doing and touching from activities such as hands-on math and science kits, gardening, puzzles, manipulatives, typing instead of writing, lapbooks, drama, dance, lab experiments, nature walks, and building models

Social Learners: learn best by interacting with others through one-on-one conversations, discussions, and group participation

6.2 School-Provided Learning Styles Assessment

IEM schools provide students with a learning styles assessment. Ask your Education Specialist how to obtain and administer the learning styles assessment being provided by your school.  

6.3 Multiple Intelligences

In addition to your student’s preferred learning style, research shows that children have multiple intelligences. A helpful book to read on this topic is “Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice” by Howard Gardner.

6.4 Educational Philosophies

By enrolling in Sky Mountain Charter School, you are choosing an alternative option to educate your child. Experience shows that parents are more successful with alternative forms of education if they have a clearly defined philosophy of education. Your philosophy of education is your unyielding convictions about what you believe to be the role of the parent, child, government, and community in the education of your children. There are going to be times during your children's educational journey when the pressures of life will cause you to question the educational decisions and choices you have made. One main reason for this self-doubt is that there is no perfect educational system--they all have advantages and disadvantages. By having your educational philosophy written out and by referring to it during the challenging periods in your life, you will be better able to re-evaluate your belief system and goals to help prioritize with reason rather than emotion. A list of educational philosophies is located in the Curriculum section of the school’s website.

6.5 Teaching Styles and Methods

Sky Mountain has many curricular options and an extensive vendor list. Families work with their ES to decide which curriculum options will best support their child’s individual needs as well as meet school, state, and federal policies, procedures, regulations and guidelines.

When a parent chooses to enroll with Sky Mountain, the parent is choosing to abide by SMCS’s charter, policies and procedures. These policies and procedures must be followed to ensure that our school is in compliance with the state of California and all federal regulations to include following the state standards, taking the required state tests, and having a highly qualified teacher of record, where applicable.

Once you have determined your educational philosophy, determine which teaching style and methods support your philosophy. The popular teaching styles are listed below.

6.5.1 The Schoolroom Method

This is also referred to as "doing school at home." This method of instruction is similar to the classroom with a complete textbook curriculum, grading, testing, and schedules. Usually, a homeschool curriculum package is used with the same subject emphasis as that taught in a traditional school. Each child learns in their grade level independently from the other children who are learning in their grade level. The family has a schedule with a similar amount of time devoted to a subject from one day to the next. The instruction is traditionally teacher-centered rather than student-centered.

6.5.2 Classical Education

The classical approach to education is based upon the philosophy that the best education involves teaching children to think, not teaching subjects. The core of the classical syllabus is what is known as the Trivium. The Trivium consists of three parts: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.

The “Grammar” stage is not the subject of grammar, rather it is the study of the basic facts for different subjects. This stage covers the ages of approximately 6 to 10 years old when children are the most receptive and willing to readily memorize information.

The “Dialectic” stage begins at approximately age 10 when children naturally begin to demonstrate independent or abstract thought. During this stage, children begin to build understanding and the ability to respond to the information acquired during the first phase, while integrating that information into a comprehensive whole.

In the “Rhetoric” stage (which lasts from teen into adulthood), the aim is to produce a student who can use language, both written and spoken, eloquently and persuasively to express what he thinks. Emphasis is placed on the ability to intelligently discuss a wide variety of subjects traditionally taught in the western world such as Latin, Euclidean geometry, and the classical authors.

6.5.3 Unit Studies

Unit studies are an integrated thematic approach to learning several subjects and concepts through a main topic. Topics or themes can be chosen by the child's interests, experiences in family life, books, events in the news, etc. This method can be used with different grades at one time to incorporate all the children of a family. Unit studies can be developed by the parent, or taken from a book of unit studies, or found from sources online. The teacher uses all sources available including online, library, and community to integrate studies across disciplines which correlate with the theme.

Sample Unit Study of the California Gold Rush:

  • History: a study of events leading up to, during, and following the California Gold Rush

  • Life Science: how plants and animals were used by the miners during the California Gold Rush

  • Earth Science: a study of the topography and natural resources where mining occurred

  • Language Arts: read books, letters, and stories about the California Gold Rush time period and write reports or create lapbooks

  • Health: a study about the health and living conditions at the time of the California Gold Rush compared with today

  • Art: make craft replicas of items used during the California Gold Rush

  • Music: sing songs which were sung during the California Gold Rush days, put on a musical about the time period

  • PE: play games played by children during the California Gold Rush

  • Technology: play a computer game such as "Oregon Trail," make a "Gold Rush" website by first researching facts online, use a library database to find books related to the theme, or use online sources for pictures and documents

6.5.4 Interactive Learning (Waldorf and Montessori)

Many teachers, parents, and philosophers throughout the ages have noted that children are naturally inquisitive and will readily interact with manipulatives. In fact, it is often difficult to keep a young child from touching an item of interest! With this in mind, several educators have built systems of learning based largely on the practical use of handicrafts and manipulatives. Two of the most famous of these methods are the Waldorf approach to education and the Montessori schools. Although Waldorf and Montessori differ in some of their philosophies, there are more similarities in their approaches to learning than differences, so they are listed here together as examples of the "Interactive Learning.”

Waldorf: Rudolf Steiner began his first school in 1919 at the Waldorf factory in Germany. The Waldorf philosophy encompasses educating the whole child -- head, heart, and hands. It is geared to the child's stages of development and incorporates all elements -- intellectual, artistic, spiritual and physical. The goal is to produce individuals who are able to impart meaning to their lives.

Montessori: Dr. Maria Montessori, a renowned educator, began her first preschool in 1907 which quickly grew into a complete elementary school. The Montessori philosophy espouses sensory and tactile education through spontaneous, purposeful activities with the guidance of a trained adult. Montessori preschools and elementary schools abound in America, with well-trained teachers as facilitators of the active, child-directed education.

Some distinctive features of both Waldorf and Montessori education include the following:

  • Academics are de-emphasized in the early years of schooling. There is no academic content in the Waldorf kindergarten experience (although there is a good deal of cultivation of pre-academic skills) and minimal academics in first grade. Reading is not taught until second or third grade, though the letters are introduced carefully in first and second grades. Montessori encourages reading explorations, but children learn to read when they are ready rather than at a predetermined age.

  • During the elementary school years of grades 1-8, the students have a teacher who stays with the same class for (ideally) the entire eight years of elementary school.

  • Certain activities which are often considered "frills" in mainstream schools are central at Waldorf and Montessori schools: art, music, gardening, and foreign languages, to name a few. In the younger grades, all subjects are introduced through artistic or tactile mediums because learning is most highly retained through multi-sensory experiences rather than through workbooks and rote learning. The Montessori Association produces many hands-on educational materials for use in their schools, and these can often be purchased through our charter school vendors.

  • There are no textbooks as such in the first through fifth grades. All children have main lesson books in the Waldorf system, which act as their workbooks. They essentially produce their own textbooks which record their experiences and what they have learned. Montessori children use materials from the real world instead of a regular text. Upper grades use textbooks to supplement their main lesson work.

  • Learning in Waldorf and Montessori schools is a noncompetitive activity. There are no grades given at the elementary level, rather the teacher writes a detailed evaluation of the child at the end of each school year.

  • The use of electronic media, particularly television, by young children is strongly discouraged in Waldorf schools and is replaced by hands-on activities in Montessori schools.

6.5.5 Natural Schooling

The philosophy does not separate education from daily living. Education is embedded in the process of life. It is not a thing that happens only at certain times and in certain ways. In natural schooling, learning can happen anywhere and at anytime. It is an ongoing and natural endeavor. Therefore, the parent makes the child a part of the family’s daily activities and incorporates the entire community into his daily learning. The world is his school and the child follows his own interests. Proponents of natural schooling believe the child is inherently inquisitive and will learn all the basic subjects if given the time and opportunity. All subjects are incorporated into everyday existence. For instance, math is taught in relation to how it is used in the real world, not as an isolated set of numbers. Children following natural schooling often begin apprenticing in future careers even before they reach their teens and are allowed to excel in their own areas of interest and ability.

6.6 Choosing the Right Curriculum

The ES and parents together (with input from the student) select the student’s curriculum in keeping with their educational plan. Information useful to an ES in determining appropriate curriculum might include the following: the student's learning style, previous learning challenges at home and at prior school(s), the student's maturity level, the student's ability to stay on task and work independently, the motivational level of the student, accommodations through special education, the student's likes/dislikes and interests, student CAASPP test results, high school transcripts, post high school goals, report cards, alternative assessments, and readiness tests.

The ES will also find the following parent information helpful in making curricular recommendations: the parent's educational philosophy and preferred teaching style, the amount of experience the parent has had with independent study, the amount of time the parent has to spend with any one student during the school day, the amount of time the parent has for educational planning and preparation each week, the parent's ability to teach necessary courses, and the resources already available in the home. Taking this information into consideration, the curriculum suggestions and resources necessary to accomplish the student's educational plan will be identified and implemented within the educational and financial guidelines of the school. Following discussions with the ES, the parent will provide the ES with a wish list of curriculum and resources that they are requesting, and the ES will set up activities, classes or tutors and place the purchase orders (POs) necessary to obtain them.

6.7 Curriculum Ordering

Each year, the school allocates instructional funds to be used to facilitate the student's educational plan through the purchase of materials, services, contract program activities, ES-taught classes or tutoring (ESi), group educational activities and field trips (GEAs), and additional ES support (AESS). The parent and ES work in cooperation to determine the best allocation of the student’s instructional funds. Ultimately, the ES is responsible for the professional and ethical distribution of this funding, and that responsibility is not shared.

The ES is responsible to place the purchase orders for the items needed by the family in a timely manner. Purchase orders for materials can only be made through school approved vendors, and all purchases must be made in accordance with the school's purchasing guidelines. They must be basic in quality, must be non-sectarian, must support the student's educational plan (meaning the items must be age and subject appropriate), and must be used to meet school and state standards for the student whom the materials are being purchased. The school makes the determination whether or not materials meet their guidelines. Sky Mountain Charter School maintains a comprehensive list of approved vendors in order to support the school’s philosophy of parent choice in education while adhering to the California Department of Education's Codes regarding the purchasing of instructional materials.

6.8 Instructional Funding (IF) Information

Instructional Funds Policies:

  • Each student, by his/her average daily attendance (ADA) generates the funds of the Charter School. The funds are budgeted for use each year in three areas: 1.) district and program administration, 2.) teachers' payroll, and 3.) educational  materials.The funding must be spent according to the SB740 funding model for Charter Schools.

  • The Charter School may not provide any funds or other things of value to the pupil or his or her parent or guardian that a school district could not legally provide to a similarly situated pupil of the school district, or to his or her parents or guardian.

  • The Charter School may only receive funding for the provision of independent study to pupils who are residents of San Bernardino County (Sky Mountain Charter School) (Sky Mountain Charter School)  or who are residents of a county contiguous to San Bernardino County (Sky Mountain Charter School) (Sky Mountain Charter School).

  • The Instructional Funds are appropriated for the purpose of designing and delivering the student's educational plan. The IF (instructional funding) may only be spent on appropriate educational materials for the enrolled student. They may not be used to provide educational materials/admissions for siblings or parents or anyone else not enrolled in the charter school, or for materials not applicable to the enrolled student's educational plan.

  • The Instructional Funds may be used towards educational materials, Contract Program Activities, Educational Activities, HQT SMEs, and AESS for the enrolled student.

  • These funds can NOT be used for items designated in the Policy for Criteria of Materials or activities/product/instructors disallowed in the Conflict of Interest Policy. They also cannot be spent on any item or activity that requires payment for transportation. SMCS does not pay for transportation, as our school receives no transportation funding. For our students, all learning occurs at home, and anything the parent/student chooses to do outside of their home needs to be within the realm of what transportation they can and want to arrange/provide.

  • Students who are enrolled on the first day of the school year, will have the maximum amount of appropriated funds when planning their educational program. Students who enroll later in the year will have less than the maximum amount of appropriated funds with which to plan from.

  • For those students who are enrolled for the entire 175 school days, the instructional funds are placed into the IF account managed by the ES in two disbursements during the school year. No school funding is provided directly to parents or students for any purpose. For the 2016/17 school year, the maximum IF appropriation for each student is:

    • $2,200.00 (TK-8th grade students); $1,100.00 maximum for each funding period

    • $2,700 (HS students); $1,350.00 maximum for each funding period.

  • Instructional funds are prorated based on the student’s enrollment date. If the student enrolls after the start of the school year, then the instructional fund amount will be based on the actual enrollment date.

  • The amount of funding that is allocated in the ES's budget for use to deliver the student's educational plan is based on the ADA calendar the state goes by to appropriate school funds. The IF amount is prorated and differs depending upon the student's enrollment date.

  • You will notice that the amount of appropriated instructional funds at Sky Mountain Charter School is much higher than that of other similar charter schools.This is in keeping with the philosophy of this charter school.

  • The IEM and SMCS founders believe that more instructional funds provide more choices, opportunities, and individualization among the students' educational plans.

6.8.1 Management of Educational Funds

Each Education Specialist has the responsibility of being aware of expenses incurred to meet the educational needs and choices of each enrolled student assigned to them. Sibling IF funds are posted and tracked as a family budget under the family name under the name of the ES. It is the responsibility of the ES to stay within the overall budget for each family. There may be times when an ES spends more on one sibling's educational plan than another within the same family. This is acceptable as long as the family's overall budget is not exceeded. Information about the ES expenditure of instructional funds is public information and should be shared with any interested party upon request.

The parent and the ES work in cooperation to determine the best use of allocated funds in order to produce the maximum possible in terms of student learning. At no time should this funding be spent indiscriminately by any person(s). The funds remain part of the school's budget and anything purchased with these funds remains the property of the school. School expenses are audited annually.

Parents have a right to participate in the determination of how the allocated funding is spent. But ultimately the ES is responsible for the professional and ethical distribution of this funding and that responsibility is not "shared". The ES also has the responsibility to ensure that all core curriculum has been purchased, either with instructional funds or independently by the parent, and is in place prior to using instructional funds for special interest/extracurricular activities. Conversely, the ES should not spend any of the instructional fund allocation without the parents' approval. Any disagreement between an ES and parent regarding the purchase of educational materials will be mediated by the administration of the School.

6.8.2 Accrual of Instructional Funds

An ES must first understand how and when instructional funds are placed in the ES budget. At the beginning of a semester, funding is placed in an ES’s budget for a student based on their date of enrollment and the expected amount of ADA the school hopes to collect for that student. It isn't "real" money until attendance for that student is collected that will equal the amount projected. If for any reason, that student drops prior to the date that the money was "earned," then some of that money may not be available to be transferred for any purpose. For example, students graduating at the end of first semester must remember that only the first semester funds are "real,” and 2nd semester funds will be deducted from the ES budget when the graduate drop is complete.

6.9 Policy for Criterion of Materials/Materials Policy

All materials ordered by Sky Mountain Charter School with state funding, including items, such as workbooks, pencils, paper, clay, and any other materials consumable in nature, are the property of SMCS. Materials are loaned to enrolled students for their educational usage only. The items must be returned to the school via the assigned Education Specialist (ES) when the student is done using that item, or when the student leaves SMCS. If an item has been "consumed" by the student—used up and no longer usable by any other student—then it can be "archived" by the ES. The ES must view this item and sign off that it has been consumed. If a student dis-enrolls or is dropped by the school prior to the end of the school year for any reason, all materials must be returned to Sky Mountain Charter School within three school days. Families will be billed for any and all items not returned, including those that are consumable in nature. Student transcripts will not be released until all materials are returned.

Average daily attendance (ADA) funding is received for the purpose of supporting new learning for a student and some minimal practice of those newly learned skills.Therefore, ADA funding may be spent for basic educational items that support new student learning and that fall into the categories below. What constitutes "basic educational items" is to be determined by the school. We may not spend ADA funding on anything that could be construed to be a "thing of value" or a "gift of public funds."

Materials may be purchased for one semester at a time.  

Materials must be used to meet school and state standards for an ENROLLED student.  Materials may not be purchased for the use by non-enrolled sibling or parent.

Acceptable Items (including, but not limited to):

  • Educational curriculum appropriate for the student's courses (textbooks/online courses/DVDs/unit studies/software/etc).

  • Novels may be ordered as long as they are not sectarian and support the student in his or her learning.  

  • Supplemental educational materials appropriate for the student's courses and practice of the basic skills (educational games, manipulatives, etc)

  • Basic school supplies adequate for learning basic course skills (paper, pencils, etc). The ES will use her/his professional judgment when distributing materials and will distribute enough materials to last one learning period at a time. The ES, along with the school, makes the final determination in what constitutes "enough materials to last one learning period".

  • Enough basic raw materials (not top-of-the-line) for learning basic course skills in one learning record documented educational project: fabric, wood, yarn (enough for one project). Exception: no food or animal product purchases allowed.

  • Basic equipment (not top-of-the-line) for documented learning as needed by student: sewing machines, cd players, manipulatives, musical instruments (basic school/student models), and cameras, computers, printers, and scanners (within the guidelines listed on the Student Computer and Technology Options page).

The following types of items can only be ordered for a high school student (and the grade level must be noted on the PO):

  • Bunsen Burners

The following types of items can only be ordered in small quantities for a student with the educational usage noted on the PO:

  • Chemicals

Examples of Unacceptable Items-This list is not all inclusive:

  • Any item that is sectarian or denominational per California state law.

  • Top-of-the-line art materials.

  • Furniture, storage containers, organizational items (large or small items), decorative items, picture frames, and other non-educational household items.

  • Computer parts, equipment, and software upgrades for non school-owned computers

  • Ready-made clothes.

  • Ready-made jewelry.

  • Toys.

  • Personal hygiene items.

  • Live animals or animal food (exception: as a part of a science class, a certificate for redemption by parent can be ordered for praying mantis, caterpillars, ladybugs, or silkworms to watch; ant farms; or tadpoles)

  • Personal/individual PE items: skis, bicycles, tricycles, golf clubs, trampolines, scooters, or any top of the line sports equipment (e.g.: order the basic level softball bat, not expensive professional models).

  • Musical instrument rentals, exchanges, or rent to own instruments (a basic / student model only may be purchased).

  • Home and office equipment: fax machines, copiers, phones, dictation equipment, TV's, DVD and VCR players, power tools (it is assumed that the student's home is equipped with basic home and office supplies).

  • Heavy duty staplers, hole punches, binding machines or Silhouette cutters

  • Kitchen equipment: popcorn poppers, trays, plates, utensils of any kind (it is assumed that the student's home is equipped with basic kitchen supplies).

  • Yard equipment: grass watering kits, garden ponds, swimming pools, greenhouses, planter boxes, rakes, shovel, hoe, gloves, pruners, lawnmower, etc.

  • Religious materials of any type including: books, magazines, DVDs, CD-ROMS, CDs, videos, cassette tapes, posters, etc.

  • Anything that must be installed permanently at a home in order to be used, or anything that will be too large or heavy for an ES to transport after it is put together (if it cannot be torn back down and be usable again).

Materials must not expose the ES or student to dangerous or serious injury.The following types of items are unacceptable:

  • Poisons

  • Knives

  • Bows and Arrows

  • Darts with sharp points

  • Trampolines

  • Swimming pools

  • Rocket engines

  • Weapons

  • Power tools

  • Welding equipment

Large or heavy items must be limited to those items which the ES can transport. Rule of thumb: Nothing over 4 ft by 3 ft should be ordered, as it may not be able to be transported by every ES when transferred from one family to another. Nothing should be ordered that is too heavy for an ES to lift.

No materials can be ordered by an ES that violates the school's conflict of interest policies.

6.10 Tracking Materials

All materials are shipped directly to the ES by the vendor. Delays can occur on products from vendors that will only ship through the school office. Once the items are received by the ES, the ES will mark the items into the School's Materials Tracking System and label the items with the school's name before distributing them to the family.

ESs are responsible for all items ordered from their parents' accounts, including consumables. Families may not dispose of items before consulting their ES. Every item issued to a student must be either:

  • In the possession of and in use by an enrolled student for educational purposes

  • In the possession of the ES

  • Written off as discarded due to normal usage

  • Written off as consumed, if appropriate (ES must view consumed materials and sign them off)

  • Be listed as Missing Materials in the school's Materials Tracking System

6.11 Approved Vendor List

The charter school maintains a list of school-approved vendors through which the ES can place POs. The approved vendor list is comprised of vendors that offer products only, services only, or a combination of product and services. On the vendor list is the phone number, website address (if available), and a brief description of each vendor's products and/or services. Not every item offered by an approved vendor is approved for purchase. In fact, some vendors carry many items that are not acceptable, and cannot be ordered with instructional funds. If there is a vendor a parent would like to see added to the approved vendor list, the parent or ES may direct the prospective vendor to complete the Vendor Application found on the school’s website.  The school will make the final determination as to whether or not a prospective vendor will be added to our vendor list. If a vendor is denied, the reason for the denial will not be shared, as vendor approval is a personnel matter.

To view the approved vendor list, go to:

If you are in search of service vendors in your area, please mark the services button and then type the city name into the search field.  It is recommended that you use only 1-2 words when doing a search on the approved vendor list.

6.12 Requesting a New Vendor

When a parent or ES identifies a business which either the parent or ES  believes will be beneficial in assisting our students educationally by providing educational materials or educational services. Refer the prospective vendor to Vendor Application linked to the school’s website to begin the application process.

Before referring the prospective vendor, the parent and ES should consider the following bullet points.

  • The vendor instructor policy

  • If the course is considered a high risk activity

  • If the course is a school restricted activity

  • If the course involves a theme park activity

  • If products meet school and state standards for the student

  • If products that are non-sectarian in nature

  • The business has not previously applied to become a vendor

ESs are encouraged to contact Product Vendors for pricing and product availability.

6.12.1 Criteria for Educational Vendor Approval

An Educational Vendor must meet the following criteria before being approved as an IEM vendor:

  • Vendor must sell non-denominational or non-sectarian materials and/or provide non-denominational or non-sectarian instruction

  • Vendor must sell educational materials or provide educational activities

  • Vendor must complete the school vendor approval process in order to become a vendor for the school

6.12.2 Procedure

When the ES identifies or receives information from a parent regarding a business either believes would be an appropriate vendor, the ES provides the parent (to share with the vendor) or the vendor directly (preferred) the link to the Vendor Application form.  It is the vendor’s responsibility to complete the Vendor Application form.

Completing the Vendor Application form is the first step in the approval process,  and, if appropriate, a Vendor Agreement will be sent to the vendor.  

Once the vendor has completed and returned all required paperwork and meets the school’s requirements, including educational approval, the vendor will be listed in the school’s Vendor Directory.

Parents can check with their ES on status of vendor approval.

6.13 Computer Options

6.13.1 Computer and other Technology Options

To view a listing of current Student Computer and Technology Options, go to:

All computers ordered by this charter school remain the property of the school and are loaned for enrolled student usage only. The warranty fee and/or environmental fees must be added to the cost of the computer option listed. The computers do not come with Word or Office unless the web description states so. Word or Office can be ordered separately. Computers may not be order from vendors other than those listed.  It is not permissible to upgrade school computers. Computer components cannot be ordered for non-school owned computers. Computers cannot be sold to students/families at a later date. These items are purchased with state dollars and must be disposed of in a legal manner which is authorized by law.

6.13.2 Computer Repair/Refresh Process

Only a school owned computer can be repaired/refreshed with school funding. A computer must be refreshed by an approved school computer vendor before it can be placed with another family. All personal information and any software programs that the school does not own must be removed from the computer. A computer under warranty must be repaired only by the company listed on the warranty paperwork. For a refresh, a school approved vendor must be used.The cost of the refresh is paid for with instructional funds by the family who is receiving the computer. If, upon refresh, it is discovered that the computer needs additional repair, the receiving family may choose to repair the computer or not. Either way, the receiving family will still be responsible for the cost of the refresh.

6.14 Internet Service Provider (ISP) for Your Students' Usage

For families that do not have internet access and need it for school curriculum, contact your ES for more information.  

6.15 Addressing the California Standards

Students are to demonstrate adequate and appropriate progress toward the current California state standards. The ES meets with the student/family at least once every 20 days to ascertain the student’s progress toward the state standards. The grade level or course standards are linked on the school’s curriculum page at:

Current subject and course standards can be obtained directly from the California Department of Education (CDE) website At the beginning of each school year, the ES provides the parent with the current state standards for their child's core subjects.

6.16 Response to Instruction (RtI)

On January 16, 2014, the California State Board of Education approved spending regulations and a template for the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) that supports local implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula. IEM schools use some of these funds to provide additional academic support for students who score below grade level in Reading and Math.

We do not require students to use these additional RtI (Intervention Program) resources, but highly recommend parents and students take advantage of them in order to help support their child’s unique academic needs. These resources, including print and online curriculum and tutoring services, are only available while LCAP funding is still available. Please contact your ES for more information about this program or to find out if your child qualifies.


7.1 ES Instruction (ESi)

Some of our most talented and knowledgeable instructors are our very own ESs.  ESi includes online and in-person tutoring and/or courses taught by ESs in content-specific subjects in grades K-12. For more information, see the school’s website at:

7.2 Educational Activities (EAs) Policies and Procedures

7.2.1 Definition

An Educational Activity (EA) is an educational experience, that can be paid for with student instructional funding for one or more students in a family, through a school approved service vendor.

Approved EAs include but are not limited to: class fees, material costs, enrichment activities, community involvement activities, core subject assistance, and other educational services fees from our current approved vendor list.

7.2.2 Educational Activity Policy

  1. If instructional funding is to be used for an EA, the ES, parent, and student must follow all school policies and procedures which include adhering to school restricted courses/activities and the high risk courses/activities requirements (see below).

  2. The EA must be approved by the ES, the purchase order request (PO) must be submitted prior to the event/activity, and the required paperwork must be completed before any student may participate in event/activity.

  3. The charter school will not, under any circumstances, reimburse parents or ESs for any student's participation in any EAs.

  4. No sectarian or denominational instruction may be given or materials used in any course/activity paid for by the school.

  5. The vendor must be approved before the school will pay for an EA, and the vendor must be approved prior to the student's participation in the activity if instructional funding will be used for the activity/event.

  6. School funding may only be used for students currently enrolled in the school, during the school year.

  7. The school does not pay for season passes, memberships, any registration fees (such as team sports organizations or learning communities), uniforms, recital fees, etc.

  8. Instructional funding cannot be used for the following: out of state activities, gas or mileage, transportation fees, meals, or parking, etc.

7.2.3 Reason for Restricted Courses

Courses may be restricted for a couple of reasons. Some are high safety risks. The "disallowed" courses are ones our school insurance company will not allow us to offer to our students. Other courses have funding caps and are considered “political” risks because in the past, charter schools have been "accused of abusing public school funding" by offering some of these courses to their students. We have been able to continue to allow these courses to be taken by our students, as long as they stay under the stated funding cap, and our students have all of the necessary materials available to them in the core subject areas they are taking first. The courses currently restricted to 50% of funding are not typically offered in any public school in California. We understand the educational value of these courses to our students, so have chosen to allow them, with a funding cap for accountability purposes. Some other courses have additional requirements and may take longer approval time.

7.2.4 Restricted Course Policy

  1. Students may take a restricted course all year long if the cost of the course does not exceed the 50% cap for that course.

  2. The ES may not spend more than 50% of the student’s instructional funds per student for that semester on any one restricted course.

  3. Students may participate in the same course/activity both semesters if the cost of the course does not exceed the 50% cap of instructional funds per student for the semester of the course.

  4. Students may take more than one restricted course at the same time. Example: martial arts and gymnastics may be taken the same semester as long as the ES can approve the funding, the educational value for their student, and confirm that the student is making appropriate academic progress in core subject areas.

7.2.5 Currently Restricted Courses

The following courses/activities are currently restricted to 50% cap of instructional funds deposited for that student for that semester:

Archery, golf classes, gymnastics and tumbling classes or classes utilizing rebounding devices, horsemanship, ice skating, martial arts, ski/snowboard classes, tennis classes

7.2.6 Disallowed Courses

The following courses/activities are currently disallowed. This list is not all-inclusive:

Aerial arts, aircraft related, boxing or kickboxing, cosmetology, dirt bike or motorcycle riding, ice/roller hockey, mountain bike riding, outdoor rock climbing, sailing/boating lessons, scuba diving, sculling, skateboarding, slack-lining, surfing, therapy/gymnastics on horseback, water polo, water skiing, welding, white water rafting, wrestling, zip-lining.

7.2.7 High Risk Courses

The following courses/activities have additional requirements and the approval time may take longer.  Your ES will complete the PO request when he/she has confirmed and/or received all information and paperwork regarding the high risk courses.  

Participation in high risk courses requires completion of the Educational Activity Permission slip by parents prior to the creation of a PO Request.

High risk courses include:  archery; gymnastics, tumbling, and classes utilizing rebounding devices; fencing, horse related (involving proximity to horses); rock climbing (indoors); swimming; whale watching (on water).

**The school cannot pay for team sports; organization dues; facility memberships; or any type of registration fees.

7.3 Group Educational Activities (GEAs)

7.3.1 Group Educational Activities (GEAs) Policies and Procedures

Group Educational Activities (GEAs) are large, usually schoolwide, group activities available to all interested students using instructional funding.  GEAs are selected and planned following educational guidelines set by the school.  For information about current GEA opportunities, watch for information on the parent listserv or contact your ES.

Students attending GEA's must have a parent or other approved chaperone on the premises for the duration of the event. Non-enrolled siblings are not able to participate in GEA's unless otherwise specified.

7.3.2 GEA Cancellation Policy

Parents must inform the GEA representative for their school directly at least 48 hours prior to event if they are unable to attend.

Families that are absent for two GEA's in one school year  may not be allowed to enroll in any GEA's for the rest of the school year.

The IF funds can NOT be refunded back to the parent’s account for a late cancellation (past the sign-up date) or for a no-show.

7.3.3 Parent/Non-Student Attendee GEAs Payments

Parent chaperone/non-student attendee payments for GEAs are made through a school PayPal account.  Note: A handling fee of 2.2% plus 30 cents will be added to the cost of the ticket/admission price.


Refunds for non-student attendees for GEAs are not granted after the vendor has been paid. If parent requests for a refund are made in writing prior to a payment being made to the vendor, the full amount minus a handling fee will be refunded.


7.4 Educational Activities Permission Slip

Parents of students who go on a school funded GEA (Group Education Activity/field trip), must fill out an Educational Activity Permission Slip.This form and all other school forms can be found on the school's website at:

The parent must sign the Educational Activity Permission Slip. The student brings one copy of the form to give to the ES in charge of the activity and an additional copy goes to your ES before the planned GEA and will be kept in the student’s file.


8.1 High School Manual  

The High School Manual has detailed information to guide families with middle and high school students.

You can access the  SMCS High School Manual on the Guidance page of the school’s website at:

Sky Mountain High School Manual:

8.2 High School Courses and Federal Requirements

8.2.1 Policy

According to the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, formerly NCLB) guidelines on highly qualified teacher (HQT) regulations, all our students must be taught by an ESEA certified HQT as teacher of record beginning in the 2008 school year.

Each local educational agency (LEA) must develop a plan to ensure that all elementary, middle and high school teachers who are assigned to teach core academic subjects meet the ESEA requirements to ensure they are highly qualified. For IEM schools, this means that the assigned Education Specialist (ES) must either be ESEA certified in each subject their students are taking, or must have another teacher of record who is ESEA certified serving the student for that course. Other teachers of record could be the Subject Matter Expert (SME) HQT for the school in that subject area, the professor of a community college course the student is enrolled in, or an approved online course.

8.2.2 The Collaborative Teaching Model

Our school uses the collaborative teaching model to meet ESEA requirements. Under this model, each student continues to be served by one ES who is his or her supervising teacher for all subjects. The assigned ES is also the teacher of record for all courses their students are taking that they are ESEA certified to teach. For any core subject areas in which the assigned ES is not ESEA certified, the ES must see that each of their students is being served in another approved way for those courses.

8.2.3 Options for Meeting ESEA HQT Criteria for High School Courses

  • The ES is Highly Qualified - The ES holds the appropriate teaching credential.

  • School Subject Matter Expert (SME) courses/oversight - The school's SME becomes the student's teacher of record for that course. The student, directed by the ES, follows the course syllabus and course requirements approved by the SME. The SME reviews the student's work monthly and provides the final grade for the course as the teacher of record.

  • Online courses offered by approved vendors - Online and CD/DVD based courses can fulfill the ESEA HQT requirement.

  • Community College Courses

8.3 Graduation Requirements

Per Ed Code 51225.3: All students need to take the following while in grades 9-12

  • 3 years of English

  • 2 years of Math

  • 2 years of science, including biological and physical sciences

  • 1 year of World History

  • 1 year of US History

  • 1 semester of Government

  • 1 semester of Economics

  • 2 years of PE

  • 1 year of either:

    • VAPA: Visual Performing Arts

    • LOTE: Language Other Than English

    • CTE: Career Technical Education

Click to see: Graduation Requirements

Successful completion of  the  210 units specified below is required  for  high school  graduation. School options for  completing each growth area are listed  under that growth  area.

8.3.1 Reading/Writing

This charter school  graduate reads and writes effectively.

30 Units of Reading/Writing electives

8.3.2 Life  Skills

This charter school graduate sufficiently understands and functions in the  world around  him.

50 Units including:

  • 20 units Physical Education electives

  • 30 units Life Skills electives to meet school standards

8.3.3 History

This charter school  graduate appreciates the  history of  mankind in all its diversity.

25 Units of History including:

  • 10 units World Studies

  • 10 units US History

  • 5 units Economics

8.3.4 Political Process

This charter school graduate comprehends the  political process.

5 Units United States Government

8.3.5 Mathematics

This charter school  graduate applies  math  principles and operations to solve problems.

20 Units Mathematics  including:

  • 10 units Algebra 1 or Integrated Math 1(unless verified  as passed in 7th/8th grade, then 2 higher level math classes are required)

  • 10 units Mathematics elective

If a student is taking integrated math, integrated 1 and 2 fulfill the math graduation requirements.

8.3.6 Science

This charter school  graduate applies scientific concepts and skills to explain  his world and find solutions to its problems.

20 Units of Science including:

  • 10 units Physical Science  elective (Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, Astronomy, Geology, etc)

  • 10 units Life Science elective (Biology, Anatomy, Zoology, Marine Biology, etc)

8.3.7 Special Interests

This Charter School  graduate realizes his own special  interests, talents and abilities.

60 Units of Electives including:  

  • 10 units Foreign Language (Language other than English: must all be in the same course/language), Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) (must all be in the same course/language), or Career Technical Education (CTE) (must all be in the same course/career)

  • 50 units electives (college prep, academic or vocational)

8.4 High School Course Plans

The minimum coursework listed above are for graduation but would not gain admissions into a university.  Your high school course of study can be tailored to your post high school plans including community college, university, workforce, military, vocational education, or other. To view three standard course plan options, review the Graduation Pathways Options in the High School Manual at the school’s website at: Suggested Graduation Pathway Options (

For more information on high school planning, check out your school website’s guidance page at:

The guidance coordinators help students create course plans that meet their needs and goals for after high school. Additionally, Educational Specialists are great resources and it’s beneficial to have them join guidance meetings. Email your coordinator to request a meeting with your guidance coordinator.

Your high school guidance coordinators:

Sky Mountain:
Jami Lynn Riley

8.5 A-G Courses and UC/CSU Entrance Requirements

A-G courses refer to the high school courses required for entrance to the University of California and the California State University systems and that have been approved by the University of California.

A-G courses verify that students are college and career ready.  All public universities in California and most private colleges require students to take a specific pattern of coursework in order to be admitted as a freshman.  The California State Universities (CSU) and the University of California (UC) have slightly different variations of the A-G pattern required.  To see these go to:

Any high school, community college, or ROP program submits a syllabus for each of their college prep courses to the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) who reviews it to check for rigor.  The UCOP then annually publishes a list of the courses that each school offers that meet the requirements.  These are known as A-G lists.  To view these lists go to the following link: and type in the name of the school.  

Here is the list of all IEM A-G course syllabi as well as information on a-g online courses:

8.5.1 Additional Requirements for A-G Approved Courses

UC guidelines regarding a-g courses require students to take proctored exams or complete approved projects.  Additionally, one hour per week per a-g class of interaction with a qualified adult is required.  Options to complete this include: One Hour of Interactive Instruction:  

The UC requires one hour of interactive instruction which most often occurs with a tutor or Subject Matter Expert but there are other options available to meet this weekly requirement. Below are some common options used to fulfill this requirement:

  1. In person class participation

  2. Weekly tutorial

  3. Online learning

  4. Webwise weekly supplemental class

  5. ESi supplemental class

  6. Weekly discussion thread participation with the SME

  7. Weekly lab participation for science classes Webwise Tutoring:  

This year we are contracting with Webwise Tutors  to provide tutoring at no cost to the student.  Consult with your ES for more details.  You can sign up using the following form:

Instructions and Signup Survey for Webwise Tutors Lab Science Requirements

All laboratory sciences from the D category Laboratory sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) require labs to be done outside of the home.  Check the link below for authorized a-g lab vendors.

OG lab approved a-g vendors Proctored Exams:  

Exams must be proctored by a qualified school professional but may be proctored virtually.  See link for Instructions for Virtual Proctoring.

8.6 Community College Concurrent Enrollment

Our school encourages capable high school students to enroll in community college courses when it is deemed appropriate by the parent and the ES. In addition, University of California campuses may accept and enroll students from non-accredited high schools if they have a proven academic record from their local community college. Students desiring entrance to a UC should be sure to read about the university requirements found in the guidance section of the university’s website.

The parent is responsible for enrolling the student by contacting the college admissions office. The parent must identify their student as being currently enrolled in a public high school. Each community college is able to set its own standards for admittance, such as a minimum age, demonstrated ability, or professor approval. It is important for parents to start this process early to meet application and enrollment deadlines.  Students taking community college courses while concurrently enrolled in high school must be attempting at least 20 high school units.



Earned units and credits

HS Equivalent      credits

Total high school credits

High School

English 9A
Biology 1A

5 HS credits
5 HS credits
5 HS credits
5 HS credits

5 HS credits
5 HS credits
5 HS credits
5 HS credits


Community College


3 college units
3 college units

10 HS credits
10 HS credits


Total High School Units


Concurrent enrollment paperwork must be completed for high school students every semester/quarter. For our schools, this signature comes from the guidance office (see procedure for community college concurrent enrollment next.)  The parent must identify their student as being currently enrolled in a public high school. Each community college is able to set its own standards for admittance, such as a minimum age, demonstrated ability, or professor approval. Colleges may require placement testing and/or orientation sessions, so it is important for parents to start this process early to meet application and enrollment deadlines. ESs should become familiar with their local community colleges’ procedures and restrictions to better advise parents.  At the end of the course, the parent must have an official college transcript sent to the IEM office.

Typically, students may take up to 2 college courses. In the rare case of a student needing to take more than 6 college units, the ES will need to get advisor, guidance and director approval. This process begins through the concurrent enrollment survey (see procedure for community college concurrent enrollment next).

8.6.1 Procedure for Community College Concurrent Enrollment

  1. Parent prints out the college's concurrent enrollment form, (found at the college website under enrollment/admissions)  It is sometimes called Advanced Education.

  2. Parent fills out the form including desired classes and alternate choices.  Be sure to include required signatures of parent and/or student.

  3. Parent emails the form to guidance at These forms take a minimum of 1 week to be processed and are only processed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  4. Meet with your ES to discuss taking college course/s. Your ES will review the course information and will review and pre-approve the course selections. ES then completes concurrent enrollment survey.

  5. The guidance coordinator gives final approval, signs the form, and mails the college's form to the parent or the ES.

  6. It is the parent or student’s responsibility to forward the signed concurrent enrollment form to the College’s Admission and Records Office.

  7. Students still need to show all of their work to the ES to receive credit for the course.  Therefore, make copies of the work for your ES before turning it into the professor since some college professors do not return the work samples.  

  8. The grade given by the professor is the grade that is recorded for the student on the report card.  Please give your ES a copy of the final grade report card.

  9. Upon completion all of the course(s), the student must request an official transcript from the Community College to be sent directly to Student Records at IEM: 4535 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 1A, Placerville, CA 95667

8.6.2 General College Information

Most colleges accept a completed form that is scanned. In this case, please allow 1 week to complete the entire process. In some cases, colleges can require original documents. When this is the case, please allow at least 3 weeks for a completed process.

8.6.3 College Tuition

Charter schools cannot pay for community college tuition. For families who qualify financially, students can apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver at available at all California Community Colleges and online.

8.6.4 College Books

Instructional funds can be used to purchase college texts. College bookstores are treated the same as any other vendor.   Many of our community college bookstores are already vendors. If the college bookstore is not a vendor, the book may have to be ordered directly from the publisher.

8.7 7th and 8th Graders Taking High School Courses for Credit

Per Ed Code 51225.3: All students need to take the following while in grades 9-12

  • 3 years of English

  • 2 years of Math

  • 2 years of science, including biological and physical sciences

  • 1 year of World History

  • 1 year of US History

  • 1 semester of Government

  • 1 semester of Economics

  • 2 years of PE

  • 1 year of either:

    • VAPA: Visual Performing Arts

    • LOTE: Language Other Than English

    • CTE: Career Technical Education

Our 7th and 8th Graders are allowed to take high school courses from any category, but the credits will be listed as elective credit and will not count toward graduation requirements in the above categories. Those required categories can only be fulfilled when the student is in his/her 9th-12th grade years. Additionally, when seniors are short on credits, it’s almost always in the life skills electives. Middle school is great opportunity to work ahead in life skills and special interest electives. Please contact your guidance coordinator to discuss the options when you have a middle school student wanting to take high school courses.

Public California Universities (and most private and out of state)  will only acknowledge courses taken while in middle school in the following areas:

  • Math above algebra 1

  • Languages other than English

7th and 8th grade students cannot earn high school credit for Algebra 1, however it will allow them to skip taking it in high school and proceed directly to higher math classes. In these cases, students will be taking at least 2 math classes including geometry and an additional higher level math during high school.  Students will need to have a Subject Matter Expert for Algebra if the ES is not highly qualified. For middle school Algebra 1, list this course on the grade school report card and choose the appropriate ESEA oversight.

7th and 8th grade students cannot receive high school credits to be used when applying to California public universities.  However, in math and foreign language they may state that they took the class in middle school and therefore proceed straight into higher level coursework in high school.  It is this higher level coursework that universities are looking for, not middle school classes.  All a-g coursework requirements must be taken during the student’s high school years.  Universities want to see that a student is capable of completing all high school coursework in a total of 4 years.  See UCOP information on higher math for middle school students.

High school level courses must be seen by a high school level Highly Qualified Teacher in that subject area even when taken in middle school..  

What are other options for 7th/8th grade students?

When students are ready for more rigorous curriculum they can continue with their 7th and 8th grade courses by choosing more challenging curriculum choices. This will allow students the rigor they need to keep them challenged, but also keep them on the path for readiness with their high school courses and post high school plans.

What are the requirements for taking high school courses in 7th/8th grade?

  • 7th and 8th grade students must score on-level in iReady reading to be eligible to take high school level courses.

  • Students must score on-level in iReady math to take geometry or higher for high school credit.  

  • Students scoring above-level (one grade level or higher on iReady) may take up to three high school courses.

8.8 Transcript Requests

Transcript requests require a minimum two week turnaround time. Parents must fill out the Transcript Request Form which can be download from the school website at:

Fax or mail to the address on the form.

If the parent requests an unofficial or official transcript, the ES can also download the form and complete as follows:

  • Check requesting either official or unofficial

  • If checking official then make sure to list where the official transcript should be mailed

  • Parent signature required or, for students 18 or over they may request their own transcript

  • Transcripts only apply to high school courses

  • If requesting a copy of elementary report cards, please write which year(s) report cards you are requesting

If the student has left our school and attending another school the parent must initiate the request for an official transcript through the new school. Typically this is done by the parent filling out a release of records form at the new school NOT our school. This form is then faxed to our school and we will process it and send it to the new school.

8.9 Career Exploration

The school has several choices for career exploration. You can view your school’s vendor list as well as work with your Educational Specialist to find career exploration curriculum.

Students can work while going to school when meeting the state requirements for a work permit. They can receive work experience with this process and gain knowledge about future career possibilities. Your ES can help you get started with the work permit process. Please be aware that this process may take 7 days.

An excellent way to explore career options that match a student’s interests and skills at:

If you are interested in further career exploration with the assistance of a guidance coordinator, please email for an appointment.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

Another aspect of career exploration is for students to take Career Technical Education Courses.  There have been several changes at the state level that have to do with Career Technical Education (CTE):

Required Elective

CTE courses can now be used to complete the required elective that previously could only be met by Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and Visual Performing Arts (VAPA)

Funding and Structure Changes

CTE offerings were previously run by county offices of education through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP).  Through this, charter school students were included participants.  With the new shift, programs are run through school districts rather than county offices of education.  This allows school districts to deny enrollment of charter school students outside the district.  We are currently working with counties and districts to create memorandums of understanding to allow our students to participate in the programs under a fee agreement but this is a process and there are limited numbers of students who can participate in this way due to funding.  If your student is interested in a ROP or CTE course at a local district, contact your CTE Coordinator to see if this can be accomplished.

Online CTE Courses

To allow career technical education experiences for our students we have put together a list of Online CTE Courses.

Our Online CTE Courses

Brighton College

We have partnered with Brighton College to allow our students to take coursework leading to certification in a variety of areas.  Students can graduate from our high schools career ready and certified.  Click on the following link to see options from Brighton College:

Certifications with Brighton College

8.10 School Diplomas

Upon completion of school requirements for graduation, school diplomas will be mailed within 2 months following the graduation date. Diplomas will be mailed to the address we have on file, please be sure to always keep your mailing address current even after your student has graduated. You can update your address by contacting the IEM office at 800-979-4436 and speaking with the registrar. If a diploma is not received within 2 months following the graduation date, or if you need a replacement diploma please contact Heather Bolanat (800) 979-4436.

8.11 Driver’s Education

Instructional funds to pay for driver’s education and training at licensed drivers training programs in the State of California that are approved vendors. Consult with your ES in selecting an approved driver training school.  All driver’s education courses will be 5 units.

8.11.1 DMV Pink Slip (Certification of Completion)

Students must have a DMV Certificate of Completion to take the driving test and be issued a driving license or learner’s permit to drive. The approved driver training school, not SMCS, issues the pink slip.  For a list of approved driving schools, please see the list linked at:

8.12 Work Permits

There are two types of work permits; General Work Permits and Entertainment Industry Work Permits.

General Work Permits are required for students aged 14-18 seeking employment at industries such as fast food, restaurant, etc.

Entertainment Industry Work Permits are required for children of all ages who are employed in the entertainment industry.

All parent instructions for completing a work permit can be found on the school’s website at:

Please note:

  • All work permits take up to 7 workdays for the school to process and are available year round (Not applicable during school holidays). They are processed only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  • All forms must be filled out completely and correctly to be processed.

  • All work permits are contingent on ES approval.

8.13 Socio-Emotional Resources for Families of Teens

For more information on where to find socio-emotional resources, please see our website at:

8.14 Attention High School Athletes:

Like most Independent Study Schools, our charter school is not compliant with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requirements.  We are not an NCAA school at this time.  There are no courses available on our NCAA approved list.  We will update with changes as they occur.


9.1 Local School Assessments: 2016-2017

Local school assessments are given to all TK-11th grade students.

9.1.1 i-Ready

An adaptive Diagnostic for reading and mathematics for grades 1st through 11th, which provides beginning and mid-year progress data for our students. This assessment requires a pretest in the Fall and a mid-year test in early Spring. It pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level. Ongoing progress monitoring shows whether students are on track to achieve end-of-year targets.

9.1.2 Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Assessment (TK/K)

All Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students take this pre/post assessment.  Students will be assessed on their letter/sounds, word recognition, number sense, and math concepts.  This assessment takes approximately 15-30 minutes and can be easily hand scored by the ES.

9.1.3 End of Year Assessment

Our school charter requires a student assessment at the end of the school year. To fulfill this requirement, all students must take a yearly summative assessment per the Student Agreement. Our school has an internal End of Year assessment for this purpose. However, this assessment is waived when a student takes the state mandated assessments through CAASPP as this state test provides the necessary progress data. Any students in grades 3-8, and 11 who do not take the CAASPP tests will take the mandatory internal End of Year Assessment.  This test will be administered at the same time and location that the student is already scheduled to attend if he/she were taking the CAASPP test. The internal End of Year Assessment will be a computer-based, adaptive test based on the New California Standards and include ELA and Math for Grades 3-8 and 11.

9.2 State Mandated Assessments: 2016-2017

As a California Public Charter School, we are required to administer all State mandated assessments to our students each year. It is important that we fulfill these requirements as this data is used for a variety of purposes, including sponsoring district progress reports, charter renewals, and state AYP and API scoring. IEM charter schools are dedicated to preserving parents' rights while trying to work within the system mandated by the state.

Mandatory statewide assessments include the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), California English Language Development Test (CELDT), Physical Fitness Test (PFT), and the Early Assessment Program (EAP). The EAP is now integrated into and reported through the Smarter Balanced Assessments (CAASPP system), should the parent choose to participate.

9.2.1 CAASPP

All California Public Schools including California Public Charter Schools are required to administer the new statewide assessments also known as California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), and students are required to participate in them. They encompass the following assessments:  Smarter Balanced Assessments (grades 3 -8, and 11),  California Science Test (CAST) (grades 5, 8, and 10), and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for ELA, Math, and Science (Special Education students). The state sets the participation expectation for schools at a 95% participation rate and it is important for our school to maintain this minimum rate to avoid scrutiny as well as the potential of not generating an API and AYP report.

9.2.2 CELDT

Only students who indicate that they are "other than English," have "other than English" family members living in their home on their application, or have already been identified as EL at their previous schools, will be required to take the CELDT test within the first 30 calendar days of enrollment. This is a state and federally required test for all students who qualify under these conditions.

9.2.3 PFT

The Physical Fitness Test is given for students in 5th, 7th, and 9th grade. The following exercises are assessed:

  • one mile run/walk (if student cannot run total distance, walking is permitted)

  • height and weight documented confidentially

  • curl-up

  • trunk lift

  • push-up

  • shoulder stretch

9.2.4 California Alternate Assessment (CAA)

The summative California Alternate Assessments (CAAs) for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics are to be administered to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven whose individualized education program teams designate the use of an alternate assessment on statewide assessments and who have a cognitive disability that prevents him or her from taking the online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments. This population of students has, in previous years, been assigned to take the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) for ELA and mathematics. Students in grades five and eight who are assigned to take the CAAs will also take the CAA for Science.

9.2.5 California Science Test (CAST)

The CDE will be piloting the new California Science Test (CAST) this school year. This test replaces the CST Science tests. The California Science Test (CAST) is an online test based on the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). All students in grades 5, 8, and 10 will participate in the pilot CAST, with the exception of students eligible for the CAA (see section 9.2.7). The CAST pilot uses the current California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress test delivery system and will only be administered online. Students will not receive scores for the pilot test; however, student participation data will be collected and reported for accountability.

9.2.6 California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science

The CAA for Science tests are individually administered performance assessments for students with an individualized education program (IEP) in grades 5, 8, and 10 who have significant cognitive disabilities. Assignment of the CAA  is made in the student’s IEP only; a student’s Section 504 plan is not to be used to assign a student to take the CAA  (although accommodations may be named in the Section 504 plan or in the IEP).  The CAA for Science is computer-based and is embedded as a Performance Task in conjunction with an instructional activity.

9.2.7 California Alternate Performance Assessment in Science (CAPA)

The CAPA for Science tests have been replaced by the CAA for Science in 2016-2017. Please see 9.2.6 above.

9.2.8 EAP

The Early Assessment Program is an optional assessment for students in grade 11 to determine the student's readiness for college-level English and mathematics.  All 11th grade students answer questions in the English/Language Arts and the mathematics sections of the SBAC.  Students have the option to release their results to the CSU and/or a participating community college by indicating this within the test.  The separate written essay is no longer required due to the rigor of the SBAC. We encourage our 11th grade students who might attend a community college or a CSU or who are undecided on their college path to release their results. Proficient scores can be used to waive entrance exam requirements in English and/or Math.

9.2.9 CAHSEE

California has passed SB 172, which suspends the CAHSEE as a requirement for graduation for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years. Therefore, this assessment is currently no longer required.

For more information and resources, please also see the school’s Assessment webpage at:


When a student is performing below grade level or a learning problem is suspected, a Student Study Team (SST) meeting can take place with the parent, ES, SST administrator, and other appropriate personnel to problem solve learning issues and implement ways to intervene with appropriate instruction and curriculum.


All Innovative Education Management Charter Schools including Sky Mountain Charter School provide special education services for students who qualify based on federal and state eligibility guidelines. Our public charter schools meet all requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA).  

If you are not sure whether your student should be considered for formal evaluations to determine eligibility for Special Education, please contact your General Education teacher (ES). Your ES will then provide support by contacting the appropriate person within the Special Education Department.  

If you have any questions related to Special Education, please contact the Special Education Department at 619-698-KIDS (5437).


School policy can be found on the school website at:

4535 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 1A  Placerville, CA 95667
Phone 800-979-4436 
Fax 530-295-3583

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