January 2013

The Menlo Park City School District is the first in the Bay Area to launch the innovative Harvard Graduate School of Education Parent Survey. The survey, which will be distributed to the parents of the district’s more than 2,700 K-8 students, attempts to identify potential communication gaps between parents and educators, and evaluates crucial areas of improvement to assess what factors matter most in determining student success.

“We strive to work as a community to inspire high academic achievement among all students, serve their needs, challenge their minds, and enrich their lives,” said MPCSD Superintendent Maurice Ghysels, Ed.D. “Parents are obviously a critical part of this community, which supports and values staying current on the latest thinking, trying new ways to reach students, and taking the initiative to develop and share best practices. The survey aligns with this effort, and will inform our five year strategic plan, helping lay a strong foundation for success for all students.”

The survey, a template for which is available to all schools through SurveyMonkey, will enable the MPCSD to rapidly analyze all aspects of the parent-school relationship for its four K-8 schools – Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll, and Hillview Middle School – and determine which of seven key areas need the most improvement to benefit students’ success:

  1. Parental support – How much help are students getting at home?
  2. Child behaviors – What habits have students developed that shape their success?
  3. Parent engagement – How engaged are parents in their child’s schooling, and what potential barriers exist?
  4. Parent self-efficacy – How confident are parents in supporting their child’s schooling?
  5. School climate – How do parents view their school regarding academic and social standards?
  6. School program fit – How well do a school’s academic program, social climate, and organizational structure match a student’s needs?
  7. Parent roles and responsibilities – How do parents view their roles as well as teachers’ roles in different aspects of their child’s schooling?

To create the survey, MPCSD worked with SurveyMonkey to customize the Harvard Graduate School of Education template, developed by SurveyMonkey and Harvard researchers who extensively reviewed relevant literature for each assessment area, conducted interviews and focus groups, and had each item in the survey scale reviewed by a panel of experts.

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As docent at Willow Oaks School, Andrea Palmer introduces kids to symphonic music

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By the time we caught up with Menlo Park resident Andrea Palmer, she was just wrapping up her duties as a Mid-Peninsula League of the San Francisco Symphony docent at Willow Oaks School by delivering cookies. She wore her signature musical note sweater and presented the kids with cookies in the shape of musical notes. It was […]

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Spotted: 49er fan spirit descends on Menlo Park

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It’s hard to go anywhere in Menlo Park without being reminded that, indeed, the big game is just a few days away. Signs of  “Go Niners” are sprouting everywhere — from a dashboard banner in a car parked at Willow Oaks School to a balloon in a West Menlo front yard (that just might be the home […]

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Count Basie is topic of Menlo Park Library Black History Month program on Feb. 2

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KCSM Jazz 91.1 Operations Director Alisa Clancy makes a return visit to Menlo Park, part of the Menlo Park Library’s Black History Month Program. This year she’ll be talking about William “Count” Basie, the influential band leader of the swing era in jazz. Ms. Clancy will celebrate Count Basie’s contribution to the world of jazz […]

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Veteran of LA County Sheriff’s Department selected as Menlo Park’s new police chief

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Robert Jonsen was named today as Menlo Park’s new Chief of Police. When formally appointed, Jonsen will succeed Interim Chief Lee Violett who has led the Department since the departure of Bryan Roberts in August 2012. “We are extremely happy to have Bob join our Police Department and the Executive Team of the City,” said […]

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Longtime Atherton resident Louis Matas celebrates his 99th birthday with family and friends

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Not many men are around to celebrate their 99th birthday. Fewer have a girl friend to celebrate with. Longtime Atherton resident Louis Matas was indeed fully present last night at a birthday celebration organized by fellow members of the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band (bottom), attended by friend Vi Janis (pictured above with Lou), […]

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The 39 Steps presented by Menlo School Drama Department Jan. 31 – Feb. 2

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Menlo School’s Upper School Drama Department is presenting The 39 Steps directed by Mark Newton this weekend at Florence Moore Auditorium. In the production, “Hitchcock meets secret agents who plot to prevent critical information from leaving the country. Mishaps and crazy characters make this a great comedy for the entire family.”  The play premieres Thursday, […]

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Spotted: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at Kepler’s book signing event

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We received this email from M-A student Karina Torres Maldonado: “Last night a group of Menlo-Atherton High School students, including myself, attended the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor’s book signing event, hosted by Menlo Park bookstore Kepler’s. Many of us thought she was such an inspiring and successful woman and were extremely […]

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Lifelong San Francisco Giants fan Rob Dell’Ergo recounts the team’s first year at PacBell Park

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Rob Dell’Ergo is such a San Francisco Giants fan that he can recite momentous events witnessed while attending games with his Dad when he was growing up in Menlo Park, first at Seals Stadium and later at Candlestick. “The memories are endless,” he wrote on his application to join the guest services department at the […]

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Parenting expert Mike Riera to give talk at M-A PAC on Jan. 31

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Parenting expert Mike Riera, Ph.D., will speak about “The Hidden Logic of Teenagers: How to Hear What They Aren’t Saying”  on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the M-A Center for the Performing Arts in Atherton. Dr. Riera is one of the country’s foremost authorities on children and teens, and he is […]

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Architects Kelly Johnson and Karen Zak work with Peninsula residents to create “just the right” space

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For the past 12 years, Menlo Park-based architects Kelly Johnson and Karen Zak have been in business together, but they’ve known each other since their undergraduate days at the University of Michigan. Yet, they arrived at their profession from different paths. “I knew I wanted a career that involved math and science and initially pursued […]

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