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The ABC's of LLESD

A sure-fire way to feel like an outsider is to be part of a conversation that includes acronyms and specialized terms you don't understand. The list below is my back-to-school gift to you!

​​Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) partners with our district to provide trained therapists for onsite student counseling at no charge to families. (This is in addition to the support of our school guidance counseling staff.) Teachers, counselors, administrators or parents can refer students to ACS. If needed, ACS also offers referrals to outside therapists and community services.

The Almanac is the local newspaper that covers the communities of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. It tracks news about other nearby school districts, upcoming community events, and local discussions that affect our neighborhoods. You can find paper copies at most coffee shops and in newsstands downtown, or can subscribe to email updates.

The ASB (Associated Student Body) or Student Council is a group of elected student leaders at La Entrada and includes representatives from 4th-8th grades. The ASB works with middle-school students in the Leadership electives class to run the student store, sell spirit wear, and plan activities such as dances, donation drives and spirit days. The ASB also fields student concerns and relays them to district leadership when needed.

The CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) is an annual test that California public school students take online each spring. It is designed to measure students’ mastery in key subjects like English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Science. The portion of the test that measures ELA and Math skills is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA).

Common Core is a set of national educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade. Launched in 2009 by governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states and first implemented 10 years ago, the standards establish educational benchmarks across states. For example, by the end of kindergarten, students should be able to count to 100 by ones and tens and recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet. California is among 41 states to have adopted the Common Core standards.

“Community Funded” vs. LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) are the two funding mechanisms for California school districts. Our district is “community funded,” which means our local property tax revenues exceed the minimum funding our district needs according to state calculations. Our district gets to keep those excess property taxes rather than sending them back to the state for redistribution. I wrote a blog post about funding in our and other local school districts if you want to learn more.

The CSEA (California School Employees Association) is the union that represents our district’s classified staff (employees whose jobs do not require a certificate or credential, including paraeducators, office staff, custodians, and folks who serve on yard duty.) If you want to learn more about the process through which the CSEA negotiates with the district, read my blog post on collective bargaining.

DELAC (the District English Language Advisory Committee) is a group of parents that advises staff on the needs of Multilingual Learners (MLLs). This committee meets several times a year and serves as our state-mandated English Learner Parent Advisory Committee (ELPAC) for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The DEIAB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Belonging) Committee is made up of district staff and parents. It reviews and makes recommendations to increase DEIAB at both schools and in the district as a whole. Recently, the committee focused on a district Equity Audit and reviewed updated Student Handbooks to be more equitable and student centered. Keep your eyes open for district communications about opportunities to serve on this committee.

JCOP (Joint Committee on Priorities) is a group of parent representatives and school staff, including leaders from both PTAs, the Las Lomitas Education Foundation (LLEF) and the Las Lomitas League (LLL), as well as a school board member and school/district administrators. This committee meets monthly to share information and coordinate events and initiatives.

LLEA (Las Lomitas Education Association) represents certificated staff (employees whose jobs require a certificate or credential, including teachers, counselors and speech therapists). The LLEA is a chapter of the California Teachers Association (CTA). If you want to learn more about the process through which the association negotiates with the district, read my blog post on collective bargaining.

The Las Lomitas Education Foundation ("The Foundation" or LLEF) is a parent-led organization that raises funds to bridge the gap between public school funding and the actual cost of a high-quality education. This school year, the Foundation is contributing $1.2M to the district’s budget. The Foundation hosts several community-building events throughout the year including the Auction.

The League (Las Lomitas League or LLL) is a parent-led nonprofit organization that provides after-school classes and sports on both campuses. Current offerings include creative writing, cartooning, skateboarding, basketball, martial arts, and Dungeons & Dragons, among many others.

The LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) is a three-year, state-mandated plan that districts update annually with input from the community. The LCAP explains how the district will use state funds to improve educational outcomes for all students. Each school site must also create a SPSA (pronounced “sip-sah”, which is short for “Single Plan for Student Achievement”) that outlines school-site specific goals and strategies aligned with the LCAP. Our district LCAP.

M-A (Menlo-Atherton High School) is part of our local high school district, the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD). M-A is the “home” high school for students in our district but residents can apply to attend any other SUHSD school. Subscribing to M-A’s student newspaper, the Chronicle is a great way to get a sense for campus life at M-A.

The MUR (pronounced “murr”) is shorthand for the Multi-Use Room at La Entrada. Due to construction, the MUR is currently home to the front office, but it has hosted the PTA Used Book Fair, indoor PE classes (when there’s inclement weather), and many other short-term school events and activities. It’s basically La Entrada’s Cano Hall. You’re welcome.

NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) is a set of educational standards for Science education from kindergarten through 12th grade. A consortium of 26 states plus several groups including the National Science Teachers Association and National Research Council developed the standards. California adopted the standards in 2013.

Open House takes place at each school site toward the end of the school year. As its name suggests, classrooms are “open” to families and students to pop in to see student work and celebrate their accomplishments.

Outdoor Education (or “Outdoor Ed”) is an elementary school milestone. Fifth-grade students spend four days in cabins at Camp Jones Gulch near La Honda. This program is run by the San Mateo County Office of Education and features lessons by naturalists, banana slugs galore, and catchy tunes about dirt and other outdoor wonders. (Warning: these songs may never leave your brain.)

PIN (Parent Information Night) is a parent-only, back-to-school event during which teachers introduce themselves to parents/guardians and let them know about classroom expectations, communications, and curriculum.

The PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations) for each school are individual chapters of the California State PTA. Parent volunteers plan programs that enrich students’ education, support their well-being, and foster a welcoming school environment. The Las Lomitas PTA sends a weekly e-newsletter, TheLion’s Roar, while the La Entrada PTA is in charge of The Leopard's Spot. Popular programs include the Read-a-thon, Book Fair and Science Wonders (at Las Lomitas) and the School Picnic, Meal-Kit Build, and Spelling Bee (at La Entrada).

Safe Routes to School is a group of parent leaders and district staff that address street safety in our community. Safe Routes hosts Walk-or-Wheel-to-School Day as well as other pedestrian and cycling safety activities at the schools.

The School Board (or Board of Trustees, Governing Board, or Board of Education) in our district comprises five locally elected representatives each serving four-year terms. (Our current board has one short-term appointed trustee due to a board vacancy.) The board works in collaboration with the Superintendent to set the district’s vision and provide oversight of its budget, curriculum, goals, and educational initiatives. Read more about the role and functions of California school boards.

Spirit Days occur every other Friday on both campuses. These themed dress-up days have included crazy sock/hair day, mustache day, pajama day, and anything-but-a-backpack day (when kids use other receptacles to carry their belongings to school). At La Entrada, grade levels compete for spirit points based on student participation. Don’t worry, principals preview spirit day themes via newsletter (though this hardly guarantees you won’t be running around home looking for a spirit-day item when you are already late for school).

Spirit Wear is school-branded gear (sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc.) that promotes school spirit. The Las Lomitas PTA sells spirit wear online for LL (Las Lomitas); the ASB sells LE (La Entrada) spirit wear at select school events.

The Tinsley Voluntary Transfer Program, or “The Tinsley Program” is a court-mandated program through which 166 kindergarten- to 2nd-grade students from the Ravenswood City School District transfer to other local school districts as the result of a 1986 desegregation lawsuit. Las Lomitas receives 12 new students through the program each year. We refer to the students and families that participate in the program as “The East Community.” Here’s my blog post about the history of this program.

The Wellness Committee is a group of stakeholders led by our District Wellness Coordinator. The committee addresses topics that support the mental, physical, and social-emotional health of our students, staff, and families. Last year, working groups focused on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Health Education.


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