The Grapevine

LVJUSD Superintendent's Newsletter - January 2020

Superintendent's Message

Dear Livermore Community,


Happy New Year! As we welcome the new decade, we look forward to continuing our commitment to educate the next generation of global citizens. When we celebrate the Class of 2020 this coming June, we will be celebrating the dedication of our many staff members, families, and volunteers who work each day to improve our community. Thank you to all who support our students.


Each day of each new year presents us with an opportunity to show our gratitude. Our generous community provided gifts and support in December that will benefit our students throughout the year. Many of our deserving students received bicycles donated by several community organizations and civic leaders. These bikes provide a way for children to get to school, develop independence, take care of their bodies, and develop social bonds of friendship through a shared activity. Whenever we give to others, we impact them in many ways.


As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” This month, we look forward to honoring the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who embraced all of humanity and whose wisdom continues to impact our actions. King’s words still remind us that “tomorrow is today,” and that we must use today to create a better future.


As we make our resolutions for the new year, let’s all be inspired by the ongoing commitment of those who support our students. Let’s reach out to others both to serve and to say thank you.


With gratitude,


Kelly Bowers, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



Pictured above: Dr. Kelly Bowers, Superintendent of Schools, with student Daisy Zarco.

Photo credit: Doug Jorgensen of the Livermore Independent

Math Mindset

Number Sense and the Progression of Mathematics Skills


Young children begin learning mathematics long before they enter school. They learn to count, and they even begin to solve simple problems by counting. In the primary grades, mathematics instruction focuses on the development of number sense, understanding of numerical operations, and fluency (speed and accuracy) in performing computations. Number sense refers to a child’s fluidity and flexibility with numbers. It helps children understand what numbers mean, improving their performance of mental mathematics, and giving them the tools to look at math in the outside world and make comparisons. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) by the end of grade 2, students should—


  • understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems;

  • understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another and;

  • compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.


When people think of math, many often think only of computing and estimating. We may think that students are “good” at math if they are fast at computation. Computation is part of developing as a mathematician, but the larger, deeper understanding of number sense is a critical tool for being successful in math.


Our district’s Mathematics Teaching & Learning Plan focuses on developing all of the skills needed for mathematical success. Our goal is to shift the discouraging experience that some older students may feel when they encounter challenging math problems that require more than computation skills. Many students who were thought of as strong in math in the early grades may become “stuck” because of their lack of number sense, and then begin to think of themselves as “bad” in math as concepts become more abstract and problems more challenging. We want students - and parents - to recognize that developing number sense can reduce anxiety about math and prepare students to be mathematical and critical thinkers.


Mathematics educator, Graham Fletcher has put together a series of videos explaining the progression of math skills. These videos help to clarify the understandings students should ideally be developing as they move through the elementary grades.

The Progression of Addition and Subtraction HD

What’s New on the LVJUSD Website - Class of 2020 Kindergarten and Senior Photo

In 2008, when these students started kindergarten, it seemed that the year 2020 was very far into the future. The children were gathered on the football field at Granada High School with teachers and administrators, and this point in time was captured. Now these adorable little kindergartners are graduating high school seniors, and the year 2020 is actually upon us! Once again, these students were invited to gather together and another photo was snapped for posterity. Thank you to Livermore Granada Boosters for taking both photos and making them available to download for free on their website.

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2020 National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students from LVJUSD

Thanks to the Pedrozzi Foundation, all high school sophomores are provided the opportunity to take the Preliminary SAT® during the school day for free. Taking the PSAT in 10th grade fosters a college-bound mindset and provides counselors, administrators, and students with an understanding of academic strengths that can lead to recommendations of Advanced Placement (AP) courses or other challenging areas of study for which a student shows an aptitude.


The PSAT in 10th grade also provides early practice in preparation for the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT®) taken during a student’s junior year. The test results from the 11th grade PSAT/NMSQT are used by the National Merit Scholarship Program to identify top scholars throughout the United States. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring juniors in each state.


Granada and Livermore High Schools are proud to announce the 2020 National Merit Commended Scholars and the four 2020 National Merit Semifinalists. National Merit Commended Scholars are recognized with Letters of Commendation for their academic promise and can apply to a pool of select scholarships. Semifinalists are invited to complete a rigorous scholarship application to compete to be named a National Merit Scholar. Honorees are selected from a group of approximately 16,000 semifinalists.


Congratulations to our hard-working and accomplished students!


National Merit Commended Scholars

Rebecca Bauman, Granada High School

Timothy Blanton, Livermore High School

Eugene Ha, Livermore High School

Kassadi Holloway, Granada High School

Jacob McMillin, Livermore High School

Ranjini Nair, Livermore High School

Sejal Sahu, Granada High School

Angela Traugott, Livermore High School

Avni Vachhani, Livermore High School

Jesse Watson, Granada High School

Austin Weinshelbaum, Livermore High School

Jessica Weise, Livermore High School

Colin Weise, Livermore High School

Devan Zika, Livermore High School

National Merit Semifinalist Scholars

2020 Science Odyssey

The year on Thursday, February 13th from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at Junction Avenue K-8, LVJUSD celebrates the 20th year anniversary of the Science Odyssey. This is a family-friendly, free science and engineering extravaganza. Our LVJUSD students proudly display their scientific inquiry methods, experiments, data, findings, and conclusions with the public. Judges evaluate the content on the display boards and interview the students about the experimental process. Students share what they learned throughout the process and many work in collaborative pairs or teams.

Many students also entered the annual art contest to design the graphic for the t-shirts, posters, and other promotional materials. The top entries will be displayed at the Student Art Exhibit at Science Odyssey and will be further showcased in the community after the event.

Spotlight on our Schools - Granada High School Athletics

There is tremendous Matador pride as Granada High School fall sports season ended and winter sports pre-season began, with the Girls’ Cross Country and Boys’ Cross Country as well as both Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams competing at the highest levels and bringing home BIG wins in the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) and beyond.


Athletes from both comprehensive high schools, Granada and Livermore, compete in EBAL in the North Coast Section (NCS) of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). This covers a geographic area in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area in the cities of Concord, Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore. “The schools that make up the divisions of this league are incredibly competitive. We are proud of our Granada Girl’s Cross Country team that has won EBAL for five consecutive years under the leadership of Coach Noel Mattern. This is an astounding accomplishment,” stated Granada Athletic Director, David Moore. Principal Matthew Hart shared this sentiment and added, “Our Boys’ Cross Country team placed second in EBAL, while the Girls’ and Boys’ Varsity Basketball teams were virtually undefeated and undefeated in pre-season play, with the Boys winning the Mark Madsen Tournament held at San Ramon Valley High.”


GHS Girls’ Cross Country EBAL Stats

Shae Hill, junior, placed 2nd

Elizabeth Melcher, sophomore, placed 4th

Amaiah McIntosh, junior, placed 5th

The team went on to win the Division 2 NCS Cross Country meet with Shae Hill placing 1st and Elizabeth Melcher placing 4th.

Shae Hill went on to place 18th overall at the CIF State meet!


GHS Boys’ Cross Country EBAL Stats

Team placed second at EBAL, second at NCS, and seventh overall at the CIF State meet. They are the highest finishing Norcal team for Division 2!

Anthony Guerra, senior, placed 2nd at EBAL, 2nd at NCS, and 14th at State and will be attending Cal Poly next year and joining its Cross Country team.


GHS Boys’ Basketball Stats

The team, coached by Quaran Johnson (Coach Q) had a record of 13-0 in pre-season and won the Mark Madsen Tournament at San Ramon Valley, defeating San Ramon Valley by a score of 70-69 in the championship. Jayden Johnston was tournament MVP, and Mateo Wilde and Landon Wiedenfeld were named to the all-tournament team.


GHS Girls’ Basketball Stats

The team, coached by Kris Birco, are currently 11 & 3 and placed second at the West Coast Jamboree. Berlin Faiaipau and Madison Braswell were named to the all-tournament team.

We rotate spotlighted schools so that each of our 19 schools will be featured throughout the year.

Nurse’s Station - Handwashing Basics

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect ourselves and our families from becoming ill. Washing hands often and at key times will help keep all of us and our families healthy and avoid the spread of germs.


Let’s Remember To Wash Our Hands . . .

  • Before, during, and after preparing food

  • Before eating food

  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick

  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

  • After using toilet facilities or after assisting a child who has used toilet facilities

  • After changing diapers
  • After blowing our noses, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

  • After handling pet food or pet treats

  • After touching garbage


Our School Nurses recommend we follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

  2. Lather hands by rubbing them together with soap. Lather the backs of hands, between the fingers, and under the nails.

  3. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

  4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.

  5. Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Attention to Attendance

Flu season typically lasts from the start of fall to the end of spring. Schools find that as families and children succumb to the cold and flu viruses, absences rise.


A science teacher conducted an experiment with her class to demonstrate the importance of handwashing. The class took slices of white bread and exposed them to (1) germs from unwashed hands; (2) hands treated with hand sanitizer; (3) Chromebooks; and (4) hands washed with soap and water. The results are telling.


If your student becomes ill, please call in their absence to your school site’s attendance line. Please consult the LVJUSD Illness Exclusion Protocol if you have questions.

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Board Recognitions

November 12, 2019

LVJUSD Recognizes Crossing Guards

Our Board and District uphold a strong commitment to student safety. Fortunately, our City of Livermore helps meet that commitment by providing crossing guards. Our LVJUSD Board recognized the trusty crossing guards who serve our schools and thanked them for their important role in helping our students go back and forth, to and from school safely each day, rain or shine. They always have a smile, a kind word, and, of course, their stop signs! Please take a moment to echo our thanks when you next see them next in action!


Not pictured: Dawn Gearhart - Arroyo Seco Elementary, Sonia Trujillo - Junction Elementary, Patricia Garcia - Rancho Elementary

Leadership Advisory Committee at Lawrence Elementary

Principal Kristie Starkovich recognized the members of the Leadership Advisory Committee who oversee student leadership roles as part of the Leader in Me (LiM) program. LiM is based upon the fundamental principle that everyone can be a leader. At Lawrence, students interested in leadership positions go through an application and interview process and supply a teacher reference as part of their learning. “Students take their roles very seriously and are extremely dedicated,” stated Principal Starkovich.

Lawerence Leader In Me Advisory Committee

Emily Walfer (Journalists), Dayana Albornoz (Pouch Passers), Principal Starkovich, Andrea Rivera (Library Cart Delivery Crew), Tracy Persson (Morning Greeters)

Not pictured: Joyce Gonzalez (Valet Squad), Shannon Higgins (Green Team), Anna Johnson (Lost and Found Specialists), Melanie McCullough (Lost and Found Specialists)

Save the Date!



The 2019-20 District calendar is available to download on our website: 2019-20 LVJUSD Calendar.


To be notified of upcoming events, be sure to download the Livermore Schools app from the App Store or from Google Play. Follow your schools, and see all of the calendar dates through the app!


For site-specific information on events and celebrations, please visit school websites.


This month's background photo credit: Livermore Sunrise taken by Doug Jorgensen of the Livermore Independent.

Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District

Each student will graduate with the skills needed to contribute and thrive in a changing world.


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