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About us

What is homeschooling at AFE?

  • A Vibrant Community

  • Optional Classes & Activities

  • A Consultant Teacher who mentors families and supports with resources

  • A place for homeschooling children & parents to connect

  • Options for many different kinds of homeschooling families: those who prefer to do most of their learning on their own & those who would like to participate in classes and events.

Homeschooling Support at AFE:

  • Credentialed Teachers

  • AFE Resource Center Librarian

  • Main Campus Librarian

  • Resource Specialist

  • Registrar

  • Support Staff (in Main Building)

  • Administrators

More Info

What is AFE?

Santa Cruz City Schools Alternative Family Education (AFE) is an independent home study school provided for kindergarten through twelfth grade students and families who prefer an individualized approach to education, combined with the support of school district resources. The program gives parents the opportunity to directly supervise instruction, with professional guidance from a credentialed teacher consultant. The program is designed by and for homeschool families, with teacher consultants who are knowledgeable and supportive of home-based learning, state frameworks, and school district curriculum guidelines.

AFE shares a campus with three other small schools. You can read about our campus on the Branciforte Small Schools Campus (BSSC) website. Like the other BSSC schools, AFE is also affiliated with The Coalition of Essential Schools.

Physical address: Alternative Family Education, 185 Benito Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Mailing address: Branciforte Small Schools/AFE, 840 N Branciforte Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Want to talk to someone about enrolling at AFE? Call Gail at 831-429-3898 X55214 or email 



General Information

Students in the Alternative Family Education School are enrolled in the Santa Cruz City School District. Each family, with the credentialed consultant teacher, determines the pace, methods, and the materials used for their child's educational program derived from the District's curriculum guidelines and state frameworks. Each student's learning goals are outlined in a contract signed by all parties involved. Student, family, and consulting teacher meet at least monthly to evaluate progress, set learning goals, plan activities, and to discuss resources and special interest courses offered by AFE. AFE provides students the opportunity to pursue an education of their own design, at their own pace. AFE also challenges each student to excel in areas of special interest, provides alternatives for students to achieve competency in basic skills, and creates a bridge between the traditional school and the community. AFE was created out of, or influenced by, a movement in education based on a home school model, with family involvement as key to the learning process. AFE families see the world, their community, and the people in it as their classroom.

AFE staff strives to provide opportunities for networking, community service, and establishing relationships with other students and families. In addition to regularly meeting with families, AFE teachers also offer ongoing classes, field trips, and workshops. Parents and students offer a wide variety of enrichment classes, groups, and workshops.

The AFE complex houses a Resource Center of over 8,300 library materials that include curriculum materials, instructional materials, state frameworks, games, manipulatives, and parenting resources. Our textbook room has 3,200 books to support independent studies. The Resource Center also holds audiovisual materials and multimedia computers with Internet access. A complete ceramics studio is housed in the new buildings between the AFE campus and the "big school." AFE consulting teachers meet with families in their home settings or in their offices. AFE classes and workshops are held at the Resource Center, the ceramics studio, and at other venues around Santa Cruz.

Family Handbook. We maintain a list of documents and resources that are available for AFE families on our Family Handbook page.


School Accountability Report Card (SARC)

Every school in California is required by state law to publish a School Accountability Report Card (SARC), by February 1 of each year. The SARC contains information about the condition and performance of each California public school.


AFE has been serving homeschoolers since 1991!



We are creating an alumni community within AFE. If you are a former student or family of a former student at AFE and would like to be included in our alumni community events, please email it to Dorothee Ledbetter at

Parent Club

AFE Parent Club

Check out the AFE Parent Club website here:


The AFE Parent Club financially supports the AFE community. We provide funds to enable or enhance programs, activities, and events. We also help with supplies and resources. Some of the things that have been supported by the AFE Parent Club in the past few years include: Theater for all ages, sports teams for grades 6-12, Clay Studio, ROV and Engineering Classes, Games Group, Economics class for high schoolers, music for elementary students, family poetry workshops, and field trips. We also have donated supplies for Family Art Night; resources—books, games, technology—for the resource center; classroom supplies for teacher-led classes; art supplies for the Palazzo Studio; and lots more.


The Parent Club relies on donations and fundraising in order to offer support for all these things. Without fundraising, these programs, classes, activities, and resources will no longer be available at AFE.

Each year we have a big "Drive for Schools" fundraiser where you can win a car and other prizes. Please consider participating! (Dorothee will print the labels for the stickers; no need to handwrite!)

Our JSA (Junior State of America) chapter puts on two dances a year. Proceeds go the community via the AFE Parent Club.

Thank you for supporting the AFE Parent Club.

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