Hello Belmont-Redwood Shores Families,

Although the winter break is right around the corner, lots is happening in our schools! Below are updates on:
  • The State’s new reporting mechanism for school performance
  • Curricular updates in science and social studies
  • Flu season reminders
  • Save the Date for Feb 4, Parent Education
  • A new preschool opening in Redwood Shores
  • Parcel Tax Oversight Committee recruitment

State Reporting on School Performance
Last month, California  released its new public school performance reporting system, the California School Dashboard, which has both district and school results .  Please take a look!  I’m proud to share that Belmont-Redwood Shores earned the highest ranking in academics.  

In an effort to provide a more comprehensive picture of school performance, the new reporting system also includes suspension and attendance data.  As a district, we received the second-highest ranking (4 of 5) in suspensions and 3 of 5 in attendance. The State’s expectation is that we use suspension as a last resort, and the suspension research suggests that this is best for students, in terms of both our educational and behavioral goals.

Similarly, as a district we have improvements to make in attendance.  When students are absent, they miss instruction, teachers have to take time to help them catch up, and the school loses $50/day in revenue.  These costs hold true regardless of the reason for absence and whether the absence is “excused” or not. So please send your student to school unless they are ill.      

Curricular Updates

Science Materials Adoption Committee Update:  
We have begun the process of selecting new science curriculum that is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  We have a team of 16 classroom teachers, our STEM coach, two administrators and board members representing all seven of our sites.  The team started by studying the shifts necessary for successful instruction aligned to the NGSS and met with publishers to better understand our options.  Over the next few months, they will be evaluating the materials against a rubric to look for content alignment, pedagogical supports for the teachers, and quality experiences for the students.  Teachers will have an opportunity to pilot some of these materials in the classroom, and parents and community members will be invited to review the materials and provide input in the spring.

Strategic Plan Update:  
As part of the strategic plan, we want students to practice innovative problem solving across all grade spans.  Each school has received financial support from SchoolForce to purchase tinkering kits that provide an introduction to design as well as guided opportunities in problem solving, simple circuits, and cause and effect relationships. Thank you to SchoolForce for their continued support, made possible by parent and local business donations.

Our strategic plan is also focused on global citizenship, which includes an appreciation for diversity, preparation for civic engagement, and digital research and communication skills.  With the adoption of new History/Social Science curriculum, our teachers are able to provide students with the opportunity to learn about their place in a larger system and understand their individual role and influence.  The new interactive curriculum offers role-playing, exposure to primary sources, and engaging conversation starters.

Flu Season Reminders
Flu season has arrived!  Fight against the flu this season by getting vaccinated. Flu shots for the 2018-2019 flu season are still available.  

If you are experiencing the flu, stay home until you are fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medicine) for 24 hours.  Cover your mouth and hands when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands with water and soap. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.  For more information, please visit the CDC website .

Save the Date, Feb 4, Parent Education
The PTA Council will offer a free parent education workshop:

How to Use Influence Rather Than Control to Create Respectful and Lasting Family Relationships
When: 6:30­ to 8:30pm
Where: Ralston Middle School MUR
Presenter: Cynthia Klein, a very experienced parent educator, speaker and
author.  Her work focuses on strengthening the parent-­child bond.  Look for
more details and a signup to reserve your spot in the coming weeks.

New Preschool Program at Redwood Shores
In early 2019, Footsteps Child Care is opening a half-day preschool program at Redwood Shores Elementary School for children aged 2 years 9 months to 4 years. The program will open if a minimum of eight children are enrolled. For contact and additional information, click here.

Seeking Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Members
The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District is seeking interested individuals to serve as members of the District’s Parcel Tax Oversight Committee.  At this time, we are particularly interested in attracting members who reside within the district's boundaries and do not have a child attending District schools, so consider helping us recruit a neighbor or friend.

Together, the local Measure R and Measure K parcel taxes generate approximately $3.6 million in revenue for the District, and that revenue must be spent in accordance with the ballot language presented to local voters.  Members of the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee are responsible for reviewing and reporting to the public on Measure R and Measure K parcel tax expenditures.

The Parcel Tax Oversight Committee typically meets three times per year.  For an application and additional information about the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee, see our website .  You may also contact CBO Craig Goldman at cgoldman@brssd.org or 650-637-4800 x1050.

As a reminder, the school break begins Thursday, December 20, and we return on Tuesday, January 8, to allow for staff development on January 7. We hope that you have a wonderful break.


Michael Milliken