Dear Montevideo Families,
Welcome back to school! It has been a smooth transition so far. All of the classrooms have a nice calmness to them. Teachers and staff have been bustling around now for weeks to prepare for our early start and exciting year filled with learning and exploration. I can tell you with confidence it is going to be a great year for Montevideo Mustangs.
As you have probably seen, we will soon have an iron fence along Broadmoor to keep the school more secure during the school day. It will have a gate that will be open before and after school, but will be locked during school hours. We hope the fence will keep our campus more private during the day and also deter vandalism and after hours visitors who are not welcome.
In addition to that new fence, we have 4 new wonderful teachers!
We are thrilled to have Elizabeth Lemmon join the first grade team this year. She has been part of the Montevideo community for ten years, as all three of her children have attended our school. This will be her fifth year as an employee of San Ramon Valley Unified School District. For the last two years, she has been an Instructional Assistant, providing support for English Language Learners at Montevideo. She is a Reading Recovery trained teacher and has over ten years of teaching experience. Prior to teaching, she traveled around the world and kayaked in Alaska. She looks forward to working with your children.
Nicole Eloyan comes to us from American Indian Charter School in Oakland, Ca, where she taught Kindergarten. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Alliant International University. Nicole is a newlywed with an adorable puppy named Chewbacca. In case you are looking to get on her good side, you should know a few of her favorite things: chocolate, coffee, giraffes and reading to children!
Erin Aitken comes to us from our own district, where she has been an Inclusion Specialist, helping to provide support for students and teachers across the district. She currently lives in Walnut Creek with her husband, Thomas, and their son, Declan. She graduated from Sweet Briar College in Virginia with a Masters in Teaching and credentials. She is so excited to join the Montevideo kindergarten team as she enters her 7th year of teaching!
We are lucky to have Krista Haslim take over our Strings Program at Montevideo. She is a classically-trained violinist, having earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree from Rice University, both in viola performance. She spent several years performing professionally as a member of the San Diego Symphony, Pacific Symphony and Opera Pacific and worked as a studio musician, recording motion picture soundtracks at Sony, Warner Brothers, Fox and CBS studios. Currently, she teaches private violin lessons in her studio and home. She loves working with students as they discover the joys and challenges of learning to play a stringed instrument. As a fellow Montevideo parent, she has a vested interest in seeing our students receive a well rounded and high quality education. She finds great joy in sharing the gift of music with students and encouraging them to try something new.
Instrumental Music Program for Grades 4 and 5
Montevideo School offers an instrumental music program for 4th and 5th graders, which includes instruction in band instruments and strings instruments (violin and cello). Miss Rick and Mrs. Haslim will soon be sending home information on how your students may sign up if they are interested in the instrumental music program. You might discuss this program with your 4th or 5th grader to determine their interest in anticipation of the form coming home soon. Returning 5th grade band and strings students are encouraged to stick with the same instrument for a second year.
We also were able to keep our Resident Substitute Teacher on Campus, Noriko Nishimoto. We are lucky to have her on campus regularly either filling in for teachers or supporting teachers on our campus daily.
Other teachers you might see in a new role this year: Miss Foos has moved to Kindergarten and Mrs. Harr to First Grade.
A big structural change for all grade levels this year will be Mustang Minute Time, which you will be hearing about from your teachers and students in the upcoming weeks, so please stay tuned. It will be up and running around the 3rd week of September. This is a designated time at every grade level, 4 to 5 times per week, designed to meet the needs of our individual learners across the grade level. If a student is struggling with a particular concept, that student will have the opportunity to learn it in a different way without being pulled out of class.
If a student excels with that concept, then they will have the opportunity to be extended academically. Students in grades 1, 2, 3, and 4 may have a different teacher during this time. Fifth grade will have a slightly different approach, as they are departmentalizing. Kindergarten will have this time as well, but it is infused throughout the day with support from another Kindergarten teacher and a Para Educator who push into the classroom. The two focus areas will be Math and Reading. In the upper grades there will be a broader Language Arts focus. You will receive the particular time of day for your student’s grade level. We hope that you will consider this “sacred and uninterrupted time” just as we will here on campus. Students will not be pulled or interrupted unless for an emergency during this learning time.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your generous donations for our classrooms and to the Montevideo Education Foundation. We rely on the beginning of the year donations to fuel our programs throughout the year. Without these donations, we would be missing several important faces on campus including Our Librarian (and fifth grade chorus teacher), Mrs. Hock, Our Technology teacher, Leona Van Winkle, several Paraeducators and other Reading and Math Support People. I walked around today, and was amazed to find that almost every classroom was being supported by one of these people. I can’t even imagine the toll it would take on our school to lose any of these people and the services they provide. If you haven’t already made your donation, please consider doing this as soon as possible. We will be evaluating our donation amounts at the end of the month. Remember also to check with your employer to see if they have a Matching Gift Donation Program. We appreciate anything you can give.
Thank you all so much for reading and for sharing your children with me during the school year. Your kids make me love my job.
Please read the FRIDAY FLASH every Friday for important reminders and exciting news from Montevideo, and I look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night next Wednesday, if not sooner.
Tasha Anestos Snow