PRINCIPAL’S FINAL MESSAGE TO HIDDEN VALLEY

Dear Hidden Valley Learning Community,

 

It’s hard to believe that this is my final newsletter at Hidden Valley. While I’m excited to be embarking on a new adventure, I am also sad to be leaving such an amazing school and learning community. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have been here. The teachers and staff could not do the work we do without the incredible effort that parents make to provide such a high level of support for this school. We appreciate all that you do. I am proud to have served as your principal.

 

The last day of school will be this Friday, June 9th. Dismissal will be at 12:30 for grades 1-5. A bag lunch will be available for those students who have already turned in a form. Kindergartners will be dismissed at 11:15, and will not have lunch at school that day.

 

Congratulations goes out to Tracey Rentner, who gained the votes needed during Open House to become our newest parent member of the School Site Council. Heather Abrahimi will be our first alternate SSC member, and Karly Moura will be second alternate. Thank you to all parents who submitted their names for the School Site Council ballot.

 

On May 26th we completed CAASPP testing, which included the new on-line science test for 5th graders. A huge thank you goes out to everyone in our school community who helped us complete testing in a smooth and successful manner. We are especially grateful to Michele Beach, our Intervention Specialist, who served as our CAASPP Coordinator. Dina Oakes, our Technology Specialist (who is funded by the PFC) was instrumental in making sure that all the technology needs were met. Much appreciation also goes out to our teachers, instructional assistants, parents (who made sure children were well fed and rested), and the 3rd-5th grade students who gave it their very best effort. We look forward to seeing CAASPP results in August.

 

While summer is a great time to relax and have fun, it’s also important for children to maintain the academic skills they’ve worked so hard to build over the course of the school year. Any type of educational experience will benefit your child, and free choice reading is always a great option. You will still have access to the educational software that is available throughout the year (iReady, IXL, etc.), so please be sure to take advantage of these programs.

 

I encourage you to check out the reading program at your local public library. Hidden Valley librarian, Ryann Kuiper, has shared information with your child’s class about the program that is offered by the Contra Costa County Library.  Here is the link: http://ccclib.org/reads/summerreading/

 

To obtain a library card please visit:  http://ccclib.org/services/3-01.pdf

 

Thank you so much for all you’ve done to help your child(ren) have a successful school year. On behalf of all the teachers and staff at Hidden Valley, I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable summer break.

 

All the best,

Rich Gorton

 

PRINCIPAL’S MAY NEWSLETTER

Dear Hidden Valley Learning Community,

 

Welcome to May! May is always a busy month, so please be sure to follow the PFC’s Monday Memo each week to keep up with all the exciting activities that we have planned.

 

May 1st-5th is Teacher Appreciation Week. Hidden Valley teachers work extremely hard to ensure all children’s social and academic success. Teacher Appreciation Week is a great time to let your child’s teacher know how much you appreciate the hard work and dedication that s/he has demonstrated over the course of the year.

 

All 3rd-5th grade students will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) during the weeks of May 8-26. The Smarter Balanced test assesses the Common Core State Standards in both Language Arts and Math. Fifth grade students will also take an online science test called the California Science Test (CAST).

 

Our goal is to make sure that all students are able to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the year. Please be sure your child gets plenty of rest and eats a healthy diet to be at his/her best during standardized testing. For more information about CAASPP click here.

 

California has a new test results reporting system called the California Dashboard, which shows results from last year in a user friendly, color-coded format. If you’d like to see last year’s ELA CAASPP results on the color-coded dashboard, click here.

 

If your child is planning to purchase lunch on June 9th, the last day of school, you will need to turn in a request form to your child’s teacher by May 16th. More information will follow soon.

 

Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. Our goal is to help all students reach their full potential. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

 

 

 

 

 

PRINCIPAL’S APRIL LETTER

Dear Hidden Valley Learning Community,

 

Welcome to April! I hope you enjoyed the extra time you had with your child(ren) during Spring Break.

April is Autism Awareness Month! Hidden Valley will celebrate Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday, April 25th. The day will include stations that will provide students with opportunities to use occupational therapy equipment, assistive technology, and participate in other activities designed to help raise awareness about Autism. Each Wednesday everyone is encouraged to “Light It Up Blue” by wearing as much blue as possible as a show of support for those who have been affected by Autism.

The Hidden Valley staff and I have noticed that a number of students are not bringing healthy snacks to school. To help your child stay focused and to improve concentration, it is important to be sure s/he has a healthy and peanut and tree nut free snack each day. Some examples of healthy snacks include the following: fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, pretzels, raisins, Nutri-Grain bars, Graham crackers, Goldfish crackers, and sandwiches with tuna, egg salad, chicken, cheese, etc.

I would also like to share two important announcements from our Food Services Manager and our Attendance Secretary:

From Food Services Manager, Shelley Carmichael:

Please be aware that after April 15th the cafeteria will no longer be letting students charge any breakfasts or lunches. You may PREPAY a credit on your students account, by either check or cash on site, or by credit card online with the My School Bucks program. You can also sign up for email notices at myschoolbucks.com to receive email notices when your child’s account is running low.

From Attendance Secretary, Lorie Robertson:

If you plan to have your child out of school for five or more days, you may ask for an Independent Study Contract. Teachers must have ten or more days advance notice in order to provide schoolwork for you child. Once you have let your child’s teacher know, please see Ms. Robertson right away so she can write up the Independent Study Contract. For complete information about Independent Study Contracts, please see page 10 in the Parent-Student Handbook.

Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. Our goal is to help all students reach their full potential. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

 

 

PRINCIPAL’S MARCH NEWSLETTER

Dear Hidden Valley Community,

 

It’s hard to believe we are already well into March, with just 3 full months of school left until the end of the year. There will be many awesome events between now and June, including the Dinner Auction that will be taking place this Saturday, March 11th at the Concord Hilton. I hope you will be able to join us for an incredible night of fun and celebration – 1980’s style!

 

The March weather forecast is calling for yet more rain. Please keep in mind that umbrellas do create problems and safety issues at school. In addition to sometimes being used as swords and light sabers, they also drip water on the floor, and often get misplaced or left behind. It is preferable for your child to wear a raincoat with a hood instead of carrying an umbrella around at school.

 

At our February School Site Council meeting, we approved this year’s Safety Plan. As part of this year’s plan, we are looking for parent volunteers to help assist the school in case of an emergency or disaster, such as a major earthquake. If you are willing to come to the school and assist school personnel, we would appreciate it if you could sign up and fill out a short survey about any pertinent skills or training you may have. Thank you for your support and assistance.

 

Link to survey: https://goo.gl/forms/EQgSQoklFw4HJeOu2

 

Other safety concerns that surfaced as a result of our work on the Safety Plan include the following:

  • If you use the back gate that exits out to Hidden Valley Park, please be sure to close it whenever you enter or exit
  • Students should not play on any play structures unless they are being directly supervised by MDUSD personnel
  • All students being picked up after school should wait at the far end of the south staff parking lot near the traffic duty supervisor
  • No child should ever be picked up in a red zone
  • Parents/Guardians should never make U Turns on Glacier Drive in front of the school

 

I do want to mention how much I appreciate the effort that the vast majority of Hidden Valley parents/guardians make to keep all children safe. I am grateful for the dedication and commitment I see each day from all the parents who provide support in making Hidden Valley a safe, inclusive, and welcoming school.

 

Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. It is a joy to teach and spend time with them each day. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton, Principal

 

 

 

 

PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE FOR FEBRUARY

Dear Hidden Valley Community,

 

It’s hard to believe we are half way through winter and heading towards spring. February is a short month, but it will be filled with plenty of learning, and fun activities. Please look for information throughout the month from your child’s teacher, in the PFC Monday Memos, and on the Hidden Valley website at http://hves-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/.

 

We still have room for parents and/or guardians to join our Loving Solutions parent education class. Childcare is available. You can pick up a flyer and registration form in the office, or just come to the library on Wednesday, February 8th to enroll in the class.

 

Please join me in welcoming two new staff members to Hidden Valley. Jessica Hersh will be providing intervention support for our Kindergarten classes. Armael Malinis will join us as a Social Work intern. Both Jessica and Armael bring valuable experience and lots of positive energy to Hidden Valley. We are very fortunate to have them with us.

 

During the week of February 14-17 we will be participating in Random Acts of Kindness Week. Activities are planned for students and staff that will focus on kindness. Be sure to ask your child about the activities they do with their teacher and classmates. I encourage you to take the time to talk with your child about kindness, making sure that s/he understands that kindness means being helpful and generous, and that it comes from the heart.

 

Throughout the month of February, our morning announcements will include quotes from famous African Americans to celebrate African American History month. Please follow us on Twitter @hvehawks to learn more about the individuals who are being celebrated, along with the many other exciting things that are happening at Hidden Valley.

 

Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. It is our pleasure and privilege to teach and spend time with them each day. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton, Principal

 

 

 

PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE FOR JANUARY

Dear Hidden Valley Community,

Welcome to the New Year! I hope your family has enjoyed the holidays together.

As we resume school in 2017, it is really important for all students to get back into a routine that supports learning and good health. Please help your child be successful by making sure s/he gets plenty of rest, and eats a well-balanced diet.

We have some outstanding parent education opportunities coming up soon. Please mark your calendar for the following dates:

  • On Wednesday, January 11th School Counselor Chrissy Fraser will be providing a presentation focused on addressing anxiety.
  • On Wednesday, January 18 Joree Rosenblatt, MA, LMFT, will be presenting on mindfulness.
  • From Wednesday, February 1st through Wednesday, March 8th the Loving Solutions class will return to Hidden Valley.

All parent education classes will start promptly at 6:30 pm in the library. Childcare will be provided. Please see flyers for additional information.

Please also see the attached flyers if you would like to nominate a Teacher of the Year Candidate. The deadline for the nomination is on Monday, January 16th.

I’ve received a number of messages from parents who have expressed concerns about safety in our parking areas. If you drive your child to or from school, please keep the following in mind:

  • The north parking lot on Glacier is for staff parking and bus pick up/drop off only.
  • Park only in designated spots (please do not park in disabled spots unless you have a placard)
  • Always use extreme caution; drive slowly in and around the parking areas at all times.

If you witness someone breaking any traffic laws, I would encourage you to contact the Martinez Police Department. Please be prepared to provide the make, model, and license plate number so the police are able to trace the vehicle.

Intra-district applications (grades 1-5) are available until January 17, 2017 at the school sites, on the web site at Transfer Information and at the District Office, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord, CA  94519 in the Welcome Center, Room 1.  The deadline to apply for an intra-district transfer is January 17, 2017. The deadline for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten is March 1, 2017.  NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THESE DUE DATES.

Here is to a productive and prosperous New Year. Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. It is our pleasure and privilege to teach and spend time with them each day. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton, Principal

 

 

PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE FOR DECEMBER

Dear Hidden Valley Parents & Guardians,

 

It’s hard to believe we’re already into December. In just two weeks we will be ready to turn our school calendars to 2017 to start the New Year. December always includes fun events. The Book Fair will be in the A Pod until Friday, 12/9, and the White Elephant Bingo Night will take place in the multipurpose room on Friday, 12/9 starting at 7:00 pm.

 

Of course December also means it is time for parent/teacher conferences, which will be held from 12/5-12/16. If you have not signed up for a conference, please contact your child’s teacher as soon as possible to set one up. This is a critical opportunity for you to meet with your child’s teacher one-on-one to learn more about how your child is progressing, and what you can do at home to support your child in school.

 

We will be on a shortened day during conferences, so please be sure to plan for the early dismissal times. I’ve included a link to the Hidden Valley Website if you need to see when dismissal times will be during conferences.

 

We are fortunate to have some great computer programs that we use at school, and are available to use at home. Children can use both iReady and IXL to help retain and advance their knowledge and skills in language arts and math. Winter break will be an ideal time for your child to sharpen his/her academic skills. You can access both programs on our school website, at http://hves-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/, (see the Homepage Locker in the lower right hand corner of the screen) or by using the links below:

 

https://login.i-ready.com/

https://www.ixl.com/signin/hves

 

Please contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions about the programs, or need any assistance logging in.

 

As a reminder, please be aware that the two parking lots in front of the school are for staff parking only. It causes stress, and creates potential safety issues when a staff member is unable to find parking in one of the parking lots. We ask that all parents/guardians please park on the street or at the park behind the school.

I would like to thank you for entrusting us with your child(ren). It is our pleasure and privilege to teach and spend time with them each day.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE FOR NOVEMBER

Dear Parents/Guardians:

November is a time for Thanksgiving, so let me begin by thanking all of you who get your child or children to school on time and ready to learn each day. I understand and appreciate the effort this takes. I believe that your strong commitment to regular school attendance, along with our staff’s dedicated efforts to bringing out the best in every child, are the main reasons why Hidden Valley students are so successful. Please be aware that if you plan to have your child out of school for five or more days, we request that you complete an Independent Study (IS) contract. I have included a link to the Hidden Valley Parent Student Handbook to provide you with the information you’ll need to complete an Independent Study contract if necessary (see pages 10-11).

Recently, some parents have asked for clarification about the dismissal procedures. To maximize student learning, teachers use every available minute during the school day. At the end of the day, teachers provide enough estimated time for students to pack up their belongings, so they are ready to leave the classroom at dismissal time (2:35 for grades 1-3, and 2:45 for grades 4 & 5). On occasion, it may take a bit more time due to unforeseen circumstances. Please be assured that teachers make every effort to begin walking students out to their designated drop-off points at dismissal time. We ask that you build in an extra few minutes for the time it takes for students to walk from their classrooms to their drop-off point. If you would like any further clarification about dismissal procedures, please contact your child’s teacher.

At this point, students have completed their iReady diagnostic assessments. These assessments provide teachers with information they need to successfully differentiate instruction. Your child can, and should, take advantage of the supplemental instruction that iReady offers. The extra time available over Thanksgiving and Winter Break provides a great opportunity to take advantage of this program. To access instruction at home, your child can log on to iReady by going to https://login.i-ready.com/, or by going to the Hidden Valley Elementary Website and scrolling down to the Homepage Locker. Your child has the log on instructions. If you have any questions about how to use the program, please contact your child’s teacher.

I’d like to mention a couple of reminders for all parents who pick up their child(ren) by car in the afternoon. Please use the designated pick up spot in the far corner of the south parking lot. The red zones in front of the school are not designed for loading or unloading. Please also keep the crosswalks clear so it’s safe for pedestrians to cross the street.

On behalf of all the staff at Hidden Valley, I would like to thank you for all of your support. It is our pleasure and privilege to teach and spend time with your child(ren) each day.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

SEPTEMBER PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE

Dear Hidden Valley Learning Community,

I would like to thank you for your support as we complete the first week of school. This past week, teachers and staff focused a lot of time and energy on teaching students the procedures and expectations that will help them learn and be successful throughout the school year.

I’d also like to thank you for your cooperation and patience as we tried out a new procedure last Wednesday afternoon. After talking it over with teachers and staff, we’ve decided that it will be easier on everyone if students have lunch in the cafeteria on Wednesdays so that the patio area is available for student pick up at dismissal time. Starting this Wednesday, August 31st, parents are welcome to wait for student dismissal in the patio area. I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience that last Wednesday’s dismissal procedures may have caused.

Please join me in welcoming the many new teachers and staff members who have joined us this year at Hidden Valley. The new faces on campus include Vice Principal, Elizabeth Lanfranki Law, Dianna Delamain, (TK), Rebecca Gellerman, (K), Hannah Engels (K), Suzanne Licht (2nd), Melissa Arata (3rd), Stephanie Anderson (3rd), Rebecca Campos (4th), Russel Beaty, (SDC Autism 1-2), Stephanie Howard (SDC Autism 3-5), Allison Sharp (School Psychologist), and Shelley Carmichael (Kitchen Manager).

We are very fortunate to have such talented educators who will help our children thrive this year.

Please note that Ms. Carmichael is looking for parent volunteers to help out with the salad bar at lunch. If you’re interested, you may contact her directly at hiddenvalleycafe@mdusd.org.

Please also be aware that we have updated the Parent and Student Handbook for the 2016-17 school year 2016-17 Parent Student Handbook. The handbook may also be accessed on the Hidden Valley website (see link in the lower right hand corner). Please pay particular attention to changes that have been made to the sections that include Independent Study Contracts (pgs. 10-11) and the guidelines for classroom celebrations and birthdays (pgs. 11-12).

I would like to acknowledge the newest parent members of our School Site Council. The following parents were voted on to SSC by fellow parents at last year’s Open House: Celeste Altus, Siobhan Goldsworthy, LeAnn Kovar, and KC DeSilva. We appreciate their willingness to serve in this important role. It turns out that we have one additional SSC position that will need to be filled by a parent. Please contact me if you are interested in this position.

Thank you for all of your efforts and contributions to help build a positive and collaborative learning environment at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

 

PRINCIPAL’S MAY LETTER

Dear Hidden Valley Learning Community,

 

May is always a busy month, so please be sure to follow the PFC’s Monday Memo each week to keep up with all the exciting activities that we have planned.

 

May 2nd-6th is Teacher Appreciation Week. Hidden Valley teachers work extremely hard to ensure all children’s social and academic success. This is a great opportunity to show your child’s teacher how much you appreciate the hard work and dedication that s/he has demonstrated over the course of the year.

 

This year we will have at least two School Site Council (SSC) positions open for parents for the 2016-17 school year. SSC is a committee made up of parents, teachers, and school staff (including the principal), that makes decisions about how the school’s funding will be spent. It is very important that we have committed parents to serve in this role. Voting for School Site Council Members will be held at Open House on May 19. Please contact me at gortonr@mdusd.org for more information if you are interested in serving on the SSC.

 

All 3rd-5th grade students will be participating in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) during the weeks of May 16-27. The online testing portion is called the Smarter Balanced test, which assesses the Common Core State Standards in both Language Arts and Math. Fifth grade students will also take a paper-pencil standardized science test during the testing window.

 

CAASPP results help our school and district determine how well students are learning, and where we need to focus our efforts so that all students can meet or exceed the academic standards. Please help your child prepare for testing by making sure s/he gets plenty of rest, eats a healthy breakfast, and arrives to school on time. I’ve included a link to the Hidden Valley website for more information about CAASPP. http://hves-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/

 

I have also included the school parent survey that was sent out on School Messenger last month. You have until Wednesday, May 4th to complete it. It will provide important information about the climate and culture at Hidden Valley.

 

Thank you for entrusting us with your child or children. Our goal is to help all students reach their full potential. We appreciate all you do to support your child’s success at Hidden Valley.

 

Sincerely,

Rich Gorton

Link for Parent Survey:

HVE_ Parent_Survey_2015_16