E-Newsletter from PH Education Commission

1. Common Core Night Event
2. PHE Teacher is Educator of the Year
3. Volunteers needed at GGE & PHEI Green Team
4. FPHE receives Mayor's Award
5. MDUSD seeks public input on spending local funds
6. CPHS Photography Exhibit at City Hall
7. CPHS students qualify for national tournament
  1. Greetings from the Pleasant Hill Education Commission! We serve as an advisory body to the Pleasant Hill City Council and act as a liaison between the City and the Mount Diablo Unified School District. Our role also involves communicating education-related news and information.

Our next Education Commission meeting is this
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the large community room at City Hall.
Education Commission Members (with school assignment listed under each name)

Kelly St. Germain, Chair

Pleasant Hill Middle School

Joann Jacobs, Vice-Chair

College Park High School

Linda Waters

Gregory Gardens Elementary

Jennifer Andersen

Hidden Valley Elementary

Mary Gray

Pleasant Hill Elementary

Leanne Hamaji

Fair Oaks & Strandwood Elementary

Emily Richards

Horizon and Prospect Schools

Tracy Ervin-Lowery

Sequoia Middle School

Jennifer Ortega

Valley View Middle School

Matt Rinn

Valhalla Elementary

Chris Winder

Sequoia Elementary 



Our meetings are open to the public and we welcome you to join us. 


Pleasant Hill Education Commission
Pleasant Hill Education Commission

February 25, 2014

Parents of K-5th Graders Learn about Common Core

On February 4, the Pleasant Hill Education Commission and the Pleasant Hill Library hosted a Common Core Night for parents of children in grades K-5. The focus of this event was to show parents what Common Core standards look like when put into practice in the classroom.


The evening started with a brief overview of the Common Core standards and how teaching will change as a result of these new standards. Next, children's librarian Patrick Remer presented on how the library can support parents and families as Common Core standards are implemented throughout our schools. The bulk of the evening's presentation was lead by teachers within the Pleasant Hill community who taught 10-minute mini-lessons to parents, showing them the types of Common Core activities and lessons that students will be doing within the four core academic disciplines: English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  


Pleasant Hill  teacher Tamara Helfer offers a Science  lesson using Common Core standards 
Parents had time to attend all four of the academic discipline stations so they could experience the lessons. Mt. Diablo Unified School District teachers Karly Moura, Bill Hotter, Tracy Steele, Mona Ricard, Helena Lamb, and Tamara Helfer demonstrated sample lessons and shared with parents how they could help their students prepare for Common Core at home. Additionally, Mt. Diablo USD principals, administrators and board members came out to the event to support the community. The Education Commission would like to thank the more than 90 parents who attended the evening. We hope you felt the event was educational.
Common Core Night for 6-12 Grades


Due to the overwhelming interest in our K-5 Common Core Night, and at the request of parents, the Education Commission and the Pleasant Hill Library are organizing a 6-12-grade Common Core Night on Tuesday, March 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Pleasant Hill Library. This event will also feature teacher presenters in all four of the academic disciplines sharing their practice with parents and demonstrating how parents can support their 6-12th-grader at home.


Pleasant Hill Elementary School Teacher Named Educator of the Year


On February 18 at the beautiful new Ahwahnee Hotel-like Community Center in Pleasant Hill, six outstanding teachers from Pleasant Hill schools were honored as nominees for Educator of the Year 2014.  The 43rd annual Community Award Night was a festive evening that drew about 200 attendees, including new MDUSD superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer and board member Linda Mayo.


The Pleasant Hill Education Commission is pleased to congratulate Mr. Bill Hotter for winning Educator of the Year.  Mr. Hotter is one of those teachers whom every student remembers fondly. He has a unique ability to connect with children as a fellow learner and to inspire curious, life-long learners. Mr. Hotter received a beautiful plaque, a Target gift card and a $1,000 honorarium from the Block/Harris Tikkun Olam Education Fund for Pleasant Hill Elementary. Well done, Mr. Hotter!


Education Commissioner Joann Jacobs congratulates PHE teacher Mr. Hotter, who was named Educator of the Year.


Volunteers needed for Gregory Gardens & PHEI Green Team


The Pleasant Hill Education Initiative is seeking volunteers for two programs:


1. Gregory Gardens Elementary - the Kindergarten teacher is looking for a reading volunteer on Fridays from 8-9am to work in small groups with literacy, phonics, sight words, etc.  


2. The Green Team is seeking volunteers to assist with Eco-Sewing at the Pleasant Hill Library. Help teach youth how to sew by machine using salvaged materials. Classes are held the third, fourth, and fifth (if applicable) Wednesday of each month from 3-5 PM. Basic sewing machine skills, patience, and ability to work in a dynamic creative learning environment a plus. 


If interested or for more information, please contact Anne Baker at 671-5806 or abaker@republicservices.com. 


FPHE receives Mayor's Award


Last Wednesday, February 18, the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education was the proud recipient of the 2013 Mayor's Award at the Pleasant Hill Community Awards Night! 


FPHE is "honored to receive this award and will continue to work hard on behalf of the Pleasant Hill public schools."  Please join us in congratulating the FPHE for earning this recognition and in thanking its members and supporters for their enormous efforts to enhance our children's educational experiences.


MDUSD Seeks Input on How to Spend Public Funds


In case you missed it: California has changed the way it funds public education. Please see this note to parents from Mt. Diablo USD, seeking input.


"This change is called the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF. LCFF funds districts more fairly than in the past by creating a base funded on a per pupil basis that is the same across the state. It adds on more funds for grades K-3 and 9-12, transportation, and the Targeted Instructional Improvement Grant (TIIG). In addition to making funding more fair, our state government relaxed many rules making it easier for districts and schools to use those funds but they must demonstrate improved achievement for all students.


The state recognized that some students need additional support. They provided more funds for districts to support foster youth, English language learners, and students from low-income households. If a district has 55% or more of their students in these three groups, they get even more funds! At this time Mt. Diablo Unified does not qualify for those funds as we have a little over 49% of our students in these three groups.


We need your help! To assist districts with figuring out how to use LCFF funds to best serve students, and to make sure the three groups of students get the support they need, districts must create a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). In this plan, we must address 8 target areas clustered in 3 groups: Conditions of Learning, Pupil Outcomes, and Engagement. We need input from parents and community members. We also want input from students. Dr. Meyer, our new superintendent, is holding a number of community meetings during February and March. She hopes you will your ideas are heard about what we should include be able to join her for at least one of them and make sure in our LCAP."


The meeting at College Park will be held on May 20 at 6:30 p.m. To see a list of meetings occurring before May, please click here.


You can also provide input by sending an email to LCAP@mdusd.org. In case you want to know more, there is additional information about LCFF and LCAP on the district website under Strategic Plan/LCAP. Please make sure your voice is heard!


College Park Photographic Exhibit on Display at City Hall


College Park High School students are excited to announce their upcoming photographic exhibit titled "Life As We Know It" at Pleasant Hill's City Hall (100 Gregory Lane). 


Please join them for an opening reception for the exhibit on Monday, March 3 from 6:00-8:00pm. The exhibit will be on display from March 3-14 during regular business hours (M, T, W 8:30am-5:00pm; Th 8:30am-6:00pm; F 8:30am-1:00pm). You can also see a sample of the work that will be displayed on the  College Park website.


The work demonstrates the youth perspective of their campus as well as the universal and personal issues within their school climate. This exhibit is part of a larger initiative at College Park funded by the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant which provides funds  to improve achievement by addressing issues within the school setting. With the generous funding from S3, College Park was able to bring in the AjA Project, an organization based in San Diego specializing in youth-based participatory photography programs. 


Over the past two school years, the AjA Project has been working with College Park youth to use photography as a tool to envision causes and solutions to issues in their school and community. Through their photographs, youth are examining their relationship with their school and sharing their discoveries with fellow students and community members 

Local High School Speech and Debate Students Qualify for National Tournament


Debate students from Ygnacio Valley, College Park, Northgate and Las Lomas high schools displayed strong performances at the NCFL National Qualifier, held in January at C. K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento.


Qualifying at the tournament were College Park's Peter Tolentino, Max Morehead, James Andrews, and Josh Christopher. All will compete during the NCFL National Speech & Debate Tournament in Chicago, Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26.