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Current Initiatives

Current Initiatives

Aligned with our District's 10-year Strategic Plan, implemented in 2012, and our Board goals, our priorities have been targeted as follows:

  • Common Core Standards
  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • Facilities

Please visit the website pages Curriculum and Instruction and Facilities for more detailed information.

LLESD Strategic Plan 2012-2022 printable version

 

Equity and Diversity

 

The Museum of Tolerance is a partner to schools in advancing anti-bias education, inclusion, and equity through unique professional development programs. This training is made available to educators and law enforcement personnel with the intent of raising awareness of others, deeply examining one’s own beliefs, and promoting conversations about equity.

Click on the link that follows for details about the training:    http://tinyurl.com/j9f8eq

 

Las Lomitas Elementary School District has been fortunate to receive grant funding to send more than 120 participants made up of teachers, administrators, board members, classified staff, and parent and community stakeholders to attend workshops at the Museum.  This work is helping us to increase our own individual awareness and knowledge in the areas of equity and diversity.  Using what we learn at the Museum, our goal is to build upon our strengths as we enhance district relationships and culture.

 

We are very proud of the work that started at the Museum of Tolerance, and the work that continues at our school sites.  We are committed to continuing these courageous conversations to ensure that each and every one of our students and staff have the best possible educational experience that there is to offer.

 

Most recently, a group attended the training and was fortunate to be part of a conversation with Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the original “Little Rock Nine”.

Click the following link for more information about Dr. Roberts’ biography:

http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/terrence-roberts-41

 

Dr. Roberts was an inspirational speaker; he touched the hearts and minds of those attending. He is such a humble, calm human being who shares a message of acceptance and hope, despite the many obstacles placed in his pathway. Because of his work around desegregation and equity,  President Clinton awarded Roberts the Congressional Gold Medal, the country’s highest award for civilian contributions to society. Those participating in the conversation with Dr. Roberts were inspired to continue the thinking and actions relative to educational equity.

 

 

While we cannot all have walked in Dr. Roberts’ shoes, we can all learn from his experience and use it to frame and influence our actions.

 

Mathematics

 

LLESD is proud to offer a coordinated K-5 math program to students.  Math in Focus is an authentic Singapore Math® curriculum—with problem solving as the center of math learning and concepts taught with a concrete–pictorial–abstract learning progression through real-world, hands-on experiences. Beyond the digital learning tools and applications that are native to the core program, the following are key components of the program:

 

  • Supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

  • Is research-based and focuses on classroom learning, discussion, and practice

  • Balances conceptual understanding, visual learning, and problem solving

  • It’s a model for the Common Core State Standards: The Singapore Math® framework was one of the 15 national curriculum examined by the Common Core committee and had a particularly important impact on the Common Core writers and contributors.

  • It is research-based pedagogy: Math in Focus® offers the same authentic Singapore Math® curriculum that has propelled Singapore students to international success. It follows the pedagogical framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education.

  • Concrete–Pictorial–Abstract learning progression: Numbers and symbols can be confusing when you don't have a grasp of what they actually mean. Singapore Math® teaches concepts using a concrete–pictorial–abstract learning progression to anchor learning in real-world, hands-on experiences. Math in Focus adapts instruction to the needs of individual learners through scaffolding, the systematic sequencing of prompted content, and support to optimize learning. The ultimate goal of scaffolding is to gradually remove the supports as the learner masters the task.

  • Integrated Technology for the 21st-Century Classroom: Math in Focus provides seamless integration of technology with a range of online tools including Interactive Whiteboard activities, online manipulatives, and a Bar Modeling app.

Professional development and coaching support are key components of the mathematics implementation plan of the district.  Communication with families is also key, so informational nights have been held with great parental interest and attendance.

Mathematics at the 6th-8th grade level is departmentalized and students are placed in appropriate sections based on their ability and performance. Big Ideas Math is the adopted curriculum for 6th-8th grade students. The curricula is based on the Common Core State Standards, and is designed to prepare students for high school and beyond.  Teachers have had professional development opportunities to learn the new materials.

 

Reading and Writing

 

LLESD teachers have a passion for reading and writing! Recent trainings, professional development opportunities and local support provided by experts fuel this passion and provide for continuity and consistency between and among the grades.  This continuity prepares the students to be challenged and inspired and ready to improve and increase skills and strategies in reading and writing. Teachers are able to provide individual support and enrichment to students because they hone in on needs evidenced by assessments and the relationships they develop with each and every student.

 

LLESD Teachers use the Workshop Model, based on the expertise developed at Columbia University Teachers' College.  Many Las Lomitas and La Entrada teachers have attended Teachers' College professional development events.  Our teachers  have also  benefited from Teachers' College experts coming to us who model and demonstrate with our very own students. The great thing about this model of teaching is that it allows teachers flexibility within the structure to meet student needs while addressing expected standards within a format. 

 

Reading and writing are the gateway to all other types of learning. LLESD teachers have been inspired, using the Workshop Model, and integrating grammar, to prepare our students for success through the grades and to be highly competitive in high school and beyond.  The level of thinking exhibited by our students is impressive.  Our students are learning to think and communicate in ways that will serve them well far beyond the formal educational setting; a skill that will serve them very well in life!

 

Technology

 

Four years ago, LLESD started on a new technology journey.  We knew there was great potential when all 6-8th graders received their own iPads, each 3rd, 4th and 5th grade class was given 5 iPads to share, and a third computer lab, filled with new iMacs, was added to La Entrada's campus. This is what happened…

 

In return for all of the new, shiny equipment, 21st learning skills started flooding in as students started to understand these real-world tools. Then the real learning started to take place…the “4 Cs” began to emerge:

 

  • Communication: Students use apps like Schoolloop, Google Apps, Google Translate, Educreations, iMovie, to show and explain to other students and their teachers their thinking. More than ever before, students are more connected with their classmates, peers, teachers and family! 

  • Collaboration: With their iPads, students share their work via the icloud. Google Drive allows students to share their work and reduce their paper trail at the same time. AirPlay can project an iPad screen to the Smartboard for all to see, or “flipped” lessons can be shared through YouTube or email. One example is in third grade, classes create educational videos using Educreations to teach each other and model concepts. Here is an example of an instructional video they created with a tip for using an iPad:  http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/web-page-i-con/13984256/?s=z4tJyi&ref=link 

  • Creativity: With so many apps, students create content incorporating a variety of media such as voice recordings and Google slides. This allows the teacher time to guide students through scaffolded lessons in which students use their creativity.  Some students use an App called Toontastic to learn about plot lines, which enabled them to create their own cartoon by entering elements of a plot. Other end products include creating a slideshow (Keynote or Google slides, movie (iMovie, Educreations), essay (Pages, Google Docs), and art (Photoshop express, iDraw, Google draw).

  • Critical Thinking: With online assessments like Kahoot, Google Forms, Edmodo, Socrative, and Nearpod, the iPad has become an input device that allows students to participate in teacher surveys and quizzes,  providing for instant feedback.

 

In the lower grades, the teachers teach the Common Core State Standards of "create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace" through technology. Students regularly record themselves reading and implementing metacognitive strategies, use the Dictionary.com app to learn a word's definition and to hear how it is pronounced, and create QR codes full of video and voice recodings to complement their written work.

 

In the upper grades, the Mac lab has transformed the technology elective offerings. Before the Mac Lab, students received a broad spectrum of traditional technology electives including the teaching of basic productivity tools offered by Microsoft Office, keyboarding practice, multimedia creation tools such as Photoshop Elements and limited video editing tools. Four years later, students are knee-deep in transformative elective offerings. Forget 2D…3D objects are now being designed for a 3D printer...and being printed! The students enjoy using professional animation tools such as Maya and learning new languages like Python, Javascript, HTML, and Java to introduce the basics of computer science and programming. Student-run broadcasting is using industry standard tools such as iPads and Final Cut Pro X to produce school news shows that highlight events, activities and the learning taking place in classrooms all over the school.

 

Where to next? As we discover more about educational technology’s potential, we continue to explore other tools and methods that promote student learning. Chromebooks are being explored in the other two labs as well as ways to make the learning space more conducive towards brain-based learning. Makerspaces and Fablabs are also getting a lot attention for their potential to promote creation, invention and learning.