Save The Date for our Spring Auction!

Happy New Year! With the new year, we are excited to kick off the preparation for our spring auction. Please save the date:

May 20, 2017

Portola Farms. Woodside, CA

The annual Las Lomitas Education Foundation Auction is THE party of the year! Celebrate the evening with cocktails, food, music and dancing, and a fun silent and live auction!

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All proceeds benefit the Las Lomitas Education Foundation. Every year, the auction includes an online auction, which starts a few days ahead of the party. During the party, you can participate in both the silent and the live auction.

This year, for the first time, we are asking families to help us determine the theme of the auction. We really want to make it fun for everyone. So, watch out for the email from Las Lomitas Education Foundation and pick your favorite! It’s sure to be an evening to remember!


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If you are interested in donating items to be included in the auction, please visit our Auction donation page. We will feature your donation prominently in our auction catalog and/or on our online auction site. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Holiday Crafts, Stories and Hot Cocoa event

Thank you to the 300+(!!!) parents and children that came out on December 19 for our first ever LLEF-sponsored Kindergarten/1st Grade Family Holiday Crafts, Stories and Hot Cocoa event!   The Las Lomitas Education Foundation hosted this event so that parents could spend a fun evening with their kids and get to know the other families in their child’s grade.  It was nice to see so many happy families taking family Polaroid pictures (what’s old is new again!), decorating crafts, enjoying hot cocoa and cookies and reading stories.

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We feel extremely lucky to be part of this community and to have such vibrant schools. We can’t wait for our next get-together!

Giving Week is here!

giving-week-3To kick off Giving Week your children created heartfelt banners about what they love about their schools and their sentiments remind us why we, as parents, need to continue to support our truly special schools.  While the overwhelming majority focused on the amazing connection with teachers (no surprise there given our small class sizes and exceptional teachers!), here are just a few other sentiments:

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I love Las Lomitas because…

  • I love math, spelling computer lab and learning.
  • The early birds, late birds and the teachers always find a fun way for us to learn and them to teach.
  • All of the teachers are so nice.
  • I love Las Lomitas because of all the kind students. I have learned a lot from kindergarten to 3rd grade.
  • I love the library.
  • I love school because it is so fun. 

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I love La Entrada because…

  • The staff is kind and caring. They want us to succeed.
  • I love the computer lab and we have 3-D animation.
  • We care about our classmates.
  • We are awesome at being ourselves.
  • The school is special to me because it is really fun and it helps me learn.
  • I love how the school has so much spirit!
  • I love how the whole school is so encouraging.
  • We use kind words.

It’s time to show our commitment to our amazing schools! Donate by November 11th and your gift will count towards the Giving-By-Grade Contest.  The grade with the highest participation receives $200 per classroom for the teachers to spend on enrichment materials immediately. Any classrooms that reach 100% will also get $100!  3rd grade won last year…who will it be this year? 

Educational Excellence Spotlight: Technology

Four years ago, our District started a new tech journey.  We knew there was great potential when we gave all 6th-8th graders their own iPads, each 3rd-5th grade class received five iPads to share, and we added a third iMac computer lab at La Entrada.  As students and teachers continue to integrate technology into their lessons, the “4 C’s” are coming alive:

  • Communication: Students are using apps like Schoolloop, Google Apps, Google Translate, Educreations, iMovie, to show and explain concepts to other students and their teachers.
  • Collaboration: Students share their work via Google Drive and use Air Play to project their ipads to the Smartboard for all to see. Third graders are creating educational videos using Educreations to teach each other and model concepts.
  • Creativity: Students are creating content incorporating a variety of media such as slideshows (Keynote and Google slides), movies (iMovie and Educreations), essays (Pages and Google Docs), and art (Photoshop, iDraw, and Google Draw).
  • Critical Thinking: With online assessments like Kahoot, Google Forms, Edmodo, Socrative, and Nearpod, teachers get instant feedback on student surveys and quizzes.

In the lower grades, the teachers teach the Common Core State Standards of “create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace” through technology. Students regularly record themselves reading and implementing metacognitive strategies, use the Dictionary.com app to learn a word’s definition and to hear how it is pronounced, and create QR codes full of video and voice recordings to complement their written work.

Thanks to the La Entrada Mac lab, today students are knee-deep in transformative elective offerings. Forget 2D…students are designing and printing 3D objects! Students enjoy using professional animation tools such as Maya and learning new languages like Python, Javascript, HTML and Java to introduce the basics of computer science and programming.

Student-run broadcasting uses industry standard tools such as iPads and Final Cut Pro X to produce school news shows that highlight events, activities and the learning taking place in classrooms all over the school.

Where to next? As we discover more about educational technology’s potential, we continue to explore other tools and methods that promote student learning. Chromebooks are being explored in the other two labs as well as ways to make the learning space more conducive towards brain-based learning. “Makerspaces” or “Fablabs” are also getting a lot attention for their potential to promote creation, invention and learning. It’s an overwhelming time, but with constant reflection and collaboration, we can make it the best time.

Like what you read? Help us continue to provide excellent education to the Las Lomitas School District students.  Donate to the Las Lomitas Foundation now!

Educational Excellence Spotlight: Writing

LLESD teachers have a passion for reading and writing! Recent trainings, professional development opportunities and local support provided by experts fuel this passion and provide for continuity and consistency between and among the grades.  Students are coming to LE well prepared to be challenged and inspired and are ready to improve and increase skills and strategies in reading and writing. Teachers are able to provide individual support and enrichment to students because they hone in on needs evidenced by assessments and the relationships they develop with each and every student.

 

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Image credit:clipartpanda

Teachers use the Workshop Model, based on the expertise developed at Columbia University Teachers’ College.  Many LL and LE teachers have attended Teachers’ College professional development events.  Our teachers have also benefited from Teachers’ College experts coming to us who model and demonstrate with our very own students.

Reading and writing are the gateway to all other types of learning. LLESD teachers have been inspired by the Workshop Model to prepare our students for success through the grades and to be highly competitive in high school and beyond.  The level of thinking exhibited by our students is not only impressive but astounding!  Our students are learning to think and communicate in ways that will serve them well far beyond the formal educational setting; a skill that will serve them very well in life!

Like what you read? Help us continue to provide excellent education to the Las Lomitas School District students.  Donate to the Las Lomitas Foundation now!

New families and Kindergarten Welcome Dinner 2016

Thank you to the 88 families who joined us for the welcome dinner on September 20 at Adrianne and Bruce Wonnacott’s beautiful home. You are joining a great community of parents and we hope everyone enjoyed a lovely evening getting to know other parents and the leadership team of the Las Lomitas School District.

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For some families, this is their child’s first school experience and others are not new to school, but they are new to school in California – or even the country! We had great speakers to help give these parents the lay of the land. Alain Camou, Las Lomitas Principal and Lisa Cesario, Superintendent, explained a bit about our district and how we focus on teaching the whole child. Alain commented, “At Las Lomitas, we believe in educating the whole child. Our art, music, physical education, technology, and social emotional learning programs round out a rigorous developmentally appropriate academic program that sets our students up for success.”

And for those families new to school or to school in California, Carrie Littlefield, President of the Las Lomitas Education Foundation, provided some context for the amazing education our kids are experiencing. “The small class sizes led by exceptional teachers, enhanced programs like music, art, PE, computers, counseling, support services, electives…these should be expected of great schools, right? Well, the shocking fact is that public funding for schools in California is not sufficient to provide these things that make our District so special. It takes donations from parents to bridge the $2,000 per student funding gap we have.”

Jay Crim, parent of a Kindergartener and second grader, added to that point. “I was skeptical of public schools in California having grown up in Los Angeles in an area where the schools were not great. When we bought our house here we kept hearing from realtors and friends about ‘the amazing Las Lomitas District’ so we gave it a try. I couldn’t be happier with the amazing experience my children are having. Knowing that this kind of experience doesn’t just happen, my wife and I were inspired to donate to the Foundation from day one.”

We were lucky to also have Annabelle M., an eighth grader at La Entrada, shared her experience at our schools. “I have thrived on the quality and diversity of teaching styles of all my teachers and I know I am prepared for high school and beyond.”

And finally, Carrie announced that several wonderful outgoing eighth grade families are so grateful for their children’s experience here they would like to contribute $100 to the Foundation for each new family that donates to the Annual Giving Campaign. This “Pass the Torch” grant is their way of saying thank you and welcoming new families. We hope you will take advantage of this grant by helping us get to 100% participation from new families in our fundraising efforts. Donate today!

Feel free to reach out to anyone at the Foundation if you have more questions. We look forward to seeing you at more events throughout the year! Welcome to Las Lomitas and La Entrada!

Grade Level Updates – Fall 2015

LAS LOMITAS (Kindergarten – 3rd Grade)

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is an exciting time for discovery, adventure and making new friends. We are becoming readers, writers and mathematicians during our small group instructional time. Our Kindergartners enjoy weekly computer lab, movement exploration and music. They also love reading with their third grade buddies in the library as well as special seasonal  activities. Each year our students look forward to taking field trips to places such as Elkus Ranch, California Academy of Sciences and Marine Science Institute. Here’s to celebrating Kindergarten!

1st Grade

Our first graders enjoy exploring the 1st-3rd grade playground and spending more time with friends now that they have a longer school day. In math, children are learning place value in the teen numbers. They are writing “small moment” personal narratives in Writing Workshop and will soon be working on informational writing. In science, docents from Environmental Volunteers came to teach the first graders about local, native animals. The children studied skulls to differentiate herbivores from carnivores and they also dissected owl pellets. This on-site presentation prepared the students for their nature hike to Huddart Park.

2nd Grade

The second graders are progressing well with their reading skills by choosing “just right” books, using their decoding strategies, and making connections between their own experiences and stories they read.  They put our writing curriculum into action by composing personal narratives and using the writing process (brainstorming, drafting, editing, and sharing their stories) to write about small moments in their lives.  In our Math in Focus program, the students have been working with numbers to 1000 and building problems solving skills.  In the spring, our grade level will travel to Flint Center to see a production of “Miss Nelson is Missing.”

3rd Grade

The third graders are now the “big kids on campus” and are enjoying special opportunities to be leaders and role models at the school. Every week they read to their Kindergarten Buddies in the Library and help with special projects in the Kindergarten classrooms. They have the opportunity to join the Recycling Team, assist as P.E. Helpers, and act as Playground Buddies where they help ensure cooperative and friendly behavior on the playground. Throughout the year, various field trips support our curriculum.

Music

Every grade has weekly music instruction.  Recently, families were invited to music “informances” to watch a typical music class.  Students have been learning jump rope rhymes and songs, singing rounds, conducting, and playing xylophones while singing.  Just this past month, Las Lomitas installed a musical garden of four outdoor instruments, including three different kinds of xylophones and a set of drums.  Students have been learning in how to use the instruments in music class, and at recess you can hear all kinds of beautiful notes wafting across the playground.

Physical Education

Physical Education at Las Lomitas meets 3 times a week for a total of 100 minutes. We have two full time PE teachers and are fortunate to have class size for our classes, meaning we have the same numbers in our classes as the classroom teachers; we feel extremely fortunate for this!  This fall we have worked on recess game rules, object control skills, scarf juggling, social skills of cooperation, fair play, and giving put ups. We celebrated the culmination of our jump rope curriculum with Jump Rope Week.  Third graders performed for and jumped with first graders, second graders performed for each other, and parents came to jump and turn long ropes with us.  Soon we will participate in lessons ranging from basketball skills, Drum Fit, yoga, as well as many other skills in our curriculum.  We look forward to sharing some of our skills with you in the spring!

Library:

The Library serves all the students at Las Lomitas and  all classes come  to the library every week for 30 minutes. Each third grade class is paired with a kindergarten class and every week the buddy classes come to the library and read together. The Library is also open before school and at recess and lunch, so that students can come in and read or check out books on a daily basis, if they like. We have a wide variety of books and we are fortunate to add many new books to our collection every year.ll

Computer Lab

The computer lab serves all Las Lomitas students in grades Kindergarten through third grade. All classes come to the computer lab every week. The students learn proper use of the computer equipment while working on activities that support the curriculum taught in the classrooms in the areas of math, language arts, science, social studies and art. They also learn internet safety, Digital Citizenship, word processing, presentation software and coding.

La Entrada (4th – 8th Grade)

4th Grade

The newest La Entrada Leopards encountered many changes and opportunities when they began this fall.   One big change is having a different teacher for math. This year two classes are piloting Math in Focus – new common core-aligned materials. Three classes are piloting a flexible grouping structure to better balance students’ math skills and needs. In English, students are deconstructing the first of three core literature books, Because of Winn-Dixie. They are developing writing and speaking skills by participating in a short play entitled “Grammar Gulch,” a delightful look at the importance of grammar. In science, classes built salt maps of California’s unique geography while becoming junior geologists to better understand the rocks and minerals found on planet Earth. Young authors are publishing narratives, the result of some exciting changes in writing instruction unfolding in all fourth grade classrooms. Specialist instruction in technology, P.E., music, and art continues. In addition they can take advantage of lunch time book clubs, intramural sports, and student government – just a few of the exciting enrichment opportunities available at La Entrada.

5th Grade

Following last year’s pilot, fifth grade teachers began a rolling adoption of Math in Focus. This program, blending Common Core standards and Singapore math pedagogy, challenges all students and develops number sense and problem solving.  The fifth grade team continues to implement Writer’s Workshop, a program where students compose creative narratives, organize argumentative essays, and discover concepts through informational writing. In science, students are studying chemistry, living systems, and Earth sciences.  In early October, fifth graders went to “Outdoor Education,” a week of hands-on science activities and exploration in the in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In social studies, we have studied the influence of geography upon the lifestyle and culture of Native American tribes across our country through research projects, art activities, and presentations.

6th Grade

6th graders are fired up and ready for the winter. In Core classes students are finishing studies of ancient Egypt and are moving into Kush and Israel. Students will be reading Tuck Everlasting and other books at their independent reading level. Our readers also work in small, differentiated groups to follow the Reader’s Workshop model of annotation and note-taking, and to better discuss a story. All students continue to compose writing responses to literature and argument essays, with an emphasis on supporting evidence. In P.E., students enjoyed a Project Adventure unit, volley tennis, basketball, and are looking forward to flying discs and hockey. In science, the students are squeezing 250 million years into a few short weeks while they study Earth’s interior, convection currents in the mantle, Pangaea, and the creation of Earth cross-sections and small tennis ball globes. Students finished two units of study on the Next Generation Science Standards as they related to the earthquakes that recently shook Napa and our local town, Ladera. In math, students completed a geometry unit on area of polygons, and are now working on ratios, proportions, unit rates, percentages and dimension analysis. Just like Pangaea – they’ll get there! In Drama, students are writing and starring in their own newscasts.

7th Grade

The 7th grade held its eighth annual Multi-Cultural Day on November 21st. To culminate the Family History Project, every seventh grader brought in a dish to share from his or her culture. Students ate delicious food, watched a video, “Carved in Silence,” which focuses on immigration through Angel Island, and were mesmerized by the storyteller sharing stories that traced our ancestors geographically. The day came to a close with the P.E. classes presenting their folk dances from many different cultures.

8th Grade

Eighth graders are the role models of the school, providing leadership and mentoring our younger students with lunchtime activities, service projects, and student government programs. They engage regularly in problem solving and critical thinking in language arts, science, and math in preparation for high school. Eighth graders are developing foreign language proficiency in Latin, French, Spanish, or Mandarin, and are widely involved in school electives, as you’ll read below.

ART

Fourth graders are currently weaving in the style of the Navajo. The 5th graders completed a unit on line and shading, and are moving on to abstraction. The 6th graders have been learning about the influences of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.  They created cut-out collages in the style of Henri Matisse and are now creating a cubist portrait using Picasso’s techniques. Art 1 students just studied Vincent van Gogh, and created a landscape emulating his expressionistic style. This followed an earlier study of the expressionist work of George Rodrigue, where the students created pet portraits using acrylic paints on canvas.  The Band/Art classes have been working on Maori symbolism and design. In Ceramics, students are creating their large ancient artifact, which should be an amazing recreation of an existing ancient ceramic piece.

PHOTOGRAPHY

The students just focused on portrait photography.  They are now developing their portrait photos in the darkroom.  When not working in the darkroom, the have been working on a documentary film about a famous photographer using research tools and the iMovie app on their iPads. Digital photography students have been working on enhancing their photos in Photoshop Creative Suites 6. They just learned to take creative portraits in natural settings using ambient light, and next will learn how to use the InDesign software to create magazine publications.

DRAMA (6TH – 8TH GRADES)

Drama students have performed  family sitcoms and infomercials, and are now starring in their own Newscasts.. Students are evolving as actors and becoming more confident in their performances. The 7th and 8th grade Drama elective will be performing at the end of the semester.

MUSIC

La Entrada students have many wonderful opportunities to showcase their musical talents. We hope many of you were able to join for the 4th/5th grade Winter Concert. For only the second year, the fifth grade band performed with the 4th/5th chorus! The chorus performed a fun, educational concert with the theme, “Composer Songs,” featuring music of the masters with words that teach about their lives. The students sang ten songs from composers including Mozart, Chopin, and John Philip Sousa. This concert also featured some young, confident narrators who auditioned for the right to represent their class at the concert. We hope you also caught our Talent Show in Jensen Hall. Over 44 students auditioned for this opportunity to showcase their talent. Their was a special teacher musical presentation during the show.  Instrumentalists from our 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands as well as our jazz band were showcased at Woodside High School’s Performing Arts Center. This concert featured Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, a latin favorite “Oye Como Va” and a selection featuring a young, aspiring flute player Diana McGrory who is in sixth grade.

TECHNOLOGY

The 7/8 tech elective students are using technology in a variety of ways in order to better understanding 21st Century learning and the 4Cs–Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking.

Our student-run broadcasting class, KPAW Video Production, is learning all about video broadcasting. Students produce two broadcasts each week. Our studio broadcasts use a variety of equipment including video and sound mixers, titlers, computer graphic operators, and teleprompters. Digital broadcasts are produced using the cameras and software on our iPads and the video editing software (Final Cut Pro) on our iMac computers.

Another elective, 3D Creation and Animation, allows students to experience the exciting field of 3D. Students use a variety of powerful 3D programs (Sculptris, Tinkerbot, Sketchup, 123D Design, Mudbox) to learn the basic concepts of design while creating variety of virtual objects–from lifeforms, landscapes, molecules, houses, cars, pendants and other crafts. Then, students learn all about the technology of 3D printing with our own Makerbot Replicator 2. Each student gets to print a model they have designed on the computer and learn the mechanics of this amazing machine. Finally, the class has the opportunity to bring their designs to life by animating them with powerful programs like Autodesk Maya.

In Coding Innovation, students are learning the basics of computer programming using a variety of tools and languages. Using visual coding blocks and actual code, students are learning about functions, algorithms, variables, conditional statements, loops, and other computer science concepts. Integrated throughout is exposure to a variety of different languages including Javascript, Python, Java, HTML, and Ruby. One of the culminating activities is to collaborate with others while taking part in the video game design process.