About Mountain Oaks - A Non-Classroom-Based Public Charter School



Mountain Oaks’ History:


Mountain Oaks opened its doors in the fall of 1994 as a program of Calaveras County Office of Education (CCOE) with a total of sixteen students. Three years later, Mountain Oaks was designated a school and assigned a California Department of Education number, while remaining under the umbrella of CCOE. Mountain Oaks was granted Charter School #527 in July of 2003. The student population increased steadily from 1994 through 2013, at which time it has stabilized at a population of approximately 450 K-12th grade students. Mountain Oaks has been fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since June 28, 2001, (preliminary accreditation January 15, 1998 for three years) and recognized by the University of California Board of Regents as having a-g compliant courses since 2004. Mountain Oaks accredited only its high school grades prior to this Self-Study. This year the school is seeking accreditation of the K-12th grades.


The school’s first site was a small, two-bedroom house in San Andreas. By the fall of 2000, interest in the school from families in Amador County prompted the opening of the first satellite site in Amador. A total of sixty Amador students were enrolled that first year. Spring 2001 brought with it the need for a second satellite site in Tuolumne County. The Mountain Oaks Parent Advisory Committee (PAC), the governing body of the school at that time, established guidelines for the operation of a satellite site. The guidelines allowed the satellites to integrate with the main site and overall organizational structure, while providing a measure of autonomy to respond to local site needs.

Subsequently, the Sonora site opened in spring 2001, with a total student population of thirty. Travel and distance (especially in the winter) throughout the foothill areas are key considerations in the development of satellite sites. Although students tend to frequent the site closest to their home, they are able to attend functions or workshops at any Mountain Oaks site.


Mountain Oaks’ Student/Community Profile:


Mountain Oaks service area includes Calaveras County and the contiguous counties of Alpine, Amador, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne. There are three school sites. The main campus is located in San Andreas (Calaveras County) which serves the bulk of the school’s students. Additional sites are located in Sutter Creek (Amador County), as well as Sonora (Tuolumne County). Although the school invites students to participate in activities offered at any site, distance, rural roads and seasonal weather generally preclude students from participating in activities at other than their “home” site. Travel times vary from the San Andreas site. Sutter Creek is approximately 30 minutes away from San Andreas, the Sonora site takes approximately 45 minutes. All the school sites share a central Board of Directors. Each site has the ability to fundraise specifically for itself through the Mountain Oaks School PTO 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. The local site’s representative on the PTO Committee recommends how their 501(c)(3) funds are spent. Each site is encouraged to develop and nurture their individual culture and identity.


The Central Sierra Foothill region is primarily rural, with small areas of unincorporated residential developments and small towns. Calaveras County has a population of approximately 45,292, Amador’s population is 40,474 and Tuolumne is 55,620 as per 2020 population data. The primary economic base is tourism and service industries. Currently, the three largest employers of Calaveras, Amador and Tuolumne counties are government, leisure/hospitality and retail trade. The tri-county area has minimal ethnic diversity by population with the dominant ethnicity being Caucasian. Tuolumne County is 89.8% white, Calaveras is 90.2% white and Amador is 89.1% white per 2020 census data.


As of July 1, 2022, the average median household income for Calaveras is $67,054, for Amador is $65,187 and for Tuolumne is $60,509 as compared to the statewide average of $67,739. As of July,2022, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state of California is 3.9%.  The Calaveras County unemployment rate is 3%, Amador is 3.7% and Tuolumne is 3.9%.