River Valley Charter School is a start-up charter junior/senior high school in Lakeside, California, a suburb of San Diego. RVCS was originally designed to provide home-schooled students with an opportunity to participate in an academically rich environment while still maintaining a strong home study connection. Today, about one-half of River Valley’s 110 high school students and 50 junior high students come from a home-schooling background while the remaining 50 percent come to us from public and private schools in the surrounding communities. Our minority population, about 10 to 15 percent, reflects the makeup of the surrounding community. Designed to be academically rigorous, River Valley has been fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. River Valley’s schedule is based on a college model in which students attend each core class twice a week for 75 minutes while the remainder is spent in independent study. All classes are limited to 15 students so instructional methods can range from lecture format to seminar type discussions and presentations. A significant part of the curriculum is designed to foster independent thinking. Students learn to plan and manage their heavy study schedules each week and are well prepared for the time management challenges of college. A number of electives including chorus, art and art history, Spanish, journalism, yearbook, and drama are available to students. However, the core classes are emphasized and each student joining us in the 9th grade is required to take four years of mathematics, history, science, and English. Students must also participate in a career explorations project each year. High school students find themselves internships in such places as science labs, radio stations, elementary classrooms, and local parks. Students also have the opportunity to participate in an active social life sponsored by the Associated Student Body. Each core teacher at the school possesses a credential and teaches in the area of their academic degree. RVCS provides its students with a fully equipped science lab and media center. Although the use of a variety of source materials is emphasized, many classes utilize rigorous and up-to-date textbooks. Each high school core class has been designed as a college preparatory course and has been approved by the University of California to meet it’s A to G requirements. A limited number of honors courses are available at the junior/senior level. Juniors and seniors also have the option of taking AP courses on-line. Many of our juniors and seniors have taken advantage of the flexible schedule to take classes at the local community college in such subjects as physics, chemistry, art, advanced Spanish, and German. Our success in academics is reflected by our state test scores. The school has the highest Academic Performance Index (API) for the eastern part of San Diego County. It is the mission of RVCS to prepare its students for the challenges of college, while maintaining a small and positive school environment.