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Willow Creek Academy
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Willow Creek Academy is a public school committed to developing students who are self-motivated and socially responsible life-long learners, applying academic learning to meaningful real-life activities and situations, providing opportunities that foster independent and creative thinking, respecting diversity and whole child development, and working with parents and the community to create a unique learning environment with high academic standards and expectations.
Founded by a group of dedicated parents and community members, Willow Creek Academy received its first Charter from the Sausalito Marin City School District in the spring of 2001 and opened its doors in September, 2001. The Charter was renewed for five years in 2004, and again in 2009.
The school founders wanted to create an atmosphere of choice within the District, and Willow Creek was created with a philosophy and belief that inquiry driven, project-oriented learning would provide District residents, as well as out of District families, opportunity to participate in their children's education. As a Charter School, Willow Creek welcomes families from anywhere in California and, while the majority of its students live in the Sausalito Marin City School District or other communities in Marin County, students have come from as far as Fairfield and Vallejo because parents found the school to be a good fit for their child.
Starting with 37 students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade in September 2001, Willow Creek grew through the next years to a population of 150 students by 2006-07 in grades kindergarten through eight. We now anticipate 250 children enrolled for the 2011-12 academic year. The first eighth grade class graduated in June, 2006. Our graduates are now having successful experiences in a variety of public, independent and parochial high school settings.
Several features distinguish the Willow Creek charter school experience from a traditional District experience:
- Parent involvement is a condition of enrollment. Families sign a contract guaranteeing to provide a minimum of 50 hours per school year in volunteer time to the School. This support can be manifest in a variety of ways from working in the classroom to driving on field trips to assisting at fund raising events.
- Willow Creek is the beneficiary of an extraordinarily diverse student body. There is no significant majority of any specific socio-economic group. As a result,students of a variety of backgrounds and beliefs learn to work together and support each other.
- As a relatively new school (2011-2012 is our eleventh year) and a small school, parents,students and staff have a strong voice in the direction the school will follow. Working with the Willow Creek Board of Directors (in addition to being a public school, Willow Creek is also a 501c(3) non profit organization), parents and staff, and sometimes students, are able to shape the school in the image that the community desires. Rarely does one have this opportunity in public education.
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