Forest Charter School (FCS) is committed to nurturing the love of learning in all students through parental choice in education. By cultivating a staff of dedicated personnel, Forest Charter School pledges an ongoing and expansive environment of educational excellence. The cornerstone of FCS’ Personalized Learning Program is positive collaboration on the part of students, parents and professional educators. The ultimate mission of Forest Charter School is to honor the student's individual learning style through the selection and implementation of effective curriculum to prepare him/her for success in the 21st century.
THE SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY
Forest Charter School was founded in 2002 as a K-12 Personalized Learning Independent Study program. FCS currently serves 749 students & 306 of those are 9th -12th graders. Each supervising teacher (the teacher assigned to guide each student’s program) is assigned a caseload of 25 students. Personalized Learning is an approach to public education that honors and recognizes the unique gifts, skills, passions, and attributes of each child. Forest Charter’s program is dedicated to developing standards-based programs for each child through a blend of classroom, online, and home study courses. The intent is to engage each student in the learning process in the most productive and meaningful way to optimize each student's learning potential and success.
Forest Charter School is located in a rich historical area of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and serves students from four counties: Nevada, Placer, Yuba and Sierra.
Students must earn a minimum of 220 units to graduate. The course of study exceeds the minimum California high school graduation requirements. For students following the college prep program at Forest Charter School, the recommended course of study is as follows:
- Social Science: eight semesters (40 units) which will include American History, Geography, World History, American Government, and U.S. Economics plus one year Social Science elective
- English: eight semesters (40 units)
- Math: eight semesters (40 units) must have Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus are strongly recommended
- Science: four semesters (20 units) of lab-based science, one biological and one physical science
- Foreign Language: four semesters (20 units) of the same language.
- Visual and Performing Arts: two consecutive semesters (10 units) of the same art
- Academic Elective: a minimum of two semesters (10 units) in courses such as Creative Writing, Psychology, and Sociology
- Contemporary Skills: one semester (2.5 units)
- Health: one semester (5 units)
- P.E.: four semesters (20 units)
Part of the flexible nature of Forest Charter’s program allows students to choose to accelerate the rate at which they acquire units (e.g. they can earn up to 10 units per semester in one subject through independent study or Academic Enrichment at a community college).
Forest Charter School’s CAASPP scores for the 2018-19 school year increased by 9% in ELA and remained the same in math. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no scores are available for the 2019-20 school year because CAASPP testing was cancelled. In 2020-21, FCS used in house assessments, instead of CAASPP.
Forest Charter is accredited by WASC, and is a member of WACAC, CCSA and the APLUS+ Network (the association of Personalized Learning Services). Forest Charter is a 2005 California Distinguished School, Honorable Mention and a 2007 CCSA Certified School.
Forest Charter operates on a semester basis, using a standard 4.0 grading system. Grade point average is based on all courses taken from 9th – 12th grades: courses taken for pass/no pass credit are not computed in the grade point average. Classes taken as college prep courses are designated with a (P) after the course title.
Due to the personalized nature of each student’s course of study, Forest Charter does not rank students.
HONORS AND AP
Students can choose to take courses through independent study with their supervising teacher or they can participate in a hybrid model. Forest Charter currently offers the following AP classes: Biology, US History, English Literature and Composition, and Calculus AB. Students may also take dual enrollment courses through community colleges and receive weighted grades if the courses are transferable. Students enrolled in Honors or AP courses receive an extra grade point on their transcript through Igetc.list; it is designated on their transcript with an “H” or “AP” after the course title.
Forest Charter School does not offer a formalized sports program. Students, however, choose from a broad range of community-based sports activities such as Kuk Sool Won, mountain biking, swim teams, gymnastics, equestrian events, and skiing. In fact, several students each year train for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.
Forest Charter School has experienced steady growth since it opened in 2002. Between 2007-2009, growth leveled off, and since 2010, FCS has seen slow and steady growth in its enrollment.
A major issue impacting Forest Charter School, specific to the Nevada County area (which is categorized as rural), is that there is a very transient population. This fact coupled with the traditionally high mobility rates in charter schools leads to a high mobility rate at Forest Charter.
As a percent of the total population, SED students have increased to the extent that they are now a numerically significant population. This population has continued to increase over the past few years and fluctuates between 40-50%.
Forest Charter School transitioned to a full distance learning model in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. FCS continued with a traditional grading system as FCS’s roots are in independent study. Students were offered the opportunity to petition the Academic Dean for pass/no pass grades if they wished. For the 2020-2021 school year, FCS continues with full distance learning and used a traditional grading system. For the 2021-22 school year, FCS returned to it’s normal programming with students participating in a blended learning model.