Dear LCS Families,
I hope you are doing well and having a great summer! I’m writing to reflect on the 2014-15 school year and preview what is in store for 2015-16. My first year at Larchmont has been wonderful. Meeting and working with such a caring, deeply committed and passionate community has been tremendously exciting and rewarding.
I’m thrilled to share that thanks to the generous support of our community – with a special shout out to the efforts of Jay Owens and his team - and the discipline of our staff, we were able to finish the fiscal year in the positive. We received a total of $1,909,277 from fundraising efforts. The chart below shows how the funds were generated. Your support makes our amazing school possible. Thank you!
These funds directly affect our program and mission by providing the pieces that have made Larchmont Charter School a leader in K-12 constructivist education in Los Angeles for 10 years.
To ensure the continued strength of our program and avoid the need for future deficit drives we are taking a number of steps. We are asking all families to begin thinking now about your annual gift to the school as this year’s pledge drive will launch earlier in the school year and be shorter in duration. This focused approach will ensure we have time to assess our results while there is still time to adjust the program if needed. We are also focused on encouraging volunteerism and will be distributing simplified volunteer guidelines shortly.
I’m also excited to report on preliminary baseline results from our first year of Common Core Smarter Balanced testing. Despite it being the first year of this new assessment and limited student access to classroom technology, our students on the whole, significantly outperformed national predictions for math and English Language Arts scores. This is a wonderful achievement by our students and proof of the strength of our teachers, Deans and instructional model.
As we look ahead to 2015-16, and our very first graduating class - we’re focused on deepening the model at all campuses, providing our diverse community of students with a challenging, creative, hands on, inquiry based curriculum that engages them and inspires them to improve the world. In that vein and in response to your feedback and input, we’re excited to share a number of improvements we’re making:
- To support our Deans at Fairfax, Hollygrove and Selma as they transition into their new role of School Leader, we are moving one of our veteran teachers and former math coordinator, Andi Varon, into the Curriculum Coordinator position. Andi will join Instructional Leadership Coach Dolores Patton in supporting our School Leaders. Andi will focus on planning and conducting staff professional development and supporting the teachers with the development and implementation of curriculum. Myra Salinas, Director of Special Education is moving in to the expanded role of Director of Student Support Services. In this capacity, she’ll bring her expertise in academically and behaviorally supporting students with special needs to our whole student population. She’ll work closely with the School Leaders on providing academic intervention for any students who are struggling, extension work for students who are advanced, and social and emotional programming support K-12.
- We will be rolling out the Northwest Education Association (NWEA) MAP online adaptive assessment in grades 2-12. This is a quick online assessment administered twice a year that gives our teachers rich detailed information on how each student is performing in math and language arts. It’s nationally normed and common core aligned and will give us better information about how well students are performing. It will also provide our students practice with a form of assessment that’s very similar to the new Smarter Balanced state tests.
- Registration for both new families and for existing families to update their information will be online this year and you’ll receive the link to update your info shortly. This updated family information will enhance communication and make it easier for you to access important resources as well.
- Our new website will be live for the start of school and will have campus pages that our school leaders can regularly update, an integrated school-wide calendar, and teacher pages to strengthen home to school communication. Students in the upper grades will also be issued Google accounts to be able to easily communicate with their teachers, upload assignments, etc.
- Families of students in grades 6-12 will also have access to Powerschool to view student’s grades and attendance anytime.
- We are moving to an online purchasing system for lunch and afterschool programs which will enable you to check your account anywhere anytime. These programs will now operate on a prepay basis to help us be more efficient in staffing and food cost and provide smoother billing and better service to families. Look out for the menus/calendars as we get closer to school as you will need to pay in advance for both lunch and afterschool care.
- With the purchase of approximately 250 Chromebooks (including 50 donated at the Gala and Music Night and the drive last year) our total devices school-wide rises to approximately 500. This lowers our school-wide ratio to 3:1 students to computers and down to 2:1 for grades 2-12. As part of this exciting transition we are focused on providing teachers training on using this new technology effectively and increasing access to adaptive software for both enrichment and intervention.
School Leaders are sending out communications noting the other exciting changes happening at your campus in response to community feedback.
You’ll be hearing about all of this and more as the school year starts up but please feel free to contact me in the interim with questions about any of this. Thanks again for all your support and enjoy the rest of the summer!