Educational Institutions

WILLOW CREEK ACADEMY

  • Sausalito, CA
  • www.willowcreekacademy.org

Mission Statement

Willow Creek Academy is an independent charter school serving kindergarten through eighth grade students who demonstrate the ability and promise of succeeding in a challenging educational community. The school embraces, celebrates, and welcomes a diverse school community. Willow Creek is committed to:

1. Developing students who are self-motivated, competent, self-disciplined, and socially responsible lifelong learners.

2. Partnership staff, students, parents, and community to create a unique, challenging, and individualized learning environment with high academic standards and expectations.

3. Applying academic learning to meaningful real-life activities and situations through project-oriented programs.

4. Providing advanced opportunities in science, technology, environmental education, and arts programs that foster independent, critical, collaborative, reflective, and creative thinking.

5. Respecting diversity and whole child development-cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

Main Programs

  1. General Curriculum
  2. Art
  3. Music
  4. Culinary Farm
  5. Physical Education
  6. World Languages
  7. After School Programs
  8. Science
  9. Environment and Ecology
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

Sausalito and Marin City, California as well as surrounding communities as space is available. As a California public charter school, Willow Creek Academy welcomes applications from any student who resides in California. Since space is limited, in-district applicants receive priority and additional slots will be filled with out-of-district applicants per a lottery system.

ruling year

2001

President, Board of Directors since 2016

Self-reported

Jeff Knowles

Keywords

Self-reported

Academic Excellence, Personal Worth and Leadership, Diversity, Life-long Independent Learning, Environment and Ecology, Art and Music, Physical Education, Garden and Nutrition, Languages, Technology

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EIN

68-0460670

 Number

2069720280

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) is a three-year plan with goals that focus specifically on engagement and achievement for low-income students and English Learners (ELs), per California Department of Education guidelines. Resources need to be reallocated to support the entire organization, with classrooms at the center. Strategic investing up front sets us up to be successful (Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions = an ounce of prevention = the key to doing more with less).

In accordance with California Department of Education guidance, our LCAP Goals focus on these areas:

1. Basic services
2. Implementation of standards
3. Family engagement
4. Achievement
5. Student engagement
6. School climate
7. Access to courses
8. Other student outcomes
9. Other local priorities

In accordance with our Strategic Plan, we have incorporated these priorities into our LCAP and budget:

1. Increase student achievement
2. Ensure high school readiness
3. Hire, train and retain best staff
4. Optimize parent engagement
5. Develop an inclusive school community
6. Align resources to needs
7. Ensure financial stability




Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

General Curriculum

Willow Creek offers a rigorous and challenging academic program, emphasizing developmentally appropriate, inquiry driven, project oriented instruction. The academic program is organized to encourage the development of higher order thinking skills. The curriculum integrates the “core” disciplines of language arts, mathematics, humanities and science through environmental studies and the arts. At the center of all instruction at Willow Creek, is concern for the student and his or her developmental readiness for what is to be learned.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

Program 2

Art

In the 2009-10 school year, Willow Creek was selected by the Marin Community Foundation to be one of two school Districts in Marin County to participate in a five-year program to help teachers learn how to better integrate the arts into the core curriculum. Our teachers have learned more about the arts and techniques for integrating student work with other studies, and our students have benefited from having an intensive weekly lesson with an accomplished teaching artist. They take their art and apply it to writing journals, self-portraits, designing complex patterns and exploring proportion, and then showcase their talents to the community in our annual "Art Walk."

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$83,000

Program 3

Music

Willow Creek's Music teacher is the ever-enthusiastic Emilie Rohrbach. Emilie is a certified Orff Schulwerk music and movement teacher and has had extensive training with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's director training program. Before coming to Willow Creek, Emilie spent four years teaching music and movement at Ring Mountain Day School, then nine years teaching at Children's Day School in San Francisco where she founded the lower school music program and the middle school theater department. Emilie teaches piano, voice, flute, and guitar and also works as a freelance writer.

Long used in Europe, an Orff approach was selected for introducing students to all aspects of music: singing, rhythm, movement, literacy all are supported by this approach. Students are able to experiment with a variety of instruments (percussion, recorders, guitars, keyboards) and are ending the year with a major performance which includes all grade levels.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$85,000

Program 4

Culinary Farm

Mission: To create an engaging, systematic and sustainable experiential learning program for all WCA students in the fields of nutrition, cooking and gardening that deepens academic understanding of Common Core knowledge and nurtures a lifelong holistic connection to the natural world.

Who We Are: The Culinary Farm team is a small but resourceful group of passionate and experienced students, teachers, parents, and community leaders that work collaboratively to leverage WCA’s outdoor campus and kitchen to build experiential learning environments in the fields of nutrition, cooking and gardening for K-8 students while nourishing all students with healthy food grown in harmony with our Planet.

Category

Food, Agriculture & Nutrition

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$35,000

Program 5

Physical Education

Struggling with baseball bats, yoga mats and a few basketballs, Coach Dave sets out materials for the next several hours of physical education classes. David Singleton has been our Physical Education teacher for over five years. This talented teacher/coach works with kindergarten through eighth grade classes and puts them through their paces. He easily moves among the classes, recognizing hard work, congratulating the student who successfully reached a goal and encouraging a reluctant runner.

Generally, a class might start with some laps around the field to warm up muscles and then some stretching to protect growing ligaments and tendons. In a kindergarten class, you might see the yoga mats come out and students practice “cat’, “cow,” “down dog” and other classic poses. With fifth grade, you might observe a class preparing for the state mandated testing-yes, even in Physical Education we have performance standards-how many sit ups can be completed in 5 minutes, how quickly can one run a mile, how many push-ups can you perform in 10 minutes? These facts and figures are recorded for each student and sent off to the state department of education.

However, these measurements are not the heart of physical education as we see it: here at Willow Creek it is all about fun, skills-building, learning to take turns, picking teams, helping the kid who tripped over his shoelaces and figuring out how to spend an extra 5 minutes on the basketball court.

Category

Recreation & Sports

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

Program 6

World Languages

Currently there is a Spanish language program in place for grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Given appropriate funding, the program will gradually grow to include all grades.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

Program 7

After School Programs

Willow Creek Academy offers on-campus after care daily for students at all grade levels through our new after-school program, Willow Creek After-School Explorers. Willow Creek After-School Explorers is a comprehensive and diverse program which offers outlets to grow and expand in numerous ways. The theme of “exploring the world” encourages members to participate through the lens of self-discovery, as well as to collectively explore new projects, ideas, cultures and activities with their peers. Explorers includes components of academic achievement, sports and outside play, art, culture, science enrichment, and developmental-asset building.

Each grade has dedicated time at the beginning of After-School to complete homework or have quiet reading time. Explorers also has a tutoring group which meets twice a week. All students are welcome to drop in and get assistance in areas of need. Explorers staff communicate with school-day teachers and are informed of homework assignments and current curriculum, to further assist
Explorers.

As part of the Explorers program, students are able to participate in various offered enrichment classes, taught by our Explorer staff. Some examples of these enrichments include:
• Organized Sports- Explorers have the opportunity to play outside with Willow Creek’s own Physical Education teachers. Students get their energy out by participating in organized games of soccer, basketball, capture the flag, or inventive new games!
• Reptiles - A hands-on class all about slithery reptiles! Students handle and learn to care for snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles, tarantulas and more. Explorers of all ages come away with an appreciation for scaly creatures!
• Gardening-Explorers get their hands dirty working in several gardens throughout Willow Creek’s campus, learning how to properly plant, care for and harvest a thriving garden.
• Art-Every week students get to experience a new medium of art, work on continuing projects and express themselves creatively. Our Art Enrichment Specialists offers painting, drawing, beading, muraling and clay work-something for everyone!
• Language and Culture: Explorers get the chance to broaden their cultural horizons by immersing themselves in fun and exciting culture lessons. French and Spanish lessons are offered periodically, as well as learning about film, food and music from around the world.

After School Enrichment Program (ASEP) is a tradition at WCA and will continue to be offered as a part of the comprehensive After-School Explorers Program. ASEP classes will offer a diversity of unique enrichment opportunities to Explorers participants for an additional fee.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$170,000

Program 8

Science

Not available

Category

Science & Technology

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

Program 9

Environment and Ecology

Willow Creek weaves environmental education throughout its curriculum thus providing a framework for interdisciplinary, student-centered, hands-on engaged learning. Through studying the local ecology, students become stewards of both their human made and natural environments.

Category

Environment

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Goal #1: Our suspension rate for low-income students will drop and maintain at .5, per U.S. Department of Education guideline.

    Goal #2: 95% of ELs continuously enrolled at WCA will advance by at least one CELDT level each year. Our reclassification rate will meet or exceed the state target of .22.

    Goal #3: 55% of low-income students in grades 3-8 and 40% of English Learners (ELs) in grades 3-8 will score at the proficient or advanced level in Math on the CAASPP. 65% of low-income students in grades 1-2 and 60% of ELs in grades 1-2 will score at in the average, high-average, or high achievement bands on MAP.

    Goal #4: 55% of low-income students in grades 3-8 and 40% of English Learners (ELs) in grades 3-8 will score at the proficient or advanced level in ELA on the CAASPP. 55% of low-income students in grades 1-2 and 50% of English Learners in grades 1-2 will score in the average, high-average, or high achievement bands in Reading on MAP.

    Goal #5: All students will participate in designated Music, Art, and PE courses. All students will participate in field trips aligned to Willow Creek's scope and sequence. All students will have access to garden and nutrition program, including high-quality school lunches. Middle school students will participate in Spanish classes.

    Goal #6: High-quality instruction will be supported by efficient maintenance, custodial, scheduling, and administrative resources.


  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Goal #1:
    Responsive classroom and restorative practices.
    Partnerships with families and community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide free services on campus.
    Counseling with BACR (individual and small group).
    Tier one and two intervention from Student Support Specialists (SSSs) under guidance of Assistant Head of School.
    Student Study Teams (SSTs) to address root causes of misconduct.
    Structuring classes and schedules to prevent misconduct.
    Administration encourages local Responsive Classroom PD for new teachers.
    Student Support Specialists provide early intervention and partner with families to channel resources strategically.
    Assistant Head of School coordinates socio-emotional learning and discipline systems, trains Student Support Specialists as “restorative justice deputies."

    Goal #2:
    Robust ELD instruction integrated across the curriculum in class.
    Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) training.
    Closely monitoring our EL students' progress on state and local assessments.
    Designated ELD instruction with specialists, focus in K-2 (required by law).
    Standards-based curriculum aligned to ELD standards.
    Teachers attend GLAD training offered by MCOE Title III Consortium and return to share strategies with colleagues (train-the-trainer model).
    Lead Teachers support data analysis and cycles of inquiry in grade-level families.
    Literacy Specialist provides coaching and feedback on integrated ELD.
    Primary Intervention Specialist conducts CELDT testing, provides designated ELD, and case manages ELs.

    Goals #3 and 4:
    Math and Literary Specialists provides site-based coaching and PD on standards-based curriculum.
    Literary Specialist trains Assistant Teachers as “literacy deputies."
    Leverage technology resources for differentiation.
    Lead Teachers support formative assessment (qualitative and quantitative data analysis).
    Teachers use common planning time to review data, student work samples, peer observations in cycle of inquiry.
    Leverage technology resources for differentiation.
    Readers and Writers Workshop leadership group.
    Lead Teachers support formative assessment (qualitative and quantitative data analysis).
    Teachers use common planning time to review data, student work samples, peer observations in cycle of inquiry.
    Primary Intervention Specialist will identify and case manage K-2 students needing support.

    Goal #5:
    Current Art, Music, and PE classes.
    Spanish classes in grades 6-8 (strategic scheduling allows Spanish classes to have a permanent home in the Library).
    Classroom budgets for fieldtrips, assemblies, and guest speakers.
    Garden and nutrition classes in grades K-6 though Sage Garden grant.
    Our current school lunch program (with a few new efficiencies).

    Goal #6:
    Current maintenance, custodial, and administrative staff (includes receptionist, data assistant, and part-time business assistant).


  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Our organizational structure, robust goals, and well formulated strategy make us uniquely capable of achieving our stated goals while operating with the resources that we have at hand.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Goal #1:
    Our suspension rate for low income students will drop and maintain at .5.

    Goal #2:
    95% of ELs continuously enrolled at WCA will advance by at least one CELDT level each year. Our reclassification rate will meet or exceed the state target of .22.

    Goal #3:
    55% of low-income students in grades 3-8 and 40% of ELs in grades 3-8 will score at the proficient or advanced level in Math on the CAASPP. 65% of low-income students in grades 1-2 and 60% of ELs in grades 1-2 will score at in the average, high-average, or high achievement bands on MAP.

    Goal #4:
    55% of low-income students in grades 3-8 and 40% of English Learners in grades 3-8 will score at the proficient or advanced level in ELA on the CAASPP. 55% of low-income students in grades 1-2 and 50% of English Learners in grades 1-2 will score in the average, high-average, or high achievement bands in Reading on MAP.

    Goal #5:
    All students will continue to participate in designated Music, Art, and PE courses. All students will participate in field trips aligned to Willow Creek's scope and sequence. All students will have access to garden and nutrition program, including high-quality school lunches. Middle school students will participate in Spanish classes.

    Goal #6:
    As our school has grown from 252 students in 2011-12 to 398 students in 2016-17, we have needed to add resources to support school operations. With many resources in place, our goal now is to leverage them as efficiently as possible as we grow to our projected enrollment of 420. Family survey data indicate facilities are an area of need. Teacher survey data indicate sharing space has become challenging as the school has grown.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Goal #1:
    In 2014-15, our suspension rate for low-income students was .5.
    In 2015-16, our suspension rate for low-income students was .8.
    We will need to lower this back to .5 and maintain it there moving forward.

    Goal #2:
    In 2015-16, 82% of ELs progressed at least one CELDT level. Our reclassification rate in 2015-16 was .19. We will need to increase this up to our goal of 95% of ELs advancing by at least one CELDT level each year.

    Goal #3:
    27% of low-income students in grades 3-8 and 22% of ELs in grades 3-8 scored at the proficient or advanced level in Math on the 2015 CAASPP.
    46% of low-income students in grades 1-2 and 50% of ELs in grades 1-2 scored in the average, high-average, or high achievement bands in Math on the Spring, 2016 MAP administration.
    We will need to continue working to increase these levels to our goal percentages and ensure that we maintain this over time.

    Goal #4:
    31% of socioeconomically disadvantaged students in grades 3-8 and 18% of English Learners in grades 3-8 scored at the proficient or advanced level in ELA on the 2015 CAASPP.
    40% of socioeconomically disadvantaged students in grades 1-2 and 33% of English Learners in grades 1-2 scored average, high-average, or high achievement bands in Reading on the Spring, 2016 MAP administration.
    We will need to continue working to increase these levels to our goal percentages and ensure that we maintain this over time.

    Goals #5 and 6:
    We are meeting these goals but will need to remain vigilant about the important of these topical areas to the well-being of our school and student body.
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

Sausalito and Marin City, California as well as surrounding communities as space is available. As a California public charter school, Willow Creek Academy welcomes applications from any student who resides in California. Since space is limited, in-district applicants receive priority and additional slots will be filled with out-of-district applicants per a lottery system.

Social Media

Funding Needs

Willow Creek Academy would be able offer additional and enhanced program offerings in the areas of science, music, arts, after school programs, culinary farm, and technology if it were to have access to additional funding. These offerings would be made available to all students and could be particularly beneficial to less advantaged students, especially in the area of after school programs and associated enrichment activities.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

WILLOW CREEK ACADEMY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

WILLOW CREEK ACADEMY

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

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President, Board of Directors

Jeff Knowles

BIO

Jeff is a parent of two children and has been a Sausalito resident since 1995. He joined the Willow Creek Board in 2010. He is a Managing Partner and intellectual property litigator at Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, a San Francisco law firm. Prior to joining the Coblentz firm, Jeff was a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Jeff received his bachelor's degree from UCLA and his J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Jeff Knowles

President, Board of Directors

Term: Jan 2010 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?