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Weekly Post
September 16, 2013
Superintendent's Message

Busy week last week! At the Board Meeting, We honored our newly tenured teachers, many of whom were joined by family members: Sherry Andrighetto, Suzanne Chandler, Whitney Cooley, Charlotte Haefner, Kerry Keplinger, and Tim Sato. We welcomed our new teachers - Crystal DeRyke, Justine Hedlund, Lauren Meldonian, Rebecca Parker, Todd Patterson, Lisa Scigliano, and Curtis Schneider. The board celebrated Sandra Lepley's hard work in cleaning up our financials, and acknowledged the commitment of our bargaining groups and community in this work. Our "unaudited actuals" show an effort to rebuild our reserves and focuses on work that supports students. 


Thursday night was an energized Back to School Night at Corte Madera, under the leadership of Principal Michael Corritone who laid the foundation for the 4th-8th grade programs this year. Hope to see many of you at Friday's Back to School BBQ.

One of my passions is legislative work, so please indulge me when I share changes that will affect our work here in PVSD (as well as periodically sharing the legislation I work on at the state level and how it benefits our students). Last week, Governor Brown signed AB 185 (assembly bill - Walters). This is legislation that I worked to help promote statewide, as it allowed for school districts to have the options for purchasing digital forms of new adoptions and be able to "unbundle" them. Thus, districts could purchase certain pieces instead of all that a publisher wanted to sell, parts of which might not be of benefit to teachers and students. This is preferable in a district like ours where teachers know what materials would best meet the needs of our students. We would also be able to negotiate pricing, resulting in cost-savings for our school district.


Another interesting bill that has had much media play is AB 484 (Bonilla). The parameters of this bill were changed to suspend the STAR/CST testing for this school year and pilot Smarter Balanced. Our students would have taken the STAR/CST tests in April/May. This bill is currently on the Governor's desk, having had swift approval in the Assembly and Senate.


Why suspend? This is the year that we are expected to fully implement the new Common Core State Standards, which is no easy feat if you ask our staff. At the same time, we'd be testing students on a different set of standards in some areas. If you'll indulge me in a runner's analogy: I just got a new set of Mizuno running shoes but when I run the Big Sur Marathon in April, I will have to use the old pair that I just replaced with more than 300 miles on them. Chances are....I won't have a great race.

The same goes for the learning environment for students and staff. Teach, teach, teach the new but test on some sets of knowledge that haven't been a focal point (or cram for the test).

By suspending STAR, we allow our staff to fully focus on the Common Core and not be distracted by assessments that don't directly align to what is now being taught. I'll let you know how this progresses, but as Superintendent in PVSD, I strongly believe this is a move in the right direction.

Here's to a great week of learning in PVSD. 


Lisa Marie Gonzales, Ed.D.
Portola Valley School District
In This Issue
Nature Journaling
PVSF Brochure Night
TB Testing
Safe Routes to School
List of Party Dates
PVSF and Stephen Silver
eScrip and Amazon.com
PTO Fundraiser
Kevin's Corner
Book Fair is Coming
ABC Language at CMS
CMS: BTS Picnic
This Week's Calendar
Ormondale * Corte Madera * District
Mon, September 16 (A) 
Tue, September 17 (B) 

Wed, September 18 (A) 
ORM Pride Assembly, 
11:30 am

Budget Advisory Committee Meeting, 6:30 pm 
CMS, Room 102
Thu, September 19 (B) 
ORM John Muir Laws Day

PVSF Brochure Night, 
6:30 pm, Alpine Hills
Fri, September 20 (A)
ORM Community Coffee, 
8:20 am, Library Courtyard

CMS Back-to-School Picnic
5:30 pm
Weekly Post Reminders: 
To submit an article to the Weekly Post, please send it to [email protected].  Deadline is Thursday at noon.  See the PVSD website for more information

Don't Miss the Family Nature Journaling Workshop this Thursday

Please don't miss the very special opportunity to participate in PVSD's family nature journaling workshop this coming Thursday, September 19th.  PVSD will be hosting John Muir Laws, an artist, naturalist, author, educator and leading proponent of nature journaling for a day of scientific observation and investigation.  Students at both Corte Madera (grades 4 and 5) and Ormondale (all grades) will participate in nature journaling activities during their school day.  All parents will then have the opportunity to join John and their children at 3:30 pm on September 19th at Ormondale for a family workshop on nature journaling. 


Thank you to the parents who have generously volunteered to help students with nature journaling activities during the school day on the 19th.  We still need volunteers to help with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes.  (Contact Sally Aalfs at [email protected] to sign up.)  John will be holding a training session for volunteers and staff on Wednesday, September 18th at Ormondale (1:00 - 2:30 pm) and at Corte Madera (2:25-3:15 pm).  We highly encourage you to attend.  If you have a conflict, volunteers should be sure to attend the Ormondale or Corte Madera assembly on Thursday.  Classroom volunteers will be needed at different times on the 19th depending on what grade they're assisting.   


The schedule for the 19th is as follows:


8:30-9:15  Assembly at Ormondale

9:35-10:35  K / 1st grade journal outside with John

10:45-11:45  2nd / 3rd grades journal outside with John

1:00-1:45  Assembly at Corte Madera

1:45-3:00  4th / 5th grades journal outside with John

3:30-4:30  Family workshop at Ormondale for all PVSD families

Join Us for Brochure Night 9/19!
Come join us this Thursday at Alpine Hills Tennis & Swimming Club from 6:00-8:00pm for dinner and a glass of wine while we assemble mailers for the Portola Valley Schools Foundation.  Everyone is welcome - no RSVP required.  Don't miss this opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbors while supporting our schools!
Questions?  Contact Beth Gillbrand at [email protected].
TB Testing
All Ormondale and Corte Madera volunteers must have a negative TB test result from within the last 4 years on file in the office.  You may bring the result from your doctor's office, or you can get tested at Ormondale, on Monday, September 30th.  Tests will be given between 7:30am and 10:00am.  Parents will need to return briefly to Ormondale, on Thursday October 3rd between 7:30am and 9:00am to have the test read.  The cost of the test is $20, check or cash.  For returning parents, you may check with the office if you are not sure if your results are current. If you have any questions, please contact Susan McLaughlin.

Please note, parents that have had the BCG vaccine should NOT have this type of TB testing done, they will test positive for tuberculosis.  BCG vaccinated parents will need to provide a note from their physician stating that they are tuberculin free before they can volunteer. 
Safe Routes to School

Ormondale Bike/Walk Day had a record number of participants - 170 bikers, walkers, and bus riders. Bravo to all of the students! And big thanks to all of our volunteers (especially all of our student helpers) for helping pass out fresh apples and stickers to all the participants. Next Bike/Walk to School Day is October 9th - mark your calendars! 


Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition presents bicycle and traffic safety concepts at Ormondale
Third Grade Bike Rodeo
Tuesday, September 24, 9:30-11:15 am
Looking for volunteers! If you are a third grade parent who has a passion for bicycling, or who has bicycle mechanic skills, or would just like to come help direct the third graders, please come out and help for all or part of the time. Contact Kari Rust at [email protected]
Free Bicycle Leadership and Skills Course
Starts Monday, September 16 
6 week course after school at CMS
Come try it out and learn about bicycle mechanics, advanced bike skills, road etiquette, and blender bikes!
Sign up information is at the front office of Corte Madera School
Last Year's Gala: List of Party Dates
Thank you again for helping to make this past spring's Gala, Le Cirque Exotique, a huge success!
I hope you have been enjoying your purchases and parties thus far.  For those that misplaced their catalog, here is a reminder of party dates.  You will be contacted through the event organizer with an evite if you haven't already.  Tax receipts for item and party donors will be coming from the Gala business Chair, Taylor Hinshaw.
Julie Dyson, Auction Chair
Patronize Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and support our schools!

The PVSF has partnered with Special Patron to the District, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, to benefit our schools. There are two ways you can participate:

  • Make your jewelry purchases at Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and 10% of the purchase price will be donated back to the Foundation.
  • Sell your precious metals, diamonds, colored gemstones and watches to Stephen Silver and 10% of the total sale will be donated back to the Foundation.

You private appointment will be at the Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry Salon: 2055 Woodside Road, Suite 200, Redwood City, CA 94061   650-325-9500


For additional information, please contact Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry at 650-325-9500 or [email protected].

eScrip and Amazon.com Shopping Program
Each year the Portola Valley Schools Foundation pays for classroom supplies for every student in the district using funds raised through the eScrip and Amazon.com programs.  All you need to do to help is to go to www.escrip.com and register your credit cards and Safeway Club Card (if you have one).  Please make sure to direct donations to the Portola Valley Schools Foundation.  
Your direct purchases at Amazon.com also support our programs, teachers, and children.  You simply go through the  pvschoolsfoundation.org link to Amazon, sign in with your own account, and shop!  Portola Valley Schools Foundation will receive a minimum of 4% of every purchase made through this method and, aside from the extra click, you should see no difference in your shopping experience.
Shop at Village Stationers
Shop at Village Stationers and they will give $$$ back to the Portola Valley-PTO!!
Village Stationers will give back 10% of total purchases (not including sales tax) made between August 1st-September 30th.
When paying, just mention you are from (or supporting) Ormondale and/or Corte Madera Schools.
Store Locations:
719 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park
310 South California Ave., Palo Alto
220 Main Street, Los Altos
Some PTO sponsored activities include:  Cultural Art Assemblies, Back to School Picnics, Sports Fairs, Cocoa Breakfasts, BBQ Lunches, TB Tests, Years of Service Regonition, Founder's Day, Emergency Preparedness, Back to School Packets, Turkey Trot and Family Bingo Night.

Ormondale Home
Kevin's Corner

Dear Families,

 Have you been to the local library lately?  What an amazing resource we have!  Angela Luis, Portola Valley Librarian, and Suzy Dickinson, our Ormondale librarian, have worked together to bring exciting events to our community.  These activities bring excitement and education to your children.  Here are some events that are planned for this year.


International Literacy Day - We had 60 kids fill out postcards about a favorite book and those postcards will be sent to Pacifica.  We will read postcards from the students at Pacifica.


Read for the Record - This event, on October 3rd, involves children around the world reading the same book on the same day.  Last year over 2,000,000 students read the book. 


Library Card Campaign - The library reaches out to 1st grade students to make sure all students and families have the opportunity to apply for a library card.  Applications go home with the students and can be returned through the school. 


Author Festival - Each year the Portola Valley Library brings an author to Ormondale to speak and talk about being an author.  Mac Barnett is scheduled to speak at Ormondale this year. 


Bookmobile - The San Mateo County Public Library Bookmobile will be visiting Ormondale this year.  It is a popular event.


Poetry Contest - This event is sponsored by the Friends of Portola Valley Library and showcases the writing talents of the local school children. 


Summer Reading Program - To address summer learning loss, the public library sponsors a reading program with prizes and fun programs.  The children's librarian comes to Ormondale at the end of the school year to promote new library materials and talk about the program.   


Our events are here!  We hope that you can join us for the following events. 


Nature Science Investigation with Jack Muir Laws -  Thursday, September 19th - The students, staff and volunteers will participate in nature journaling activities during the school day, followed by a free nature journaling family event, led by Jack Muir Laws, in the afternoon from 3:30 to 5:00 pm.   


Ormondale Telescope Celebration - Friday, September 20th - Come see our newly installed telescope and find out what it can do! The Portola Valley School District and the Cork Institute of Technology invite you to a community reception at Ormondale School. You can find more information at https://ormtelescope.eventbrite.com/.


Community Coffee - Friday, September 20th from 8:20 to 9:20 am in the courtyard.  The coffee is a chance to hear about upcoming events, ask questions, and connect with community members.  I look forward to seeing you at one of our community coffee events.


We had two great events this last week and would like to thank these people. 


Ormondale BBQ - A big thank you to our organizers Brook Coffee and Caroline Krauskopf and the many volunteers who helped put together a fabulous family event.  Thank you to Naomi Reynolds, Ryan Coffee, Jorge Vasquez, Mark Holmes, Aimee Armsby, Jennifer Scher, Sinda Mein, Carrie Davis, Sarah Dorahy, Mike Armsby, Colin Duwe, Sean Bourke, and Yanting Zhang.


Bike/Walk to School Day - Thank you to Kari Rust and her volunteer team of Stacey Low, Tricia Christensen, Katherine Gilpin, and John Bamber.  We have 170 people walk or bike to school.  Great job!



Spirit Gear - Thank you to Aimee Armsby for increasing our school spirit and selling spirit gear at our opening events. 


If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact me at [email protected] or 650-851-1777.




Kevin F. Keegan     

The Book Fair is Coming!!

Did you know this annual event is the sole fundraising source for our library? Mark your calendars for Sept. 27- Oct 4 when Ormondale's MUR will be transformed into a "Reading Oasis".  

Corte Madera Home
CMS Yearbook Orders - Last Chance for Early-Bird Pricing

It's not too late to order Corte Madera Yearbooks for your student!

Yearbooks can still be ordered at the Early-Bird cost of $40 until this Friday, September 20th. After this date, the price increases to $50.
The yearbook captures the spirt of CMS and includes students and events from EVERY grade level. This will be a keepsake you and your student can look back on for years to come.
Dedication space of 1/4, 1/8, or 1/16 pages are also available for purchase. These are great opportunities for families of any grade-level student to include a personalized message of love and support.
Order forms are available in the school office. For questions, please email Tim Sato ([email protected]).

Timothy Sato
Teacher - 7th Grade Social Studies & Yearbook Advisor
SART is a Big Diehl at CMS
First Days of School
 SART is a big Diehl at Corte Madera!
Room 701 is always abustle with life and activity.  For parents new to CMS, SART stands for Science and Art Relaxation Time.  The relaxation part is more wishful thinking with all of the excitement over our miniature zoo/museum.
Parents are always welcome to visit on a drop in basis.  Assistance supervising is also welcome!!
Lunch period is from 12:30 to 1:10 M, Tu, Th, & Friday. Please, drop in!!
These images speak for themselves!

(Canine guest stars help out on weekends only :))

ABC Language at CMS 
Dear Parents of 4th and 5th Graders,
ABC Languages will be available again this year to provide Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese language program for grades 4 & 5. ABC Languages is a fee-based, outside vendor that provides language enrichment under a facilities use agreement with the District. Their staff are fingerprinted and cleared to work with students. Here is more information on content and how to sign your child up.
CONTENT: The languages will be taught through games, play, music and interactive conversation. The textbook and workbook will provide a springboard for interaction with the teacher adding fun interactive content to make the language come alive and promote fun while learning.
SCHEDULE:  Wednesdays 12:50-2:10pm at Corte Madera
START/END DATES:  September 18th until January 15, 2014
GRADES/LEVELS: Total Beginner for grades 4 & 5, Level II for 5th graders who took the same language last school year, or 4th graders with a background in the language
TUITION:  $375 + $45 materials fee; total fee of $420
HOW TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD:  Click on this link below and fill in your and your child's information: 
If you prefer to enroll over the phone, you may reach ABC Languages at 650-204-7908.
Interested in learning more about ABC Languages? Check out their website here: www.abclanguagesf.com.
John Dean
Director of Learning and Media
Portola Valley School District
CMS Back-to-School Picnic
Don't miss CMS's Back to School Family Picnic on Friday, September 20th from 5:30 pm-7 pm sponsored by the PV-PTO. 
Please bring a salad, side dish or dessert to share. Amigos Grill will provide burritos.  Our kids will enjoy field games organized by the 8th grade leadership class, inflatable obstacle courses, and music by CMS's own DJ G WAWA.  For questions or to volunteer contact [email protected].  

Community Calendar and Events
Bird Discovery Day

The Portola Valley Nature and Science Committee is hosting Bird Discovery Day on

Sunday, October 27, 2:00 to 5:00 pm. We hope you will save the date and join with us.

Highlights will include:
  • Making birdhouses & gliders
  • Examining feathers, eggs, nests, and bird specimen
  • Information about identifying and observing local birds
Girl Scouts will be on hand vending treats.
Please contact Yvonne Tryce at [email protected] or Treena Joi Diehl at [email protected] for more information or to volunteer materials or services.
"Halloween Heroes" Costume Drive - Helping Homeless Families

The Portola Valley Cub Scouts and Brownies are joining together to help make Halloween fun for local families in need.  We'll be collecting new and gently-used costumes in all sizes during the week of September 30th.  The scouts will collect costumes for donation to the InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN).  IVSN is dedicated to helping local homeless families and individuals return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.  In San Mateo County alone, the IVSN serves approximately 80 families at any given time, with children from infancy up through 17.  In the past 9 years, IVSN has helped more than 500 families return to homes of their own (more than the entire PV School District), and has achieved a success rate of over 90%. All kids deserve to have a costume for Halloween!  Please dig through your closets and old boxes to support your community by donating a costume.  If you prefer to donate cash, we will purchase costumes to make sure we have a wide range of sizes.  Look for more details about collection points at Ormondale, Corte Madera and around PV in coming weeks. For more information, please contact Rich Zamboldi at [email protected] or Kristi Travers at [email protected]. 

Society of Young Inklings 

Novelist's Workshop

Draft your novel in the company of friends! In this workshop, young writers will explore the finer points of story development through creative activities, facilitated critique sessions, writing time and one on one conferring with author, Naomi Kinsman.

Grades 4th-8th Tuesdays 3:30-4:30 Sept 10-Oct 29


Spilling Ink: Build A Story

Through Society of Young Inklings' playful blend of active improv games, writing activities and investigation of the techniques used in well-loved books, each young writer will create their own short story.

Grades 2nd-5th Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 Sept 11-Oct 30


Words and Pictures

Students will explore the process of putting a picture book together in the thier own style with drama. Students will improve their picture-making skills, sense of observation, sensitivity to the elements around them, and drawing ability.

Grades 4th-8th Tuesdays 4:30-5:30 Sept 10-Oct 29


Classes are offered at the Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory. Tuition for each class: $235. 

Register through PVTC:  http://www.pvtc-ca.org/Class_Schedule.html  
SmartFit Kids at Menlo Swim and Sport
Acclaimed for coaching excellence, Menlo Swim and Sport's SmartFit Kids is an after-school homework and tutoring program at Burgess that provides academic coaching and homework oversight for students from first to fifth grades. Open Monday - Thursday, 3:30-5:30pm. Visit our website for more details  http://www.menloswim.com/menlo/camp_menlo/smartfitkids.html