In 1992, the State of California passed the California's Charter School Act, which established public charter schools as an option for parents, students, teachers, and community members to design self-governing schools within the public school system to meet the needs of students in their community. Charter schools were envisioned to give parents more choices for their children's education and to provide flexible and innovative opportunities within the public school system as an alternative solution to a voucher system.
Under this Charter School Act, CORE was established in 1998 as a nonprofit corporation to manage and operate a California public charter school. Originally, CORE provided instruction for grades K-8. Grades 9-12 were added in the year 2000. All CORE schools have adopted the Personalized Learning model, which had its roots in the home school movement, where parents had privately tailored learning for their children according to the students' individual needs and preferences. Personalized Learning was a response to the concept that the family is the foundation of learning. CORE was created as a way to further support parent and individual student choice under a charter organization.
The charter for CORE was originally sponsored by the Camptonville Union Elementary School District, and known as The Camptonville Academy. The school's beginnings were modest with only a handful of students located in a singlewide trailer in Camptonville, a small town near Grass Valley. The school grew rapidly, due to the desire of so many students and their families to have a voice and a choice in their own education and an academically sound education. As the school grew, a central administrative center was created with regional "resource centers" in the various communities. CORE Paradise and the Marysville Resource Centers opened in 1999, with a resource center in Chico not far behind. CORE also opened a Colfax resource center. As enrollment in Butte and Placer counties exceeded the parent branch of the school, CORE was required to split into three schools: CORE @ The Camptonville Academy kept its original sponsorship with Camptonville School District and a center in Marysville; CORE Butte Charter School found sponsorship through Butte County Office of Education in 2007; CORE Placer Charter School was established in 2014, sponsored by Colfax Elementary School District, with a center in Colfax.
CORE Butte's Charter in Butte County has a staff with an excellent reputation for quality education with a personal format. We offer strong central support to families, adherence to state guidelines, and a range of materials, strategies and schedules. As well as offering the time-honored "kitchen table" mode of learning, enhanced with a rich supply of learning materials, we also provide resource centers with an enormous choice of classes, field trips, community and college courses, field studies, leadership opportunities and qualified educators to support families in schooling their children.
A+ Plus Consortium and the Recognition of Personalized Learning
Our parent school, CORE @ The Camptonville Academy, was one of the founding members of the A+ Plus Association for Personalized Schools & Services in September of 2002. CORE Butte Charter has continued its affiliation with the organization. This consortium, headed by Jeff Rice, lobbies in our State Capital and is largely responsible for educating legislators that our hybrid brand of homeschooling with site-based support is unique. This is a unique type of school, and it deserves a classification of its own, which A+ Plus has garnered for charters that follow this university model of education that effectively supports and supplements home study, tying the best of both worlds together in a strong and effective union. Thanks to the efforts of A+ Plus, Personalized Learning is recognized as a type of education distinct from homeschool or alternative charters that are completely site-based. A+ Plus now represents 40+ schools in California and serves more than 35,000 K-12 students.
Growth of CORE Butte Charter with Butte County of Education Sponsorship
CORE Butte Charter was approved as its own charter in 2007 with Butte County Office of Education (BCOE) as the authorizing agency. This has been an extremely positive and collaborative relationship. We offer support throughout Butte County for a Kindergarten through 12th grade education for appropriate families and students who want an individualized, unique approach. We started with a center in Paradise and one in Chico.
Because of the popularity of our Personalized Learning program, we found it necessary to continue our expansion. In the fall of 2012, the Board held a large town hall meeting and several follow-up public meetings, during which all stakeholders gave input on expanding the program to include an additional site. The expansion vision embraced the idea that developing a hybrid high school culture on one site, while supporting homeschooling families at another site, would be ideal. Following this input, the Board sought to preserve the "family feel" of a center for the younger students, and decided to dedicate our existing site to a high school program and to open a special second Chico center. With the approval of BCOE's material change to our charter, a new site was secured at 1600 Humboldt Ave, Chico in May of 2013. This site now serves as the Enrichment Center for the K-8 home study group. The small site in Paradise serves grades K-12 in that area, and the Cohasset Road site in Chico serves the high school program, CORE Butte High School (CBHS). The evolution of CORE's program has proven to be a viable alternative in the K-12 learning community in Butte County. This is reflected in our growth from 343 students in August 2007 to a current enrollment of over 750.
WASC Accreditation and New Programs
During the 2006-2007 school year, CORE Butte Charter School applied for a change to the WASC accreditation which had been authorized for our parent school, CORE @ The Camptonville Academy, allowing our new Charter approval under the parent umbrella for a three-year period. CORE Butte used this time to establish its own action plan for WASC, and in 2010 was accredited for a full six-year term. CORE will be applying for renewal in 2016.
Future Farmers of America Program (FFA) started at CORE Butte in May of 2011. The program began with 40 students, and now offers eight classes, encompassing 80 participating students. The students gain invaluable experience in the field of Agriculture while they build life-skills and confidence. Besides the recognition that our FFA students receive at our County Fair each year, the students have won an amazing array of awards for speaking and leadership at the Regional, Sectional and State levels.
CORE Butte's sports program is off the ground and still growing. In 2013-14 we began our High School Interscholastic Sports Program with Boys' and Girls' Basketball and Track. While we were not a part of a league, we were able to play some games and run in a few meets. In 2014-15 we became an official part of the Pioneer League - Mountain Division, where we play Girls' Varsity Volleyball and Softball, Girls' and Boys' Varsity Basketball and Track.
We have also developed and added advanced high school Math courses, a full Chemistry Lab, Journalism and Multimedia courses, an Associated Student Body (ASB), American Sign Language, English Intervention courses, English Language Development (ELD), A Title I program for both Math and English, a full cadre of a-g UC approved College Preparatory courses, and more. We constantly improve our course offerings. This year, the K-8 Enrichment Center added a Transitional Kindergarten and piloted special Mathematics and English support courses for grades 6-8.
We have always had hundreds of options available through vendors in the community and through Butte Community College. CORE makes it possible for individual students to participate in the options offered throughout the community by extending every CORE Butte student an allotment to pay for the courses (student Educational Units, or EUs).
CORE Butte Charter Goals and Commitments
We will always be committed to supporting a strong academic "trunk" with its roots in the family, with social development and college/vocational preparation as its natural outgrowth. As a Personalized Learning school, we expect to be at the forefront of education reform, offering a viable alternative to mainstream schools and acknowledging the unique gifts and learning styles of each individual.