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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 1st, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 22 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 22

Trivium Charter School to offer additional on-campus day this fall

By Kasey Bubnash

Incoming Trivium Charter School students will have an extra day on campus to attend various previously unoffered elective and academic support classes starting this fall. 

Flex Days will be offered every Wednesday at Trivium's Lompoc and Santa Barbara locations this school year, according to Executive Director Trisha Vais, who said the additional day on campus will give students the opportunity to get extra help and sign up for different classes. 

Trivium, which has learning centers in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Arroyo Grande, and Atascadero, is a K-12 public charter school system that allows families to blend homeschooling practices with classroom experiences. 

Several subjects, including math, spelling, and reading comprehension, are taught at home at an individual pace, Vais said, while subjects like history, science, and music are taught by instructors at Trivium's learning centers twice a week. 

While Trivium's typical on-campus days are mandatory, Flex Days will be optional, and students and their parents will be able to enroll in whichever subjects they choose. Vais said the Lompoc and Santa Barbara learning centers will each offer art-focused courses, including drama, photography, and music one semester, then Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses the next. 

Career Technical Education classes and academic support classes will also be offered, Vais said. 

Trivium Charter School, which opened in 2011, offers a flexible approach to K-12 education, free of tuition. Trivium students are homeschooled, spend about two days a week on campus, and often learn through independent studies.

The idea for Flex Days, "flex" as in "flexible," came from a recent parent survey in which several Trivium parents asked for extra support in select subjects, and many other parents requested a wider range of elective classes. 

While Vais said a majority of Trivium's parents consider themselves avid homeschoolers, others chose the charter school purely for its flexibility. Parents with unusual schedules–nurses, firefighters, or police officers who would otherwise rarely see their kids–often opt for Trivium. 

But homeschooling can be challenging for any parent, especially those with demanding jobs, and Vais said an optional on-campus day could really help relieve some parents' schedules, while also offering new opportunities for all Trivium families.

"This is our way of hitting both people who really love homeschooling, and those who had to homeschool because other things didn't work out," Vais said. 

The customizable nature of Flex Days should fit with Trivium's overall teaching model, Vais said, which allows students to enroll in classes and develop unique "learning plans" based on their varying strengths and weaknesses.  

A student who excels in math and struggles with English can enroll in more challenging, higher-level math classes while taking lower-level literature courses, Vais said. Meanwhile, another student in the same grade could take an entirely different set of courses. 

"Lots of kids are uneven learners," Vais said. "So we really focus on personalizing that plan for each student." 

Flex Days will be no different, and Vais said that if the program is successful in Lompoc and Santa Barbara, it will be implemented in all of Trivium's locations. 

Roughly 780 students are registered to attend Trivium schools this fall, Vais said, and first day of school is Aug. 21. 

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