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Weekly Post
December 16, 2013
Superintendent's Message

It's that BUSY time of the year....but just a few more days until vacation.


Here's a quick recap of last week:

Stanford University professor (and Buck Institute of Education Board member) Justin Wells presented on Project Based Learning on Monday night to a small but mighty crowd in the Annex. Click here to see a quick PBL video.


Justin had many analogies about how PBL works with the new Common Core State Standards....and more! If the Common Core is the "what" of student learning, PBL is the "how." Most fundamental is the defining characteristic: a project is a creation over time. Students are put into the service of analyzing their work and reflecting, revising and recreating.


On Tuesday night, the "master schedule design team", led by facilitator Coelyn Berry, had a share-out from their research and interviews with students, parents, and staff (and visits to other sites) on what is working well and what could improve the master schedule and experience. There will be a follow up meeting in February, so stay tuned for prototypes on what might work in the future. By the way....the anecdotes I'm hearing about the student voice and participation? INVALUABLE!


A huge thanks to our Innovations in Education team for their hosting and support of both events last week.


Director of Teaching & Learning John Dean and I hosted two coffees this week on the "Common Core State Standards." Here is an overview if you'd like to watch a bit about it from the 30,000 foot view.


I was disheartened to hear that the efforts of our PVSF to support our schools was thwarted by a high level banking scheme, but the cooperation with law enforcement and the insurance to cover the theft is a blessing. Thank you to all who have donated and who volunteer for PVSF. It's a shame that there are folks in the world who commit crimes like this.


Have you noticed the Twitter feed on our website? Check out the picture from last Friday's "skating rink" at Ormondale.

In This Issue
PVSF Thank You
Traffic Reminders
eScrip and Amazon.com
PTO Fundraiser
ORM Principal's Message
ORM Science News
Pajama Drive
CMS Principal's Message
Dean Shima Message
Community Section
This Week's Calendar
Ormondale * Corte Madera * District
Mon, December 16 (A)
CMS: Trust in Education 9:25am 
Tue, December 17 (B)
School Board Offsite Retreat 4pm
Wed, December 18 (A)
ORM Winter Concert 8:30am
Thu, December 19 (B) 
CMS Tech Exploration Class to Computer History Museum, Mt. View

CMS Winter Concert & Art Show 5:30pm 
Fri, December 20 (A)
Shortened Day Early Dismissal
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

Finally, the Governing Board approved a set of district expectations, now known as  the Portola Valley Way: Collaboration, Integrity and Respect. Thank you to those who responded to the survey (close to 175 responses) and for the constructive feedback in the design of the expectations. You can read the final version HERE and watch for posters around our sites in the near future and the emphasis on these expectations in our work.


Happy Holidays!


Lisa Gonzales


Thank You We Made It
THANK YOU!  The Annual Campaign has ended and WE MADE OUR $1,000,000 GOAL because of YOU!  We are still counting all the donations but will finish at or above 79% participation.  THANK YOU to everyone who helped with the campaign, to the very generous grant donors, to the families in the district and community, and to the staff at our award winning schools!  We are so fortunate to be part of such a strong community that supports and encourages excellence in education!
Your made a difference today!

A letter was sent out regarding the recent Almanac article.  If you did not receive it, please view the link here: www.pvschoolsfoundation.org   Please check to make sure your spam filter does not filter out PVSF emails to receive our emails in the future. 
PVSD Traffic Reminders
Below is a message from our School Resource Officer, Deputy Ron Derespini:

1. - Please make sure your child stays buckled into their seats until they are ready to exit the vehicle. I'm seeing a lot of kids taking their belts off on the surface roads leading to the schools, and this is where the majority of our accidents are occurring.
2. Parents, please pay attention while you are driving around the school. No cell phone, texting, etc. I have seen two incidents of parents nearly colliding with children crossing the street, and both times the parents have been distracted somehow.
3. - Please pay attention and follow, any traffic control signs near schools. These signs are there for everyone's safety, and need to be followed accordingly.

There has been an up-tick in citations issued lately, but I would be more pleased if we did not have to issue any citations, and instead just had smooth flowing traffic. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and I'll see you out there!
Perfect for Holiday Shopping, the Amazon School Rewards Affiliate Program - It Just Adds Up!
Did you know our schools can earn an average of 7% of every purchase made on Amazon with our School Rewards Affiliate Program?   

Let's say you're holiday shopping on Amazon with a shopping cart of say, $300. If you had linked through our rewards program, that would translate to about $21. No much you say. But if 100 families spend $300 on Amazon, that's $2100! If 100 families spend $300 at Amazon every month, that would be $25,200 a year for the kids. It just adds up!

It's simple and free to participate. Simply click this special link (encoded for PV schools) and then bookmark the page. Shop and check out as normal with your own account and you'll earn money for our schools automatically. The next time you want to shop, go back to your saved PV School Rewards Affiliate Program bookmark to access Amazon again. 

So remember, if you're Amazon shopping, go to bookmarks, and click the link!  It just adds up!   
(And make sure you tell your spouse, friends, and family!)
Shop at Honey Bear Trees and Cheeky Monkey Toys...

... to help raise money for the PV-PTO!

We have two easy ways to raise money for the PV-PTO during the holidays.

If you are buying a tree or wreath for the holidays, HONEY BEAR TREES at 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City, or 1579 El Camino, San Carlos or 2495 S. Delaware St., San Mateo they will donate 15% of the sale to our schools!

Simply bring this flyer when you purchase your tree and/or wreath. (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot). It's that simple!

Redwood City lot opens November 23rd, San Carlos lot opens November 23rd and San Mateo November 28th.

When you shop at CHEEKY MONKEY TOYS at 640 Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Park between November 25-December 6, 10% of your net purchase will go to our schools. Just tell them you are from Ormondale or Corte Madera.  This includes online shopping as well at www.cheekymonkeytoys.com. As always, Cheeky Monkey offers complimentary gift wrapping and assembly. Spread the word to your family and friends.

Ormondale Home
Kevin's Corner

Dear Families,


We have had a very exciting week with more cold weather and an ice skating rink for a playground. The students have practiced being safe, as they walk around the slippery obstacles and navigate their way through the icy fields. The weather has us ready for the end of 2013 and the start of 2014. We want to wish you all a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


When our students return from vacation, they will be welcomed back to our school, their classrooms, and the opening of The Lab @ Ormondale. Starting in January our students will experience STEM activities, with the support of our STEM Coach Mr. Schneider. Our kick off activity will center on early programming skills and will present some collaborative learning opportunities. We are excited to start to using the lab and we are looking forward to all of the learning opportunities it presents. Thank you to the many volunteers who have helped prepare the lab for our students. We are still in need of a number of supplies. Here is a small list of items that you may find during your holiday vacation. If you would like to donate them, drop them off in the office. Supplies: cardboard tubes (wrapping paper, paper towels, toilet paper), all kinds of tape, wire, cotton balls, straws, legos, magna tiles, and small pieces of wood, cardboard (not boxes) or plastic. Mark your calendars, Friday, January 24th at 6:00 pm, for Science Family Night to see Science Experiments, Inventions, and a chance to experience The Lab @ Ormondale.  


It is the time of year that our least favorite bugs, head lice, begin to show up in schools. This year has been no different. According to the California Department of Public Health, "head lice, while a significant social problem, do not transmit disease to humans." Our goal is to keep the students and our school lice free, while supporting families who may have to deal with head lice. We do not allow sharing of hats or headwear and work with kids to minimize contact that could spread lice. If you are concerned about head lice or receive a notice that your child's class been exposed to head lice, it is recommended that you check your child's head daily, for a period of ten days. We have a number of resources available for families concerned with lice and our office staff and Nurse Abbe are happy to help.


Upcoming Events


Winter Concert

Our students and staff are preparing an amazing concert that you are sure to enjoy. The concert is set for Wednesday, December 18th from 8:30 am - 10:00 am.


Science Family Night

Join us for a fun family night, Friday, January 24th from 6:00 - 7:00 Pm, with our Science Fair, Invention Expo and The Lab @ Ormondale Open House.  


We are looking forward to seeing you all at the Winter Concert and celebrating our student's musical talents.   If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact me at [email protected] or 650-851-1777.  Have a wonderful vacation.




Kevin F. Keegan

Ormondale Science News

Don't forget that Ormondale's Science Fair and Invention Convention is coming up January 22nd-24th. Family Science Night will be 6:00-7:00 on the last day of the Fair- Friday the 24th. Look for the Science Fair Brochures, or a digital copy thereof, to be coming your way next week!  


1st graders designing a cricket superhighway!

 1st Grade -   This month we are wrapping up our Solids, Liquids and Gases Unit with some memorable labs: We just completed an Ice Cream Phase Change where we lowered the temperature of ice by adding salt to it, and used this phenomenon to turn a liquid mixture into a solid- ice cream! We then collected evidence on our lab by eating the final experiment- it was delicious! During the third week of  December all the 1st grade classes will participate in a Bubble Festival in Science that will bring together all the states of matter to make fantastic bubbles of all shapes and sizes. Please contact your child's classroom teacher if you might be able to volunteer to help in Science the week of December 9-13th . It should be memorable!

2nd graders design some amazing new Dinos in Science- check them out in the Ormondale office!



2nd Grade -  The second graders are just completing our Pebbles, Sand and Silt unit

by taking a geologic side trip into the "Stories that Rocks Tell." We are doing this by learning about how fossils are made in the natural word- and by then making our own plaster of paris "fossils" during the week of December 9-13th. 

  The following week we will have a scavenger hunt to find the hidden fossils and each student had the chance to be a Paleontologist, and unearth the surprize hiding in the fossil they had found. Please contact your child's teacher if you can volunteer during either of these exciting, and very hands-on, weeks of Science!

Next up is a Physical Science unit called Balance and Motion where we will start out by learning some of the basic means of measuring, and exploring the benefits of having a standard means of measurement.



3rd graders pondering the parts of a crayfish

3rd Grade -   After completing our Structures of Life unit, and finishing up with our crawfish and snail observations, the third grade Matter and Energy unit is now rolling right along. This past week we have been exploring all different types of energy, and have tested out different energy sources (like the sun, motion, chemical, sound and heat) and contrasted these to stored energy (like in batteries, food and wood). In the upcoming weeks we are going to be exploring the properties of light: that what we see is reflected light, that light travels in a straight line, goes REALLY fast (!), and travels in waves of different lengths (which gives us colors, among other things!). This unit will continue until the winter break.

Jeanne Rusch

Ormondale Science         

Kindergarten Pajama Drive

December 2-20th


The kindergarten classrooms are collecting NEW pajamas for the Scholastic Pajama Program.  Pajama Program is a nonprofit organization that provides new books and new pajamas to children in need, many of whom are waiting and hoping to be adopted. Since 2001, Pajama Program has donated over one million pajamas and books to children nationwide.  There will be boxes at Ormondale to drop off pajamas in the office, library, and Room 5.  Kindergarten children will be coming to school in their pajamas on the last day of collection Friday, December 20th.  Make a child's holiday season bright!


Contact Sherry Andrighetto [email protected]


Here's What We Need:

*Brand-new pajamas in all sizes, from newborn to adult(Please do not donate used pajamas)

*Pajamas must be complete sets-a top and bottom or an appropriate nightgown

*Pajamas for all seasons, but especially for the winter months.

Corte Madera Home
Michael's Message

Incoming 6th Grade Information Meeting

There will be an informational meeting about the middle school program at CMS on Thursday, January 9 from 8:15 - 9:15AM in Room 102. All 4th and 5th grade parents are encouraged to attend to hear about middle school and the transition into 6th grade. You will also receive information about the success rates of our students when they graduate from Corte Madera and move on into high school.


New 4th and 5th Grade Progress Report Information Meeting

It's been over a year in the making...Our new 4th and 5th grade progress report will be rolled out at the end of January. Our new report is common core standards aligned and was thoughtfully created by our staff to provide parents and students with tangible feedback regarding learning and application of our new standards. More specific information will be shared after New Year's about when and how parents will receive mid-year reports on student progress. Two informational meetings have been scheduled for Tuesday, January 14 8:15-9:00am and Thursday, January 16 from 3:15-4:00pm. Both meetings will be in Room 102. We hope you are able to attend one of the meetings.



As we approach winter break and reflect back on the past five months, I am so pleased with what our students, parents and staff have accomplished together so far this school year. Our staff has put amazing energy and skill into the transition to common core instruction and integrated learning and we continue to push ourselves to best meet the needs of our creative and curious students to develop their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.


In the future, you will continue to see more and more amazing "thinking work" with reading, writing and math, STEM, differentiation, service learning, creative expression and Project-Based Learning infused throughout our instruction. It is energizing work that could not happen without incredible parent support. Thank you for your volunteerism, generous financial support and the time, energy and effort you give our students and staff each and every day. Moving forward, we will work to continue and strengthen our instruction together as our common core journey continues. I look forward to what the remainder of the school year brings for our students. I hope all Corte Madera families have an enjoyable and safe holiday season and I look forward to seeing our Panthers back at CMS when we return in January.


Michael Corritone


A Message From Dean Shima


"Respect for ourselves guides our morals;
respect for others guides our manners."

Laurence Sterne


This month at CMS, we are focusing on Respect. Students are being asked to describe how their families show respect towards one another and also to define what respectful behavior should look like at school. In addition, they are asked to share a time when they have been disrespectful at either home or in school and to discuss and reflect as to what triggers disrespectful behaviors in kids.


Also, during FLEX time this month, we will be talking to the students about Service Learning opportunities. Nurturing connected, contributing global citizens is a focus area of our Strategic Plan and exploring service learning options is a key component. On Monday, we had an assembly for all middle school students to remind them about the importance of Service Learning. We invited a speaker from Free the Children http://www.freethechildren.com to explain their organization and also empower students to care about local and global issues. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with a liason from this organization and will also be guided by their FLEX teacher in understanding the value of Service Learning. Our hope is that some students will become interested and passionate about a certain cause and will be inspired to take action. We will follow up again in January with our yearly all school assembly from Budd MacKenzie- Founder of Trust in Education (TIE) http://www.trustineducation.org. For years, many Corte Madera students and staff have taken part in Service Learning projects that directly benefit this cause.


CMS Student Activities and Information


- 4th/8th grade Buddy Activity Tuesday, December 17th at lunch.


- Holiday Door Decorating Contest taking place in 4/5 classrooms and FLEX classrooms- winner to be announced on Thursday, December 19th.


- CMS Music Assembly Thursday, December 19th after lunch.


- All CMS Lost and Found will be donated during the holiday break. Please make sure to stop by the CMS lost and found and look for missing items.


- Open Enrollment Transfer Requests for the Sequoia Union High School District are due January 17, 2014 by 4 p.m.


- Private high school transcript requests and recommendation forms need to be turned into CMS Office Manager Kathy Hoskin as soon as possible. There is a $25 processing fee for each "family" of schools your child is applying to.


- In January, we will be offering a Bridge Club after school on Mondays, from 3:15-4:15 at CMS. This is for 5- 8th graders and is a free program. The advisor will be CMS teacher, Justine Hedlund, and there will be instructors from Silicon Valley Youth Bridge teaching students how to play bridge! Please email me if your child is interested in joining this club.


- We will be offering a new elective- "STEM" (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics) starting 2nd semester, January 21st, for 7th grade students. Our STEM Teacher on Special Assignment, Curtis Schneider, will be teaching this course and students will be solving many design challenges that incorporate all facets of "STEM". Units may include robotics, building a crystal radio, and students will be collaborating, designing, creating, and working in teams. We are very excited to be offering this course, so please email me if your child is interested in enrolling in this elective. It will take place during 6th period on B days and we will be getting more detailed information to the students over the next couple of weeks.


Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!


Go Panthers!

Kristen Shima

Dean of Students

STEM Fair 2013-2014

The STEM Fair once again is upon us, and I'm sure we're all excited about seeing the great projects the students produce. Our CMS Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fair will be held from Jan 8th - 9th , in the MUR. A science reception will be on Thursday evening, Jan 9th, from 6-7:00 p.m. All projects need to be taken home on Thursday evening. Projects advancing to the County Science Fair will be announced that evening.


Project drop-off will be on Tuesday, Jan 7th from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the MUR. Please check the science fair brochure/website for the project drop-off form. This will ensure that all students are credited with the correct project.


All students are encouraged to participate in this exciting event. Science Fair is a wonderful way for students to use the Scientific Method to answer a question, or exercise their problem solving and critical thinking skills by making a great invention. Please review the STEM Fair brochure (available online) with your child to review safety precautions and other information.


"But how can I help and support my child in this endeavor?" you may ask. I'm glad you did! We need parent volunteers to help the science department judge our wonderful projects for submission to the County STEM Fair. If you'd like to help judge, please contact any member of the CMS science team: Ms. Brown ([email protected]), Ms. Diehl ([email protected]) or Ms. Burrows ([email protected]).


Thanks in advance for your always-appreciated support.


CMS Science Department

Community Calendar and Events
Got Books? 
Thanks to the generous PVSD school community and the PV community, we have collected books, shipped, and set up 14 children's libraries in Lesotho, Botswana, Ghana, and Swaziland as part of African Library Project. 

We are now collecting more books for libraries in Malawi and Sierra Leone.


If your have gently used children's books in English, K through 8th grade, we would love to get them and make sure they end up in a children's library in Africa. We are happy to pick up, or you can always drop off at 405 Cervantes Road.


Questions? Contact [email protected] (CMS parent) or [email protected] (PV resident).

We truly appreciate your help. Thank you!
PVTC Winter Classes 
Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory (PVTC) offers imaginative, challenging THEATRE CLASSES this winter! 

PVTC's classes are open to students of all skill level, novice to experienced in Pre-K through high school. In addition to teaching acting skills, these classes build self-confidence and encourage collaboration with peers. Each week, students learn about theatre through well-loved theatre games and creative acting exercises. Students also rehearse a short play that is performed at the end of our 8-week session for family and friends. One of the highlights of the performance, in addition to the fact that all students get lines, is using simple costumes, props, & lighting, and performing the play on a real stage.  Our winter theme is water, so all of our short plays will center on classic stories about rain, the ocean, or other water forms. All classes begin the week of January 6. Register online at www.pvtc-ca.org. Questions? Email  [email protected] 
Jeff Arons' Spring Tennis Program At Sacred Heart Schools 



Programs for Adults and Juniors


Jeff Arons is the director of tennis for Sacred Heart Schools.  His coaching experiences include founding/directing the East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring Program and coaching a Wimbledon doubles champion.


Website:  www.jeffaronstennis.com 

Email: [email protected]

Windmill School Space Available 

Windmill School in Portola Valley has a few spaces available in their Pre-K program for children eligible for Kindergarten in the fall of 2014.   Children who are age eligible for 2013-14 Kindergarten, but prefer a preschool program for another year due to summer/ fall birthday may also attend our Pre K program.  The class meets Monday through Thursday from 1-4pm with a 1:8 ratio. Windmill School is a play-based school designed to focus on children's interest through open - ended exploration. Our classroom opens to a large private playground giving the children access to indoor/outdoor play depending on their preferences. Children are active participants in problem solving and conflict resolution fostering the self - regulation and executive function they need in Kindergarten.


If you are interested please contact our director Thankamma Poulose at 650-851-0771 ext. 2#. For additional information please visit www.windmillschool.com.

Christmas Holiday Youth Basketball Camp 
HOOPS of HOPE & Portola Valley based FUTURE STARS HOOPS ACADEMY bring you its 5th Annual Christmas Holiday Basketball Camp. Future Stars has recently teamed up with Hoops of Hope (http://www.HoopsOfHope.org), a non-profit organization that raises money to help African children who have been orphaned by HIV & AIDS. Future Stars will be donating a portion of the proceeds earned for each registered camper. So get in the Holiday spirit and register your child not just for Hoops, but for Hope!

Camp Runs Saturday December 21st - Tuesday December 24th


RSVP your child(ren) w/ email addressed to [email protected]

Email should include: Name, Age, & Gender of child(ren)

Dates: December 21st - 24th, 2013

Time: 9am - 3pm (December 24th: 9am - 12 noon)

Ages: 6 - 13


Woodside Priory School

302 Portola Road

Portola Valley 94028


!! Just $275 for 21 hours of fun and expert instruction!!

*Discount available for siblings and/or referrals*

"The Bay Area's Best Camp" (Bay Area Parent Magazine) This Winter Break

 Legarza Philosophy & Information:

Legarza Camps give children the knowledge and motivation they need to achieve their personal best in sport and life. Over 100,000 children have experienced and benefited from our 24-year, tested and proven system. Our program is tailored to help your young athlete succeed on and off the court in a safe, professional and encouraging environment of learning and fun. 
This Winter Break will be offering a Basketball and All-Sports Camps at JLS Middle School from Dec 23rd-27th, 2013 and Dec 30th-Jan 3rd, 2014. Camp is available to all current Kindergarten-8th grade Boys and Girls.
Morning Camp 8:15am-12noon 
Afternoon Camp 1:15am-5pm 
All Day Camp 8:15-5pm 
FREE Extended Care: 7:30 drop off and 5:30 pick up
Daily Rates available as well!
For more information call 415-334-3333 or visit www.LBCcamps.org or see this flyer.
Create Art for Young Children - Winter 2014
Portola Valley Town Center 

Jan. 8th-April 5th
(No classes Feb. 12-22)  

Winter brings flurries of SNOW to many parts of the world, sometimes even here. For this session we will...capture visions of WHITE ANIMALS against snowy backgrounds with white paint, some tinted with a little color...learn about " Snowflake Bentley" and draw snowflakes, keeping in mind no two snowflakes are alike...and sculpt SNOWMEN. Then FROSTY'S magic hat will float through our imaginations and lead us to the book "Magritte's Marvelous Hat" and the world of the SURREALISTS. 
Here we will make collages using recycled fun junk to create surreal scenes. And...of coarse we will end with our ever popular ART SHOW and the MAGIC BRUSH.

Wed.    1-3:00        3-5 yrs.
Wed.    3:30-5:30    K-2nd grade
Thurs.  3:30-5:30    K-2nd grade
Fri.        1-3:00        PreK-K
Fri.        4-6:00        3rd-5th grade
Sat.      10-12:00      4-8 yrs.
Sat.      1-3:00          4-8 yrs

All classes $380 for the session

Teacher: Jeannie Goldman
To register contact Portola Valley Town Hall (650) 851-1700, Cindy ext. 200

Reg. forms available @ their office, 765 Portola Rd. or...


Reg. online (portolavalley.net)
Sign-ups start...Nov. 25th P.V. residents; Dec.9th open reg. 

Alpine Holiday Tennis Clinics

Staying at home this holiday season?  If you're planning on playing on your school tennis team this spring, it's time to begin your pre-season training. Alpine offers daily clinics during winter break, for all levels of player. Sessions are offered weekdays from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm and Saturdays (11 am or 12:30 pm, level dependent).  Pick the days that work for you and bring your friends! Please note that there will be no clinics on either Christmas or New Year's Day.  Open to everyone.  Contact Ogidi Obi at [email protected] for more information or to sign up.