Hello Belmont-Redwood Shores Families,

It definitely feels like spring in our schools these days--lots of energy!  I’m sure that you’re seeing it at home, too. The important things are to keep that energy directed in positive ways and to keep our perspective as the adults.  Easier said than done!

In scanning Education Week recently, I noticed an article regarding a Harvard study finding that new math textbooks as an isolated variable failed to improve students’ test scores.  The lead researcher remarked, “Using a better frying pan doesn’t necessarily mean you make a better omelet.”  As our district pilots science textbooks ahead of a new textbook adoption this summer, this is an important reminder that teachers are the key to our students’ instruction.  Better textbooks can enable better instruction, but they won’t drive better instruction. Please know that we recognize teachers’ critical role in our educational program, and we continually invest in their professional growth.     

Update Topics
  • Ralston is a Distinguished School
  • Science Fairs and Events
  • Planning a New Barrett Community Center
  • 2019-20 Calendar
  • Special Programs News and Resources

Ralston Awarded CA Distinguished School
In late February, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction announced this year’s winners for the California Distinguished Schools program.  Ralston Middle School was one of only three secondary schools in San Mateo County recognized for this award!  We are truly proud of our Ralston students and staff. Go Rams! With Sandpiper’s Distinguished School award in 2018 and Nesbit’s same award in 2014, all of our middle grades students proudly attend CA Distinguished Schools.  

Science Fairs and Events
Fifteen students represented Belmont-Redwood Shores in the San Mateo County science fair last month.  Three students from Nesbit, Andrea Son, Inara Ahsan, Grace Shumacher, earned second place in their respective categories and qualified for the Broadcom nationals competition.  Inara also won two special category awards. Two Sandpiper students, Inaaya Omer and Swaraa Joshi, earned first place in their category and the County Superintendent’s Choice Award for their project on “The Effects of Stress on Memory and Performance”.  They now advance to the state science fair in April. Impressive performances!

In another STEM event, Belmont-Redwood Shores has 4 teams that have earned a spot in the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 24-30.  The teams are Ralston TEAM21, Sandpiper’s Robotic 4, The Sandpiper Scorpions, and Shadowbot from Redwood Shores Elementary. Go Belmont-Redwood Shores Robotics!

Planning a New Barrett Community Center
The City of Belmont is developing a design for a new community center at the Barrett site.  This effort will entail assessing the Community’s recreation/community center needs and then creating design options and a funding plan that could meet those needs.  The City has created a website, www.Belmont.gov/bcc , where you’ll find regular updates, upcoming events related to the project, and a brief online survey about preferences for indoor and outdoor spaces and activities.  Please take a moment to provide your input.
2019-20 Instructional Calendar
As we shared last week, the Board of Trustees approved the 2019-20 Instructional Calendar at its March 7 meeting.  Apologies for our delay in getting the calendar to you this year.  We expect to publish the calendar much earlier next year.

Special Programs News and Resources
The Special Programs Department is conducting a survey of parents and staff to obtain input on programs and services in BRSSD. This information will help plan for next year and evaluate the service we currently provide. You can participate here .

Information for how parents may access mental health services in the community is listed here . Resources include county agencies, 24-hour hotlines, community agencies, targeted supports, and health care providers. This information is provided by the Healthy Schools Initiative through the Sequoia Healthcare District .

The Dyslexia Study Group met on February 27. This group consisted of parents, general education and special education teachers, psychologists, a speech and language specialist, site administrators and reading specialists. They read the California Dyslexia Guidelines and developed recommendations for next steps in the District’s plan to address the needs of students with dyslexia. Recommendations include training for general education staff, communication with parents, implementation of a universal screener to identify students at risk for developing dyslexia and implementation of structured literacy instruction at all levels of intervention and prevention. You can access the California Dyslexia Guidelines here .

As always, we thank you for your support.  Please reply to this email directly with any questions or comments.