This information is for the Homestudy Pathway only. For information about CCPA please visit the Cottonwood College Prep Academy website.

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What is The Cottonwood School?

– Tuition-free public charter school
– Homestudy pathway for TK-12th grade students
– Hybrid high school pathway (in-person/online) for 9th-12th grade students.
– Serving El Dorado, Amador, Alpine, Placer, and Sacramento counties.


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What is a charter school?

– Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are open to all students.
– Students must reside in the county or an adjacent county to the one in which the charter school is authorized.
– While they are publicly funded, they are operated independently. Unlike public schools, charter schools have the freedom to design their educational curriculum.
– Each charter school is unique, with its own mission and approach to learning.

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The Cottonwood School Guiding Principles

These are the guiding principles The Cottonwood School uses in planning and decision-making. We have created these principles based on our Mission and Vision as they pertain to our homeschool program. They encapsulate what we do and why we do it.

– Whole Learner
– Choice
– Diversity
– Community
– Communication

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Homestudy (TK-8)

– Parent responsible for daily instruction
– Parent choice of curriculum and learning approaches with HST support and guidance
– Instructional funds available for Community Partners, events, field trips, or personalizing course of study
– Variety of virtual classes available (Superstar Readers, Boost, RISE)
– Whole-learner programs focus on social, emotional, physical wellness, and academic excellence
– National Junior Honor Society chapter available

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Homestudy College & Career (9-12)

– Parents are responsible for daily instruction to ensure student success
– Access to CVHS classes (live or self-paced) with a full selection of A-G courses.
– Instructional funds available for Community Partners, school-sponsored events, and field trips, or to personalize student’s courses of study
– College & Career planning supported by The School Counseling Department
– Concurrent Enrollment opportunities with community colleges
– Graduation pathways offered align with the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) A-G requirements
– Multiple career and technical education pathways (CTE)
– Flexible schedule allowing for extracurricular pursuits
– NCAA-approved courses
– National Honor Society chapter

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Reshaping Education

BOOST! is a virtual academic and social enrichment program for TK – 6th grade students. It offers weekly live virtual enrichment classes taught by Cottonwood teachers.

Superstar Readers
Superstar Readers is Cottonwood’s innovative reading program designed exclusively for our homeschool community.

Our RISE program provides 7th – 12th grade home study students with a comprehensive education that meets their academic, social, and developmental needs. Through live virtual instruction, project-based learning, peer interactions, local meet-ups, and field trips, students receive a well-rounded education and the support they need to succeed.

Career Technical Education
Our internal CTE program is a carefully crafted program created by industry professionals. Our program offers hands-on career-focused projects to help our students develop career-relevant, real-world skills.

Special Education
As we work together with our families, we strive to provide the most appropriate support and services to our students identified as eligible for Special Education.

English Learners
We provide weekly classes for English Learners, as well as a variety of resources, including online programs, enrichment activities that support English language development, and preparation for the annual ELPAC testing.

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Reimagining Community

Enroll in Cottonwood and become part of a supportive community of families, children, and educators. We offer virtual and in-person events, field trips, activities, workshops, and training for parents to ensure that your child’s social and emotional development is fostered alongside their academic success. Join us in reimagining community.

Community Connections
Each month, our Community Coordinators organize community-building events for students and parents. These events include science fairs, spelling bees, and maker’s markets. We also offer virtual events like cooking classes, Lego challenges, and scavenger hunts, as well as virtual field trips.

CONNECT events, park days and field trips are hosted by our team of Faimily Liaisons. These events include Parallel Learning Time, a Parent Connect Book Club, and field trips. These times allow parents to exchange support and ideas.

Nurture your child’s overall growth with a focus on social, emotional, and physical wellness, as well as academic excellence. Achieve this through Mindset Mondays, 7 Mindsets workshops, Home Educator Workshops, the weekly SELF Talk newsletter, and support.

Cottonwood prioritizes building transformative relationships to help students overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are emphasized in all aspects of the school. Educational offerings include opportunities to learn about diverse perspectives through workshops, trips, and events.

The Wednesday Weekly
Stay informed with the Weekly newsletter that offers updates on all school events, including encouragement, program offerings, announcements, deadlines, and more. Stay up-to-date and never miss an important detail by reading the Weekly.

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The Partnership: The Role of the HST

– Every student in homestudy pathway assigned an HST (homeschool teacher)
– HST role is to partner with homeschool parent in child’s education
– Encourages, supports, offers guidance and accountability
– Helps select curriculum and materials, develops sustainable educational plan
– Meets with students/families at least once every 20 school days (8 times a year)
– Manages student’s files, daily attendance, and paperwork
– Oversees purchasing process for curriculum, materials, and enrichment
– Oversees student testing
– Access point for support services such as Special Education, English Learner Services, and Intervention

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The Partnership: The role of parents and students
The parent and student relationship with their HST is powerful and valuable. To be successful, this partnership depends on everyone doing their part.

– Parents are the primary teacher (Learning Coach) of the student
– Submit daily attendance online in Parent Portal
– Attend monthly learning period meetings with students
– Students share learning and present “body of work” representing learning in all subjects
– Work samples collected at each meeting
– Students participate in internal school-wide assessments (STAR360) three times a year
– 3rd – 8th and 11th-grade students participate in annual state standardized testing

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The Student Learning Budget
Students receive an instructional funds budget each year to use for educational materials, curriculum, classes, and more. Funds may not be used for sectarian materials.

Homestudy students are allocated:
– $2400 for TK
– $2800 for grades K-8
– $3200 for grades 9-12

 The Cottonwood School uses an online ordering system for materials from merchants. HSTs review and approve all order requests to meet educational standards and guidelines

Orders can be placed for in-person or virtual instruction with Community Partners

Funds can be used for:
– Curriculum
– Technology such as laptops and Chromebooks
– Field trips, events, museum passes, theater productions
– Endless possibilities to support child’s learning

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Cottonwood Lending Library
The Lending Library offers families a variety of consumable and non-consumable items:

– children’s books
– novels
– games
– puzzles
– curriculum
– and so much more!

This resource is free for families and can help them save funds for other classes and activities. Browse the extensive collection of curriculum samples and get help from expert Library Specialists.

The Lending Library has an online catalog where you can place items on hold and pick them up there or have them delivered to a park near you via our Mobile Lending Library van.

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Community Partners
You are never expected to do it all alone, and nor should you. We have hundreds of fully-vetted professionals who have partnered with our school to support your children in their homeschool journey. You can use your instructional funds budget with a vendor on our list. More are being added all the time.

Types of Services Offered by Community Partners

– Fine Art Lessons & Classes
– Performing Art Lessons & Classes
– Academic Enrichment Classes
– Physical Education Classes
– Tutoring Services
– Driver’s Education Courses
– Cooking Classes
– Gardening Classes
– Reading and Writing Classes
– STEM Classes
– Photography
– Gymnastics
– Music Lessons
– Clubs
– and so much more!

Steps to Enroll at the Cottonwood School

–  March 1-22, submit enrollment form (does not guarantee enrollment)
–  Gather documents and prepare to complete enrollment application
–  Accept enrollment offer (72-hour window)
–  Complete online registration (7-day window)
–  Congratulations and welcome to The Cottonwood School!