MPCSD District Newsletter
August 21, 2019
Providing a world-class, community-funded education.
A Note from Superintendent Burmeister
Welcome back! We have been busily preparing over the summer for the arrival of our students and families. We have hired over 35 new teachers, aides, and counselors. For the first time, Hillview will have three counselors to serve our middle school students! We have upgraded and modernized over 20 classrooms at Encinal and Oak Knoll. Tech has been refreshed, and our physical grounds are looking beautiful. Now we just need the students to arrive, and we can't wait to see them tomorrow.

When your child walks through the door of their classroom, especially those kindergartners just starting their journey, the magical, larger than life helper who will be there to welcome and guide them is none other that a hero among us - a teacher. In my first blog of the school year, I step inside the world of teachers to celebrate the difficult, often unseen, work they do every day. We all need a hero, and for your child, on the first day of school, that hero will most likely be the one saying hello as they open the door to a new year. I hope you join me in taking some time to marvel at the work our teachers do, and feel gratitude for their incomparable role in your family's journey.
Dates to Note

Thursday, August 22 - First Day of Class for all K-8 students
Thursday, August 29 - School Board meeting, 5:00 p.m. TERC Boardroom, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton
Friday, August 30 - No School, Staff Development Day
Monday, September 2 - No School, Labor Day
Wednesday, September 4 - Parent Speaker Series Kicks Off (see article below)
In This Newsletter

  • Transportation Options
  • Hot Lunch
  • Childcare for non-school days
  • Mental Health Resources
  • School Board Meeting
  • Speaker Series
  • Zero Waste...and more!
Childcare for Non-School Days
MPCSD has committed this year to providing families with a full day (similar to regular school hours) option for childcare, at one of our own campuses, on non-school days (with the exception of national holidays). For August 30 , the first teacher professional learning day of the year, full-day child care is available at Laurel's Lower Campus from the Newton Center. Newton will accept students in grades K-8, and their hours are 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. To register for Newton childcare - whether you are already a Newton family or not - on August 30, please visit Newton's website and scroll down to select Menlo Park Registration in the Camp section.
School Board to Recognize Dr. Lucas

At its first regular meeting of the year on August 29 at 5:00 p.m., the School Board will recognize Caroline Lucas, who resigned from the Board effective August 1 to accept a teaching position at Hillview. The Board will thank Caroline for her years of service. Also at this meeting, plans for filling Ms. Lucas' seat will be discussed. The meeting will be at the TERC Boardroom, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton. Here is the calendar for the Board's 2019-20 meetings .
MPCSD Joins League of Innovative Schools

We are honored and proud to have been selected to join the  League of Innovative Schools by Digital Promise . This League is a selective group of 114 districts across the country who share the common value of promoting equity in education by using innovative approaches and smart use of technology. Our membership in the League is a validation of the hard work MPCSD teachers and staff do every day in creating a learning environment in which all students can reach their potential. Our membership will allow us to thought partner with like-minded districts across the country; access professional development for our teachers to continue improving our innovative efforts towards learning personalized; and share what we have learned about the most effective ways to use technology in the service of improved student outcomes.
State Testing Results Available Soon
The reports from the state testing that all third through eighth-grade students participated in last spring will be available soon. New this year, reporting data will be made available electronically to parents of elementary AND middle school students. If you have an incoming fourth through 8th grader, you may view their CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) testing report via PowerSchool. PowerSchool is the database that manages all our student and family information. If you don’t already have a PowerSchool account, you will receive an emailed invitation to create one. Once in PowerSchool, you can access information about your student(s), including their 2019 CAASPP reports.

The district will also be mailing home paper copies of individual reports for incoming 4th-9th grade students after they arrive from the testing contractor in mid-September. If you have questions about how to access your child’s electronic report, please email .
Join Us September 4 to Kick Off Our Speaker Series
Our incredible Parent Education Speaker Series gets more phenomenal every year! We are so thrilled to welcome back Dr. Jo Boaler. If you had the opportunity to her her talk last year, you know what a fun, bright, engaging speaker she is, and you won't want to miss her new talk. Dr. Boaler, who teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, has chosen us as her premier audience to hear about her newly released book Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, And Live Without Barriers . She shares the latest research on how our minds work, and how we can learn anything at any time, with the right mindset. Come be inspired by this wonderful speaker and compelling topic. Join us Wednesday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m.

For the full event line-up, please see the Speaker Series website . The series is made possible by the PTOs of each school, the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, District Council, and MPCSD. All events are free and include food. We are happy to be in partnership again with Steve & Kate's Camp to offer free on-site childcare for potty trained children. Events take place at Hillview's PAC, 1100 Elder Avenue, Menlo Park.
One Community Campaign
The One Community Campaign (OCC)--a joint fundraising effort by our schools’ PTOs and the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation--is going full steam ahead! The OCC raises funds to allow us to provide smaller class sizes, full time counseling at every school, music, art, library, world language, and STEM experiences. You'll have many opportunities to learn more about the OCC over the next few weeks, including welcome coffees at every school and back to school night. We hope all families will participate in a meaningful way. To make your donation or find out more information, visit . And a very big thank you to those families that have already donated!
New Parent Communication Tool
This school year, our preschool and all three elementary schools will begin piloting a new parent communication tool called ParentSquare. This parent-school communication tool uses emails, texts, and its app (available in the AppStore or Google Play) to share classroom, school, and/or district messages. Each school will integrate the tool at its own pace over time. This tool replaces Shutterfly for classroom-home communications. All PreK-5th grade families should have received a welcome email from ParentSquare with instructions for signing up. If you have NOT received your emailed invitation to join Parent Square, and you have a PreK-5th grade student, please email to let us know.
MPCSD encourages walking, biking, carpooling, and busing to school. Please remember that our campuses do get congested at drop-off and pick-up times. Many campuses have staggered start and release times to manage the traffic flow. All campuses have carpool/driving lanes and staff at the curb to help cars move smoothly and children find their rides. Please review the drop-off and pick-up norms at your school websites and be prepared to help everyone by following the expectations.

Talking with your child about drop-off and pick-up ahead of the first day may help, too. In order for traffic to flow as efficiently as possible, be ready for a quick goodbye to your child in the drop-off lane. If your child will need extra time to say goodbye, please plan to park and walk in. With everyone pitching in, even our first few days of drop-off can be smooth!
SamTrans Buses
The county's SamTrans bus service is available to Encinal, Hillview, and Oak Knoll (afternoon). These routes are just for school commutes. They serve only students; no other passengers ride on these buses. For information on the routes, please visit our transportation webpage , and click on the SamTrans information.
Walking and Biking
MPCSD highly encourages walking and biking to school. We have a uniquely flat district and neighborhood schools that make this a great option for many families.

The City of Menlo Park has made recent improvements to its Walk and Roll maps, as part of Safe Routes to School. You may view routes here (scroll on the page to find the school you are looking for).
Hot Lunch
The LunchMaster will continue to provide MPCSD's hot lunch service in the 2019-20 school year. To learn more about LunchMaster and to sign-up, please visit the   hot lunch webpage . Starting in the fall of 2019  MPCSD will no longer be offering BOTTLED WATER  as part of our goal to become zero waste. Please have students bring their own reusable water bottles for daily use. There is also a LunchMaster app available at the iPhone App or Google Play stores. It is highly recommended to have an account "just in case." Late meals can be ordered up to 6:00 a.m. every day of the week.

Direct sign-up links for each school are below (click a link to begin and use the code as listed):
ENCINAL  school code: encinalelementary
LAUREL: LOWER AND UPPER school code: laurelelementary
OAK KNOLL  school code: oakknollelementary
HILLVIEW  school code: hillviewmiddle
EARLY LEARNING CENTER  school code: earlylearning
MPCSD Heads Toward Zero Waste
MPCSD has volunteered to be a San Mateo County Office of Education leader in becoming zero waste. We already do a great job of recycling, composting, and being mindful of limiting our use of items that must end up in the landfill. This new effort is an opportunity for us to further commit to helping the environment with our waste practices.

The custodial team took a field trip over the summer to the transfer station to learn more about how our waste is managed. This is the first time that San Mateo County Office of Education has offered this learning opportunity to our custodians. New compost, recycling, and landfill receptacles are being piloted around the district. You may notice changes around your school, including:

  • Students will be learn more about sorting their waste, and composting as much as possible.
  • No more single-use plastic drinking bottles for hospitality/school events. This includes water bottles, soda bottles, etc.
  • Compostable-labeled utensils instead of disposable plastic ones.
  • Only paper and compostable cups at school and district events.
  • Each site will form a Zero Waste Committee based on SMCOE guidelines that have been shared with site leaders. The teams will include staff, a custodian, and a parent.
  • At our request, our hot lunch provider LunchMaster will no longer offer individual water bottles for sale. Please send children to school with reusable water bottles instead. Milk and juice are still being sold.

Thank you for helping us work toward zero waste.  
Erik Burmeister, Superintendent |
Governing Board
David Ackerman , President
Sherwin Chen
Stacey Jones
Scott Saywell