May 6, 2015
Dear Loma Parents/Guardians:
Thoughts From Tuesday Night:
The new era of state testing is well underway at both schools. Students in grades 3-8 have been working through the new computerized testing format developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. These assessments are designed to measure the impact of the more rigorous new California standards known as the Common Core (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This year’s tests will set a “base,” or benchmark, from which to grow.There are a number of important differences between these assessments and those of the STAR era. The most obvious is that the tests are all computerized. Any of you with less than perfect Internet connections here on the mountain can imagine some of our challenges. We have been actively conserving bandwidth during the testing hours so that students can depend on continuous connections. Connectivity hasn’t been perfect, but overall we have managed well.Additionally, the new tests are “adaptive” which means that the assessment for every student is slightly different as the assessments “adapt” the difficulty of each question by adjusting subsequent questions based on how the student responds to each item. There are open-ended items with more than one correct answer as well as fact-based questions. We expect that over time these tools will provide more precise information about what students have mastered and where gaps may occur in our curriculum or approach. With a greater emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, we also expect that students will develop a deeper understanding of content in core academic areas.This year marks the first that scores will be available for individual students, schools, and districts. California is not the first state to launch this type of testing in the new standards. The early results in states that were ahead of California have seen student scores that are much lower than they were on the previous tests. This is likely to happen here too because both the standards have changed, as well as the mechanisms of measurement. The new standards are more rigorous and will require more complexity of thought than merely bubbling in an answer or a guess.We are transitioning into the standards, but the assessments are not transitional. It is realistic to expect that students being tested at any particular grade level have not benefited from foundational years of exposure to the increased rigor and critical thinking components of the new curriculum. The tests themselves also require proficiency in a variety of technical skills that students may have yet to master here in the first year. Just taking the tests is a learning process. Test scores will be lower than our community is accustomed to but will provide a base from which to grow our academic programs. “It’s all about the base!”I am in full support of the guiding principles behind the Common Core shift towards higher level thinking skills and increased rigor. I look forward to seeing the initial results, and perhaps more importantly, to the work ahead with our teachers to recognize our instructional strengths and opportunities for growth. Our goal continues to be to provide students with increased opportunities to gain and showcase deep understanding of academic concepts. I have confidence that our staff embraces the fresh opportunities to extend learning presented by the Common Core. While our early test scores may not be as high as they have been in the STAR era, I am quite confident that the data provided will be more relevant to sharpening our focus on critical thinking, developing problem solving strategies for the real world, and supporting excellence in all forms of communication necessary for success in the 21st Century.Our instructional focus at Loma Prieta and CT English is, as it always has been, supporting excellence in teaching and learning while educating the whole child. Thank you for your partnership in creating a school where we measure what we value rather than value what we measure.The Hole in Fun Gang!
Join us! It’s "Fore the Kids!” The golf tournament is around the corner and it’s not too late to sign up! There are a few spots left - let’s make sure we fill them! Those of you who are great golfers, come try to win the trophy. Those of you who golf like I do, come on out and enjoy your friends. Those of you who hate golf, come anyway and drive the cart! Don’t miss out.
Friday, May 15th, 10am registration, lunch and Spanish tapas for dinner will be provided. Raffle and silent auction; live band; drinks and prizes.
For more details, log on to www.lpef.org/golf
When Leyton Howard Speaks People Listen:
Students at Los Gatos High School connect with Leyton Howard, Resource Officer at Los Gatos High, because he has earned their trust. Leyton’s aim is straight. He works closely with students on their turf to keep them safe. He earns students’ trust and their willingness to listen through relationship building and availability.
The School Site Council is honored that Leyton has generously agreed to share his insight with us regarding student culture at Los Gatos High. If you are interested in a glimpse into the social life on campus, do mark your calendars for Wednesday evening May 27th from 6:30 to 8pm to come engage in a little Q & A session with Leyton.
Parents of students in 4th through 8th grades.
Mrs. Carino’s Top Ten:
- Showing off our view to visitors. So nice to see them smile and say ahhh;
- The middle school rush to prepare final edits for the Film Festival;
- Kris Denues back in action, heart warming;
- CT and Loma students sitting in the computer lab with headphones on diligently working with intent to show what they know on the new computer based California Assessment of Performance and Progress;
- The mister at the end of a Jog-A-Thon lap;
- A fourth grade student just running his laps with “bebop” style steps into a cool spin move and keeps on running;
- CT kids running with their siblings;
- Mrs. Bennett cheering every student on to one more lap;
- Jamba Juice at the end of the day;
- Amazing Home and School Club members arriving early for set-up and staying late to clean-up. A big shout out to Crickett Stephens for taking the lion’s share of organizational responsibility and pulling off one very smooth event! Thanks to Crickett and to all those who volunteered to pull off a Jog-A-Thon that other schools would envy.
“Tea-riffic” Volunteer Tea
Volunteers are invited to join us for our annual Volunteer Thank You Tea, May 13th at 12:30 in the Loma Forum. You will enjoy light refreshments and be entertained by live performances by Loma and CT students. Let us THANK YOU for all you do!
THE AFRICAN LIBRARY PROJECT
You may have noticed the arrival of boxes in the school lobby. They are to collect children’s books to send to Africa. We are very excited, as this will be the 9th library that will be sent from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Each library consists of 1,000 books so it requires everyone to look through their much-loved, very good condition books for K- 8th graders and bring to school the ones they no longer need. We know children love their books but it is a wonderful feeling to know that a child will read their books who may never have read a book before. We have sent libraries to Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho and most recently South Africa. Can your child find these countries on a map? All the details about the project can be found at www.africanlibraryproject.org and I encourage you to play the slide show to see the impact of the libraries and the faces of the children as they lovingly handle the books when they arrive. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. Bring on the books!!
Loma Upcoming Events
5/8 WoW assembly / 5th grade tour of CT / Spa Day
5/10 MOTHER’S DAY
5/11-5/15 Smarter Balance Testing
5/13 Volunteer Tea
5/14 1st grade field trip to Seymour Center
5/15 WoW assembly / LPEF “Fore the Kids” Golf Tournament / Mrs. Dufort’s 3rd grade class field trip to Recycling Center
5/18-5/22 Smarter Balance Testing
5/20 New Kinder Orientation
5/21 CT Orientation for incoming 6th graders / Open House 6:45p
5/22 WoW assembly
5/25 Memorial Day – No School
5/28-5/29 4th grade field trip to Coloma / Last day for Friday’s Hot Lunch and Milk