Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 29
It’s not often you meet a man with a thumb as green as Richard Fashbinder, our hard-working maintenance-landscaper extraordinaire! Just think about the mowing, trimming, pruning, weeding, planting and irrigation repair that is required to maintain your own yard. Now multiply that by a thousand and you get the idea of the Herculean effort required of this weed-whacking superman to maintain the landscaping on all 5 of our campuses plus the district office. It’s a good thing Richard has a degree in Ornamental Horticulture! You might not know this, but he also has a degree in History. That degree probably comes in handy as he tries to remember the tangled web of irrigation lines that constantly need valves and sprinkler heads replaced in our ever shifting adobe soil.
So, when you see Richard flying by on his mower or digging up that tough clay ground give him a wave and a big thank you. We are all glad he’s our talented, knowledgeable one-man landscaping crew!
All of our school libraries schedule Book Fairs every year. They’re a great way for students and families to preview and purchase the latest in children’s books in a variety of genres and they also help to fund library purchases of new books for the shelves. Behind the scenes of each and every book fair our school librarians work overtime with staff and volunteers to set up and take down the displays. Here is a picture of all boxes that will magically turn into one of those colorful book displays!
The librarians oversee the fair for extra hours before and after school in order to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to get a new book or two. They also work with teachers to create wish lists for their favorite new books to update classroom libraries. Our students and families love the book fairs and I love our librarians and all their helpers for making them happen!
Twenty-three EdCamps are scheduled this year and we just had our 5th one of the year this week. EdCamps are professional learning classes that happen after school and are open to all staff. We even pay our staff to attend the two hour classes! The classes are facilitated by Larry Black, our Technology Director and Gina Silveira, our Curriculum Director. Sometimes we bring in special instructors to facilitate the class. This last week we had our Illuminate Representative, Jill Albracht, facilitate a session on using Illuminate grade books. This year the EdCamps are moving to all our different campus locations. Please check the schedule on our website under the Staff tab or follow the link here.
Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 22
After-school events are some of the best things about the Old Adobe District. This week I was lucky enough to be able to attend two different evening events at our schools. One of the events was the Friday Fun Night Dance at Loma Vista sponsored by the PTA. This dance was a family-themed dance party with a DJ. The kids and parents all enjoyed dancing together and the 6th graders sold snacks to keep the party going. Loma Vista holds a Friday Fun Night once a month and you should try to attend one of them because the fun never stops!
The other school event was the Star Party at La Tercera. No, Beyonce didn’t show up, but Venus and Saturn sure did! This party was assisted in the viewing of stars and planets by the Sonoma County Astronomy Society which brought fantastic telescopes to the school. The sun went down promptly at 7:13 pm and the stars showed up shortly afterwards. A big thanks to Kristy Corbett who coordinates many of the STEM-based after-school activities at La Tercera.
The track project at Old Adobe Charter has been many years in the making and is now nearing completion! The project was the dream child of the Old Adobe PTO 14 -15 years ago. The dream has finally become a reality due in great part to the efforts of Angie and Jim McCall who have overseen and coordinated the design and construction of the track. It is a bit smaller than the traditional ¼ mile oval, so you kids will need a few more laps to get your miles in! The official track dedication is scheduled for the first week in October and the first big track event is the Wednesday, October 11th Walk-and Run-athon.
The Petaluma Kiwanis Club announced their grants this week. They have generously granted a total of $6,570.91 to 22 teachers and other staff members in varying amounts up to $500.00. Some of these grants will help fund projects such as Novels for Girls in Lisa Beaudry’s class, Sensory Tools for Kara Lemieux’s class and a Lego Simple Machine Set for Juliet James’ class. The Old Adobe District community thanks the Kiwanis for all of their support over the years in the Micro-Grant Awards program!
Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 15
Someone once said about the famous dancer Ginger Rogers that she did everything that her dancing partner did, “but she did it backwards, wearing high heels.” This level of difficulty could also be used to describe an extra hard working team at our schools, the Special Day Class teachers and staff. These teachers go to school longer for the special credentials required in their teaching job. Each and every year they have a “combo” class of different grade levels. They write individualized goals for every student that they report on each trimester, but they also fill out grade level report cards for their students as well. They use Illuminate for data, but wait for it, they also input data into the special education database, SEIS, too. And, of course, there are the meetings and the meetings about meetings. That’s a lot of backwards dancing with or without heels! Our support staff in these classrooms also do a tremendous amount of extra work, instructing with multi-age curriculums, connecting with students and families, and creating a safe and supportive classroom environment. We have 3 special day classes on our Miwok Valley campus that are our Old Adobe District classes, but we also have a South County Consortium class at Miwok and one at La Tercera. In addition, we have one Sonoma County Office of Education class at La Tercera and one at Loma Vista. These classes are a valuable and integral parts of our district. When the dancing is done, I give them all a 10, (as in Dancing with the Stars)! Congratulations to all the hard working and dedicated staff members in the special day classes of our district.
Starting last week, our teachers met with their school grade level teaching partners in PLCs. A (PLC) Professional Learning Community is “An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.” This definition is quite a mouthful, but in simpler language this means that our teachers meet once a week to work together on how to improve student learning. The teachers develop the same question (inquiry) for all their students for each trimester. For example, teachers might ask “How can we increase our students persistence in solving complex mathematical problems?” They then work on the actions and implications for their teaching strategies that will have an impact on the question they are asking themselves. The teachers collect data and other information that gives them feedback to their question. It’s hard and challenging work and requires that teachers work together to better understand the results of the changes they make to their teaching practices.
Is there anything cuter than a kindergartner all dressed up for their first school picture? Probably not. Long before everyone was posting selfies everywhere, elementary school pictures were a big deal. And you know what? They still are.
Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 09
Our teachers are incredibly flexible, resilient and overcome all the obstacles that they may confront in order to educate the children of our district. A perfect example of this “can-do” spirit is the teaching team at Loma Vista Dual Immersion Academy. Transitional Kindergarten teachers Jessica Quirt and Chelsea Tran and first grade teacher Samantha Grimaldo have had all kinds of hurdles to overcome in the start of their school year. They started in temporary classrooms, moved into new portables and set up classrooms for the second time in just a few weeks and weekends! These teachers are true models to a “Growth Mindset”, because if challenges make you grow these teachers are ten feet tall!
I would also like to thank the endlessly patient staff and families at Old Adobe Charter who have been waiting for construction to wrap up on their campus for many months. Cecilie Stuelpe, Tami Petrie, Heather Carpenter and Wendy Fergus have lovingly taught children in various nooks and crannies in the school throughout last year and the beginning of this year as they await building construction to finally be done on their rooms.
Although I have had plenty of previous experience in managing both residential and commercial construction, I must say that managing school construction projects has been an eye-opening and at times, frustrating experience. With all these construction challenges you might even notice that I’ve gotten a little taller too!
Last week, many of our school PTA groups met for the first time this school year. Did you know that PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation? The national PTA, founded in 1897, has been the organization that has advocated for many school reforms including the creation of Kindergarten classes, child labor laws and mandatory immunizations just to name a few. A robust PTA needs the active participation of both school staff, parents and the community. If you haven’t joined yet please consider it. By joining and participating in PTA you will make a difference for our children.
Last Monday was Labor day. This Federal holiday honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. We have two unions that represent the employees of our district. The California School Employees Association (CSEA) represents our classified staff and the Old Adobe Teachers’ Association (OATA) represents our teachers and other credentialed staff. Our dedicated and extremely hard-working union members are the reason we celebrated Labor Day!
Dear Old Adobe Union District Families,
We are writing to inform you that Dr. Jason Lustig Yamashiro is leaving his position as Superintendent in our district. He is accepting the Superintendent’s position with the Dixie School District in Marin County.
We want to acknowledge everything that has been accomplished under Jason’s administration. We have articulated our curriculum to evolve with introduction of the Common Core. We have actively integrated technology into our classrooms and refurbished facilities throughout the district. We have deepened the theme focus at each of our unique campuses and reintroduced long lost programs like music, physical education and counseling district wide. We have built more trusting relationships, creating healthier and more robust schools to serve the children of our district, thereby better serving our community at large. Our district is growing again and the sentiment mirrors our core mission to help the children of Old Adobe Union learn and flourish. We have accomplished so much, and send Dr. Yamashiro off with many wishes of future success.
We remain committed to providing a high quality 21st century education for the students of this district and it is our pleasure to introduce you to the educator who will be charged to continue all of this work. The Board of Trustees has agreed to a one year contract with Mr. Craig Conte to serve as our interim Superintendent for the coming school year. We are excited about this opportunity because Mr. Conte has served as our Director of Curriculum for the past 4 years and has worked closely with our Superintendent on all of our initiatives. Craig has supported all of our accomplishments to this day,
Craig brings 22 years of teaching experience, all here in our district. He has served in two interim Principal positions, negotiated from both sides of the table for 18 years, and has served as Director of our much beloved Outdoor Education program for 20 years. From the Curriculum position, Craig has managed the implementation of our student data system, common core based report cards, teacher led instructional adoption, and established technology training for students and teachers. He has also managed documentation and reporting for many of our programs.
The Board of Trustees has confidence in Craig’s managerial ability and believe that his strong classroom foundation will help us continue building momentum in our district. He has earned the respect of this Board and everyone within our district. We look forward to a prosperous year and hope for many more to come.
With our regards and gratitude,
The Trustees of the Old Adobe Union School District