Sunset Tree

About Mountain Oaks



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.


All the school sites share a central Board of Directors, while Calaveras (San Andreas),

Amador (Ione), and Tuolumne (Sonora and Sierra Village) have site Steering

Committees to address local needs and interests. The San Andreas, Ione and Sonora

sites have developed very similar programs following Independent Study Guidelines,

more so than the second Tuolumne Site. Sierra Village follows a more traditional seat-based model for 80% of the school week.


Mountain Oaks serves K-12 students in Calaveras and its contiguous counties (Alpine,

Amador, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Tuolumne). Mountain Oaks is nonsectarian and

nondiscriminatory by gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, national origin and

disability. Students who attend Mountain Oaks receive a broad education based on

personalized learning programs, subject-based workshops and classes, supplemental

learning projects, and distance learning via technology.



Mountain Oaks’ Student/Community Profile:


Mountain Oaks’ population represents a wide range of students from Calaveras and its

contiguous counties. The students reflect the Gold Country’s cultural diversity and

backgrounds. Mountain Oaks is an educational alternative for students of all academic

levels and skills, including students who struggle in a traditional school setting for

various reasons; such as the academically accelerated, at risk students, students with

safety concerns, those who are escaping “social drama” in traditional settings, those

who have alternative learning styles, or students in need of specialized learning

services (i.e.: special education, visual impairments, home hospital, etc.).


Mountain Oaks service area includes Calaveras county and the contiguous counties of

Alpine, Amador, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne. There are four 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 Ione (Amador County), as well

as Sonora and Sierra Village (both in 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. Ione is

approximately 40 minutes away from San Andreas, the Sonora site takes approximately

45 minutes, and the Sierra Village site is approximately 60 minutes away (weather

permitting). The road to Sierra Village is frequently closed in winter due to snow.

Each county has its own Steering Committee which is open to students, parents, and

staff. The Steering Committee responds to local school needs, advising the Mountain

Oaks administration and Board of Directors on local site issues. Each site has the ability

to fundraise specifically for itself through the Mountain Oaks School 501(c)(3) non-profit

entity. The local site’s Steering Committee recommends how their 501(c)(3) funds are

spent. The Steering Committees counsel Administration regarding workshop schedules

and overall school activities. 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 44,742, Amador’s population is 37,035 and Tuolumne is 54,008 as per

2012 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 90.8% white, Calaveras is 92.2% white and Amador is 90.4% white per 2010 census



The average median household income for the tri-county area is $51,350 as compared

to the statewide average of $58,925. The unemployment rate for the tri-county area

averaged 9.3% in August 2013, as compared to 8.7% for the state of California. The

current unemployment rate for Calaveras County is 9.9%, Amador is 9.4% and

Tuolumne is 8.7%.