Dear Belmont-Redwood Shores Community,

This update covers a number of topics:
  • Parent education event on February 4
  • Facilities security and parent discussion forum, Jan 30
  • Dyslexia study group invitation
  • Parent survey on school climate
  • Kindergarten instructional day for 2019-20
  • Enrollment for 2019-20 (new students and current TK students)

Parent Education Night is Monday, February 4
The Belmont-Redwood Shores PTA Council is hosting its annual parent education event on February 4 at 6:30pm. The focus is how to improve parent-child communication. The event is for parents of children of all ages, and I encourage you to attend (especially if your child is nearing adolescence)! To learn more and register for the event, use this link .  

Facilities Security at Schools:  
Parent Forum at Ralston Middle School, January 30 at 7pm
Consistent with our commitment to keep school campuses safe and to deter unsafe activity at night and on weekends, we are continuing to work on facilities security. Within the last week, the San Mateo County Office of Education has shared this draft document as a guideline for schools to evaluate their facilities security. While the document isn't yet finalized, the draft gives us a helpful framework with which to work.  
In the short term, I plan to ask the Board's permission at its February 7 meeting (6:15pm at the District Office, 2960 Hallmark Dr, Belmont) to move forward with improving our public address (PA) systems and lighting as needed and to add security cameras at the entry points of all of our schools.
Over the course of this spring, I plan to support our District and school site safety teams to use the County's guideline to evaluate our practices, signage, fencing, etc. We'll then identify improvements that the administration and maintenance team can work on over the summer.  
We will keep you informed of our progress and include parent input in our decision-making. You are invited to a meeting with me on this topic next week:
Parent Discussion Forum on Facilities Security
Ralston Middle School, Wed, Jan 30, at 7pm
  • Efforts to date
  • Resources and partner organizations
  • Next steps (short and long term)
  • Discussion with parents
My presentation from this meeting will be posted to the BRSSD website on January 31. Additionally, anyone who wishes to provide input is invited to do so via this google form , and all input will be shared with the school board.  

Dyslexia Study Group Invitation
The Special Programs Department is convening a Dyslexia Study Group. The group will learn more about dyslexia, analyze what is currently available in BRSSD for students with dyslexia and make recommendations for next steps to better serve the needs of our students. The District is engaging in a 2-month pilot of Lexia, an online intervention tool for students with reading difficulties. The study group will review the new California Dyslexia Guidelines in greater depth, review preliminary results of the Lexia pilot, then make recommendations for next steps regarding intervention and training. If you are interested in participating in the study group you can find an application here .

Parent Survey on School Climate
Please help us improve school climate by completing a 10-minute, anonymous survey as part of the California Healthy Kids survey. Students in grades 5 and 7 are taking surveys as well. The parent survey will provide data to help school leaders improve learning environments, parent involvement, and student achievement and well-being. Your participation is important, so please take the survey now. Thank you!

Central Parent Survey Link
Cipriani Parent Survey Link
Fox Parent Survey Link  
Nesbit Parent Survey Link
Ralston Parent Survey Link
Redwood Shores Parent Survey Link
Sandpiper Parent Survey Link
If you have any questions about the survey, please do not hesitate to reach out to Beth Boldt at .
Kindergarten Instructional Day
Last spring, we lengthened the kindergarten instructional day from four to five hours beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Kindergarten now dismisses at or near 1:30pm compared to 12:30pm in previous years. Additionally, since the fall parent conferences, kindergarten teachers have been providing targeted instruction after school to selected students, 90 minutes per week.   
As part of our decision-making process in spring 2018, we agreed to revisit the 5-hour kindergarten day beginning in January 2019 to assess whether or not the kindergarten instructional day should be adjusted again for the 2019-20 school year. This month, Educational Services Director Ching-Pei Hu and I have had one conversation with our elementary principals and two conversations with our kindergarten teachers. The staff consensus is that we are still adjusting to the 5-hour instructional day, and it is too early to assess accurately the strengths and weaknesses of the present instructional day.  For example, the staff is still refining the best timing for lunch, how to support a positive lunch experience, appropriate activities for the last hour of the day, and how best to use the targeted instructional time after school. As such, I plan to discuss this with the school board at its February 7 meeting and recommend that we make no changes to the kindergarten instructional day for the 2019-20 school year. If you would like to provide feedback on this proposed course of action, please do so via this google form . All input will be shared with the school board. Alternatively, you are welcome to attend the February 7 board meeting, which provides for public comment and starts at 6:15pm at the District Office, 2960 Hallmark Dr, Belmont.    

New Student Enrollment for 2019-20
Online Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year is now available for incoming BRSSD families and all current TK families.  TK families must go through the enrollment process again to be assigned to a school for kindergarten. The first Enrollment Period will begin on January 22, 2019, for students enrolling through sibling priority, and February 6, 2019, for all other students.  For additional information about enrollment, please refer to the 2019-2020 Enrollment Timeline and the Enrollment FAQs .  Last, please pass this along to families you know who will be enrolling a new student for next school year!

We appreciate your involvement, support, and partnership.


Michael Milliken