An increasing number of parents are turning to public charter schools that pro vide\r\nchildren a more intimate, dynamic and personaliz ed education.\r\nEnrollment at Santa Clarita V alley charter schools is stable or increasing, pro viding an\r\nalternative education for students who don't fit the one\u00adsiz e\u00adfits\u00adall of tr aditional\r\npublic schools.\r\n"We are aiming to be different and an alternativ e that addresses the whole child," said\r\nDawn Evenson, principal of Santa Clarita V alley International School.\r\nSCV International, in its first y ear, takes a hands\u00adon approach to learning, said Amber\r\nGolden Raskin, charter school founder.\r\nAlready, 273 applications are in for 132 open spots for the 2009\u00ad10 school y ear, which\r\nwill offer kindergarten through eighth gr ade. \r\nRaskin expects to mo ve the school from its Sm yth Drive home to a bigger location\r\nbecause of a need for six more classrooms.\r\nThe school builds on fact \u00adbased learning, organiz ers said.\r\n"I believe that students need to learn how to find out things for themselv es and to\r\nwork together. You give them the basics of what they need and pro vide them an\r\nopportunity to use their knowledge to create something," said Cheryl Sena, a sev enthgrade English teacher at Santa Clarita V alley International Charter School.\r\nFor instance, sev enth\u00adgraders take on a "snack shack" project that requires them to\r\ndesign, market and run their own business selling health y snacks to other kids.\r\n"It's not about memorization, it's about doing things they're going to be doing in the\r\nreal world," said Da wn Walker, a parent of three SCV International students.\r\nSena sees a "huge par adigm shift" in education, giv en the fiscal crunch public school\r\ndistricts face.\r\nThe focus on standardiz ed testing is one reason for the shift, she sa ys, saying it\r\n"stifled a lot of creativit y."\r\nCharter schools are giv en more latitude for creativit y, and Sena said she feels\r\n11/7/2016\r\n2/3\r\nempowered as a teacher.\r\nTwo other local charter schools, Mission View Public School and Opportunities for\r\nLearning Public Charter School, meet the needs of students who ha ve difficulties in the\r\ntraditional high school setting.\r\n"A great many of our students just cannot achiev e in a regular school en vironment,"\r\nsaid Jeff Brown, CEO of Mission View Public School in Can yon Country.\r\n"They can't attend a regular school or they get o verwhelmed by the number of\r\nclasses."\r\nMission View students include single mothers and students who tak e care of family\r\nmembers or work full time.\r\nSome Santa Clarita Valley students attend Mission View , but many come from the San\r\nFernando Valley, Brown said.\r\nMission View has about 180 students, a sharp increase from the 11 students who\r\nattended the school when it first opened in 2007, Brown said.\r\nHe expects the number to increase.\r\n"I feel that b y next year at this time, we should probably double our student base,"\r\nBrown said.\r\n"We knew there was a need. W e actually had students going to P almdale and\r\nLancaster," Brown said.\r\nOpportunities for Learning, a sev enth\u00adthrough\u00ad12th\u00adgrade charter school, also pro vides\r\nan intimate education for its students.\r\n"A lot of students, they tell us that the social en vironment has been a struggle for\r\nthem, a peer \u00adpressure thing," said Chris Hodge, area supervisor for Opportunities for\r\nLearning.\r\nThe school has three sites in the Santa Clarita V alley and educates about 600\r\nstudents, Hodge said.\r\nMission View students find themselv es more focused.\r\n"This school really teaches y ou more than regular school because y ou pay more\r\nattention," said Abi Garcia, 16.\r\nGarcia attended Golden V alley High School until the second semester of her junior\r\nyear, when she transferred to Mission View to catch up on credits.\r\nShe hopes to return to Golden V alley to graduate.\r\nClassmate 16\u00ad year\u00adold Chelsi P ortman, who also hopes to return to Golden V alley, says\r\nshe's learned a lot at Mission View: "I finally learned how to study and I'v e been\r\ngetting A's on ev erything."