Hello Belmont-Redwood Shores Families,

I hope that your student is enjoying school, and that your family is well. In this update, I'll touch on the following topics:

  • October 8 staff development (no school)
  • School safety
  • State test scores
  • Deadline for reduced-price lunch
  • Shortage of substitute teachers and instructional aides
  • Save the Music information and volunteer opportunities
  • Ralston Ave construction update
  • Belmont Water Dog Run

October 8 Staff Development (no school)
Twice a year, in October and January, our teachers and instructional specialists come to work for professional learning while we suspend school for a day. We appreciate your support and understand that days off from school pose an inconvenience. However, these days do not reduce the total number of instructional days for students (180), and they provide important opportunities for our staff to learn and align their practice with their grade level and department colleagues. On Monday, our elementary teachers will receive training on our newly adopted History-Social Science curriculum, and our upper grade teachers, elective teachers, and specialists will have differentiated training, planning time, and/or field trips to other schools in the region.

School Safety Drill and Physical Security Review
School safety is a priority in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District. All of our schools have safety plans that are annually reviewed and updated by staff. We follow county-wide protocols, known as The Big Five , and schools practice one of the protocols monthly:
  1. Shelter in Place (environmental hazard)
  2. Drop, Cover, and Hold On (earthquake)
  3. Secure Campus (locked doors while teaching continues)
  4. Lockdown/Barricade
  5. Evacuation

On the afternoon of Wednesday, October 10, our school staff will practice a Lockdown/Barricade drill in which participants lock and barricade all doors, cover windows, turn off lights, and remain quiet and alert. Afterwards, staff will discuss their safety plans and appropriate next steps including any additional training or materials.

Later this fall, the San Mateo County Office of Education is expected to release physical security guidelines for public schools. We intend to use these guidelines to review the physical security at our seven campuses. We will keep you updated on our progress.

State Test Scores
Good news! The state test results from last spring have been made public, and as a school district, our scores in English and Math have increased from spring 2017 to spring 2018. Not only that, we compare favorably to state averages, county averages, and comparable school districts like San Carlos and Burlingame. Moreover, nearly all student groups made gains, considering ethnicity, economic background, home language, and disability. Thank you for your active support of your student's education, and kudos to our instructional staff for their professionalism, commitment, and hard work!

Today is the Deadline for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Renewals  
For the first 30 days of this school year, families have been able to order school lunches based upon last year's free or reduced-price meal qualification. The last day to order meals based upon last year's qualification is today, October 3. Families that have not submitted an application for this year should submit one as soon as possible. Applications are available in all school offices or online here .

Need for Substitute Teachers and Instructional Assistants
There is a regional shortage of substitute teachers and instructional assistants (para-educators). These are incredibly important positions. We are raising our rates next week ($160 to $180/day for substitute teachers), so please consider helping your child's school by registering as a substitute!

Do you enjoy working one on one with a student or assisting in a classroom? Substituting as a para-educator does not require experience, and there is great flexibility. Assignments vary from a few hours to full days, and you can pick the types of assignments that you prefer.

Substitute Teachers:
Substitute teaching requires that you have a Bachelor’s degree. If you do, we are happy to walk you through the process of obtaining your 30-Day Emergency Teaching Permit.

For details and an outline of the application process for either position, click here.

Save the Music
Save the Music is a family-friendly, annual event sponsored by SchoolForce, our District's nonprofit education foundation. This year, it will take place on Sunday, October 14, from 11am to 5:30pm at Twin Pines Park in Belmont. Volunteer opportunities are available for Sunday as well as on Saturday afternoon the day before for set up. There’s a wide variety of jobs from running fun activities in the kid zone to collecting admissions, being a stage hand, or setting up and tearing down. Please take a look at the open volunteer roles on this spreadsheet and see what role and what times are of interest to you. Then email Martha Johnson who will try to accommodate your request and will get you set up.  

It should be a fun day where we raise critically needed funds for our schools. For more information, please visit the Save the Music 2018 website .

Ralston Ave Construction Update
As you may have noticed, the project in front of Ralston Middle School has stalled. The project has been affected by delays in the manufacturing of the planned light signals and by unforseen soil conditions. We are working with our construction manager, our general contractor, and the City of Belmont to resolve those issues as quickly as possible. We'll keep you informed of our progress. Thank you for your patience!

Belmont Water Dog Run
Join us for the Inaugural Belmont Water Dog Run! Use the code GRBRSSD10 to apply a 10% registration discount toward the 5k & 10k events. We look forward to seeing you and your family on October 13, 2018!

Don't hesitate to reach out to me or our staff with questions on any of the topics above. Thank you!