• October 26, 2016


    Thoughts from Tuesday Night


    Dear Loma Families:

    Thoughts on Reading Development

    With the end of the first quarter at CT and parent conferences coming soon at Loma, I wanted to share a shift in our reading emphasis.  For many years we have worked to improve our instructional strategy in reading K-8.  Not that our students weren’t doing well, but we always want to emphasize growth in reading since it is a gateway skill for every other curricular area.  Last year, several of our teachers piloted a new guided reading assessment system (Fountas & Pinnell) along with a reading/writing workshop model created by one of the founders of Columbia University’s Teachers College, Lucy Calkins.  We have been extremely impressed with the rigor of Calkins’ work and the application of her teachings in our classrooms.  This summer, our teachers completed staff development in the Lucy Calkins approach and our new guided reading assessment system focusing more strongly on comprehension.  Our Language Arts curriculum K-7 is now using both Lucy Calkins materials and Fountas & Pinnell assessment tools as we move towards formal adoption of the curriculum.


    We moved to the Fountas & Pinnell guided reading level assessment system because it is indicative of a student’s ability to decode as well as their comprehension (both surface level and inferential).  Being able to read most words without fully understanding the meaning and context is a trap for our voracious readers.  Being a “fluent” reader, able to decode many words, does not necessarily indicate that the student is actually understanding what he or she is reading.  Fountas and Pinnell is helping us target comprehension levels as well as measure word recognition.  We continue to use Accelerated Reader (AR) as a tool to track the volume of reading a student is doing, but AR is not benchmarked to measure deeper levels of comprehension.  To pass an AR test, a student will have to have read the book, but AR tests do not assess if the student understood any of the complexities or deeper meanings in the book.


    At schools like ours where most students are good readers, we have shifted away from measuring only fluency (the ability to decode words) to focusing on deeper comprehension.  You will hear your child’s teacher refer to both independent and instructional levels in reading.  The “instructional level” means reading with a teacher’s guidance and pre-loading vocabulary and background knowledge before reading the text.  At the correct “instructional” level, students should be reading with 95% accuracy and satisfactory comprehension.  At the right “independent” level, students should be able to read with 98% accuracy, good comprehension, and a smooth rate of fluency.  Your child’s Loma report card will reflect their current “independent” reading level.  This is a good target for helping your child make solid free reading choices at home and when reading for pleasure.


    Here are the benchmark independent levels students should meet by the end of the year for each grade level:

    Grade             Level

    K                     C

    1                      I

    2                      L

    3                      O

    4                      R

    5                      U

    6                      X

    7                      Z


    If you want to explore the levels of books your child is reading, Scholastic has a user friendly site for teachers and parents to explore “guided reading” levels mapped to thousands of titles: http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/.


    Loma Parent Teacher Conferences and Love Your Library Book Fair

    Parent-Teacher Conferences begin Friday, Nov. 4th, and run through Nov. 10th.  These are minimum days for Loma only.  K-5 students are dismissed at 12:30.

    The Book Fair is looking for more volunteers.  This is the biggest event for both CT and Loma library fundraising.  Sharon Ammirati and Nicole Fichthorn need your help to make this event happen.  Please help where you can. 


    Our book fair is fast approaching and we are in need of volunteers to make this a successful event!  This is our sole fundraising event for the school libraries with proceeds benefiting both Loma and CTE libraries.


    Here’s the Important Info:

    Set up is Friday, Nov 4th

    Book Fair is Nov 7th-Nov 10th

    Tear down is Monday, Nov 14th


    Please keep in mind early dismissal on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 12:30pm due to Parent Teacher Conferences.


    Please consider volunteering! Typically, we are busiest during lunch time and right after school. We need 5 – 6 volunteers per day. The schedule on the sign up site is flexible!  I would love to have enough volunteers to keep the fair open late on Tuesday evening to give those Yellow Submarine parents a convenient time to shop.  Please email n.fichthorn@loma.k12.ca.us to get more information.  To sign up, please visit the Loma Library webpage or go to:



    Halloween Happenings – 12:30 Dismissal for BOTH schools

    Both campuses will be enjoying the fall traditions of Halloween.  Loma will have a costume parade at about 8:45 on the blacktop (in the Forum if it is raining).  CT has their assembly and costume judging at about 11:30.  Parents are welcome to attend both activities.  It is a minimum day at BOTH SCHOOLS so please pack a healthy snack to fuel them until 12:30 and balance out anything else they might eat.


    Loma students come in costume.  CT students will have a short break to change into costumes.  The best part of Halloween is the kids dressing up and having fun.  Please help your student make good choices about school appropriate costumes.  Costumes must not impede mobility or present an unreasonable distraction.  Gore should be limited at school and saved for evening festivities.  Weapons of any kind are not allowed on either campus and will be taken from students.  This includes toy guns, swords, light sabers, and the like.  If in doubt, PLEASE leave it out. 


    If your family is contributing anything to a class celebration, please make sure it is PEANUT FREE.  This includes checking the label for peanut oils or processing with peanuts.  I understand this requires more of you, but the safety of our students is paramount.  Thank you!


    More Fun on the Mountain!

    Thank you to our wonderful Home and School Clubs for providing fun events for kids.  The first middle school dance was a tremendous success and the Boo Bash is set to spook the mountain this Saturday beginning at noon.  Thanks go to all the parents who make these activities possible through generous contributions of time and money.  You rock!


    The Boo Bash needs volunteers like you to make it successful for all!  Please volunteer to help this Saturday.  Contact Caren Hespeler at: carenmch@gmail.com or 408-655-4523 to offer your time at this fun filled event!


    Red Zone Reminder!

    Now that the rains are beginning to arrive, it seems the red zone issues are cropping up again.  Do NOT leave your car in the red zone ever!  Last week we had a medical emergency on campus and a car parked in the red zone blocked the access of first responders.  In an emergency, vehicles use both access points.  Do not leave your car in a red zone ever!  Thank you.



    Corey Kidwell



    Wonderland High Registration Deadline at Midnight TONIGHT!

    Today is the last day to register for Wonderland High! Sign up by midnight to join this adventure through the halls of Wonderland High.

    Theatre In The Mountains Presents:

    All aboard the Yellow SubmarineThe Beatle's Yellow Submarine is a colorful musical adventure of our four musical heroes, John, Paul, Ringo and George who travel into the music-loving paradise of Pepperland to save it from the music-hating Blue Meanies. Come join us for this classic musical journey! Arindam Krishna-Das, who brought The Lion King to life last year, is back with this stage adaptation for Theatre In The Mountains that promises to be a wonderfully love-filled, colorful show! Under his direction, and with the choreography-magic of Ben "Jammin" Holck (also of The Lion King), 49 3rd-5th grade children have been rehearsing tirelessly and can't wait to give you their best.  They are excited to be back on 'home turf', with performances taking place on the newly-built stage in the gym. Tickets are on sale now - get them while you can!! 



    Performance Dates

    Friday, November 11th at 7pm

    Saturday, November 12th at 1pm & 7pm

    Sunday, November 13th at 1pm


    2016 Holiday Craft Faire: Calling All Crafty Students and Community Groups!

    Do you have handmade items to sell at the Holiday Faire this year? It's on December 3rd & 4th, 2016 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday in the Loma Prieta Gym. CTE students and Community Groups are invited to apply for 1/2 table spaces. The fee is $15 for one 3-4 hr timeslot per day. Please review the information sheet before filling out an application. (Information sheet and application are posted together below.) Applications are due in the CTE office on Thursday, November 10, 2016. The Loma Prieta Holiday Craft Faire is the largest fundraiser for the CT English Home and School Club.

    Upcoming Events

    10/28              SoW assembly / Sports Jersey Day

    10/29              Boo Bash and Flu Clinic 12-4

    10/31              Halloween Parade 8:45 / Minimum Day, dismissal at 12:30 – No Lunch, send your child with extra food

    11/1                Staff Development Day – NO SCHOOL

    11/4                No SoW / Parent/Teacher Conferences Minimum Day-dismissal at 12:30 – no lunch, send your child with extra food

    11/7-11/10     Parent/Teacher Conferences / Minimum Days

    11/11-11/13   Yellow Submarine TIM Play

    11/4-11/14     Book Fair

    11/14              Academic Awards Assembly 8:30

    11/18              SoW assembly

    11/21-11/25   Thanksgiving Holiday – NO SCHOOL