Portola Valley School District 

News & Views
Eric Hartwig, Superintendent

In This Issue
Corte Madera Calendar4575 Alpine Road
Portola Valley, CA  94028
(650) 851-1777
Eric Hartwig


Karyn Bechtel
Brooke Day
Jeff Klugman
Gulliver La Valle
Mike Maffia


Portola Valley

Working together to achieve common goals.

Being consistently honest and trustworthy.

Having regard and concern for yourself and others while accepting individual differences and the right of others to hold divergent views.

Friday August 24, 2018
Dear PVSD Parents,

Welcome back to school... not just for your children, either. We invite you to stay involved with our school events and activities and to volunteer when you can to help us with our many projects. The schools got off to a great start last Wednesday with 579 children reporting to duty (Last year we had 604 students, but a large graduating class diminished our overall numbers for this year). For me, a highlight of opening day was the anxious / happy / tearful drop-off of TK and Kindergarten students at Ormondale.

At both schools, teachers adopted an "enjoy school" tone for their welcome activities, choosing to phase in the news about rules and homework as the kids settled in later in the week. I'm hearing good reports about this approach, inspired by our work with Challenge Success.
We have some important developments to share with you in this newsletter, so keep reading to learn about "Measure Z," our facilities bond election; an important administrative change, and the completion of our Engage Space projects, among other updates.

And, in case you missed it, this week's Country Almanac features a research project the PVSD staff are collaborating on with MIT on the topic of science and technology education through the use of "Maker Spaces":  For more information, here is the  Article

Update on Facilities Master Plan
and Measure Z
On June 27, our Board of Trustees adopted a new Facilities Master Plan that outlines our long term needs facing each of our schools. Thank you to all who participated in our community meetings, workshops and efforts to develop this plan. This was a two-year process that reflects the priorities of our parents, teachers and community.

To take the first step toward updating our schools and making essential improvements, the Board then adopted a resolution to call for a facilities bond measure-Measure Z -- to be placed on the November 6 ballot.  The "Z" designation was assigned randomly but we hope will prove memorable.

Measure Z, if passed by 55% of voters in our district, will provide  $49.5 million to upgrade our facilities to ensure students have a safe and up-to-date learning environment. Measure Z will update classrooms, replace outdated plumbing and roofs, repair deteriorating electrical and heating systems, and renovate classrooms and labs to support a 21st-century education.

The measure will cost $30 per $100,000 of assessed value per year, and all funds will stay in our community to upgrade our schools. For everything you'd like to know about our Master Facilities Plan and the upcoming bond election, go to our district website by clicking here.

PVSD Reconfigures Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology Services
Jason Borgen, our Director of Innovation and Learning, has accepted a position with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, a gain for them but a huge loss for us. In his 3+ years with our district, Jason has spearheaded many important initiatives in the realms of curriculum and instruction and in technology. Thanks to Jason's support and vision, our teachers have continued to provide world class instruction in academics while also benefiting from advances in education technology. Jason's last day with the district will be September 30.

How does a district replace the talents of an educator like Mr. Borgen? For us, it was an opportunity to "look within," for we are blessed to have many educators with broad experience and advanced training, while at the same time reducing out budget. Luckily, we also had some flexibility within our instructional schedule, so we invited teachers to apply for positions as "Teacher on Special Assignment - Curriculum and Instruction" (TOSA-C&I) and "Teacher on Special Assignment - Technology (TOSA-Tech).

The result of this "looking within" is that we were able to select two teachers for these roles: Ormondale 3rd Grade Teacher for full time TOSA-C&I and Corte Madera Social Studies and ELA teacher Timothy Sato as 50% time TOSA-Tech. 
Both teachers have outstanding reputations in the classroom and strong backgrounds in education theory and practice. Suzanne, with a bachelors degree from the University of Vermont, also has two masters degrees from UNLV, one in Education Leadership and one in Curriculum and Instruction. Timothy, a graduate of UC Davis, also has two masters degrees, one in Education (UCD) and another in Education Administration (Santa Clara University).

Suzanne and Tim will work closely with Principal Hovland, Principal Maijala, and Superintendent Hartwig to carry on the district's commitment to learning and innovation. Between now and September 30, our two new TOSAs will collaborate closely with Mr. Borgen to assure a smooth transition. This approach, which will be in effect for the year, will be reviewed in the spring to determine whether it is a practical longer term
Tim Sato, TOSA Technology
Suzanne Fast, TOSA-C&I
To accomplish the transition, we needed to reassign Mrs. Fast's students to other 2nd and 3rd grade classes. We were able to accommodate this because class size were lower than normal this year. 
In Mr. Sato's case, the only effect noticed by students will be in his 7th grade ELA class, which will be picked up by Emily McDonald when she returns from maternity leave  in October.
Student Cell Phones on Campus
Each year our schools update their rules and guidelines for students, and we ask students to take the time to become familiar with them. At the beginning of the year teachers and administrators make explain to students basic expectations and any changes from the previous year. Student handbooks are updated to reflect the changes.

At Corte Madera School, the Student Handbook is given to students as part of a student planner, so they have easy access all year long. This year, the only significant change is to cell phone use on campus: While our rules have always required phones to be away, they weren't specific enough to discourage clandestine use. This year we are clearly stating that phones are to be turned off and put away for the school day. No texting at lunch, no checking email or surfing the internet. Our goal is to keep the distractions of texting, non-vetted web surfing, the ping of emails away from the learning environment. For more information, please check the Student Handbook.
At Ormondale School, the Parent and Student Handbook
provides guidance for parents and students, and we urge parents to become very familiar with the procedures for student drop-off and pick-up.
Check Out Engage Space at Corte Madera
The final project of Engage Space is complete: the " Outdoor Classroom ," a stunning installation created by PVSD parent and local artist Jim Skanberg, is complete and in use underneath a heritage oak tree close to the school garden. Created using custom ironwork and three mammoth logs from a eucalyptus tree felled by Mr. Skanberg, the project encompasses the tree in a way that highlights local topography, flora, and principles of science and mechanics. It truly echoes a Portola Valley aesthetic while providing an inspiring place for students to gather.

With the Musical Garden , the Mobius Climber , and the River Rocks climbing structure at Ormondale, and the Climbing Teepee , the Musical Garden , and the Nets and Rocks climbing structure at Corte Madera, our Engage Space project is complete, and the facilities are enjoyed every day by our students.

A huge thank-you goes out to Mr. Skanberg for his vision and to the Portola Valley Schools Foundation for funding his and the other Engage Space projects through their 2017 Fund-a-Need Campaign. The donors to this effort are remembered at each site as the trees planted in their honor grow and provide beauty and shade for generations to
Outdoor Classroom
River Rocks
Teepee Climber and Nets & Rocks

Musical Garden
Mobius Climber

Donor Grove