PVSD Today

News from the Portola Valley School District

Welcome to PVSD Today!

I would like to thank you for your feedback on the District's most recent communications survey. PVSD is implementing new ways to share information based on feedback received that families want clear information presented in a format that is easy to read quickly. This PVSD Today has been designed specifically to keep you informed on important information and key developments in the District. My plan is to send it a similar newsletter out regularly. We hope you enjoy this new form of communication!

District communication in the last few years has been driven by the need to share information related to the pandemic. As a new normal emerges, there will be an increasingly larger focus on what is happening in school classrooms on a day-to-day basis.

PVSD schools have an excellent reputation and high test scores, and we want you to understand what is going on behind the scenes that make our classrooms teaching environments so highly effective. This first edition of PVSD Today is focused on learning and curriculum. This space will continue to be used to deepen your understanding, and announce important information. Please feel free to share your reaction and feedback with info@pvsd.net.

Thank you,

Roberta Zarea


Student Learning is our Top Priority

How do we ensure student success?

We continually assess the quality of the learning environment in our classrooms and we want to share some of the ways we do that:

  • In addition to classroom responsibilities, many of our dedicated teachers volunteer to serve on Curriculum Leadership Teams that meet regularly to discuss and analyze our curriculum, how we are assessing students, and consider any changes that are necessary. These teams, coordinated by a "teacher on special assignment" (TOSA) and attended by the school principals and district administrators, meet at least quarterly, and sometimes more frequently, to ensure that we have the right structures in place to keep our students on track. The Curriculum Leadership Teams have been focused on new math assessment in recent meetings.

  • Grade-level teachers collaborate to ensure that content and student activities are consistent from classroom to classroom. During the pandemic we began using a new tool called Playlists, an instructional tool that helps teachers communicate daily instructional expectations for students in a way that parents can easily understand. Links to the Playlists are available on the school websites.

  • Teams of teachers meet to review student work and determine whether students need extra help or extra challenge. We use data to differentiate learning and ensure that each student is getting what they need, whether it is support or enrichment. Some students get support from a literacy coach, others receive support in math. Students are offered the opportunity to participate in programs outside of regular classroom work, such as "Lunch Bunch" or "Morning Math" at Ormondale, and "Morning Flex" or "ASAP" at Corte Madera.

How do we choose curriculum in PVSD?

In California the State Board of Education sets the grade level standards for education and recommends curriculum that will help students meet the standards, and local school boards approve the specific curriculum their district adopts. In PVSD we go through a rigorous process where teachers review options and recommend a curriculum to the board. We are currently in the process of reviewing K-5 Science Instructional Materials and EL Curriculum. You can view PVSD's adopted curriculum on the website.

Here's some information about our K-5 Science Instructional Materials Pilot:

How do we access student progress in PVSD?

The Portola Valley School District uses multiple measures to evaluate student achievement, progress, and success, including:

  • Unit Tests
  • Quizzes
  • Papers
  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Observations
  • Conversations
  • Projects
  • Benchmark and Statewide Assessments

Our statewide assessment program is called California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP. PVSD students in grades 3-8 will take an interim CAASPP assessment February 7-13 that will help teachers understand how to focus their instruction to help students meet the standard. The CAASPP tests for 3rd-8th graders will take place May 5-21, 2022

Kindergarten Registration is now underway; PVSD offering TK for all in 2022-23

Students turning 5 on or before September 1, 2022 are now eligible to register for Kindergarten.

For the first time, all students who turn 5 between September 2, 2022 and September 1, 2023 are all eligible for Transitional Kindergarten (TK). To begin the Pre-Registration process follow the online link to the parent portal. If you have questions, please email ormondaleregistration@pvsd.net

Big picture