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The original structure of Linscott School was created in 1986 by four parents who had children graduating from the Adult Education Program's Watsonville Cooperative Preschool. This group of parents desired to implement their vision of a school like the Preschool Coop whose governance was shared between parents and staff. In order to enroll their children in the Linscott program, parents must agree to participate one-half day per week, either in the classroom or in some other capacity that benefits the students. Linscott was established as a parent participation program magnet school within the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, under the administration of an off-site Principal who also was the administrator of another elementary school. Day to day operations were taken to the Principal. At this time the Principal's salary was being paid by the PVUSD.

Linscott was then given an administrator who held a Teacher/Principal position because the district wanted more awareness of the day to day practices of the school. This was unsuccessful for a number of reasons, including differences in the understanding of the position, philosophy and management styles.

Linscott then received the services of a retired elementary school Principal 1/2 time at the school, who actually spent more time than required. While he had been a traditional school Principal, he allowed the day to day operations of the school to be run by a Site Management Team. The Principal instituted staff meetings which were separate from the Site Management Team meetings, creating unclear responsibilities for decision making. The Principal's salary was paid by the district.

The California Charter School Law, passed in 1992, gives interested groups of teachers, parents, community members and students the opportunity to create schools with innovative programs. The charter group defines its goals for students, and creates a program to achieve them. It is then held to the standards it has defined, and is exempt from most other regulations.

Linscott's charter was approved in October 1993, and began operation in fall of 1994, as a K-5 program with 140 students. The charter is an outgrowth of the existing magnet parent participation program at Linscott School in Watsonville. Parents saw becoming a charter school as a natural next step for Linscott, which had always had a shared governance structure. The school budget was developed by Linscott parents and the PVUSD Financial Office. The model of the Business Manager and the Instructional Leader splitting the job traditionally done by the School Principal was instituted in the fall of 1994. These two full time positions shared and divided most responsibilities with the salaries being paid by the Linscott Average Daily attendance income.

Linscott Charter School added a middle school program for 1995-96, serving 30 students in grades six and seven. Starting in 1996-97, Linscott had a full K-8 program serving approximately 170 students at its Elm Street site. A physical expansion of the Elm Street site, in the form of four more portables, was made in 1996. Also at that time, improvements to the site in the form of landscaping, new fencing and upgrading of the parking area were made.

In 1996 it was acknowledged by the Linscott community that it was necessary to split the Business Manager's job and separate out the secretarial responsibilities. The decision was made by the Site Management Team to have a full-time Office Manager and a part-time Financial Manager. This decision left Linscott out of compliance with the management model in our Charter and left duties previously assigned to the Business Manager unassigned.

Throughout the 1996-97 and 1997-98 school years, the Site Management Team, along with the staff and school community worked to develop an administrative model to address the missing pieces and lack of accountability found in the Instructional Leader/Office Manager/Financial Manager model. After a series of Town Hall meetings and input from outside consultants, the decision was made to proceed with an Administrative Director/Office Manager model. In the summer of 1998 an Administrative Director was hired, with the intent that the teaching staff would be assuming some of the Instructional Leader responsibilities through a Lead or Mentor Teacher program.

In 1997 the state of California approved additional funding to reduce class size to 20 in grades K through 3rd. At that time, Linscott reduced the class size of those grades from 24 to 20, reducing enrollment for the 1997-98 school year to 160.

In June of 1998 the PVUSD approved changes to the Charter reflecting the new administrative model, bringing Linscott back into compliance. In July the District Board of Directors approved the Charter for renewal for an additional 5 years.

During the summer of 1998, a K-3 multi-age class was added and Linscott's middle school program increased to a total of 45 students for the sixth, seven and eighth grades, bringing our total school population between 190 to 195 students.

The school year 2000-01, the Site Management Team revised the administrative model providing the Administrative Director support with financial duties. A part-time Finance Coordinator was hired the summer of 2001 to work collaboratively with the Administrative Director in regard to budget and other pertinent financial matters, thus creating a new administrative model comprised of an Administrative Director/ Finance Coordinator/Office Manager.

Unprecedented budget cuts in the spring of 2003 resulted in still another, temporary model for the administration of Linscott. Two teachers started co-directing in addition to teaching, and assumed all the roles and responsibilities of the Administrtive Director.

In the 2005-2006 schoolyear, Linscott restructured its operations so that one of the teachers took on a full-time administrative role. The next year, the parent participation model was restructured to be more inclusive of a wider range of families and reflect the diverse ways that families participate in our school. As always, Linscott relies on parent participation for fund raising as well as administrative support, in addition to classroom participation.

Linscott's charter was renewed for five years in 2008.

John W. Linscott

John William Linscott was born in Lincoln County, Maine in 1848, and arrived in the Pajaro Valley in 1869, after several years of teaching near his home. He continued teaching in the Pajaro Valley and was elected principal of the Watsonville city schools in 1872. Mr. Linscott was elected county superintendent in 1884, but continued to serve in both the local and county posts until 1890. In 1904 Mr. Linscott was named superintendent of the Santa Cruz city schools and principal of the high school there. He served in that capacity until he retired in 1922.


The front of Linscott Charter School.
Our talent show takes place outdoors.
Students enjoy lunch at picnic tables outside on nice days.