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Weekly Post
February 3, 2014
Superintendent's Message

PVSD has gone mobile! We've launched our new PVSD app, now available on Google Play or in the Apple Store. Just search "Portola Valley School District" and voila...there is it! 

We've had a number of board members, parent leaders, and staff who have weighed in on this first iteration of the app. We had many great suggestions on improvements and have worked with ParentLink on those logistics.


Please take a few minutes to download the app. You'll find links to the resources that our data shows us is most frequently viewed of the PVSD website, including directories, links to teacher webpages, the calendar, the PTO and PVSF pages, lunches, and other resources that we've housed in an aptly named folder for items like PowerBuilders and bus schedules. The app also has push notifications that you can sign up for.


Our new app is part of a bigger communication plan that we are looking at, which will include a revamp of our website in the near future. We're working with the PTO and Weekly Post editor Kristi Patterson to look at how we utilize the Weekly and how it might be used to focus information from both school sites. More to come on this.


We are still awaiting the results of the recently conducted traffic study. This was originally intended to have been completed in November for presentation at a December meeting. The first consultant was contracted and then canceled the contract. The second contractor has worked through the scope of the study but it has not been shared with Town or PVSD staff. We are hoping it is ready for our March board meeting. We will keep you posted.


This week's board meeting will begin with a study session on the Budget - scheduled from 4 to 6 pm. Please feel free to join us as we give updates to the Governing Board on all items budget related, including:

  • Review of the Local Control Funding Formula and its implications for PVSD
  • Review of the district financial condition, from First Interim looking forward to Second Interim
  • Discuss multi-year assumptions
  • Assess the role and purpose of our district Budget Committee, and input from constituent groups
  • Review and enhancements to the budget development process heading into 2014/2015

Just wanted to thank the two parents who let our CBO and I know there were a few drinking fountains near the field that "hadn't worked in years." We had a couple of plumbers come out to assist, as these ended up being very technical issues, but they are working. If you see something that needs attention, please let us know. We are committed to addressing problems in a timely manner. Thanks for being our partners in this endeavor. 


Lisa Gonzales 


In This Issue
Videography: Help Needed
PTO Needs Your Help
eScrip Update
Math Education
Science at Ormondale
CMS Spring Sports
Community Section
This Week's Calendar
Ormondale * Corte Madera * District
Mon, February 3 (A) 

Tue, February 4 (B)
 ORM: 100th Day of School
ORM: 3rd Grade Field Trip
Woolfe - History Museum
CMS: World Music 6 Class
to Bing Auditorium, 9:30 pm 

PV Teachers Association Negotations - 
Open to the Public
CMS Room 102, 3:30 pm
Wed, February 5 (A)
ORM Assembly - Slug Band, 10:35 am

ORM PTO Super Staff Lunch, 12 pm

School Board Study Session - Budget, CMS Room 102, 4 pm

School Board Meeting,
CMS, Room 102, 7 pm
Thu, February 6 (B) 
ORM 3rd Grade Field Trip, Lebsack, to History Museum 8am 
Fri, February 7 (A) 
CMS: 5th Grade Colonial Fair 
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].
The PTO Needs Your Help!
We are in need of an Assistant Treasurer (no accounting experience required!) that can help finish out the year and then take over as Treasurer next fall.  We will also have additional open positions in that same area...
Please contact Heather Prelle, our current Treasurer, for more information:
Treasurer - Oversee all financial aspects, monthly account reconciliation, deposit/withdraw funds for all events except those listed below, financial reporting/budgeting, all QB entries.

Assistant Treasurer - Deposit/cut checks (via on-line bill pay) for all CMS sport programs, collect/deposit funds for book fairs, send Treasurer documentation for QB entries.

Accounting Assistant - Collect/enter member data and donations/deposit checks from back to school forms, send Treasurer documentation for QB entries .

Auditor - Perform audit and fill out tax forms.
eScrip Update

We need your help to keep earning money for our schools!  Safeway has made an important change.  Paying for your groceries with a credit card will no longer earn a contribution.  Use your Club Card and please pay with any form of payment that is NOT a credit card so our group will earn.

And, if you have not signed up yet, please go to http://www.escrip.com/signup



Thank you for supporting our schools!

If you have any questions please contact Michelle Bellomo: [email protected]

Learn How Math Education is Evolving
with David Foster of the Silicon Valley Math Initiative

On Tuesday, February 11th at 7pm in the Corte Madera School Annex, PVSD is privileged to be hosting David Foster, Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Math Initiative, an expert on the new Common Core math standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments, and a thought leader in the field of math education.  David will talk about how the Common Core State Standards will affect math instruction in PVSD and K-12 schools throughout the country.


In the past few years California and 44 other states have adopted the Common Core State Standards in math.  Impetus for the development of new math standards came in part from US students' continued lackluster performance on international tests of math proficiency. The latest PISA results, from 2012, show that 15 year-old U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, "The widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics presents an unprecedented opportunity for systemic improvement in mathematics education in the US. The Common Core State Standards offer a foundation for the development of more rigorous, focused, and coherent mathematics curricula, instruction, and assessments that promote conceptual understanding and reasoning as well as skill fluency. This foundation will help to ensure that all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school."


What does this mean for PVSD students and teachers?  If you're interested in finding out, please come hear David speak about the shifts we'll see in how math is taught, what math courses will be offered, and how students' understanding of math will be measured.  In addition, PVSD school administrators will be present to answer parents' questions about what work has already been done or is in progress to prepare PVSD students and teachers to take full benefit of this promising step forward in math education. 


For more information about the Common Core State Standards in math, see the following resources:




 http://www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks/ (this website includes sample Smarter Balanced Assessment questions)

 Ormondale Home
Science at Ormondale with Teacher Jeanne Rusch
Teacher Jeanne Rusch

This has been a busy month for our Scientists at Ormondale!

We just successfully completed Ormondale's 31st Science Fair- and it was fantastic! With 282 participation ribbons handed out, it was truly an all-school event. The Friday Science Night on January 24th had a massive turnout, and students stood by to explain their experiments and the questions they explored. There was even a demonstration of a dog washing machine, with the dog coming out wet, happy, and cleaner than ever! 



This year's Science Night had a great turn-out.

As I read through the 150 plus projects, I was struck by what great, kid-generated, questions were asked at the Science Fair this year. For example: "Could Luke Skywalker really have survived the night inside of a tauntaun? Would it truly have been warm enough?" The science behind finding answers to questions like this, made this year's Science Fair come alive!


I want to thank all the students who applied themselves to their Scientific questions with such verve, to their parents who helped them make it all happen, and to the teachers who supported the student efforts.  A special thanks goes out to Matt and Cheryl Richter for their patience, time, and love of science! The "Make-it-and-take-it" piece of this year's Fair wouldn't have happened without Matt and Cheryl's efforts.




        Holding a Bubble in 1st                   Testing an Electromagnet for the 



Balancing "Crayfish" in 2nd


Upcoming Units in Science:

The big news is that once the Kindergarteners start back with a full day, I will be getting to see them for Science every week! The Third grade did a double-dose of Science with me at the beginning of the year, and will be focusing on Environmental Science in their own classrooms for the next couple of months. Here is the basic outline of what we will be exploring in each grade level:



In Kindergarten we will start with the exploration of some of California's habitats, including the local habitats of redwood forest, creek and valley.  I hope to get out and explore some of these up-close and personal so the children will have some direct experience with which to make observations. We will then move on to the FOSS unit on TREES, which will include noticing trees differences and similarities, measuring them, collecting leaves, and observing leaf shapes and how they are similar to some of the geometrical shapes the students have been learning about. We will especially focus on the fact that trees are alive,anddiscuss how we might be able to tell that they are living things.


First Grade

Having just finished up our Solids, Liquids and Gases unit we are now seamlessly moving into the study of WEATHER. We have built parachutes to study the movement and capture of air, and watched balloons zoom across a string "track" to explore air pressure. We also learned about "cloud language" and how, with only five basic cloud words (cumulus, cirrus, stratus, nimbus and alto) they can now learn to name most of the clouds that they will see in the sky! That is very empowering. Upcoming- we will use bubbles to look at the wind, learn about a simple scale to measure wind speed. We will also be creating our own simple "thermometers," and then will learn how to read a basic analog thermometer. Be prepared to be weather watchers!


Second Grade

We are currently involved in a physical science unit called BALANCE AND MOTION.  It is proving to be an incredible amount of fun! You might also ask them whether it is possible to balance a pencil on its' tip....? Or, what exactly, is a "counterweight" and why do you sometimes need one to be balanced? This unit continues by exploring many different types of motion, including  "spinners, zoomers and rollers" and learning what sort of force it takes each to get each of these going. Tops, roller coasters and the back-and-forth motion of sound vibrations are all in our immediate future. It should be a blast!


Jeanne Rush

ORM Science Teacher

Corte Madera Home
CMS Spring Sports

Tennis & Soccer registrations are available online here


Registrations are due by Thursday, 2/6.  Registrations cannot be guaranteed if they are late.
Please contact Dan Flahavan ([email protected]) if you have any questions.

Community Calendar and Events
Summer Camp in PV: Programming Java with Minecraft 
This is a great way for kids (grades 5-8) who love games to learn programming and build their own Minecraft mods. We use real programming with a real programming language - Java - on a real world server that your child will setup and configure. 

In its second season, the camp is run by local CMS graduate Jack Youstra, with assistants (and adult oversight) for a 3:1 student:teacher ratio. Topics include:

- How to setup and use their own Minecraft server
- How to setup a programming environment on their laptop
- How to install customized mods using Bukkit
- How to build a mod using Java
- Programming basics
- Java basics
- Programming workflow and debugging

There are two week-long sessions available: 7/6 and 7/13. Camp days are 9AM-3PM with an optional extended day plan that covers 3-5PM. Fee $500/week.

To learn more about the camp, email [email protected]. 
AMA Softball Registration Now Open!
Girls from K-7th grade are invited to join us for the 2014 AMA Softball season. Everyone plays and teams are organized by schools. Volunteers are always welcome, especially coaches. Games in Menlo Park and Portola Valley. 
Register here today!
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 is an ongoing class)

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, February 8th   11:30 - 12:15 Registration Required

Jr. Athletic Yoga is a great tool for developing flexibility for athletes of all levels. Yoga for teens helps self-esteem, concentration, and coordination and is a great way to reduce stress. Class meets in the activities room at Alpine Hills. To sign up for this class or for any questions contact [email protected]