Gold Rush Charter School was founded in 2001 by two educators, Kathleen Hansen and Eda Pardee, and a community member, James Gallno. Their goal was to create a non-traditional program that would allow educators to focus on the individual needs of each student. After a year of searching for a sponsor, the team met with Tom Changnon, then Superintendent of Keyes Union Elementary School District, who was impressed with the enthusiasm of the team and decided to sponsor Gold Rush Charter School. The school started with an enrollment of 57 independent study students. As the school grew, site-based classes were offered, giving parents an alternative to 100% independent study. A high school location with on-site classes was soon opened.
In school year 2005-2006, Gold Rush Charter School came under the umbrella of the Summerville Union High School District as the district became the Charter School's authorizer. In 2007 Gold Rush Charter School opened the Country School, a class-based K-8 program, which relocated to the Sullivan Creek site in 2010.
We now have three different operational sites - the High School campus, the Independent Study suites, and the Country School. Gold Rush Charter School continues to grow as more and more families come to see the benefits of this unique program and appreciate the attention and care given to each individual learner. Gold Rush Charter School continues to push forward in areas of integrated technology, new learning methods, and creative, hands-on education.
The mission of Gold Rush Charter School is to provide a safe, nurturing environment of a public, student-centered education where K-12 students feel emotionally and academically connected in a tuition-free, standards-based education in homeschool, independent study, or optional class settings in Tuolumne and adjacent counties.
The vision of Gold Rush Charter School is for students to have golden minds of infinite value that never lose their luster. Students will master and appreciate academic and real world skills, and discover possibilities to fulfill their potential in a critical and creative manner to build a better community.