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Weekly Post
September 23, 2013
Superintendent's Message

I had the privilege of drumming with many of the 6th graders this week while I was covering a class, and it was one of the highlights of my tenure. John Muir Laws graced both campuses on Thursday and many students shared their journals and experiences. Friday night was a busy evening out at the Corte Madera Back to School BBQ, followed by the celebration of our new telescope over at Ormondale.


The State Board of Education approved the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) last week. This means the standards that many states have already adopted for science will also be covered in California. It's important to note that these are not "Common Core" standards, as the Common Core folks trademarked their work in Math and Language Arts and said they would not add other subjects. The National Science Teachers Association and others designed the NGSS and they were piloted and reviewed nationally. The one thing unresolved is whether middle schools will integrate the three areas of science (earth, life, physical) or keep them separate with single subjects taught in different grades. We'll wait to see what happens with that.


PVSD would like to invite interested district parents and teachers to attend Challenge Success's fall parent education event on October 4th at 7pm at Stanford's Memorial Auditorium.  This year's keynote speaker is Daniel Pink, author of 5 books, including New York Times best-sellers A Whole New Mind, Drive and To Sell is Human.  Pink will be joined by Madeline Levine and Denise Pope, Challenge Success cofounders, for an interactive discussion about the meaning of success and how families and educators can help youth thrive in the fast-paced world in which we live.   

Challenge Success, which is housed within Stanford's Graduate School of Education, is dedicated to promoting a broader vision of youth success.   It brings together research from education, psychology, and medicine to help schools and families raise children who are good people, who are truly engaged with learning and who are comfortable in their own skins.   Challenge Success believes balanced kids, not stressed-out over-achievers, will become the healthy, resourceful, thriving adults who will positively impact our world.


PVSD has secured 30 tickets to this event, and they are available FOR FREE to the first 30 district parents or teachers who sign up.  Contact Nicole Cota at  851-1777 x2572 to reserve a ticket.


Perhaps you haven't heard of one of our new staff members. Todd Patterson is currently the Guidance Counselor at Ormondale, filling in for Lisa Vaughn while she is out on maternity leave. Todd is credentialed as a School Counselor. In addition, Todd is registered as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) intern. He has experience in implementing School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Programs, participating in SST, IEP and 504 meetings, instructing classroom lessons, running targeted group and individual counseling, and facilitating social skills programs. Todd's current role includes planning Character Education curriculum at Corte Madera School and providing intensive mental health services for identified students.


Please join Todd and I as we meet with the Learning Differences Advisory Group (LDAG) for its first coffee of the year - Wed. October 2nd from 8:30-9:30 am at Corte Madera, Room 102. LDAG is an amazing support group for parents. If you have some free time, please join us. You'll be exposed to conversations and services that may benefit your own children, or others you know. We want to be proactive in our support for ALL OF OUR CHILDREN, so help us do this work.


Read, read, read to your children. I will too. Right now we're reading a book I learned about while watching 4th/5th grade teachers in a coaching session on "Reader's Workshop." I continue to learn how we all continue to be our children's first and best teachers. Hope you all have a great week.


Lisa Marie Gonzales, Ed.D.
Portola Valley School District
In This Issue
School Photos
Safe Routes to School
TB Testing
PVSF and Stephen Silver
eScrip and Amazon.com
ORM Principal's Message
ORM Language
Book Fair is Coming
CMS Principal's Message
CMS: BTS Picnic
CMS: Marshmallow Challenge
Community Section
This Week's Calendar
Ormondale * Corte Madera * District
Mon, September 23 (B) 
Tue, September 24 (A) 
ORM 3rd Grade Bike Rodeo

CMS Principal's Coffee 8am, Room 102

PTO Meeting 3:30pm, CMS Room 102
Wed, September 25 (B) 
ORM Bike/Walk to School Day

ORM PRIDE Assembly 11:35am
Thu, September 26 (A)  
ORM Book Fair Preview Days & Mystery Reader

CMS Rynewicz Class to Lytton Gardens, 10:30am
Fri, September 27 (B)
ORM Book Fair Preview Days & Mystery Reader

CMS 6/7/8 BBQ Lunch 12:30pm
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

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
Thank You Brochure Night Volunteers

Thank you to all the parents, neighbors, and staff who helped out with Brochure Night!  Special thanks to Alpine Hills for hosting!  The night was a great success and a fun opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbors while supporting our schools.


Donation Day is 10/10/13.  This year an incredibly generous family is donating $100,000 to the Portola Valley Schools Foundation if we collect $800,000 in donations and pledges by Donation Day.  Please help us unlock this $100,000 grant by giving or pledging by Donation Day.  Every donation makes a difference!   

School Photos Coming Soon!
Please mark your calendars...

Photo Day will take place all in one day at each school....in addition to class photos, all individual photos of your child will be taken outside in a natural setting! You will have 5-8 individual poses to choose from and may order as many poses as you'd like. In addition, Color, Black & White and Sepia tone will be available.  PLUS, you will be able to place your order online and your photos will be shipped directly to your home!

PLEASE NOTE: When your child's 
photos are available for ordering, you will receive an email from iClickSmiles ([email protected]) with special ordering instructions.
Questions? Please contact a Photo Day Parent Coordinator:
Corte Madera - Elise Gabrielson at [email protected]
Ormondale - Sarah Byrne at [email protected]
Safe Routes to School
Corte Madera Bike/Walk to School Day a great success

Congratulations to all the scores of bikers, scooterers, and walkers who came out to enjoy our first Bike/Walk Day. Our winning grades for walking to and from school (and earning lots of spirit points!) were: 

8th grade - 105
5th grade - 94  

Mark your calendars for October 11th, International Bike/Walk to School at CMS.
Many thanks to the eighth grade student council and Kristen Shima for all the help with the event

Corte Madera Bike Rodeo

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Every CMS student participated in our very popular Bike Rodeo, held by Safe Moves on the blacktop during PE class. A huge shout out to the 7th and 8th graders for all bringing their own bikes, scooters, and helmets and getting an A+ for excellent participation. Way to go, 7th and 8th graders!
Many thanks to our awesome PE teachers, Dan Flahavan and Kate Cox, who are huge supporters of both this yearly program and all the biking activities for the students. Thanks Dan and Kate!

Ormondale Third Grade Bike Rodeo this Tuesday
Tuesday, September 24th - Third Grade Bike Rodeo for all third graders. This is an annual event for all of our third grade students and is a fun activity to get all the students comfortable with riding skills and traffic safety. Bring your bike OR scooter to school to participate. We will have some extra gear for those who don't have it. Students must have a helmet!

Schedule for the Bike Rodeo:
9:30-10:15  Ms. Fast and Ms. Lebsack
10:35-11:20  Ms. Woolfe and Ms. Meldonian

Parent volunteers still needed! Come help with helmet adjusting and tire inflation and station activities. Please contact Kari Rust at 224-2923.
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. 
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.

Ormondale Home
Ormondale Principal's Message: Kevin's Corner

Dear Families,


We have had an incredibly busy week with lots of learning activities in and out of the class. The students did an amazing job with our Nature Science Investigation Day and our TARA Telescope Celebration. Thank you to all of the parents involved with both events! It has been a great way to start the year and we look forward to building on this positive momentum.


Nature Science Investigation with John Muir Laws

The Nature Science Investigation Day was a huge hit with students, staff and family. Jack presented the power of observation through nature journaling and the kids were mesmerized. Each student, staff and volunteer received their own nature journal and began their nature journaling by observing, drawing and comparing the pieces of redwood trees that are everywhere. Students were engaged in this activity and could be seen nature journaling at lunch time. Thank you to our Innovations in Education Team of Elizabeth Holmes, Stacy Lowe, Sally Alves, Terri Woolfe, Caitlyn Kourtlang, Karen Tate and Daphna Woolfe for bringing Jack to our school.


Ormondale Telescope Celebration

The TARA telescope celebration was another successful day and night! The images of our Portola Valley night sky were beautiful and inspired lots of comments and questions. The students and families saw some amazing images, took a look at the night sky, thank you to Ed Holland, and had a great time.   We are looking forward to exploring the night sky through curriculum and by using images from our telescope connections. Thank you to Claire McSweeney, Dr. Niall Smith and Alan Giltinan from the Cork Institute of Technology at Blackrock Castle Observatory, Denise Tormey from Portola Valley, Dr. Warren, Dr. Claire Raftery from UC Berkeley and, Ed Holland from Portola Valley.


Foreign Language @ Ormondale

Through the start of the year, we have had the opportunity to review foreign language at Ormondale. It is something that we will continue to do in the coming months and years as we thoroughly review our world language across Portola Valley School District. In order to fill the need for a foreign language at Ormondale, ABC Language will be able to offer Spanish and Mandarin in an after-school fee-based class. Please see the information in this Weekly Post about how to sign up.


Book Fair

We have a very exciting Book Fair from September 30th to October 4th. We encourage you to purchase great books for your children, while you support the Ormondale Library. Our first ever Family Night at the Oasis on Tuesday, October 1st from 5:30 to 7:30 will give all families a chance to eat and shop!


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




Kevin F. Keegan     

ABC Language at Ormondale
Dear Ormondale Parents,

ABC Language will be available again as an after-school opportunity at Ormondale. Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language programs will be offered.

CONTENT: Conversational language skills taught through games, play, music and interactive conversation.
SCHEDULE CHOICES:  Mondays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays from 3-4pm
START/END DATES:  Start date week of Oct 21st, 2013, and ending the week of June 9th, 2014
GRADES/LEVELS: K-3, total beginner Level I, and mid-beginner Level II (those who studied last school year or who have a background in the language)
TEACHING METHODS: ABC Languages is a multi-method school with teachers who  draw from a variety linguistic approaches. ABC teachers need to have a minimum of 2 years teaching experience before they interview with ABC. They then hire teachers literate in a multi-method approach for teaching to "multiple intelligences". ABC tends to favor teachers who like to use a "communicative approach" to teaching, who use "Total Physical Response", and who maintain a "student centered classroom". That is to just name a few of the approaches ABC favors. What this all means is the teacher will be speaking mostly in the target language, the focus will be on attaining real-life practical skills. Fun also is an important component to capture and maintain your child's interest in learning.
HOW TO ENROLL YOUR CHILD:  Click on this link below and fill in your and your child's information: http://www.abclanguagesf.com/peninsula/portolavalley.htm
QUESTIONS?:  Please contact ABC Languages at [email protected]  or 650-204-7908
The Book Fair is Coming!!


Are you ready to cool off at the reading oasis?  The book fair opens this Friday, Sept 27 after school!  The first 100 kids to purchase a book will receive a special treat!  Don't forget, the book fair is the sole fundraising effort for our library.  Encourage literacy while supporting our amazing school!!

Important Book Fair Details
Fri Sept. 27
from 3-4 - Afternoon at the Oasis.  First 100 book buyers will cool off with a frozen treat!
Mon Sept 30 - Fair open 7:45am - 4:00pm
Tues Oct 1 - Fair open 7:45am - 1:00pm,  Family Fun at the Oasis.  Food trucks and storytime, 5:00pm  -7:00pm
Wed Oct 2 - Fair open 7:45am -1:00pm
Thurs Oct 3 - Fair open 7:30am - 4:00pm
Fri Oct 4 - Dad's breakfast 7:30am - 8:15am, Fair open 7:30am-12:30pm

Corte Madera Home
CMS Principal: Michael's Message 

Back To School Events

We had two wonderful back to school events recently, our Back to School Night and annual Back to School Picnic hosted by the PTO. September is a wonderful time of the year and the excitement and buzz around school starting up again is contagious. Thank you to our talented teachers and dedicated parents for all their efforts as we partner together for our kids and community.


Social/Emotional Learning

I would like to re-run a recent Post article by Ms. Shima regarding social/emotional learning at CMS. The growth and development of our students in this area is critical, for them as learners but also as contributing global citizens. CMS and Ormondale have worked together to connect the learning experiences for our students as they transition into the 4th and 5th grades. Our social/emotional learning themes at CMS are consistent between the grade levels as well, and our middle-school-aged students greatly benefit from the direct instruction they receive during our Flex period. Of course, social/emotional learning does not happen in a vacuum. Frequently, our themes are also addressed within our everyday curriculum through core books and novels, writing assignments or just our day-to-day interactions we have with each other. So, with that, here is Ms. Shima's article.


"Every month at CMS we will have a different focus as part of our Social/Emotional Learning Program. In 4th and 5th grade, lessons around these monthly themes are delivered to the students in their homeroom by the classroom teachers. For middle school students, these lessons take place in their FLEX classrooms every Friday. We also have morning announcements, assemblies, and special activities that tie into these themes. This month, for September, our theme is Responsibility. All students in grades 4-8 will be talking about what it means to be a responsible individual at school, at home, and in the community."


Nature Journaling

Students, staff and parents enjoyed our time with John Muir Laws and learned so much about field journaling and being an "observer" and scientific investigator. Thank you to our Innovations in Education Committee for bringing John Muir Laws to CMS!


Principal's Coffee

Our first Principal's Coffee of the school year will be on Tuesday, September 24 from 8:00-9:00AM in Room 102. Please join us if you can.


Have a great week!


Michael Corritone


CMS Back-to-School Picnic Thank Yous 
Thank You To All Who Made The CMS Back-To-School Picnic A Success
There are so many ways in which our school community benefits from the partnership between our parents and staff, this great community event being just one example! Thank you PTO! 
Many thanks to those who attended and helped out at the CMS Back-to-School Picnic on Friday, September 20th.  It was a wonderful evening and a great time for us all to enjoy talking with parents, staff, friends and kids.  A big thank you to Mary Jo Kloezeman for chairing this fun evening.

Thank you to all who contributed to making this event a success for our school community, including: Amigos Grill, Wyatt Giampa (AKA: DJ G WAWA),  Karen Allen, James Horn, Jane Leibowitz, Tabitha Jordan, Wendy Rutherford, Melissa Beriker, Lynn Holthaus, Karen Askey, Sylvia Constantz, Gina Rayfield, Naomi Reynolds, Kristi, Skrabo, Liz Landis, Lisa Palermo, Carmen Alvarado, Graciela Martin, Michelle Turner and all the others who stayed afterwards to help clean up!  And finally, thanks to the CMS Student Council volunteers and their advisors, Kristen Shima and Brigetta Brown, who set a spirited and energetic tone for the evening.
6th Grade Marshmallow Challenge
null On September 12, 2013, if you strolled into the  Annex before lunch, you would have seen all 6th grade students working together in small groups on the first STEM design challenge of the year:  The Marshmallow Challenge.

As the creator of this activity Tom Wujec  states, "The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.  The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top."


Enthusiastic 6th graders shared the following:

  • The marshmallow challenge brings out someone's creativity. null

  • It is fun for children to enjoy practice working with people.

  • There is physics, engineering and proportional thinking.

  • A lot of people would think this is easy because kindergartners can do it, but it can get really difficult because you are trying to build the tallest without thinking about the base.

  • This is a good challenge because we don't always get to do things that are competitive that also have to do with school.

  • It gets you prepared to be under pressure, look around and see others who are building higher ones.  If you have 3 minutes left, and your tower is really high and you let go of it and it snaps and breaks, you just have to deal with it.

Teachers Suzanne Burrows, Virginia Downing, Denise Falzon, Crissy Untrecht, and STEM TOSA Curtis Schneider collaborated on this first design project of the year.  We saw children discussing, planning, building, crashing, trying again, realizing that failure is all a part of the process, critiquing, persevering, collaborating, and celebrating each others' successes.


We are all looking forward to the next design challenge.  Try this one for yourself!


Suzanne Burrows, Virginia Downing, Denise Falzon, Curtis Schneider, Crissy Untrecht

Community Calendar and Events
Library Programs 

Teen Program

Calling all College Bound Teens and Parents!  On Wednesday, September 25 @ 7 PM, a representative from Kaplan will present The College Application Essay Workshop.  This 1-hour workshop is designed to show students and parents what college admissions officers want to see in an essay.  The workshop will examine the types of topics students will encounter, cover the four steps to writing a winning essay, and critique a sample admissions essay.  Registration is required.  Sign-up on the Kaplan website at http://www.kaptest.com/class/SKSJ13035, by contacting the library by phone (650.851.0560) or email ([email protected]).


The Portola Valley Library is located at 765 Portola Rd at Town Center.  You can contact us at 650.851.0560 or  [email protected].  Like us on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/portolavalleylibrary

Redwood National Junior Basketball Sign-ups Are Open

Redwood National Junior Basketball (NJB) Sign-ups Are Open - Sign up your son or daughter now.


NJB Winter Basketball registration is now open at  www.redwoodnjb.org.  Our focus is on skills-based instruction, personal growth, and positive competition for kids from 1st through 8th grades in MP, Atherton, PV, Woodside, or EPA.  The season runs from November through February. Deadline for early registration with reduced fees is 9/27!

Woodside Day of the Horse 

On Saturday, October 12th, Woodside celebrates Day of the Horse from 10:00am - 2:30pm at Town Hall. Take a ride on the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, decorate horse cookies, and learn all about the horse clubs, organizations and riding programs in the area. Watch a blacksmith shoe a horse, listen to a pony's heartbeat with an equine veterinarian, and take a picture on a pony! Join us for a carrot cake and apple juice reception. Popular attractions are the pony rides and petting zoo! Admission and activities are free. For more information go to  www.whoa94062.org or email [email protected].

Camp Menlo Holiday Camps
Add a little zip to your school holidays with fun Camp Menlo Swim and Tennis camps! Starting October 14, these one-day camps offered through the end of December offer 45-minute group swim lessons, plus fun land games and crafts. Register today, space is limited! http://www.menloswim.com/menlo/camp_menlo/holiday_camps.html  


Menlo Tennis Academy
Come join the fun on the courts at Burgess Park with Menlo Swim and Sports' Tennis Academy, a beginning program for kids age 6-10 based on the dynamic US Tennis Association 10/Under program, designed to build a foundation of essential skills important to the development of youth tennis players. Novice and advanced novice levels available; lessons Monday and Wednesday afternoons. More information www.menlotennisacademy.com. 
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].