About Mountain Oaks
MOUNTAIN OAKS PROFILE
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%.