Skip to main content

Principal's Updates

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

The staff at Las Lomitas continues to explore various Distance Learning platforms and meeting options to respond to the needs of their class and individual students. This may look different from grade level to grade level and from classroom to classroom as access to technology and wifi varies greatly for our students, families, and teachers. Below, please find an outline of the number of meetings you should expect your child(ren) to have as we move forward with Distance Learning. It will also be available to view on our Las Lomitas Distance Learning Webpage along with resources to meet a variety of needs as we navigate this time together. The K-3 Meeting Expectations below represent the number of contacts you can expect your child(ren) to have with their teacher(s). These meetings may happen with the whole class, ½ class, small groups, or 1:1 depending on individual student and class needs. Please connect with your child(ren)’s teacher(s) for more information and look to them for specific information on when these meetings happen.

  •  K-3 Meeting Expectations: Teachers will meet three times with each child weekly in a variety of formats that will include the whole class and may include ½ class, small group, and 1:1 settings. These meetings will happen during Classroom Meeting times, Office Hours, or another specific time arranged by your child(ren)’s teacher and you. The type and frequency of each meeting is determined by student and class needs. 

  • Classroom Meetings: These are specified synchronous learning times that teachers have set aside to support continued social and emotional connection among students and the teacher. These can be whole class, ½ class, small group, or 1:1. Teachers may create other times to meet which will be scheduled between your child(ren)’s teacher(s) and you.

  • Office Hours: These are intended to be used by the teacher to connect with students and/or parents on a 1:1 and small group basis, to answer questions, and provide support. This may be done via virtual meetings, phone calls, or email. 

Please understand that the meeting expectations above do not represent all of the meetings the teachers have scheduled with students. Each class and child is at a different place and teachers are responding in a variety of ways. In addition, classroom and intervention teachers have 1:1 and small group meetings scheduled with many students for instruction, connection, and assessment of student progress during Distance Learning. Specialist (PE, Music, Library) teachers are also meeting weekly and/or creating videos for your children on a weekly basis. Furthermore, teachers are using time daily to plan and record lessons for asynchronous learning, prepare materials, respond to student work, answer email, hold office hours, and contact families. As during the regular school year, teachers are attending IEP, 504 Plan, and SST meetings in addition to meeting weekly with their grade level and administration to strategize and coordinate our work from now through June and continue planning and gathering feedback for Distance Learning best practices for the fall. 

This happens in concert with many of our teachers tending to their own families and children’s Distance Learning experience while juggling a new and complex work environment that we are all finding ourselves in due to the Shelter in Place. Please utilize the teacher’s office hours posted on the Las Lomitas Distance Learning Website to reach out with any questions about your child’s program or simply reach out to them via email if that is easier. Staff at Las Lomitas and across the district are simultaneously creating a Distance Learning interface, developing plans to close out the 2019-2020 school year, and plan for what school might look like for the 2020-2021 school year. 

I encourage you to find times to reach out and create virtual meetings or playdates for your children. I also invite you to read the articles linked below for other ideas on supporting your children in self guided learning: 

It is important to note that the Site and District Administration are developing a plan to collect feedback on Distance Learning from staff and parents. This will help inform and refine our program for the likely delivery of remote learning in the fall. As stated above, teachers are in the process of using various platforms and modes of synchronous learning (whole class, ½ class, small group, 1:1 meetings) blended with asynchronous learning. We will use this information as well as the feedback gathered to support Distance Learning in the future.

The struggle is real and proving to be more difficult as time goes on. It is weighing on all of us in different ways, at different times, and for different reasons. To be transparent, my wife and I are also struggling with how to keep our 12th and 8th grader engaged during Shelter in Place while we maintain a modicum of sanity. I fully understand that this is not an easy task for parents who are not educators. This week’s activity for our children was to map a 16 day road trip on Highway 80. They had to figure out how many days out we could go before returning, estimate the number of hours we could travel in a day while staying in a city for two nights, calculate how many cities we could stay in, and determine which cities we would stay in on the way out and back. Next, they will research lodging, restaurants, points of interest, and local activities to round out the trip once we give them an operating budget. Our fingers are crossed to make this trip in July.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me. Continue to practice grace and understanding as we navigate this together. We need to remember we are in it together. Let’s continue to turn towards each other for support.

Stay safe,

Alain Camou

Principal

Las Lomitas Principal Update - 4/17/2020

Dear Las Lomitas Parents/Guardians,

I hope this communication finds your family safe and well. I want to thank you all for your patience and resolve in collaborating with your child(ren)’s teacher(s), staff, and the administration of our district. I continue to be in awe of our community’s resilience and generosity as we navigate this landscape together. I also remain in admiration of the tireless work our staff is accomplishing on a daily basis. 

The purpose of this communication is to provide access to our district’s new Acceptable Use Agreement (AUA) for technology use during Distance Learning. Please take some time to review this AUA. I would also like to take this opportunity to inform families that Monday, April 20 is a workday for teachers to prepare materials for the next two weeks of DL 2.0. There will not be instruction for your child(ren) on this day. Also, April 21 will be an Instructional Materials pick up day. Please see the schedule below for your time:

 

Grade 3: 8:30-9:30     Grade 2: 9:30-10:30     Grade 1: 10:30-11:30     Kindergarten: 11:30-12:30

  • Please look for specific communication from your child(ren)’s teacher(s) regarding materials and whether or not you need to come on April 21
  • To practice social distancing to the maximum degree possible, materials will be placed in vehicles through an open window furthest from vehicle occupants (e.g. passenger side back window)
  • You can also bring back any school or classroom library books and materials you have at home at this time, please have materials sorted into bags or envelopes with the teacher's name on the outside
   

Let’s continue to stand in solidarity as we brave this historic event. I most certainly look forward to the time that campus is filled with your children and our staff.

Take care and be safe,

Alain Camou

Las Lomitas Principal

Dear Las Lomitas Parents and Guardians:

Teachers will return on Monday for a distance planning workday for our new phase of distance learning, DL 2.0. Ms. Fielding and I have met with all grade level teams to refine our DL 2.0 expectations. We will stay the course with the focus on core content areas of reading, writing, and math. Grade level teachers will teach 2-3 concepts in each area and hold 2-3 virtual class meetings via Zoom or Google Hangout each week. Our goal is to create a dedicated time throughout the week for students to connect with their teachers and each other. We recognize that attending to students’ social-emotional health is likely the most important component of distance learning. Please look for communication about DL 2.0 from your child(ren)’s teacher(s). In addition, teachers are available for office hours to answer questions and provide support. You can find the schedule of office hours on our Distance Learning Webpage

Our enrichment specialists will provide weekly access to content in the areas of music, physical education, social emotional learning, and read alouds, which will be integrated into the classroom teacher’s program. Our students receiving support in reading, math, and/or have IEPs will continue to receive additional support through our intervention specialist and case managers respectively. Intervention specialists and case managers will continue to reach out to their caseload to provide additional support as needed. 

Most instruction will continue to be delivered asynchronously. As synchronous time and class meetings begin to happen with more frequency, we will be mindful of creating a schedule that supports working families and families with children in multiple grade levels, classrooms, or receive instruction from multiple teachers. We expect these to continue. Asynchronous lessons provide the most flexibility for teachers and families and help us to increase access for all students and families. We can neither control attendance nor the conditions preventing a student from attending. For this reason, asynchronous lessons will continue to be the dominant mode of lesson delivery. 

I thank you for your patience, grace, and understanding as we simultaneously learn how to fly and build this distance learning plane. The moving parts are often quite daunting for us educators as there are a number of “behind the scenes” issues that don’t make their way onto a schedule, such as how to connect with students who we aren’t seeing in our classes. Students with special needs require our consistent focus, as do those experiencing food insecurity, family turmoil, or countless other issues stemming from the crisis about which we may not even be aware. Our staff is also handling a variety of personal issues, many supporting their own children with distance learning while creating meaningful learning for your children. They do this with the utmost professionalism, care, and concern for your children’s well being. 

As a reminder, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Las Lomitas campus will be closed until further notice. We will, however, continue to have office hours on Monday and Tuesday from 10:00-1:00. Future office hours will be communicated at a later time. We will also have the pick-up of instructional materials on Tuesday, April 7. I have included the schedule below for your convenience. 

Kindergarten      

Grade 1

     Grade 2

     Grade 3

8:30-9:30

9:30-10:30

     10:30-11:30

     11:30-12:30

The more I think about the historic time we are in, the more I believe that documenting what we are doing, how we are feeling, and what we are thinking will be important. I have encouraged my own children to keep a journal to reflect on later in their lives. With that in mind, I will post optional journal topics 2-3 times a week to encourage the students of Las Lomitas to keep a journal. You can find a link to my Google Journal here and it will also be part of our Distance Learning Webpage. If this is something you are already doing, then that is wonderful. I believe it will serve as a keepsake for the future. 

Take care of yourselves and your family!

All my best,

Alain Camou

Principal

Las Lomitas Elementary

Dear Las Lomitas Parents,

In order to reduce the need for police surveillance and the impact on this community resource, we have closed and padlocked all of LL's entrances.  More importantly, closing the campus will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread. Champions will continue to operate to provide childcare for local essential employees who are working the frontline. 

In addition, some of our teachers will be on-site on Monday, April 6 to plan for Distance Learning 2.0. You may see what appears to be an open campus on Monday but I ask that you continue to remain off-campus. I know these are challenging times for everyone and want you to know that we do not make this decision lightly. We will look for guidance from San Mateo County Public Health and EOC as to when it will be safe and resource-appropriate to reopen the campus. I hope you are able to enjoy the rest of your spring break. We look forward to starting up again on Tuesday, April 7. Look for messages from me and your child's teacher(s) between now and then.

All the best,

Alain

Dear Las Lomitas Parent Community,

On behalf of all of the staff at Las Lomitas, thank you for your exceptional effort and patience in working with us as we navigate this new learning terrain. Our district-wide effort to launch District Learning (DL) 1.0 has been a success and has surpassed the state’s examples of exemplar curriculum for DL that focus on computer programs only. The teachers at Las Lomitas have gone above and beyond to provide as differentiated a DL program as possible and I have heard a great deal of positive feedback from the parent community.

The magic that is lost through DL is neither the rigor of the content nor the delivery of instruction per se, it is the “in the moment” shifts that a teacher makes when she sees your child respond to the content of the curriculum and instruction. Her ability to accelerate or decelerate instruction based on individual student needs is impossible to replicate through DL. This we acknowledge. 

Some parents have asked for more work and some have asked for less. Las Lomitas students’ needs and families’ access to resources is widely disparate and the equalizer--being able to attend school--is no longer a controlled variable. The staff at Las Lomitas want you to know that we are here to support you regardless of which end of the instructional spectrum you are on. If your child needs more, then please feel free to utilize the resources available on our DL webpage. If your child needs less, then by all means slow down and allow him or her to take a break. Your child will not be penalized for not turning in work at this time. I will discuss grading in a future message. 

As we pause from DL for Spring Break, please know that the staff at Las Lomitas has been gearing up for DL 2.0. While DL 1.0 was drawing to a close this week, teachers came to campus to prepare work and begin plans for the transition. I also took time to virtually check in with each grade level over the two days to celebrate the work we’ve done, prepare them for the work we will do, and understand their needs to make it happen. 

Monday, April 6, will be a planning day for staff and an opportunity for teachers to gather instructional materials. Tuesday, April 7, will be your opportunity for materials pick-up.  Your child’s teacher will be in touch to let you know if you need to come or not, so stay tuned for that specific information. We will use a drive thru pick-up process similar to student pick-up at dismissal. The schedule for pick up will be as follows:

Kindergarten

      Grade 1 

      Grade 2

     Grade 3

8:30-9:30

      9:30-10:30

      10:30-11:30

    11:30-12:30

If you have children in multiple grade levels, then please come at the earlier time and we will provide you with all materials at once. If you are unable to come to this pick-up day for any reason, then our bus driving crew will make home deliveries on Wednesday, April 8.

In DL 2.0 the focus will be on the core content areas of reading, writing, and math with 2-3 new concepts taught in each area per week. The content will be based on key ideas that will prepare students for the next grade. One other expectation is that all teachers will be connecting with students via Zoom or Google Meet 2-3 times per week. At Las Lomitas, we are committed to the Social/Emotional well being of your children and believe this time to meet is essential in maintaining connection during this time of isolation. 

Many of you have kindly reached out with offers of support to our families in need. An inspiring bright spot in all of this is the care and compassion our community has for their neighbors and the most vulnerable among us. Here are some local initiatives that welcome your support right now, or that you can access if you are in need:

We are a united community who will use this event to bring us closer together. Please know that the staff is here to support you any way that we can. If we learn anything from this historic event, let it be to appreciate our families, our neighbors, and each other. Let us use this as an opportunity to stand in solidarity and teach our children that today is truly a gift: to be present, to be heard, to be loved.

Find the space to be kind to yourselves. 

Take care of yourselves and your family,

Alain Camou

Dear Las Lomitas Parent Community,

As a follow up to the communication from Mark Jones and me Thursday night, I would like to briefly share our new trajectory and purpose for supporting our local emergency care providers. We have decided to centralize our efforts and partner with our County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to be a collection center of the following emergency supplies which are in high need in our hospitals:

  • Masks

  • Nitrile/latex gloves

  • Face shields

  • Goggles

  • Thermometers

  • Food service gloves

If you are able to donate any of the following items that are being gathered by our EOC, please deliver them to the District Office at 1011 Altschul Avenue between 10:00-1:00 any day next week. I want to thank the handful of parents who came by on Friday to drop off masks and gloves. I will get them to the District Office next week. 

We have completed our first three days (yes it has only been three days) of Distance Learning at Las Lomitas. I’m certain your respect for teachers has been amplified over the last few days as you have supported your children with the tasks teachers have provided. I know learning has looked different across both sites, grade level to grade level, and even class to class. I need you to continue to practice grace and understanding as you work with your teachers. The beauty of the primary grades is that it is so hands on and individualized. Typically, the lower you go into the grades, the less technology is used. This pedagogy has been flipped on its head in an extremely small amount of time and teachers have been left with trying to prepare work for 8 days as well as wrap their minds around the idea of and resources for supporting Distance Learning. Many are at home with their own children navigating the parent interface of Distance Learning. All are acclimating to the changes the past several days have had on their own lives. Please be patient as all teachers are in different spaces and comfort levels with technology and working harder than ever to support your children to the best of their ability.

On a district level, we are working on Distance Learning Portals that can be found on our LLESD, Las Lomitas, and La Entrada websites. There are some resources available now and you can expect to find this to be more developed and robust in the days and weeks to come. You will even be able to find a daily activity from ME if school closures go beyond Spring Break.

In the meantime, as you navigate Distance Learning as a parent, and to reduce the number of emails flowing into teacher inboxes, please email the following people if you have questions:

Again, I am in awe of the work that is happening day to day. From teachers holding Grade Level Zoom meetings at 8:00pm, because that is the only time they have to themselves, to thoughtfully selected reading books for children, the staff at Las Lomitas continues to shine brilliantly. I hope we are all taking moments to decompress and recharge. Our self care is vital now more than ever.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Alain

P.S. Please click on this link for a very brief message from me to your children.

Dear Las Lomitas Community,

I hope the last few days have found you all well. I know everyone’s inbox is being inundated with emails about COVID-19 from a variety of fronts so I will keep this communication brief. The seven-county Shelter in Place Order has impacted the world we live in by no small measure. 

Despite this, the resolve of the Las Lomitas staff is steadfast as we realize we are on this journey together. I cannot begin to express the level of pride I felt on Monday morning when the staff came together to begin the planning of distance learning. To call it a beginning is a misnomer as most teachers had been preparing through the preceding week of Parent/Teacher Conferences and all had been busy over the weekend gearing up for the unknown. While the hum and preparation of Monday and Tuesday at Las Lomitas have come to an abrupt and eerie close, I know all staff is still quite busy monitoring, communicating, and connecting with your children. Their empathy, thoughtfulness, and professionalism have no doubt touched all of our hearts. 

Many parents, literally scores, have reached out to me in heralding praise of our staff’s and administration’s response to this ever shifting landscape. If adversity brings out the true character in people, then this challenge has proven our community to be extraordinary. The generosity that has been offered by families to support those in our community who may not be as well off is remarkable. I have learned of many instances in person, via email, and through social media of our parents and staff rallying to offer support with time, talent, and treasure. This has not gone unnoticed and I am honored and proud to be part of this community and organization. While I realize we are not out of the woods yet, I feel confident that our moral compass will continue to guide us in the right direction and support each other in ways unimaginable. 

Administration will be on site from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. for the foreseeable future so please reach out to me or Mrs. Fielding if you need something from campus. Though we understand the closure may be much longer than the next three weeks, we have been preparing instruction and curriculum through spring break only at this time. Should we close for a longer period, we will re-evaluate our program to meet the new learning environment. As updates happen please look for communication from Superintendent Dr. Polito or me. Let your children know that I wish them the best and expect them to be responsible, safe, and respectful!  I know I can speak for the staff when I say we miss them. 

Let’s continue to practice grace, compassion, and patience as we find our way through these woods together.

Take care of yourselves and your families,

Alain