My name is Kyle Halldorson ,
I attended Golden Valley from 1999 to 2003. (3rd to 7th grade)
Golden Valley was extremely fun for being a kid. I Remember I started the first year they even operated as a school. Back then it was called Citrus Heights Charter School in 1999. The following year would be my fourth grade year, that was when it actually became “Golden Valley Charter School” in 2000. I guess that makes me a 1st year alumni. My first memorable moment was when I was in the 4th grade. We had been learning about native Americans and their culture in class. During that learning period we went on a over night field trip to a campsite, I think it was called “Indian Grinding Rock.” Upon arrival andafter unloading the cars , we were greeted by a couple who my teacher told us were real “life” Native American living people at our campsite. As an adult you would call these people “living off the grid” However they taught us some really useful skills. We learned how to build and start a camp fire with cat tails and sticks made from Manzanita I believe. Then they taught us how to make arrowheads and how to sharpen them with pieces of small deer antlers and obsidian rocks. I kept my arrow head and gave it to my dad for fathers day, he still has it. We also got to camp out for the night and sleep in an actual Native American TP. It was neat because we didn’t just read about and talk about our topics in a classroom. We went out to the real world and had real life experience on the topic we were learning about.
5. What Matters Most
In the summer of 2002, I drove up to a small, quiet church site in Orangevale. It would be my final interview and the first time to meet the students of the sixth grade class. I was unimpressed with the simple campus, but soon students and families began to arrive. As the meeting drew to an end, I genuinely felt as if I was among long-time friends and family, and I did not want to leave! At this time, Golden Valley was a school that only went up to sixth grade. Because of the strong support of our school leadership (Debi Lenny and our board), this class paved the path of creating a successful middle school program and became the first graduating class of 2005. I also had the pleasure of accompanying the class of 2006 to graduation.
These early years were not without hardship. We moved four times in the four years I served as a class teacher at Golden Valley, and one year we even moved campuses mid-year! As I reflect back on those ‘golden’ years, I can say that I wholeheartedly loved each moment spent with the students, who I still consider to be some of the most incredible people I have had the pleasure of knowing. The underlying mood was one of inner growth as human beings, and I found in the students a level of depth and understanding of one another that I have not readily encountered elsewhere. Through all of the many campus changes, I experienced that it is not WHERE you are that matters most, but WHO you are with.
GVCS Class Teacher (2002-2006)
6. A Journey from 1st -8th Grade
I went to Golden Valley Charter Schools from 1st grade through 8th grade. I graduated 8th grade in 2007, Golden Valley's first K-8th grade graduating class. GVCS was a warm, and wonderful place to go to school, and I am so lucky that I was able to experience the Waldorf curriculum at such a young age. Because of the Painting classes we had, I still paint all the time and I absolutely love it. The festivals were always tons of fun, of course, especially the Harvest Festival! 🖤During my time at Golden Valley, my imagination, and dreaming were always encouraged. I will forever be thankful for that, because I wouldn't be the person I am today without that kindess and love from my teachers and the friends I made there.
-Patti Melvold (Gainer)
7. From Bud to Blossom: The Cherry Blossom Story by Annie Bosque
Can you imagine being a parent of a kindergarten student and receiving a phone call from your teacher in January saying, “Your child has been chosen to be part of the Outdoor Adventure School!” Well, this happened and it happened in Orange Blossom Kindergarten just over ten years ago. I can honestly say that I was blessed to have been given the most challenging class of my teaching career a little more than a decade ago in the Orange Blossom Kindergarten. Of course, I didn’t feel that way then, but looking back, I am so grateful. Over the past ten years, I have been invited to speak at several conferences and teach workshops in hopes to inspire others to bring children back outdoors. It has been an honor to be a part of this movement to bring childhood back outdoors and help other teachers learn new ways to teach outside.
And now back to the original story...This is my tenth year teaching the Cherry Blossom Kindergarten and it all started out of a need to serve a class that had several unique challenges. My teaching partner and I at the time had tried so hard to meet the needs of this particular class and it seemed that nothing was working. It was in January when I didn’t think I could teach any longer and then I asked my partner if she wouldn’t mind if I took half the class outside and never came indoors. She enthusiastically agreed and that night I called twelve of the twenty four families and told them that the next day their child would need to come to school geared up for the weather and that we would be spending the entire morning outside. What has always stood out from this experience is the trust and support from the parents and community. Not one family questioned the process and not one family complained. There was total acceptance as well as enthusiasm. To make a long story short, we never came back indoors and a new way of teaching presented itself to me. During that year, I resigned from my position and I proposed to the BOT that we start a new outdoor kindergarten program. I was given the task of creating this program for Golden Valley and ten years later we are going strong. I wanted the program to be a combination of time spent working closely with parents and time spent in nature with children. I still pinch myself that I have the honor of being the Cherry Blossom teacher and my hope is to continue to do this for as long as I can carry my backpack or convince the school to purchase a mule for me to carry my things to the park and to the river.
Thank you Golden Valley for supporting me in my professional development and to the families that have been a part of my time here both in Orange Blossom Kindergarten and Cherry Blossom Kindergarten.