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Community Update

December 2018

From the Superintendent


Happy Holidays to you and your family! This is the time of year when we pause and reflect on the many blessings in our lives. I continue to feel fortunate to work in such a wonderful community and in a district with opportunities for both staff and students alike. Helen Keller once said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." I hope that your hearts are filled with happiness over this holiday season as you spend time with family and friends. I hope that your hearts are generous toward those who are less fortunate, like our neighbors affected by the recent fires and floods. I hope that your hearts and minds find peace, love and happiness in the New Year that is soon to arrive.


We have been quite busy over the last few months and the following is an update for you to read:




Welcome New Board Members


A big welcome to Dana Nunn and Jon Venverloh who will be joining the Board of Education at our next Board Meeting on December 12, 2018. They have been busy learning in their role as board members and meeting District Staff. Welcome Dana and Jon!




 La Entrada Flood


The previous and most recent flooding at La Entrada was very unfortunate. The cause of the flooding was a City Water Main Break. The source of the problem was not located on our campus and had nothing to do with construction. Mr. Jones, Principal, his

staff and District-level staff, all worked together to ensure the safety of students and staff during the event. Our objective was to keep water out of as many classrooms as possible and to keep your children safe. Presently, we are working with our insurance

company to coordinate the repairs on all of the buildings affected. This process will take time, so we ask in advance for your  patience.  Once we have a definite timeline, we will share it with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me directly; understanding the facts is very important and we are working hard at resolving this unfortunate situation.




Teaching and Learning


The teaching and learningoccurring in our classrooms is awesome! Much of what is going on is the result of many hours of planning and preparation and high-quality professional development for our teachers. Professional Development ultimately benefits the learners in each classroom as it is a fine-tuning of the art and craft of teaching. We spent our November Professional Development Days working on a number of focus areas: Next Generation Science Standards, World Language Standards, analyzing student work in mathematics and writing, and Crisis Team Protocols, just to name a few. We are deeply committed to continually improving our methods with cutting-edge strategies, skills and practices so that the needs of all learners in our classrooms are met.


Over the last two weeks, an instructional coach from New York Teachers College (Columbia University) worked with all instructors who teach reading. They provided content training, demonstrations and facilitated discussions to improve teacher skills and practices. The teaching of reading is a very complex task and there is no perfect application that fits all learners. Our teachers have been learning about best practices with the guidance of content experts. This is an on-going project and relationship with the world-renowned New York Teachers College.




Holiday Workshop at Las Lomitas


The Holiday Workshop was a huge success! Many thanks to the Las Lomitas PTA and their army of volunteers. Students were involved in activities that were messy and fun! Thank you Las Lomitas PTA for your many hours of hard work to plan such a meaningful event for our students.




Service Project at La Entrada


On Friday, December 7, La Entrada students and staff participated in a school-wide service project with the PTA and nonprofit partner Rise Against Hunger. Students and staff worked in teams of six to eight to measure, weigh, seal, and package 25,000 nutritious dehydrated meals (rice, soy, vegetables, vitamin mix) in Jensen Hall. Rise Against Hunger will distribute these meals to children who experience food insecurity. The Winter Service Project was a tremendous opportunity for us to build community around meeting the needs of those less fortunate. A very special thank you to the La Entrada PTA for the organization of this incredible  event. 




Hour of Code


The Hour of Code was held on December 3 at La Entrada for the entire district. Our staff planned this learning event so that parents could come and enjoy it with their child(ren). The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. We chose to participate in The Hour of Code, a grassroots movement, because technology is changing every industry and we wanted students and their families to see and experience this impact. This event is an opportunity for all of us to see what computer science is about and we hope it will inspire students to learn more! We know that regardless of what our students do when they grow up, whether they go into medicine, business, politics, or the arts, knowing how to build and use technology will give them confidence and a competitive edge!




Academic Calendar 2019-2020


Our Board will tentatively approve the 2019-2020 Academic Calendar at the December 12, 2018 Board Meeting. We are still waiting for the final version of the Sequoia Union High School District's calendar. We feel confident in approving a tentative calendar that will include start and end dates of the school year and vacations. We will adjust the vacations should the high school district change their dates. We want to ensure that calendars are aligned for our families who have children in both districts. Thank you for your  patience as we work through this process.




Foundation News


The Las Lomitas Education Foundation (LLEF) supports our schools by raising funds to supplement the District operating budget. This is done because the funds we receive from public sources are not sufficient to fully support the comprehensive education

that our District provides and the community has come to expect.  There is a gap of $2000 per student between our public funding and our full budget, and the LLEF has committed to fill this gap.  These funds enable:


  • smaller class sizes (20% fewer students per class)
  • specialists and programs in areas such as reading, writing, math, music, technology, and diverse middle school electives, counseling
  • professional development for teachers to increase their content knowledge as well as hone their instructional craft

The LLEF's Annual Giving Campaign (AGC) is currently in process, and we hope that all families will participate.  The core level of support that we request is $2000 per student, and families that give $3000 per student are recognized as Leadership Donors.  We ask that you participate at any level that is possible for your family, and we appreciate your support.  There is also a Classroom challenge in which any classroom that achieves 90% participation will receive $500 for the teacher to use on education supplies or activities, so please help your child's class achieve that goal.


To join us in supporting your child's education, please click here to donate or pledge(commit now, donate later).  For more information, visit the LLEF website or contact the LLEF President, John McGrory