Parents are trying to continue to work — from home — and teach their children. In fact, school closures have been one of the most demanding issues related to the COVID-19 “new” way of life. However, Valley Oaks Charter School students are moving with relative ease into the school closures and completing the school year.

VOCS follows a model of credentialed teachers partnering with home school parents to educate their students. The physical school closed March 17 with every teacher handing out three weeks of curriculum to every student, and completely online classes began the following week. Assignments, direct instruction, class discussions, science labs, group projects, individual tutoring, and even Town Hall meetings with parents and staff to meet concerns and exchange ideas have all continued, online, as Gov. Gavin Newsom finally declared closures through the end of the school year.

We are extremely aware of the myriad issues facing families during this crisis like parents also working from home, multiple use of multiple devices, internet limitations, and upheaval of daily schedules, and we continue to partner with home schooling parents to meet their students’ needs. Principal Tom Karnes has solved the device issue by checking out laptops to students who need them, as well as using the mail for some families.

Our families have been uniquely prepared for not only the power outages that plagued us earlier in the school year, but also the COVID-19 outbreak. VOCS students are used to working with their parents and organizing their schedules while working at home.

Has there been a challenging technological learning curve? Absolutely! Has the shutdown stopped the education of our students? No way! We are alive and well for families who value the education of America’s future!

Valley Oaks Charter School is a public, parent choice and parent participation, tuition-free charter where parents, teachers and the community work together to educate one student at a time, while training and supporting the home-schooling parent. VOCS operates under the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, and the high school is WASC accredited. For more information about the 2020-21 school year and orientation appointments, write to vocs@valleyoakstehachapi.org.

Sue Page is the VOCS English teacher and advisor.