Ukiah Unified Board of Education Approves Hopland Charter School Petition

The following is press release issued by the Ukiah Unified School District:

The future site of the Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy Charter School

The Ukiah Unified Board of Trustees is pleased to announce approval of the petition for the Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy Charter School. Trustees convened in a special meeting on January 20, 2021, accepting the Ukiah Unified Administration’s recommendation for the petition’s approval to form the Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy to serve students in Transitional Kindergarten through grade 6 and deny the petition to serve students in grades 7 and 8. The approval is contingent upon a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ukiah Unified by May 13, 2021, and proof of a facilities agreement by May 1, 2021. Trustee Tyler Nelson made a motion for approval, and a 6-1 vote carried the petition.

UUSD Trustee President Megan Van Sant commented, “I’m super excited to approve the Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy Petition, and I’m looking forward to their success. Children in Hopland deserve the opportunity to attend a school in their home community. Our school district has not been able to serve the Hopland community as well as I would have liked, and I am thankful that the Hopland community members themselves are willing to work so hard to bring a local school option back to their community. I look forward to attending their first Open House in the fall.”

After reviewing the Petition and meeting with Petitioners, the District was impressed with their drive and commitment and the excitement for a school located in Hopland. Trustees have embraced the idea, which presents a potential solution to educating students residing in the greater Hopland area without a lengthy bus ride to Ukiah. However, the District did have concerns regarding areas like Native American Engagement, Integrated Curriculum, Special Education, and Physical Education plans. Trustees stated that those concerns could be resolved through an operational MOU between the District and the Charter and by the Charter obtaining facilities. 

Trustees commented that the academic program for grades 7 and 8 needs further development and indicated that once the TK through grade 6 program is up and running successfully, they would welcome a Charter Modification Petition to include higher grades. It’s a mammoth task to open up a new school, and if they can focus on the early grades first, they will be more prepared to provide education to seventh and eighth-grade students.

The Ukiah Unified Board of Trustees received the Charter School Petition from Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy on or about October 2, 2020.  The Petition seeks to serve students in preschool through grade 8 beginning in the 2021-2022 school year.  Within 60 days of receiving a complete charter school petition, the Trustees must hold a public hearing, which it did on October 22, 2020. 

Within 90 days of receiving a complete charter school petition, the UUSD Board must hold another public hearing, at which it will approve or deny the petition.  The District and Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy agreed to extend this date to January 21, 2021.  The District must publish its findings and staff recommendations 15 days in advance of the public hearing, which it did on December 21, 2020.

“I’m excited by the idea of a charter school in Hopland, I’m very supportive,” said UUSD Trustee Vice President Zoey Fernandez. “Shanél (Sanel) Valley Academy’s petition approval is a great accomplishment and it’s a testament to all the hard work the Shanél (Sanel) Valley Board and community members have put into this.”

You can watch a video recording of this meeting on the UUSD Live Youtube Channel. Visit to learn about Ukiah Unified School District. Contact UUSD Communications Officer Doug Shald at or 707.472.5005 for more information.

Categories: Education

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