–Stand for ALL Students
Dear Valley View Parent:
As I discussed last month, Valley View parents and staff attended the “Stand for All Students” rally hosted by the California Charter Schools Association in Sacramento. I want to take a moment to describe the purpose of the rally and the challenges charter schools like Valley View face at present.
Over 7,000 students, parents, teachers and educators traveled from as far north as Chico and far south as Los Angeles to participate in the event. The rally was a powerful step in defending great public schools and the families they serve. During the event, the California Charter Schools Association unveiled their legislative priorities and policy agenda, which calls on legislators to fully fund and defend great schools and deliver for all students throughout the state. Also addressed at the rally was a set of bills, put forward by a well-organized anti-charter movement, that would challenge the ability of charter schools to meet the needs of the families and students we serve. In some cases, these bills would threaten the existence of schools like Valley View. Learn more about CCSA’s legislative priorities and this pending legislation here.
As education continues to be a central focus in Sacramento, our hope is that the hundreds of thousands of charter school supporters in the state’s 1,323 charter schools will share their story. Stopping harmful legislation and promoting beneficial legislation will be a challenging endeavor. If you would care to become more involved in supporting this endeavor, CCSA has developed an online form to notify legislators of your support for charter schools like Valley View!
John Mittan, Director
April is the month for the State Testing, known as CAASPP, or California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. These tests are vital to the school’s efforts to serve you, its students, and to gauge the effectiveness of our programs.
All students in grades 3 through 8, and grade 11, are to complete these computer and performance tests over two days. In addition, Grades 5, 8 and select high school grades are given a science assessment, and the kids in grades 5, 7, and 9 all participate in a Physical Fitness Assessment.
Talk with your teacher to make sure you are properly scheduled for a time and place most conducive to success.
John Mittan, Director
Valley View Charter Prep
Student/Parent Enrichment Excursions
We have a few field trips scheduled for the next few months. All deadlines have passed, and those who are signed up will be contacted by Lorraine about a week before the field trip. If you are unsure whether you signed up, email her at email@example.com
#18 Wed, April 10: Point Bonita Lighthouse & Nat’l Rec Area, Marine Headlands, Sausalito.
#19 Fri, Apr 19: SF Film Fest @ Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland
#20 Thur, May 16: The Crucible, 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland https://thecrucible.org/
Middle & High School News
Please note that the time has come for planning your high school career! If you have not already contacted our academic dean, Jennifer McInerney, please email her
at your earliest convenience: there is only so much time in the day, and the time slots go fast!
– Middle School Orientation: There was ZOOM webinar last week for 5th & 6th graders: contact your teacher to find out how to access the recording of this meeting.
– High School Orientation 4/2: Rising 8th and new 9th graders and their parents are encouraged to attend the orientation to learn more about our unique high school program and how we partner to help your child achieve his or her goals. This information will be used to maximize and personalized, individual counseling meetings. Zoom- link to be sent directly to staff and parents.
– Spring Academic Advising 4/4- 5/6: Meet with Jennifer regionally or online to develop your unique high school program. Sign up link has been sent directly to parents (or ask your teacher, or email to Jennifer).
– Graduation 5/22- preparation is in the works- information sent directly to families.
Be on the lookout for the schedule for next year’s virtual classes! Your teacher should be able to get you a tentative rendering this week. We will be offering a variety of math and science classes for both high school and middle school students.
For the elementary students, don’t forget that they have access to a number of online programs designed to augment their curriculum for reading and math. Ask your teacher!
April 2019 Science Corner
Next Generation Core Ideas is the final category making up the NGSS 3-Dimensional learning triangle. Here is a video taken from Teaching Channel that demonstrates how the core ideas are an integral part of science education.
In summary, the Next Generation Science Standards are comprised of 3 parts: Core ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices. This wholistic approach is guiding science education to help students to be prepared for the jobs of the future.
Author Feature of the Month: Emily Morgan
This prolific author has written many books in the series “Next Time You See a …” In addition, her newest book, Never Stop Wondering, is available for purchase at the Science Store of the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) at www.nsta.org/store.
Here is the description from the website:
This colorful book celebrates our sense of wonder and shows how curiosity is key to cracking the mysteries of the universe. Packed with lively rhymes and fun illustrations, Never Stop Wondering demonstrates how the need to know can lead to great scientific discoveries. And the activities at the end of the book will prompt readers to do exactly what scientists do: study their surroundings, come up with questions, test ideas, and then question some more. Ready, set, wonder!
Here are some activities that you might like to try this month with your students!
Check out these NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources vetted by NSTA teacher curators. This week’s focus is physical science:
Grades K–2: Sound Vibrations
Grades 3–5: Simon Says Big Amplitude, Small Wavelength!
Grades 9–12: Modeling With PhET Gravity Lab
Along the Way Early
A retired home school mom’s reflection
Last year I “retired” as a home school mom of four: sixteen years of homeschooling my own children. Initially, I worked part time and then as they got older, I worked full time as a support teacher for homeschool families through charter schools. As the Language Arts support teacher here at VVCP, I’ve been looking into strategies for developing literacy. Reflecting on my own homeschooling experience I note that my younger two children became more fluid readers than my older two. The two eldest went to private school (where I taught before I started home schooling) and where they learned to read. I recognize that the younger ones picked up on phonemic awareness and reading seemingly with less struggles than my older two, who were challenged a bit with reading when I first brought them home. The younger ones also struggled much less with reading fluency and comprehension.
On reflection, the younger two had more every day literacy input in those early language building years (ages 2 – 5) than my older children. I was a full-time working mom and my older children went to day care. The younger ones were four and two when I pulled their older siblings out of school. While we were working on second and fourth grade learning that first year, they played nearby. Together we all engaged with language. While I did not intentionally instruct my younger children in phonics they learned it simply because they were around it.
Along the way, in almost any scenario, I tried to use the current place or event as an opportunity to teach. At times I told people I did not “home school” … I “car schooled”. At the grocery store we would divide the list up. They had to read their list and find the items. The younger ones played too (with help). Outside of piano lessons we sang songs, memorized poems and nursery rhymes. On road trips we would read signs, play the alphabet game, and count things like cows or Volkswagens (No Punch Buggy allowed!) We listened to stories on CDs, and took many field trips while practicing our language skills: speaking, writing, listening and decoding the written word.
From the outside, it may seem like literacy came naturally through our daily activities and maybe it did. I focused on literacy skills before formal reading curriculum was introduced. But, truth be told, this former kindergarten teacher turned ‘homeschool mom”, did use formal reading curriculum and standards to guide her planning, particularly with my kindergarten aged children.
Here is a list of some of the things I did specifically to help with early literacy with my preschool – kindergarten aged children:
- Read to them. A book that kept them wanting to come back for more…Not a picture book, one I read while they listened and answered and asked questions about; engaging with the story, the words and their meanings. Books on tape are also good for this.
- Read with them. Ask them to point out things, to guess what will happen next, to identify the person telling the story. Listen while they read, let them read to each other, etc. Examine new words, their sounds, how many sounds, identify the number of syllables
- Labeled things with 3×5 cards. Clock, Plant, Piano, Bookshelf, etc.
- Played “make believe” and acted out favorite stories
- Memorized poems and nursery rhymes and performed them in front of others.
- Made activity bags, boxes or folders. Activities like letter and word, sound and letter, upper and lowercase letter matching games; rhyming word activities (cut out pictures from magazines / coloring books to include with words). Changed these up every few weeks. Of course I could have purchased these, but we wanted piano, swimming and later Sienna Ranch.
- For writing letters, I started big and made it physical, adding motion whenever possible. Examples: jump on trampoline while practicing the alphabet; use full arm motions to write letters in the air or sidewalk chalk for large printing practice. Hopscotch on letters to spell simple words. Wipe off markers on the sliding doors. March in place while working on phonic sounds.
Do you have preschoolers at home? I know you are probably already doing many of these things. Keep it up. Change it up. Don’t give up. Remember how important daily “Along the Way” Literacy activities impact your child’s reading success. Although early language literacy does not require a specific curriculum, a good program can guide you through grade level skills. Contact your teacher for a list of VVCP recommended reading curriculum.
For helpful early literacy resources check out www.getreadytoread.org
If you have specific questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.