Monarch Community School is an alternative K–5 elementary school that has served the Santa Cruz, California community for over thirty years.
Monarch students are expressive communicators and creative problem solvers who are willing to take risks. They take on leadership roles and have a voice in the school. They are competent and confident learners, both individually and in groups. Monarch students use their minds well: they find evidence, see from multiple viewpoints, discover connections, make suppositions, and determine relevance (Habits of Mind). They display personal best effort and are kind and helpful. They demonstrate listening skills and the ability to follow directions. Students develop a strong social consciousness that manifests in real social action. Monarch parents are involved in shared governance through active membership in Site Council and the Monarch Community School Parent Board. They are fundraisers. They are actively involved in school wide jobs. They are committed to clear communication with each other, the staff, and the students. Monarch parents are partners in supporting the educational mission of the school.
Students learn a foundation of skills and knowledge that will serve them well in life and in their academic careers. The Monarch "Bill of Rights" is the guide post for eliciting safe, pro-social behavior. All students are known well by many adults, including parents who volunteer in the classroom. The small size of the school, as well as parental and campus-wide involvement, help to create good spirit and a sense of community. Students are usually grouped according to their learning needs, not their grade level or age. Students take responsibility for their learning and the learning of their fellow students by creating and evaluating learning goals, developing excellent Habits of Mind, creating culminating projects, exercising choices at multiple points in the curriculum, and initiating real-world actions, including community service. Curriculum and instructional strategies are planned collaboratively and adapted to the learning styles and developmental stages of the students.
Learning, Inquiry, Independent Thinking, Unique Expression, Leadership, Effort, Community, Collaboration, Safety, Kindness, Happiness — Fun and Play, Compassion, Friendship, Sharing, Responsibility — Respect, Integrity, Empathy, Choice, Activism
MONARCH BILL OF RIGHTS
All scholars have a right:
HABITS OF MIND / QUESTIONS TO ASK
Evidence — How do we know what we know? What's the evidence? Is it credible?
Viewpoint — Who is talking? Where is he/she standing? What are his/her intentions?
Connection — How does it fit in? Where have we heard or seen this before? How are things connected to each other?
Supposition — What if...? Supposing that? Can we imagine an alternative?
Relevance — Who cares? What difference does it make? Why does it matter?