Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Superintendent Update

May 14, 2014

The 2014 Distinguished School process has been completed.  Eight PVPUSD elementary schools will be honored by State leaders at a ceremony in June.  The schools will also be recognized by the Board of Education at its May 22nd meeting.  Only 424 elementary schools in California were recognized as Distinguished Schools this year.    The visiting teams were quite impressed with our principals, staff, and instructional programs.  I want to applaud the following schools, principals, and staff for their outstanding record of student success:
  • Cornerstone – Jeff Keeney
  • Lunada Bay – Nancy Parsons
  • Mira Catalina – Brett Egan
  • Montemalaga – Becky Egan
  • Point Vicente – Beth Hadley
  • Rancho Vista – Bill MacDonald
  • Silver Spur – Jane Tasker
  • Vista Grande – Jeri Delatorre
High School Rankings
Both Peninsula and Palos Verdes High Schools were once again recognized as among the best high schools in California and the nation by US News & World Report and the Washington Post.  Congratulations to Mitzi Cress & Charles Park (Principals) and all of the outstanding teachers that make our high school so successful.
California Scholarship Federation
Almost 400 high school seniors were honored by Palos Verdes and Peninsula High Schools at recent CSF banquets.
Rancho del Mar High School
Congratulations to Rosemary Humphrey (Principal) and the entire Rancho del Mar High School community.  State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recently announced that Rancho del Mar High School has been designated as a Model Continuation High School.  Rosemary Humphrey, principal, and her staff accepted the award at a state-wide continuation education conference on May 2nd.   The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program identifies and recognizes outstanding programs that provide students the environment they need to flourish.  Model Continuation High schools are WASC accredited and provide comprehensive services to youth through the use of exemplary instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, and guidance and counseling services.
Nathan Kim takes first place at CA Mathcounts State Finals
Ridgecrest Intermediate School student Nathan Kim recently took first place overall at the CA Mathcounts State Finals.  The contest at UC Irvine included over 200 top participants that had to first advance past the qualifying chapter rounds.  Nathan also achieved top honors in the AMC8 math contest, becoming the only student in the nation to get a perfect score in each of the past three years. MATHCOUNTS is a nonprofit national math enrichment, coaching and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement in every U.S. state and territory.

SoCal ROC Students
On April 30th, the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SoCal ROC) recognized outstanding performance by students in their program.  Congratulations to:
  • Christopher De Alba – Palos Verdes High
  • Aurora Chaney – Peninsula High
  • Kathleen Hines – Palos Verdes High
  • Kagan Kaczmar – Rancho del Mar
  • Taylor Tuleja – Palos Verdes High
Beginning Teacher Support & Assessment Program
The District’s Beginning Teacher Support & Assessment (BTSA) Program just completed a successful accreditation review.  Under the supervision of Pat Maricich, the program is designed to provide support/mentors for new teachers and assist them with finalizing State credential requirements.

Update on Common Core & “Testing the Test”

California has adopted a new assessment system to measure student proficiency levels in the areas of English Language Arts and Math based on new State Standards.  Students throughout California recently took a practice test.  In PVPUSD, the practice test for the new state accountability system, Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), went smoothly.   I want to thank the District’s Technology staff, Curriculum and Instruction Department, principals, teachers, and support staff for all of their hard work and effort getting the schools ready.  School and District employees used this opportunity to observe students testing in order to develop “lessons learned” for next year and, if applicable, provide input back to the State.
I also want to thank all of the teachers and administrators that have participated in the discussion on strategies for transitioning to the new State standards and assessment system.
Interested parents and staff are encouraged to read a recent article in EdSource titled “Common Core Now the Common Element in College Preparatory Courses” (April 23, 2014).  The focus of the article is on aligning the requirements of a-g courses, courses that students must take to be eligible for California public university admission, so that there is more commonality between the two systems.  It also highlights the revamping of ACT and SAT exams to align with the Common Core.
The District received approximately $2.3 million in onetime money to fund the implementation of the Common Core.  The funds must be spent on professional development, instructional materials, and technology in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 budget years. In addition, the District receives other funds that help support professional development, technology, and instructional materials.
A lot of valuable information about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the new State assessment system is available on the District’s web site  In fact, I encourage all parents and community members to visit both the PVPUSD and the California Department of Education web sites to learn more about CCSS and SBAC (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium).  You can also find answers to commonly asked questions about the Common Core State Standards.

Summer School Information
Please visit our website at for information about District summer programs.
Information about summer classes/programs offered by the Peninsula Education Foundation can be found at

2014-15 Enrollment Information

It is time to enroll for the 2014-15 school year. 
Elementary Schools
Parents can access the online enrollment process for next year’s incoming elementary students (Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade). 
If you have a student entering elementary school in August, go to the District’s web site at and click on “Parents & Students,” “2014 Enrollment,” and “Enroll Online.”
After completing Step 1, parents must bring the printed confirmation page and the following documents to the Enrollment Center at 375 Via Almar in Palos Verdes Estates.
  • Parent/Guardian photo identification
  • Residency verification (original gas and electric bills)
  • Original birth certificate or passport/visa
  • Original immunization records certified by healthcare provider
Note: Copies of documents printed from the internet will not be accepted.
Intermediate and High Schools
Intermediate and high school students who are new to PVPUSD may go directly to their home school for new student enrollment.

Support the Peninsula Education Foundation (PEF)
As always, the Main Event was a huge success.  However, that does not mean PEF leaders reached their goal for the year.  The $3 million that PEF donates annually to PVPUSD goes directly to staff and programs at every school.  The following employees or programs would be reduced or non-existent if it were not for PEF funds:
  • $1.5 million for additional teachers
  • Elementary PE Teachers
  • Library/Media Aides at elementary schools
  • Elementary Music Program
  • Intermediate school counselors
  • Intermediate school STEM programs
  • High school academic and safe school counselors
  • College & Career Center staff
  • PVIT/SMERT programs at both high schools
I encourage all parents and community members to help the Peninsula Education Foundation (PEF) reach its goal for this budget year.  Please make a contribution before the school year is completed.  For more details about PEF and events, go to or call (310) 378-2278.

Final Board of Education Meetings for 2013-14
  • May 19th:   Policy Meeting (9:00 a.m.)
  • May 19th:   Update on new State Math Standards (4:30 p.m.)
  • May 22nd:  Regular Meeting (6:30 p.m.)
  • June 12th:  Regular Meeting (6:30 p.m.)
  • June 26th:  Regular Meeting (6:30 p.m.)
All Board of Education meetings are held at the Malaga Cove Administration Center.

District Goals for 2013-14
  • Goal # 1 - Support the academic achievement of all students through a rigorous and balanced curriculum, as we transition to the K-12 implementation of the Common Core State Standards while continuing to foster critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.
  • Goal # 2 - Establish and implement multi-year plans in order to ensure the fiscal stability of the District and to support a high quality instructional program. 
  • Goal # 3 - Enhance communication and collaboration between and among District staff, students, parents, Board of Education, and community.

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