Employee Spotlight

Julie Alcala

Education Specialist

Joanna Christiansen

What did you do prior to SMCS?

I taught in the classroom and then homeschooled my three children. In the midst of all of this we moved to Montana for five years. It's hard to make a go of things when you make $13 an hour as a teacher.

How long have you been with SMCS?

I had a little break with Sky Mountain when I moved to Montana, but my total years with Sky Mountain are now five.

Where did you grow up?

San Fernando Valley/ Northridge, CA

Where did you go to college?

Cal State Northridge BA and San Jose State M Ed

Where do you live?

Lake Arrowhead

What areas do you serve for SMCS?

Inland Empire and High Desert

What do you think is/are the best thing(s) about SMCS?

1.Working with families and helping parents educate their own kids, 2. Flexibility, 3.Getting to learn about myself 4. Working with great people

Do (did) you homeschool your kids?

Most of the time. My oldest is in college and homeschooled throughout. My second mostly homeschooled, but went to public school for two years in high school. My youngest has been in a regular brick and mortar setting since sixth grade and is now a junior in high school.

What is your favorite curriculum?

I think for primary grades I would say McRuffy Press works well because it covers skills that parents might otherwise overlook. I also like Five in a Row for ELA. The latter is difficult for parents though if they do not have a teaching background. I like a whole language approach. Actually, when I think about it, it depends on the situation and the family. My absolute favorite thing to do is to take a theme and build my own curriculum around the theme. I like to match books and activities to the theme I am studying. That is hard for parents to do if they don't have a teaching background. With parents, I like to assess their teaching style and their kids' learning style, and try to match what I think will work best for them.

What is your favorite read aloud book?

Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archembault-It has a rhythm that's a lot of fun to read with a primary class.

What is your favorite field trip?

Monterey Bay Aquarium ( I used to teach in Salinas)

What is your area of expertise?

I feel my area of expertise lies in taking a theme and creating a curriculum around that theme. When I taught many years ago in Salinas, we had a grant from the Lucille Packard Foundation. We spent two years of training in learning how to write our own curriculum without textbooks and using our own choices for curriculm.

What is your dream summer vacation?

To go to Europe for at least a month and hop from country to country.

What is your favorite subject to teach?

English Language Arts

What do you like to do in your free time?

Go on my own field trips-Hiking, visiting historic places, and observing nature.

What is something interesting about yourself that many people might not know?

I talk a lot, so I can't think of much at the moment that people don't know about me.

Contact Us

4535 Missouri Flat Road, Suite 1A Placerville, CA 95667

Counties Served

Los Angeles
San Bernardino




ACS WASC Accredited
WASC Accredited
Independent Study
Individualized Learning Plans
Parent Choice
NCAA approved