Alternative Family Education

Supporting Families for Over 25 Years

Alternative Family Education (AFE) is an independent home study school provided for kindergarten through twelfth grade students and families who prefer an individualized approach to education, combined with the support of school district resources. See the About AFE page for more information. AFE is part of the Santa Cruz City Schools district.

Resource Center Phone & Hours: (831) 429-3898 / Monday–Thursday, 10:00–3:00.

Current Announcements

Be sure to check our School Calendar for all upcoming classes and events.

Please attend the Theater Parent Meeting, September 19, 1pm! 

9/13-10/20 Drive for Schools

Fall Campout

Hi all campers,

I'm so looking forward to this camping trip! My favorite AFE event, right up there with Follywood, Talent Sharing, the JSA Halloween and spring parties, and community nights!
TO SIGN UP: Please sign up in the RC, if you have not done so yet. The sign-up sheet is in the RC, stuck to an envelope on the office desk nearest the window. Camp Loma charges each person $11 per night. Please leave a check made out to "AFE Parent Club", or pay once we're there. (Family discounts; and if this is an issue for you please speak to Nancy 429-3898 x334 or email her Feel free to come up for the day on Saturday (no charge). I will copy and fill in all the field trip forms, once we have them here.

TIME: We can arrive beginning at 3:30 on Friday and must leave by 12 on Sunday. You're welcome to come any time of those days.

• Sleeping/Bathrooms: There are 2 redwood groves to set up your tents, one near the common house and one across the road (quieter), both with their own bathrooms.
• Cooking: The industrial-size kitchen is equipped with a walk-in cooler where you can even store your whole cooler, or put things on shelves. There are plenty of pots, pans, dinnerware, silverware. Cooking and baking can happen on 16 burners, 4 ovens, and a large griddle.
• Dining and entertainment: There's a huge, roofed dining hall with open sides (and electric lights), where people gather at all hours to play games and music, and a fire pit.
• Sports: There's a volleyball net, a ping pong table, a large grassy area, a creek, and hiking opportunities nearby. We can swim in the cool pool on Saturday afternoon, because Yelena Bruder will be our life guard!

Here's the camp's website with some information and photos. Directions (link to a Google map and address) are at the bottom of the home page:
Camp Loma is located at 29650 Highland Way, which is a continuation of Summit Road off HWY 17. You can also come up Soquel San Jose Rd from Soquel, or Freedom Blvd/Corralitos Rd and Eureka Canyon Rd from further south. The trip takes about 40 minutes from Santa Cruz.
There's no cell phone reception up at the camp. There's a phone in the kitchen for emergencies; the number is 831-724-8355.

• Tents and sleeping gear.
• Layers of clothing. If you are sensitive to cold, bring a jacket, hat, scarf, (fingerless) mittens. It can get pretty cold at night. Weather report says 60 at night and 65-70 during the day, no rain, so very pleasant!
• Flashlights! It will be dark, and it's a little way to go to the bathroom in the night, or from the common area (which is electrically lit) to your tents after an evening of gaming and talking.
• Food for the evening potlucks, and food for your family during the day. The water is good to drink. Some baked desserts are also great! And if you send your child with a responsible adult, please make sure they bring plenty of food!
• Kitchen stuff: Most everything is there, but remember to bring large mugs for yourselves! They only have small cups. And some towels, rags, and potholders are great. Also spices, salt, oils.
• Sports equipment: Bring volleyballs and ping-pong paddles and balls. Frisbees. Bathing suits!
• Games you like! I'll bring many from the AFE Games Group. Sturdy table cloths to cover the tables for playing are also a good idea. As you can see on the photo of the dining hall on the website, they have slits between the plastic slats.
• Musical instruments and sheet music/music books.
• Ghost or other stories for gatherings around the campfire, and makings for Smores.
• Friendly dogs are okay at camp. They usually have a great time!

CLEANUP: Please remind your children & teens (more than once, preferably) to clean up their dishes after they have finished eating. There will be a dish cleaning station set up near the pool table.
On Sunday morning after breakfast, the big cleanup happens. There will be boards to sign up for cleanup chores.

Congratulations to AFE for achieving Scholar School status!

The Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) and the Educational Results Partnership (ERP) has announced that AFE has been selected at an Honor Roll "Scholar School".

Scholar Schools are schools that are showing significant levels of academic achievement, but do not have a significant socio-economically disadvantaged student population.

“We are so proud to be recognized by leaders in the California business community for our schools,” said Superintendent Kris Munro. “Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly to keep the focus on high expectations and student academic achievement and to continuously improve our practices. This hard work and dedication is paying off for all of our students, no matter their background.”

Science Fair Success!

AFE Takes Top Prize at 2017 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair, sweeping awards for each AFE participant!

For the second year in a row, AFE’s student scientists swept the Santa Cruz County Science Fair Awards at the ceremony on 3/20/17. Competing against 336 projects from around the county, each of the 5 AFE projects were recognized with an award, including the top prize, Best of Show! Hands-on projects and diving deep into content are hallmarks of homeschooling: congrats to all of our student scientists and engineers!

AFE students Max Freedman and Jackson Damhorst won Best Overall Senior Project for: Effects of Varroa Mite Treatments on Bee Memory.  Their best of show win means they’ll compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles in May, as well as the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles in April. They were awarded First Place/Senior/Animal Sciences and special awards as well. Last year, Freedman won a first place, senior award, for his project "Bang For your Buck: Engineering a Hydrogen Fuel Cell with Common Materials."

AFE student Benjamin Kolland won First Place/Senior/Physics for his project: Drag-n-Fly: Optimization of Drag Coefficient Calculations from Rocket Altimeter Data. He was also awarded 2 special awards. Last year, Kolland won Best of Show in the 2016 AFE winner sweep, as well as a first place, senior award, for "Project ARROW: Autonomous Rocket Return On Wings.” He will also compete at the California State Science Fair in April.

AFE student Scout Bauman’s project "Do Plants and Music Mix?" won Second Place/Junior/Plant Sciences.

AFE student Jonah Bell’s project "AM/PM Guinea Pigs" won Second Place/Junior/Animal Sciences.

AFE student Kumalo Alm’s project "Make It Loud: How Distance Effects Volume" won Project of Merit/Junior/Physics

AFE mom Patty Freedman led google hangout sessions for setting up and working through a science fair project - big thanks to her for helping all those who participated in the AFE Science Fair and County Fair.

AFE Families: Please subscribe to AFE's Newsletter mailing list
 — Sign up to receive our newsletter via email by filling out the form on our Newsletter page.

• Student Resource Directory — For the first time, Santa Cruz County youth and parents looking for support have a user-friendly online directory of local resources such as nutrition, mentoring and health.

• BSSC has become an affiliate site for Bookshop Santa Cruz. Anything purchased through this BSSC Affiliate link will be credited toward the purchase of new books for our library.

Official Dates & Holidays for 2017-18

August 23 — First Day of School
September  4 — Labor Day Holiday
November 10— Veteran's Day Holiday
November 22–24 — Thanksgiving Holiday Break
December 22–January 5 — Winter Holiday Break
January 15 — Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
January 19 — Staff Development Day (RC Closed)
February 16 — Lincoln's Birthday Holiday
February 19— President's Day Holiday
April 2–6 — Spring Break Holiday
May 28 — Memorial Day Holiday
June 7 — Last Student Day

Copyright 2015 Branciforte Small Schools Campus