Portola Valley School District
News & Views
Eric Hartwig, Interim Superintendent
In This Issue
4575 Alpine Road
Portola Valley, CA  94028
(650) 851-1777
Eric Hartwig
Interim Superintendent


Caitha Ambler   Trustee

Gulliver La Valle  Trustee

Tim McAdam  Clerk

Karen Tate  President

Jennifer Youstra  Trustee





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, May 13, 2016
Dear Parents and Families,

It's that time of year when we take stock of where we are, celebrate our accomplishments, and plan for the upcoming school year.

In the realm of taking stock, we have begun the process of assessing the condition of our two school sites, our infrastructure needs, and our facility needs for our evolving instructional programs. This week we invited firms that plan to bid to supply facilities master plan services to tour our sites and ask questions. We will select a firm by mid-June and then devote the next 6 - 9 months engaging staff, students, and parents in developing a list of priorities and aspirations.

In the category of celebrations, I had the pleasure of attending the PTO's "Years of Service" where staff achieving 10 years ( Dana Fox, Kim Hartman, Emily Marwedel, Kristen Shima, Silvia Martinez) or 20 years (Linda Clark, Nancy Rhodes, Daphna Woolfe) were praised, honored, or roasted by their colleagues. Heather Asborno and her PTO helpers did a fantastic job, and the spirit of community was palpable.

As far as planning for the upcoming school year goes, we have been busy and productive: we have hired a new special education teacher (to replace Ms. Blackwell) and two new science teachers (one to replace Mrs. Burrows at CMS and the other to create a new science position for 4th and 5th grades).

And speaking of science, we are doubling down on our commitment to providing the most stimulating and robust curriculum for our students, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 8th grade. With the addition of a dedicated 4/5 science teacher, Jason Borgen, Director of Learning and Innovation, has convened a Science Leadership Team which will guide curriculum adoptions and program enhancements. Recently, the SLT heard Dr. Helen Quinn, one of the authors of the Next Generation Science Standards, describe the new standards and how they could be phased in at PVSD. If you would like to see her presentation, click here.

"The Makery", the maker space at CMS, under the direction of Corine Brouwer, has just blossomed. Her insights and talents with kids have made that room a magnet for students who want to experiment, construct, fiddle... with materials, circuits....you name it. The Makery is in need of donations of items that can be used by students in their explorations of engineering and design, and of, well, making things. Click here to learn more about The Makery and what you can donate.

Let's not forget that after school, there's the Robotics Club, under the direction of Renee Courington and David Beaver. This Thursday activity is a breeding ground for curious minds - minds that will travel to Mars or explore volcanoes -- robotically. 

Project Lead The Way is in good hands with Patrick Shapland recently delivering "The Magic of Electrons" to our 8th grade students. 

From the Makery to Robotics and Project Lead the Way, the support would not be possible without the STEM funding received from PVSF via the 2015 Fund-A-Need Campaign. Thank you PVSF for supporting rich and authentic creative learning experiences for our students!

-- Eric
Full STEM* Ahead ! ! !

At The Makery, We Practice What We Preach: Recycling.

Bobby Youstra and Friends in the Robotics Club testing their Vex Robots -  Click image above to view the video

Benny Garver Probing "The Magic of Electrons"

* STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
Teachers Honored in Mysterious Ceremony

Sherry Andrighetto, Adam Ahlbach, Kristin Wong Honor Silvia Martinez for Achieving 10 Years of Service in PVSD