Culture is the Real Measure of a School District

E E FR Education + Communication = A Better Nation Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Volume 1, Issue 4 www.SchoolNewsRollC...
1 downloads 4 Views 3MB Size
E E FR Education + Communication = A Better Nation Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Volume 1, Issue 4 December 2016 / January 2017

Culture is the Real Measure of a School District


Superintendent............. Page 3 Board of Education................ 3 Peninsula Ed. Foundation.... 6

PVP Council of PTAs.............. 7 School................................. 8-16 AHA for Kids................... 17-19 Word Search............................ 8


All generics are not created equal. Manufacturers determine quality. Golden Cove Pharmacy carries the best manufactured generics.

Culture is the Real Measure of a School District

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District is a nationally recognized educational institution with a reputation of preparing students for the most demanding and rigorous colleges in the nation. With such undeniable success in the academic arena, it would be easy to neglect the more subtle elements that collectively form our culture. Donald B. I strongly believe that the development of a Austin, Ed.D. healthy culture is ultimately more important Superintendent than any test scores or quantitative outcomes. Our culture drives how we treat each other, how we make decisions, what we celebrate, and the core values we take into our lives. In this edition of School News, we have asked our principals to discuss topics addressing culture through a variety of lenses. When institutionalized, culture becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. There are reasons why some teams win over time, despite changes in personnel and conditions. They have

developed a culture of winning, often combined with systems, goals, a vision, and a commitment to their teammates. Losing teams lack these traits and often spend more time placing blame and creating a negative culture. Schools are similar in many ways. Our schools are making efforts to systematically commit to creating healthy cultures, supporting growth mindsets, and teaching kids about resiliency. Additionally, we are making progress in the areas of digital citizenship, kindness, and embracing differing views. Culture matters and can be measured one action and behavior at a time. Kids will make mistakes along the way. It is part of growing up and gaining experience. Our job is to positively impact our school cultures for all students, reward positive actions, and guide students when they step out of line. This approach aligns beautifully with the growth mindset we are so feverishly embracing. Thank you to everyone joining in our effort to create the best possible culture throughout our community.

A Fortune 500 Business Model

By Malcolm S. Sharp, President Board of Education The best organizations in the world take the time to set strategic goals, align human and fiscal resources to support key areas of emphasis, evaluate outcomes, and identify future focus opportunities. The PVPUSD is on a journey to become a World Class organization, preparing our students for unparalleled success in a rapidly changing environment. The Board of Education has set the direction through the establishment of our District Goals and the PVPUSD Road Map. Both underscore the importance of establishing a clearly articulated vision and pacing the work to maximize progress within the capacity of a system growing in complexity. The goals reflect a desire to build upon previous successes with an eye to the future to further establish the District as a premier educational institution. The Year End Results book examines areas including Curriculum & Instruction, Facilities, Human Resources, Fiscal Resources, Special Education Accountability Professional Development, and Site Leadership. In an age of increased accountability, it is our desire to continue to align the Year End Results Book, Local Control Accountability Plan, District Goals, School Site Plans, and

our Road Map. Each should have definite similarities with room for distinct opportunities to incorporate unique and purposeful differences. The combination of uniformity and autonomy will encourage sites to preserve historic character, while ensuring consistency of academic programs and opportunities for students. It is our desire to set the bar high and serve as a model to others. Towards that end at this year’s California School Boards Association’s Annual Education Conference members of the PVPUSD Board of Education along with Superintendent Don Austin will be presenting a workshop, “Create Goals, Measure Progress and Evaluate Product.” Attendees will learn to blend traditional goal setting, strategic planning and assessments with a Fortune 500 business model. The streamlined approach presented will shift thinking from large and convoluted strategic plans to powerful single-page community contracts. A goal is to serve as a model to other districts what CAN BE when amazing students are paired with talented and dedicated adults, and supported by a giving and engaged community. A link to the 2016 Year End Results Book can be found on the PVPUSD website,

Board of Education

Malcolm S. Sharp President

Anthony Collatos Vice President

Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

Linda Reid Clerk

Barbara Lucky Member

Suzanne Seymour Member December 2016 / January 2017


Education + Communication = A Better Nation


Kay Coop Founder/Publisher

Net a Ma dison


Superintendent Dr. Austin’s message, Culture is the Real Measure of a School District, sets the theme for the articles in this issue. After the holidays please consider donating your holiday cards to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children. They recycle the cards to support their programs and services for abused, neglected and homeless children, young adults and families. The

Operated by Kids’ Corp. children and volunteers make the “green” cards Vist their web site for specifics We are always mindful of our men and women in the armed forces and grateful for their service. Our next issue is February 1, 2017. In the meantime, have a fun Winter Break, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Coop 562/493-3193 • [email protected]


562/493-3193 • Fax: 562/430-8063 CONTENT COORDINATOR: Barbra Longiny GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Tim DeLacy COPY EDITORS:

Lisa Brock, Kate Karp & Anna Zappia Netragrednik by Neta Madison @SchoolNewsRC SchoolNewsRollCall SchoolNewsRollCall SCHOOL NEWS ROLL CALL, LLC P.O. Box 728, Seal Beach, CA 90740 562/493-3193 Copyright © 2006, School News Roll Call, LLC Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited unless otherwise stated. Opinions expressed by contributing writers and guest columnists are their views and not necessarily those of School News Roll Call. This publication is privately owned and the right is reserved to select and edit content. The school district does not endorse the advertisers in this publication.

DEPENDABLE • TRUSTWORTHY • AFFORDABLE We offer a full range of car maintenance services, for all makes and models of cars & trucks, including hybrids.


Periodic maintenance ensures that you and your passengers always travel in comfort and safety.

24467 Hawthorne Blvd at Newton Street • Torrance • 310.373.7676 •


Peninsula Education Foundation P.O. Box 2632, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274 •

School Site Tech Squad Increased Hours The Peninsula Education Foundation is supporting the increased hours in technology support for each of our schools this year, in addition to the ongoing support of numerous teaching positions and programs throughout our district. Now that we are fully immersed Christine Byrne in the school year, we wanted to find out how Executive Director this increase in technology support hours has made an impact. We have received a unanimous THUMBS UP for the benefits this has had at each school! None of this would be possible without the support of our donors. Thank you to everyone who has already made an investment in maintaining vital programs for our children through your donation to PEF. Below is direct feedback from a few principals:

Our tech aide is amazing and she was able to have the tech in school up and running prior to school beginning. The lead time to get tech needs accomplished has diminished and ultimately instruction has been enhanced. —-Brett Egan, Mira Catalina Our additional tech aide support has allowed us to continue to implement our 1:1 iPad in 4th and 5th grades with fidelity. Our computer lab is also used more than ever by students because we have the support to keep the computers up and running. — Salvatrice Kuykendall, Rancho Vista


I am so grateful to have more time with our wonderful tech aide. She has already been able to work more to assist parents, teachers and directly with students. Her ability to work alongside teachers as they lead students through the skills of the technology matrix has been invaluable. — Beth Hadley, Point Vicente Our Aides are able to work directly with students. This supports teachers with use of all technologies and software programs. If the teachers get more support, the devices and software gets used more. — Gina Stutzel, Soleado We now have tech support before the opening of school. We can get all the tech setup in each room before the year starts. It has helped instruction to be smoother and more rigorous in the first week. — Dr. Charles Park, PVHS

Our tech aide now has the time to maintain the hardware/software issues that arise, without compromising time spent working with the most important resources at our school...the students and teachers! — Michele Marcus, Cornerstone

PVP Council of PTAs PTA Parent Volunteers and Partnerships

By Beth Meyerhoff, President, and Lori Siembieda, Publicity Chair One of the most unique aspects of our school district is the incredible dedication of parent volunteers. Using this powerful workforce in combination with local community partnerships, the PTAs in Palos Verdes provide enrichment in the arts and environmental education, among other areas, that would not otherwise be available to our children. The PTAs fund and cultivate these programs to ensure their continuity and evolution to meet school site needs. The PTA partnership with the Palos Verdes Art Center is one that spans decades. Through the Art at Your Fingertips program, which serves our elementary and middle schools, children have the opportunity to learn about artists of varying styles from different time periods. Five times a year, they complete projects invoking the lessons learned about these artists. Parent volunteers serve as docents and helping hands and spend several hours preparing for each lesson. Each school’s PTA or booster club provides the funding to pay for this program. The PTA-sponsored Reflections Art Program focuses on bringing awareness to the importance of arts education. This year’s program featured the theme “What Is Your

Story?” The PTA at each school site encouraged students to participate in the program by exploring their creativity in the visual arts, photography, literature, dance choreography, film production, and music composition. Submissions are first evaluated at the school site level, and winners are then recognized at the council, district, state, and national levels. Our PTAs also bring environmental education to our students. At the elementary level, through a partnership with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and funding from the PTA, third-graders take a nature walk to learn about Palos Verdes’ native habitats, with parents acting as docents. Several schools have also established partnerships with the Palos Verdes School Gardens (PVSG) program to teach students about sustainable gardens. This program, funded by each site’s PTA, is facilitated by parent volunteers as well. The programs supported by our PTAs and parent volunteers are extensive and cover areas beyond the arts and the environment. Red Ribbon Week and mock elections are examples of other important PTA programs in October. Perhaps the true impact of parent volunteers in our schools can only be understood by recognizing the more than 200,000 volunteer hours worked last year. Thank you, parents, for your incredible support!

HIGHRIDGE CAR WASH We support the PVP Unified School District

“Best Detail Shop”

- 100% Hand Car Wash - Clean Waiting Room - Free Wifi While You Wait 27774 Hawthorne Blvd Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275

310-541-7663 Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

December 2016 / January 2017


Cornerstone @ Pedregal Elementary School 6069 Groveoak Pl., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-2261 • 310/378-0324

Building a Solid Foundation The Cornerstone community equally values the social and emotional well-being of our children and the academic experiences we provide them. A theme of caring and kindness is interwoven throughout all of a student’s experiences. No matter which Michele Marcus grade level they are in, or where on campus Interim Principal a student is standing, they can look around and see evidence of the safe and nurturing environment we strive to provide them. We just installed our new “Buddy Bench,” which was something our student council purchased after discussing how difficult it might be for a child who is feeling lonely to find a “buddy.” While on the playground, they can now choose to sit down at our Buddy Bench, and all of the other students understand that when they see someone sitting there, he or she is letting them know that they could really use a buddy. The great news is that at our school no child will sit on this bench for very long! Our students also participate in a Big Buddy-Little Buddy program where the older students are paired with the younger ones to read together, thus building a bond that grows stronger throughout the

year. Students also proudly deposit the “Kudos” awards they receive when they are “caught being kind” on the playground into a box in the office with the hope of winning a Kudos Lunch with the principal. Our fourth-grade students participate in weekly class meetings that build belonging-ness and a sense of community among the children. During these meetings, students give compliments to each other, discuss topics of concern that have arisen throughout the week, review the monthly character trait, and play team-building games. At Cornerstone’s monthly Spirit Assembly, the character trait focus of the month is kicked-off, including such traits as kindness, gratefulness, and friendship. One of the most special things about Cornerstone is to see the desire of our students wanting to help those who are less fortunate. Cornerstone thus participates in various charitable programs throughout the year to provide food, clothing, and supplies to those outside our community. Our Cornerstone “family” works hard to ensure that every student at our school, upon graduating, will move on in life not only prepared to successfully tackle future academic challenges, but also obtains a solid foundation and understanding of the importance of being a kind and caring person.

Leadership Word Search Contest Rules! One word in the list is NOT in the word search.

When you have completed the word search, one word will be left and that word you email to: [email protected] Please put PVPUSD in the subject line. Entries must be received by December 30, 2016 From the correct entries one name will be drawn to win a $20 gift certificate redeemable at Barnes & Noble.

Accomplished Caring Confident Determination Drive Enthusiastic Focused Independent Initiative Intelligent

Organized Powerful Responsibility Role Model Strong Willed Suitable Teamwork Trustworthy Understanding

Congratulations Sydni Bednarek Winner of the October Word Search


Word Search by Gunnar Coop

Dapplegray Elementary School 3011 Palos Verdes Dr. North, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274-7303 • 310/541-3706

Giving Back Dapplegray lives by a sign in the office that says, “Work Hard and Be Nice.” We build our caring community through events that focus on family, friends, and community service. We are heart to a community that includes Nancy Parsons families from Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, and Rancho Palos Verdes. Students Principal and families come together regularly to provide family centered and parent-only events. Every school year begins with a Back-toSchool event where face painting, a DJ, and food trucks give everyone an opportunity to get acquainted. Later, the Book Fair and Holiday Boutique events are hits with students and parents shopping for holiday gifts. Every grade level hosts an event where parents of students who will be sharing school experiences for many years to come have the opportunity to connect. Before school is out each spring,

Dapplegray also hosts a campout and cookout. Families come together to barbecue dinner, watch a movie on a giant outdoor screen, and camp out overnight. Twice each year families work together at a Dapplegray Clean-Up Day. On this day trash is picked up, trees are trimmed, and plants are replaced. Students who put forth the effort to make their school look nice are motivated to keep it looking that way, and their pride in the effort is obvious. Student Council at Dapplegray focuses on giving back to the school and community. They are committed to supporting Community’s Child, a Lomita-based charity that provides assistance to homeless women and their young children. Each month Dapplegray students collect donations of everything from school supplies to socks, canned goods, and clothing for women entering the work force. By remaining true to the simple “Work Hard and Be Nice” philosophy, Dapplegray crafts a caring community where students and families receive the support they need to thrive.


Water As Nature Intended

Donald L. Outland Molecular Hydration 562.305.6036 f:562.598.1815 [email protected]

See Our Ad On the Back Cover

h B t u o S Driving Schooal y Off $20 Off

One coupon per student

Proud Sponsor of Your School for Over 20 Years! Online and Classroom Available

(310) 791-1111

3614 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance, CA 90505

Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

December 2016 / January 2017


Lunada Bay Elementary School 520 Paseo Lunado, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-4377 • 310/377-3005

Celebrating Good Choices Isn’t it a great feeling to give someone a compliment or well-deserved praise? We think so! This feeling is contagious on our campus because we acknowledge those who make conscientious choices to show Julie Tarango their “personal best.” That’s Principal because Lunada Bay proudly partners with “Harper for Kids” to teach our students character traits from legendary UCLA Coach John Woodens “Pyramid of Success.” Driving by our campus on the first Friday of each month, you will notice us all gathered together for a Flag Ceremony. Children, parents, and friends of Lunada Bay join here to honor and celebrate positive behavior. In September we focused on “Hard Work” and “Enthusiasm.” Award recipients from each grade had the distinguished honor of carrying an American flag to the ceremony where we recognized the individual students, teachers, and staff members who exemplify Pyramid of Success qualities. Everyone enjoyed seeing Tony, our crossing guard, receiving the Enthusiasm Award for outstanding school

spirit, and Ms. Brown, our secondgrade teacher, receiving the Hard Work Award for her dedication to education. Sometimes it’s not easy to show your personal best, so our students are reminded that challenges can present new learning opportunities. In September, Lauren Fenderick, USA Beach Volleyball Olympian, visited our campus with Harper for Kids founders Tim and Peanut Harper to reinforce the message that success is not always measured by trophies or medals. Instead, it is a daily choice about personal rewards that come from giving your best effort. Our “Golden Tickets of Success” are also given daily to acknowledge these good choices and character efforts made by students and staff alike. The tickets express appreciation and reinforce positive behavior. I love it when children run up to me on the playground and proudly display their Success Tickets! Championing our students is important to us. At Lunada Bay, we celebrate good choices and personal bests every day.

Mira Catalina Elementary School 30511 Lucania Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-6272 • 310/377-6731

Why We’re Amazing Mira Catalina is a special place! I often reference that when I worked at Palos Verdes High School, I used to ask students which elementary school they had attended. Most students would sheepishly tell me what school they went to, as if it weren’t cool to discuss with your high school assistant Brett Egan Principal principal what elementary school you attended. Students who attended Mira Catalina were a bit different, though! Students usually said with pride that they had attended Mira Catalina. I recall thinking at the time, why are the students so proud of being Mira Cat alums? Fast forward about 10 years. I’m now the principal of Mira Catalina, and I understand why those students loved their elementary experience so much. We have a staff, parents and students who have deep roots at Mira Catalina. It’s a strength of our school and one that we continue to build upon. For the 2016–17 school year, we have implemented a few programs to enhance our school. We have begun a tieredreading-instruction model that is serving the students very well. Tiered-reading instruction best prepares students

by giving them targeted lessons at their individual levels. Placing students in flexible leveled groups for a part of the instructional day is a best practice that allows all students to maximize their potential. In addition to our tiered-reading instruction, we have implemented a Grades of Green challenge in which we are attempting to reduce the amount of trash created by our students each day during lunch. We had a fantastic kickoff assembly in October and have begun to make an impact— we went from creating six bags of trash each day at lunch to one! Implementing programs like these by staff, students and parents is just one aspect of why Mira Catalina is an amazing place!

Kinder students using “Grades of Green” sorting station at lunch.


Miraleste Intermediate School 29323 Palos Verdes Dr. East, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-6470 • 310/732-0900

Whole-Child Culture Miraleste has a long history and tradition of building a culture that supports the whole child. When the staff identified a need to recognize students for their hard work and dedication, the Mighty Marauder Club and Student of the Month programs were created, over a decade ago. Both of these programs Brent were teacher driven and acknowledged Kuykendall Principal students for their academic and citizenship achievements but, more importantly, celebrated their effort. Since these programs began, additional opportunities have been implemented. Ben’s Bells and H.E.L.P. cards are programs that recognize students’ contributions to one another and the overall school culture. As the principal, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a staff that understands the importance of identifying students that are committed to “doing what is right” even if they think no one is looking.

In the spirit of celebrating the whole child and providing opportunities for everyone to grow, we recently held our first Dad’s Club event. Students and their dads shared breakfast together and discussed the importance of communication. It was a morning filled with the excitement of spending extra time with those that matter most while sharing a few words, smiles and laughs along the way. Not only was I blown away by the number of dads and students that attended but also by their investment in the experience. Thank you again to the PTSA, volunteers, parents and students who made this such a success. When I step back and look at all of these examples, I am beyond impressed with how Miraleste has over time created a culture in which both staff and parents appreciate the importance of supporting the whole child. This “team mentality” balance between school and community builds cohesiveness that is inspiring! And it is a true reflection of how our students benefit when we all work toward a common goal. Thank you again to the entire Miraleste community. Your dedication has resulted in the creation of one amazing school. Go Marauders!

Palos Verdes Intermediate School 2161 Via Olivera, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-1983 • 310/544-4816

Achieving a Great Balance Every school year has an ebb and a flow. Finding the balance between the two is tricky. From the day I became principal, I’ve clearly stated that I don’t want our school’s reputation to be based on test scores. There’s no question that our main job is to prepare Frank Califano our students for high school. While some believe that academics is the only path, I Principal believe it’s much more—school also needs to be fun. I argue that finding a place for each student, be it in sports, arts, robotics and STEM, or a club, creates a campus culture in which students can thrive. This leads to the tricky part. I often have conversations with educators who argue that students are out of class too often for assemblies, field trips and other activities. I understand their angst. My personal experience with intermediate school was not pleasant. School wasn’t fun, and I lost interest. With that came a steep decrease in my grades and led to my parents’ increased concern. And this is exactly why PVIS buzzes with activities at lunch and throughout the day. We’ve put together grade-level lunchtime tournaments in kickball, soccer, dodgeball, Ping-Pong, beanbag toss, basketball and volleyball. The champions play the staff team and are rarely successful, which motivates students to try again! There are clubs every day at lunch and after school. Our Booster Club sponsors an after-school sports Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

program in which many South Bay schools compete. With over 200 students in the program, music dominates our electives. Best of all, I enjoy the activities at least as much as our students do! I even enjoyed being duct-taped to a tree as an agreement for meeting our school’s goal to help our Peninsula Education Foundation in our annual fund-raiser walk. The duct tape held—what a great way to start the day!

December 2016 / January 2017


Montemalaga Elementary School 1121 Via Nogales, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-1671 • 310/378-5228

Positive School Environment Montemalaga is an elementary school where every classroom and staff member is building a positive learning environment for all students. A goal of ours is to build strong relationships with staff and students in the school. The school has established shared values and has consistent guidelines and clear Jody Pastell Principal definitions for desired student behaviors. Students believe that the rules are fair and that consequences are appropriate. We often discuss choices that have been made and how to best learn from our actions. A sense of trust has grown throughout the different grade levels. Positive school interactions with students have demonstrated genuine interest in the students’ lives, activities, goals and struggles. The staff also teaches social skills in their lessons: how to share, listen, and disagree respectfully. We believe that students deserve to spend their day in a supportive environment. To accomplish this, a great commitment and consistency of practice from the whole team has been required. Students feel liked and respected by their teachers and, as a result, they find more success in school both academically and behaviorally. Students

are honored at SPIRIT assemblies for their earning of character certificates of respect, responsibility, caring and kindness, and doing their personal best. Additionally, good character traits from John Wooden’s Pyramid for Success are presented schoolwide weekly and reinforced in all classrooms. Parents are also instrumental in encouraging evidence of the character traits at home.

Not Built in a Day Montemalaga Elementary encourages all students to do their personal best. The school embraces challenges, and we are inspired by the success of others. Students and teachers are able to learn from criticism, and they are outstanding problem solvers. The school believes in the growth-mindset model, understanding that the goal of learning is not to get it all correct right away—rather, the point is to grow the understanding step by step and to be always thinking about what will be tried next. Students are comfortable in the school environment because they learn to thrive on challenges and setbacks to guide their learning. The Montemalaga staff uses multiple strategies to unlock the learning for every student. Gradelevel teams meet weekly to continue sharing successes, concerns, planning and growing relationships at our outstanding elementary school.

Point Vincente Elementary School 30540 Rue de la Pierre, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-5364 • 310/377-6972

Volunteers are love in motion! ­— Author Unknown Point Vicente is fortunate to benefit from a dedicated group of cheerful parent volunteers who carve out time from their schedule to help teachers and children. On a regular basis, these generous souls take on chores that otherwise would be the Beth Hadley responsibility of teachers – freeing them up Principal for other duties. Some parents work directly with small groups of students or individual students, other parents create materials for art projects, and still other parents prepare instructional materials. We are lucky to have a number of employed parents who find a task they can complete at home or on weekends. What a difference this makes for our children- and, our teachers feel so supported! “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” — Phil Collins Our volunteers tell us that they benefit from helping out at school. They build strong relationships with students and teachers. They watch how teachers explain projects and assignments. Parents who help out at school often gain valuable perspective into their own child’s strengths and weaknesses. And, they are part of that magical experience of learning!


“I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.” — William Shakespeare Together, parents, students, and staff, we form a community. We forge bonds when we work together to support our children. We are stronger together than we can ever be in isolation – and we have fun! Point Vicente is a great school for students, parents and staff! We appreciate our strong connections with parents, we appreciate the support they provide – and we thank them for all their hard work!

Palos Verdes High School 600 Cloyden Rd., Palos Verdes, Estates, CA 90274-1869 • 310/378-8471

Technology Opportunities On our district Web page, www.pvpusd. net, a video highlighting our multi-level Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program in the Lunada Bay area is showcased. Lunada Bay Elementary School, Palos Verdes Charles Park, Ed.D. Intermediate School (PVIS), and Palos Verdes High School made a presentation Principal to the Board about the Lunada Bay STEM Collaborative, which links STEM learning from elementary to high school. We offer Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national STEM curriculum, at all three schools. At Palos Verdes High School, we have seen increased enrollment and engagement in our STEM programs because our feeder schools are providing such excellent educational experiences for students. Palos Verdes Institute for Technology (PVIT) has had increased participation in our Sunday PVIT program, growing from 50 students to 150 in the past four years. We have increased our competition engineering teams from seven to 15,

which allows us to engage as many students as possible in teams such as First Robotics, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Rocketry, Solar Boat, Robomagellan, Cyberpatriot, Video Gaming, Space, VEX and BattleBots. Our PLTW classes in engineering, digital electronics, aerospace, and engineering design are offered during school hours, but our teams meet on Sundays to prepare, tinker, make and build. Sunday PVIT is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and students earn elective credit for competing in teams. Please come visit on Sundays, if you can, and check us out!

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School 27118 Silver Spur Rd., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274-2300 • 310/377-4888

Our Brand: Respect “The happiest place on earth.” “We try harder.” “Because so much is riding on your tires.” “It’s not a job—it’s an adventure.” Many of us recognize the organizations associated with these slogans, each of which communicates a distinct spirit or message. For a famous local attraction, it is about joy. Mitzi Cress For a certain rental car company, it is about Principal persistence. For one major tire brand, it is about safety. And for the Navy, it is about experiences. While Palos Verdes Peninsula High School does not have a slogan, I do think I can sum up our school’s ethos in one word—respect.

Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

If you were to walk across our campus, you would certainly see familiar signs of school spirit that are associated with high school, including excitement before competitions, performances and dances. But if you were to look more closely, you would soon notice a common theme of respect running through your visit. You would notice it in the way that our students talk to one another, both in and out of class. You would notice in the way that our teachers, counselors and other staff members collaborate and keep growing as professionals. And you would notice it in the regard that all of these different groups have for one another. Palos Verdes Peninsula High School is often celebrated for its students’ academic success and a breadth of extracurricular opportunities including athletics, the arts and community service. But none of this would occur at the level that it does without the kinds of respect I see on a daily basis, including respect for one another’s differences, respect for one another’s willingness to try challenging things, and perhaps most importantly, the self-respect that enables our students to make good choices on their paths to adulthood. Respect allows us to thrive. Come to think of it, that sounds like a great slogan! December 2016 / January 2017


Rancho del Mar High School 38 Crest Road West, Rolling Hills, CA 90274-5058 • 310/377-6691

Giving Back to the Community

Representatives Raemon Del Campo and Connor Aslay; and Student Member of the Board of Education Lauren Oseas. The staff at Rancho del Mar High With assistance from ASB advisor Kim Gill, these School believes that all students want to student leaders are busy planning and assisting with succeed. An important component of that school-wide community-service projects, including a success model includes giving back to December toy and sundry drive for Rainbow Services, Inc. the community. In addition to individual and support for Community Helpline’s annual community students volunteering in a variety of phone book delivery in February. A school-wide recycling individual and group activities across the Rosemary program established by previous ASB officers, with support Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay areas, Humphrey from the city of Palos Verdes Estates, continues under our Principal Rancho del Mar also promotes school-wide current student leadership. opportunities. These school-wide activities We recognize each and every student who participates and events are accomplished by the partnership of staff, in our school-wide communitystudents, and parents. service activities. In addition, Congratulations and many every spring, a student from thanks to our 2016–2017 student Rancho del Mar is recognized leadership students, who are by the Palos Verdes Peninsula organizing the Rancho del Mar Coordinating Council for staff, student, and parents volunteerism. in our “give back” activities Our hope is that the spirit this school year. Associated of giving continues after our Student Body (ASB) officers students graduate from high are: President Desiray Douglas; Connor Aslay, Dexenia Gaynair, Desiray Douglas, school and become members of Vice-President Edwin Johnson; Edwin Johnson, and Raemon Del Campo the adult community. Treasurer Dexenia Gaynair; (Not pictured: Lauren Oseas)

Rancho Vista Elementary School 4323 Palos Verdes Drive North, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274-1576 • 310/378-8388

Developing Hidden Potential Elementary school is a time when children explore the joys, or sometimes the frustrations, of learning. It is also a time when they learn what is easy for them to understand, and which subjects they find challenging. Unfortunately, elementary school is also when a child’s mindset about Salvatrice learning becomes formed. Children either Kuykendall Principal learn to love subjects like math or they learn to hate them. But what students should learn to have is a fixed, or “growth,” mindset. This year our Rancho Vista professional development opportunities have focused on how to help students develop a growth mindset. The teachers are not only learning about the ability of the brain to “grow,” they are also creating and sharing ideas for use in the classrooms. Rather than a simple “nice job” to their students, specific language about “effort” and “perseverance” are being used by both the students and teachers. Recent topics have also included the power of “yet,” along with brain plasticity and learning communities. Creating a growth mindset culture at Rancho Vista has allowed our students to learn that their efforts and


attitudes can help them determine their accomplishments. They have learned that when they fail at something they are also learning a new skill. This growth mindset culture both in and out of the classroom has created a new sense of comfort and risk-taking in our students. They now realize that they’re the ones in control of their learning. This year our Roadrunner Rally assemblies have shifted from recognizing students for their academic achievement to noting their growth mindset qualities. They have also been recognized for their perseverance, effort, and willingness to both explore challenges and develop the courage to try new tasks. Rancho Vista’s culture of cultivating a growth mindset has allowed our teachers and students the opportunity to explore their sometimes hidden potential in learning.

Ridgecrest Intermediate School 28915 Northbay Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-4902 • 310/544-2747

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework

pathways, and other alternate measures. Ridgecrest MTSS offers Intermediate School the potential to (RIS) has been busy create needed with the implementation systematic of a wide variety of change through supports for our students Kelli Keller intentional design under the Multi-Tiered Principal and redesign of Systems of Support services using (MTSS) Framework. data analysis These academic and social/emotional across multiple supports are aimed at quickly areas to meet identifying and meeting the needs of the needs of all students through qualitative and each child on quantitative measurement. Supporting all levels of students through differentiated instruction our campus Ridgecrest is the district’s model site and purposeful grouping. each day. While for this program, so we will be creating the revision to these supports is constantly ongoing, it is integrated state frameworks to include interventions within consistent with our Ready to Inspire Someone campaign the Response to Intervention 2 and Positive Behavioral to celebrate the individuality of all 950 students at RIS. Interventions and Supports (PBIS) processes. We are With the success of each child, we will continue to enhance offering supports for Special Education students, at-risk our school-wide culture and climate and our academic students, English learners, and students in our gifted achievement. and talented programs, including interventions, course

Silver Spur Elementary School 5500 Ironwood St., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-1739 • 310/378-5011

Teaching Children Tolerance A school community where everyone feels safe, respected and engaged prepares children for life in a diverse, democratic society. At Silver Spur, we strive to promote a positive learning process for students to be successful in school, at home and in life. To teach our students about good Marta Jevenoischaracter, Silver Spur partnered with a Richardson children’s nonprofit that helps schools Principal incorporate legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success into our character-education program. Our parents, our teachers and I are convinced that students with good character and empathy behave more responsibly and will be more successful in school and in life. Today more than ever, children interact with people of different ethnicities, political views, religions and cultures. Classrooms are increasingly becoming more diverse than they were even a generation ago Success in the 21st century depends upon the ability to understand, appreciate, and work with others. Like all attitudes, tolerance is often taught in subtle ways. Even before children can speak, they closely watch and imitate their parents. Children of all ages are likely to develop their values by mirroring the values and attitudes Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

of their caregiving adults. Our attitudes about respecting others are often so much a part of us that we rarely think about them. We teach them simply by being ourselves and living our values. Parents who demonstrate and model tolerance in everyday life send a powerful message. As a result, children learn to appreciate differences. We as parents can help children practice tolerance. We must notice our own attitudes and demonstrate one of respect for others. Remember, children are always listening. We can select books, toys, music, art and videos carefully and point out and talk about unfair stereotypes that may be portrayed in the media. Answer children’s questions about differences honestly and respectfully. Acknowledge and respect differences within your family. Value the uniqueness of each family member, and help children feel good about themselves. Provide your children with opportunities to play and study with others who are different from them. Learn together about holiday and religious celebrations that are not part of your own traditions, and honor your family’s traditions and teach them to your children—and to someone outside the family who wants to learn about your own diversity. It’s my goal as an educator to provide our students with opportunities to be open to differences. I encourage you all to do the same! December 2016 / January 2017


Soleado Elementary School 27800 Longhill Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-3909 • 310/377-6854

Sparkle, Shine, Always Be Kind Soleado students and families represent 28 different languages and cultural Gina Stutzel backgrounds. Principal This diversity creates a wonderful opportunity to teach the importance of kindness and acceptance. Our Character Education program at Soleado focuses on kindness and the act of being kind. Kindness is a key ingredient in growth that enhances positivity and encourages children to feel good about themselves. Acts of kindness help us form connections with others, which increases happiness. Working with the PTA, we have created a slogan for the year: “Sparkle, Shine, Always Kind.” Focusing all activities

around “the act of being kind” has enhanced the culture and spirit at our school. We have seen less unkind behavior, better focus and concentration, and increased feelings of gratitude among our students and staff. Teaching kindness is so important. Not only is kindness gratifying to watch grow and develop, but it is vital to how it improves our students’ well-being, boosts their self-esteem, and increases their sense of belonging. You can never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. At Soleado, we believe that teaching kindness is a major step toward creating happy, thriving, and safe learning environments. So remember: Sparkle, Shine, Always Be Kind!

Vista Grande Elementary School 7032 Purpleridge Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275-3059 • 310/377-6066

Welcome A regular volunteer at Vista Grande believes this statement epitomizes the spirit of our school, so she donated the plaque pictured here. It now welcomes everyone who comes through Jeri Delatorre our doors. Principal Where does this love and support come from? It stems from our belief that all children can learn and grow. This creates a culture where individuals are valued for their unique abilities and encouraged to develop new ones. Teachers, students and parents are embracing “risky” choices. This willingness to try something new often requires some discomfort. In the classroom, students can be overheard offering multiple responses to questions and encouraged to support their responses with text evidence. Yes, there can be more than one answer! Teachers are stepping into the ever-changing world of technology to integrate critical technology skills throughout the curriculum. On a daily basis students are seen using technology as a tool to research, practice specific skills, and create presentations to demonstrate


their learning. Parents, too, are stepping forward to volunteer (yes, that can be scary!) so that important new programs are available for students. Outdoor Education is occurring through our new Garden Project. A Science Olympiad club began as a result of one family’s passion for science education. Volunteers support a robust Art at Your Fingertips program. A commitment to building relationships among school families is evident through well-planned social events sponsored by the PTA such as Luau Night, Family Movie Night, Game Night and Dad’s and Donuts, all programs organized by volunteers. What motivates this willingness to take risks? To be uncomfortable? To volunteer? Clearly it is for the love and support of all children at Vista Grande where we do more than just “hope.” All Vista Grande Voyagers work hard to ensure that “you are better for having been here.”

Rolling Hills Montessori School

in a beautiful rural setting, offering 3 programs: Toddler, Pre-Primary and Transition (18 months - 7 years) • Full day and half day • Chinese/Spanish and Music inclusive • 10 Extra curicular classes available • Field Trips • Community atmosphere • Fully credentialed staff Spaces are limited. For more info please call: (310) 377-5722 26825 Rolling Hills Road Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274


Peaceland Music & Repair

The Playground Zone For some, particularly the younger some, hip-hop is a playlist staple. For others a generation or three older, it’s at best an acquired taste. And the menu on this lively collection is sufficiently spicy and substantial to satisfy any listener. It was cooked up by Kate Karp teacher/artists, songwriters and performers Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd, along with the various other guest artists who comprise Alphabet Rockers. As their website says, the songs were “fully kid tested” in Oakland-area schools and apparently pronounced delicious. The lyrics are a call to anyone who needs a hand up—or wants to put an elbow up, is different externally or internally, or just wants to move. “Players’ Life” sings about each child’s right to play in a safe area and his or her responsibility to create one. “That’s Your Name, Wear It Out” tweaks and twiddles with children’s own names and identities, inviting listeners to join in. “Gimme Some Skin” and “Oddball,” to which a lot of us young and old surely can relate, wondrously segue into appreciation and acceptance, and “Change the World” sums up the collection. And just for fun, there’s “Wiggle Jiggle”—and why not? That’s what hip-hop’s about. No matter what your musical tastes are now, this collection guarantees that everyone’s going to taste it, feel it and put those elbows up! Kate Karp is an editor for School News Roll Call and a freelance writer and editor.

Covering the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

Guitar, Piano, Voice, Bass, Drums

Also: Ukulele, Banjo, Mandolin

James Musser

Nominated Best LA Band ‘96 Best Guitar ‘97 LA Music Awards

All Ages, Levels & Styles Days, Evening & Weekends

(310) 650-4021

[email protected]

23706 Crenshaw #105 A&B, Torrance, CA • (across from Hof’s Hut)

Visit us on: •

Contest! These students are in a picture in this publication. When you find them, email the page number to: [email protected]

Please put PVPUSD in the subject line.

Your entry must be received by December 30, 2016. From the correct entries, we will draw a winner to receive a $20 gift certificate redeemable at Barnes and Noble. December 2016 / January 2017


Palos Verdes Library District 701 Silver Spur Rd., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274 • 310/921-7500 •

Finding the Right Book There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books. — James Patterson Every day, the librarians at the Palos Verdes Library District (PVLD) help students find books they need, and perhaps more Laura Henry important: books they love. Sometimes it’s as Young Readers Manager simple as our pointing to the most promising section based on the child’s interests and reading ability — beginning readers, teen science fiction, biographies of soccer stars, or guides to making friendship bracelets — and then letting the student browse. Browsing is often underrated, in the view of most children’s librarians. Encouraging a child to look at the cover art and flip through the pages is actually an effective way for kids to select that perfect book. It also helps build independent thinking and analytical skills. While flipping, children are noting the number and size of pictures, the amount of white space, the size of the font, the vocabulary, and the words and phrases that might indicate a favorite topic or genre, for example: “wizard,” “rabbit” or even “snot.”

Lucy’s Book Review Eleven and Holding Author: Mary Penny Macy is and eleven year old girl, and her birthday is fast-approaching. She swears to herself she won’t celebrate without Lucy Davis her dad. She doubts herself though, because whenever she asks when he is going to come home, she is always given the same answer: he’s working on a important project right now. He will make it home for her big day, right? Meanwhile, other things aren’t much better. Her beloved grandmother’s café is now in the hands of a “thief”, her mom is getting on her nerves, and a new neighbor’s lost dog completes her troubles. But soon, her only mission is to bring her dad home, no matter what. I give this book three bookworms, because while it was entertaining, I found it a bit slow. Lucy is a fifth grade student that enjoys theater, playing guitar and singing. She’s a Harry Potter fanatic and hopes to one day publish a series of her own. Lucy will rate the books 1 to 5 bookworms with 5 being the best.


When selecting books, sometimes kids (and parents) prefer the more methodical approach, and PVLD offers tools for this type of search. Take a look at NoveList K-8 Plus. Available at (have your library card number handy), NoveList offers suggestions by genre type and approximate age range. It describes elements like character (“quirky,” “spirited”); pace (“leisurely,” “fast-paced”); tone (“funny,” “suspenseful”) and writing style (“gritty,” “lyrical”). NoveList also creates Title Read-alikes and Author Readalikes lists which are perfect for the reader who has finished everything by a favorite author and still wants more. And don’t forget the PVLD catalog! (See www.pvld. org/catalog.) This is especially useful for students whose schools use leveled reading programs like Accelerated Reader. To find a list of books, students can enter a topic of interest and move the AR or Lexile sliders to limit the search to the required reading levels. They can also narrow their search with the AR Interest Level pull-down menu. For librarian-created book lists — by theme, grade level, AR Level, and genre — check out PVLD’s “Kids” page ( One more important tool … the library staff itself! Our librarians are ready to offer individualized attention to kids and parents, demonstrating these tools and sharing their knowledge to find that special book a child will love.

Michael’s Book Review Big Nate in A Class All By Himself Nate knows he is destined for greatness. When a fortune cookie confirms that, he is very excited. The fortune reads “Today you will Michael H. surpass all others.” He soon learns that trouble seems to be following him everywhere. Instead of something good happening, bad things happen. He receives detention slips from all of his teachers. Confused by it all Nate tries to figure out, how it all went wrong. Later he realizes that although he did have a really bad day, his fortune cookie was correct. He surpassed all others by establishing a new record. He was the first person to get 7 detention slips in one day! Nobody could believe it, but Nate was happy because his fortune came true. I give this book 5 stars because it kept me interested the whole time. His adventure made me laugh and Nate didn’t give up until he made his fortune come true. I may never want to come close to that record, but reading about it was fun. Michael H. is a 4th grade student. Besides his love for reading, he also enjoys Karate, playing guitar and sharing new adventures with his mom. He will rate the books 1 to 5 stars with 5 being the highest.

t a re G y A a d li o H ft! Gi

Play Gazump! 2 Games in 1! Kids! Teens! Adults!

Order Today! (562) 296-5008 • [email protected]

Suggest Documents