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Weekly Post
January 27, 2014
CMS Principal's Message


Amazingly, we are halfway through the school year! There is always that feeling of, "How did that happen so quickly?" and this year is no different. The end of our first semester is a time for reflection and checking in on the progression of learning for all our students.  


We are excited to have debuted our new 4/5 Progress Report last week. This new report is aligned with the Common Core Standards. It was thoughtfully created so our teachers could capture and communicate each child's individual progress and growth towards our shared learning objectives. We did a significant amount of research to create our new report and, at this point in the school year, it is a "progress report" because we are only halfway through our instructional year. In June, this document will be a final "report card" because we will have a year's worth of information about your student's learning to share with you. We hope you find the new report format communicative and user-friendly.


Our 6th, 7th and 8th graders started their second semester of learning as well this past week. As you know, middle school grades work differently than the progress marks given to our 4th and 5th graders. Semester grades were sent home for all middle school students last week as well and are now a part of their middle school transcript.


Should you wish to review the progress report (4th/5th grades) or report card grades (6th, 7th, 8th grades) with your student, and you feel it is appropriate, I hope you use it to have a conversation about all the hard work and successes your student has already demonstrated and accomplished this year. These reports are also a valuable tool to use as a guide for discussing learning goals for the remainder of the year. I know I always enjoy these conversations with my sons and feel it gives our family shared goals to focus on for the remainder of the school year.


If you have any questions about your student's progress, please make sure to contact his or her teacher(s). As well, your student's teacher will be in contact with you if they have concerns or want to share more information. Middle school families should remember to keep tabs on PowerSchool throughout the semester. Your student's grades are updated at the end of each week.


Finally, please feel free to share any thoughts or concerns you may have with me as we move forward through the school year. I look forward to continuing our shared work to ensure all of our Panthers continue to thrive.


Have a good week.


Michael Corritone


In This Issue
Help Needed
ORM Principal's Message
ORM Musical
CMS Dean Shima Message
CMS PTO Thank You
Community Section
This Week's Calendar
Ormondale * Corte Madera * District
Mon, January 27 (B) 
ORM School Site Council Meeting Room 12 3:20pm
Tue, January 28 (A)
Wed, January 29 (B)

Thu, January 30 (A) 
Kindergarten Parent Visitation/Registration Begins 8:30am

ORM Fast Class to History Museum 8am 
Fri, January 31 (B) 
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

Help Needed
In preparation for this year's Spotlight on Innovations event in May, PVSD needs someone with videography experience to take short video clips in classrooms.  The purpose is to document some of the innovative teaching practices happening in our schools.  Video would then need to be edited and prepared for use at the Spotlight on Innovation event.

If you have videography skills you can lend, please contact Caitlin Kortlang at  [email protected].
 Ormondale Home
ORM Counselor and Principal's Message

Dear Families,


This month at Ormondale we have been focusing on the life skill problem solving.  Problem solving allows us to take a step back and look at the big picture.  It helps us to dissect and analyze our challenges.  In short, it helps us to make choices based on knowledge not emotion.   Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them".   When we allow ourselves to look at the big picture we tend to make more rational choices.        


A large cosmetics company had a problem that some of the soap boxes coming off the production lines were empty. The problem was quickly isolated to the assembly line, which transported the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. The management asked its engineers to solve the problem. They spent much time and money in devising an x-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by staff to watch all the boxes on the line to make sure they weren't empty. A workman hearing about this came up with another solution. He got a powerful industrial fan and pointed it at the assembly line. As each soap box passed the fan, the empty boxes were blown off the line.  It's important to think of multiple solutions for our problems.  Sometimes the simplest idea works the best.  


Here are some ways in which you can help your children problem solve:  


1.  To help deal with problems around the house and within the family, make a "Problem Solving Box".  Family members may write their problems down and put them into the box.  One day/night a week, meet as a family and read the problems.  Collaboratively come up with solutions as a family allowing every person to share their ideas and thoughts.  

2.  When a problem arises, ask your child for solutions.  Try and brainstorm many ways to solve the problem.  

3.  Read a book or watch a television show as a family.  Identify characters who are problem solving.  Identify and discuss what the problem is and what the possible solutions are.  Discuss the consequences of each solution suggested.  

4.  When faced with a decision, help your child weigh the options by making a pro/con list.


Mr. Patterson, Ormondale Counselor


Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Registration

It's hard to believe but Ormondale is ready to kick-off kindergarten registration for the 2014-2015 school year! On Thursday, January 30th at 8:30 am, there will be a Parent Visitation Day for parents whose children will be attending either Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten at Ormondale School in the fall of 2014.   It will begin in the Library with a short orientation and include the opportunity to briefly visit the kindergarten classrooms. Registration forms will be available in the school office following the classroom visits. Please review the following information if you have questions about birthdates and eligibility to start school in the fall:

  • Incoming kindergartners must be five years old on or before September 1, 2014 in order to be registered for Kindergarten.
  • In accordance with the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010, Ormondale will offer a Transitional Kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year for those children with fifth birthdays that fall between September 2, 2014 and December 2, 2014.

Parent Conferences

We are nearing the end of our first semester and looking toward the second half of the school year already. Please mark your calendars for the upcoming Parent Conferences, which will be the week of February 10th-13th.


Upcoming Events

Parent Teacher Conferences

February 10th to February 13th


Our students have come back from the vacation ready to learn. They are working hard and having fun doing it. I am looking forward to a great second half of the year. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact me at [email protected] or 650-851-1777.




Kevin F. Keegan

ORM Musical: Auditions January 29th
Ormondale will present The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley on May 21, 2014 at  8:30 AM and 6PM in the Ormondale MUR. The musical will involve every student of Ormondale in principal roles, dancing, chorus or class songs. The story deals with Stanley and his dreams of traveling and experiencing the world outside of his present life.  Naomi Downing will serve as the stage director and Carlton White as the musical director. 

Auditions will be held on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 beginning at 1PM and lasting until 3PM. There is no preparation required.  Everyone will be taught a song and given acting to do. Please come and help us enjoy Stanley's trip around the world.

Carlton White

Corte Madera Home
A Message from Dean Shima


This week, at our all school assembly, we honored Corte Madera students who earned the 2nd Quarter Character Award.  These awards were given to students who exemplified exceptional character throughout the entire 2nd quarter in all classes and at all times on campus. In order to receive this award, a student must have been first nominated by a CMS staff member and then there had to be unanimous vote of approval by the entire staff.


Students have the opportunity to receive the CMS Character Award at the end of each quarter. Winners are recognized at an all school assembly and also have their names highlighted in our display case. At the very end of the year, students can also nominate their peers for a Character Award by filling out a brief survey, and these students are awarded Peer Character Awards in June.


Last quarter, in November, we honored 29 students, and this quarter we honored 45 students in grades 4-8.


In addition, we also nominate a staff member each quarter that we feel is a great model of exceptional character. Last quarter we honored Ms. Juliet Green, and this quarter the Character Award went to our Speech and Language Specialist, Ms. Mary Ann Chwalek.


At our CMS School Climate Committee meeting last week, staff and students discussed ways to fold in the "Portola Valley Way" of Collaboration, Integrity, and Respect, into our existing criteria and then communicate these expectations out to students and staff. In addition, students on the committee had some great ideas for possibly adding in further recognition for these winners- such as front of the line passes to the hot lunch line, first choice in checking out balls during recess, invitations to the 6-8 BBQ Lunch (if the winner is in 4/5) or invitations to the 4/5 Hot Cocoa Breakfast (if the winner is in 6-8). We are working on developing posters and making morning announcements reminding our students of the Character Award criteria and also of additional recognition opportunities.


The School Climate Committee is also in the process of finalizing a Mid-Year School Climate Survey that will be sent to all students in the next few weeks. We will collect and analyze this data to determine if there are pressing concerns on campus and come up with possible solutions.


I would like to close this article by saying that over the past few months, I have been continually impressed with the level of kindness, friendliness, and respect that I have witnessed from our CMS students. As I walk around at recess, I see many examples of this: 8th graders combining with 4th/5th graders in a 4-Square game together, boys and girls playing a soccer match, a small group of students laughing and engaged in a friendly card game, kids helping each other with their school work, and students simply looking up, smiling, and saying hi as they pass by. The kids seem calm, relaxed and genuinely happy.


A parent who volunteers serving lunch passed along a sweet encounter she had with one of our students this week and I really feel it summarizes what I have been seeing on campus- so I thought it worth sharing. She writes:


I was by myself setting up hot lunch, and a 4th grader walked by heading to her classroom. She smiled and walked on, but then paused, came back and said to me,

"I just wanted to thank you for taking time out of your day to help serve us lunch."

It literally brought tears to my eyes. No one else was around and she didn't seem to be saying it to impress anyone- she just genuinely wanted to thank me. While I think most of the kids at CMS are very polite (almost every single one thanks me every time I hand them their food), I have never had a child take the initiative to just thank me for helping without any prompting by an adult.


Go Panthers.


Kristen Shima

Dean of Students

CMS PTO Thank You
Last Friday, 4th and 5th grade children and
parents enjoyed a festive cocoa breakfast. Along with enjoying bagels and hot cocoa, everyone was entertained with music and dancing from Mr. Frederick's 5th grade class!  A big thank you to the parent volunteers:  Wanda Webb, Tanya Hayes, Becca Lev, Ginny Borelli and James Horn.  And thank you to our wonderful cocoa breakfast chairs Jill Horn and Becky Hilderbrand.

Community Calendar and Events
Menlo Swim and Sport Upcoming Programs 
Junior All Terrain Runners (Jr-ATR)
Join us for an exciting new program for kids age 7-14! Through our fun, non-competitive curriculum, kids will work on all aspects of movement using confidence (obstacle) courses, core & strength work, and running.  http://www.menloswim.com/menlo/junior_atr.html
Camp Menlo Summer Camp
Camp Menlo Summer Camp registration is now open for camps starting June 2, including our award-winning Camp Menlo Aquatics camp for kids age 4.5-9, Jr Lifeguard for age 9-14, Tennis and Swim for age 7-14, Performance Swim for age 9-18, and two Water Polo camps for beginners and more experienced players. Register before January 31 and save $25 on 5-day summer camps! www.campmenlo.com

Mavericks Youth Water Polo 
Menlo Swim and Sport welcomes Brenda Villa, the most decorated female water polo player ever, as the new Head of Mavericks Water Polo. Girls and Boys 12U and 14U teams forming now, register today! http://www.menloswim.com/menlo/youth_swim_teams/mavericks_polo.html 
Alpine Strikers FC PV Academy and Preschool Program 
Alpine Strikers FC is excited to announce the newly structured PV Academy and the preschool soccer program starting at the end of February. Is your child excited about soccer but too young for club soccer? You might find a good program with us! Please visit www.alpinestrikers.org for further details. 

Junior Fitness Programs at Alpine Hills Tennis and Swim Club

You don't have to travel far to get your junior into a Fitness Program. Alpine Hills has a variety of Junior Programs for ALL level athletes. If these classes don't work and you want any personal or small group training we offer that also. Contact Fitness Director Shelly Sweeney at [email protected]

Junior Core Performance - Tues. & Thurs. 3:45 - 4:15pm

This class meets in the programs room on the soft mat.   A boot camp style class for juniors. Includes basic motor skills, hand eye coordination, agility, leg and core strength. Class meets in the activities room. For questions or to sign up contact [email protected]


Junior X - FITNESS   Wednesday's 3:00-3:45 (4th -8th grade)

Fun, full-body dynamic workout with warm up, body weight and core exercises mixed in with aerobic exercises.   For juniors of all ages and abilities.   Class will meet by the backboard. For questions or to sign up for this class contact [email protected]


Jr. Athletic Yoga (ages 11+)       Saturday, January 25th   11:30 - 12:15

Yoga for tweens is a wonderful tool for developing self-esteem, concentration, and coordination as well as a great way to reduce stress, build discipline and for athletes of all levels increase flexibility. Class meets in the activities room. To sign up for this class or for any questions contact [email protected]

Academic Support and Instrumental Music Lessons

What: Academic support and/or instrumental music lessons for students in grades 2-8 (specializing in supporting students with disabilities)

Who: Wiatt Grant, M.Ed., Lead teacher at Children's Health Council (previously taught music and special education at Corte Madera School)
When: Available hours 4pm-8pm Mondays-Thursday
Contact: [email protected], 650.814.1741
Open House at Ladera Community Preschool 

Ladera Community Church Preschool is holding its annual Open House on Saturday, January 25th, from 10:00-11:00. Come meet our fantastic teams of teachers and visit our wonderful facility in a lovely rural setting at 3300 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. We welcome all families with children 2 years to 5 years old. To find out more, please visit our website at www.laderapreschool.org or contact

Director Katherine Rhames at 854-0295. 
Panthers "All Sports" Camp is Back for Summer 2014

Panthers "All Sports" Camp  is back for another exciting 2014 summer.  Many of your kids have attended Panthers Camp in the past and many are registered for this summer, but if they have not, Panthers Camp is an "All Sports" camp held at Corte Madera School during the 2014 summer.  Panthers Camp started in 1995 and is directed by Dan Flahavan, CMS Athletic Director.   

For more information, here is the link to the Panthers Camp website: 

2014 Panthers Camp:   
  • Session 1: June 16-19, 2014
  • Session 2: June 23-26, 2014
  • Session 3: June 30 - July 3, 2014
  • Session 4: July 7-10, 2014
To register, please click here.  

If you register before 3/1/14, you will get the early bird special.  Please let me know if you have any questions ([email protected]).  I look forward to another great summer with your kids at Panthers Camp.