E-Newsletter from PH Education Commission
  1. Navigating Middle School Forum
  2. MDUSD College Fair
  3. Career NIght at CPHS
  4. Night of a 1,000 Inventions at PH Library
  5. Common Core Parent Meetings
  6. Goodbye STAR Test
  • 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, October 23 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
    100 Gregory Lane
    Pleasant Hill, California 94523
    (925) 671-5229

    School Websites:  
    Pleasant Hill Education Commission
    October 22, 2013

    Navigating Middle School Forum a Success

    The Pleasant Hill Education Commission, in partnership with the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative held the very informative "Navigating Middle School" parent education forum on Wednesday, October 9. Approximately 80 parents attended, eager to learn about their student's transition to middle school and to ask questions of our three local middle school principals.


    Topics included how to positively introduce middle school to students, how to manage homework assignments, the changing role of parents in their relationship to middle school and teachers, the increasing responsibility and independence of the middle school student, and the recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards.



    The three principals, Terry McCormick (Pleasant Hill MS), Ean Ainsworth (Valley View MS), and Vivian Boyd (Interim Principal, Sequoia MS) presented overviews of their schools and offered many helpful tips for ensuring an easy transition to middle school.



    The recording of this event is expected to air on the Pleasant Hill City Channel, which airs on Comcast Channel 28, Astound Channel 29 and UVerse Channel 99, and available online at https://vimeo.com/citychannelph



    District-wide College Fair Planned

    Juniors and Seniors from throughout the school district are encouraged to attend the MDUSD College Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Fair is an opportunity for students to meet college reps and get information about colleges and universities in California and across the country. So far, more than 70 college representatives have signed up to participate. College Fair Flyer.


    Career Night Coming to College Park HS

    Please encourage your high-schooler to mark his or her calendar for Wed, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. when the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative will host a special career night focused on careers in engineering, manufacturing, architecture and construction.


    Industry professionals will discuss the training and education necessary for jobs in these fields - from middle-skill jobs that require some post-secondary training and certificates, to higher-skilled jobs that require a 4-year degree or beyond.


    With an eye on which occupations in these fields are growing most rapidly in our region, students will hear from industry experts about how they carved their own path to success, and what types of classes and work-based experiences, like internships, students should engage in now to better prepare for college and career opportunities.



    Night of Engaging Young Minds

    The "Night of 1,000 Inventions" engaged 350 children and families in hands-on science and technology. The event, which took place on Sept. 24 at the Pleasant Hill Library, featured mind-controlled helicopters, Lego robots, a tornado machine, engineering challenges from the Lawrence Hall of Science, spinning artbots, a mechanical horse, a smoke ring cannon, and more! Kids also crafted their own inventions and filled out patents for their creations.



    The City Channel also recorded this event. It can be seen online here or on Comcast Channel 28, Astound Channel 29 and UVerse Channel 99. 


    Common Core Parent Information Meetings

    by Joann Jacobs

    Recently, Mt. Diablo USD held a series of parent information meetings about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The presentation I attended was led by Bill Morones, Director of Secondary Support, and Juliana Sikes and Marie Shirmer, who are both site support administrators. There were about 50 parents in the room and a Spanish translator was available.


    Mr. Morones went over the origin of CCSS and some basic facts. At least 45 states have adopted CCSS. Alaska and Texas have opted out. We spoke about concerns in our table groups. Some that came up were: Teachers being out of the classroom too often for professional development, paying private companies to evaluate the tests, whether the CCSS were lower than previous California state standards and especially how to help current students transition into this new way of learning and testing.


    The presenters did a wonderful job addressing concerns and actually went an hour over the expected time to answer questions and interact with parents. One concise statement described the change with CCSS as, "raising the bar but honing down the standards." We all agreed that the most important component in achieving success with CCSS is the teacher. We saw two videos showing examples of how we hope lessons will be delivered in the classroom.


    A series of English Language Arts and Math examples were provided to help parents understand the changes. Overall, an approach to solving problems or answering questions where a student uses Claim, Evidence, Reasoning and Rebuttal will be taught, practiced and tested.


    MDUSD is receiving more than $6 million to implement CCSS. By state law, it must be used for professional development, instructional materials and technology. Since it is one-time money, there are concerns with ongoing costs, especially in technology.


    There are many resources available on the MDUSD website under the Common Core State Standards, Resources tab. Overall, this information session was a great first step toward informing and interacting with parents around CCCSS information. Bill, Juliana and Marie were open, responsive and informed.


    Goodbye STAR Test, Hello Smarter Balanced


    Did you know that STAR tests are on the way out and Smarter Balanced assessments are on the way in?


    Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), who represents Pleasant Hill, carried a bill this year - AB 484 - which was passed by the Legislature last month and just signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.


    "With this new law, our schools can move away from outdated STAR tests and prepare students and teachers for better assessments that reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and careers," said Assemblywoman Bonilla.


    Click here to read the full announcement

    Click here to learn about Common Core

    Click here to learn about Smarter Balanced testing