From Principal Nancy Davis

LASD STEM Teachers

posted Jun 13, 2013, 10:54 AM by Daryl Odnert

Thanks to your support of LAEF, every LASD elementary school will have a full-time STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teacher for the 2013-14 school year!  The STEM teacher will support our classroom teachers in creating and teaching interactive science lessons that include hands-on experiments in addition to the current FOSS-kit based science lessons, as well as early programming ideas. Details of the program including lesson plans are currently being developed. The STEM teacher will work closely with the LASD STEM Coach, (also supported by your LAEF donations) to ensure a consistent and enriched science experience for all K-6 students.

I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Beth Leach will be the Almond STEM teacher, and Miss Amy Shelley will be the STEM teacher at Gardner Bullis. It is exciting to have two of our outstanding Almond teachers be given the opportunity to influence the science experiences of students at Almond and Gardner Bullis! They will both bring their wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for science to this exciting program. We are indeed lucky to have such talented professionals with expertise in science, step up to this innovative challenge!

While there is no replacing the unique talents of Mrs. Leach and Miss Shelley, I am enthusiastic about the teachers that will be joining Almond to teach 6th grade. Jasen Stuart is an experienced 6th grade teacher who has a depth of knowledge in all subjects, especially math and science. Jessica Abraham is an experienced upper grade teacher, with a wide range of expertise, who has recently fulfilled the role of Math Coach in the South San Francisco School District. I am currently in the interview process to ensure the addition of another highly qualified teacher to the team. Miss Shelley and Mrs. Leach will work closely with the incoming teachers to create a seamless transition that guarantees a high quality instructional program and a successful experience for all students.

Thanks for supporting LAEF and our efforts to provide all students with an educational path that encourages creativity and engagement in learning!

Nancy Davis

Almond Teacher News

posted Jun 6, 2013, 4:38 PM by Daryl Odnert   [ updated Jun 6, 2013, 4:39 PM ]

The Almond staff and I wish every Almond family a fun, relaxing and memorable summer vacation!


Thanks to your support of LAEF, and the commitment of LASD to provide an innovative learning experience for all students, every elementary school will have a full-time STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teacher for the 2013-14 school year!  The STEM teacher will support our classroom teachers in creating and teaching interactive Science lessons that include hands-on experiments and early programming ideas. The STEM teacher will work closely with the LASD STEM Coach, (also supported by your LAEF donations) to ensure a consistent and enriched Science experience for all K-6 students. Thanks for supporting LAEF and our efforts to provide all students with an educational path that ensures excitement and engagement in learning!


All are invited to our community event to celebrate the retirements of Betsy Childrey, Pam Sanderson and Trudie Daggett. The Almond community and students have greatly benefitted from their compassion for students and dedication to the art of teaching! The LASD and Almond community will greatly miss them all! Come celebrate their teaching careers on Monday, June 10 from 3-4:15 in the Multi!

Teaching Staff for 2013-2014

posted May 30, 2013, 3:14 PM by Daryl Odnert   [ updated May 30, 2013, 3:14 PM ]

What a great year we have had at Almond! With the end of the school year approaching, we are busy planning for another successful year. There will be a couple of changes in the staff list as we welcome three new teachers to Almond.

We wish the best of luck to our two retiring first grade teachers, Betsy Childrey and Pam Sanderson. The Almond first grade team and students have greatly benefitted from their expertise and excitement for learning. We wish them exciting journeys as they enjoy having more time for family and friends. We will miss them both!

We also wish the best to Vanessa Jordan. She is returning to Texas to be close to her family and friends. She has been such an asset to our sixth grade team. Her enthusiasm for learning and her interactive ways of teaching Social Studies, will be greatly missed!

We welcome Summer Reeves to our first grade team. She is a product of the Los Altos School District! She grew up in Los Altos, attended Oak School, Blach, and Mountain View High. She graduated from Cal Poly with a major in Child Development, then received a minor in Psychology and a Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of San Francisco. She is currently teaching first grade at Loyola and is looking forward to joining the Almond community.

We will be welcoming another teacher, Rachel Commons, to our second grade team. She has previously taught first grade at Gardner Bullis. She returns to LASD after taking a short leave of absence to complete her Master’s. Rachel is excited about joining the Almond community and integrating innovative strategies into her teaching.

We welcome Jasen Stuart to our 6th grade team. He is originally from San Jose and attended Santa Clara University. He has been teaching for nine years and enjoys working with kids and challenging them to become more proficient, confident and conscientious young adults. He has most recently taught sixth grade Science in San Antonio, TX.

It is with pleasure that I announce our tentative teaching staff for 2013-2014.

  • Mrs. Laurie Lamb (PM)
  • Mrs. Melissa Powell (AM)
  • Ms. Lisa Schubert (AM)
First Grade:
  • Miss Summer Reeves
  • Mrs. Sarah Hall
  • Miss Alicia Chapman
Second Grade:
  • Mrs. Nancy Liu
  • Mrs. Tammy Reilly
  • Ms. Jill Williams
  • Ms. Rachel Commons
Third Grade:
  • Mrs. Jenny Wishnack
  • Mrs. Joann Martinez
  • Mrs. Anna Uhm
Fourth Grade:
  • Mrs. Melissa Dowling
  • Ms. Annie Daggett
  • Mrs. Lisa Call
Fifth Grade:
  • Mrs. Samantha Nguyen
  • Mr. Joe Chan
  • Miss Laura Ohlund
Sixth Grade:
  • Mrs. Beth Leach
  • Mr. Jasen Stuart
  • Miss Amy Shelley

Open House, Spring Concert, Pet Parade

posted May 23, 2013, 11:33 AM by Daryl Odnert

Open House is Tonight!

Open House is tonight, Thursday, May 23 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. We hope to see you and your family during this time of celebration. Don’t forget tomorrow, Friday, May 24th, is a minimum day.

Spring Concert

Families and friends of our 4th-6th grade students are invited to our annual Spring Music Concert on Thursday, May 30 at 1:00 in the Multi. Come hear our talented students perform the musical selections they have learned this year! You will certainly be impressed! Thanks to your support of LAEF, 4th-6th grade students receive music instruction twice a week through out the school year. Thanks to our talented music teachers, John Beeman, Corrie Dunn, Keith Hunter and Brianna Jorgenson for making this possible!

Kiwanis Pet Parade

Almond was represented this past Saturday in the Downtown Los Altos Pet Parade. A large group of Almond children and parents paraded in downtown Los Altos, with dogs, lizards, cats and even a stuffed animal wagon (pulled by the Kinder Sleepy Beetle Club). Thank you to Liz Bacchi and Jeanine Stiff for organizing our Almond families for this fun event!

Great Things Going On

posted May 16, 2013, 9:28 AM by Daryl Odnert

It is time to celebrate! Open House is next Thursday, May 23 at 7:00-8:00 p.m. This is your opportunity to see the many wonderful cross-curricular and innovative learning experiences your children have participated in.  Don’t forget, Friday, May 24th is a minimum day. We hope to see you and your family during this time of celebration.

It has been a great year at Almond!  Thanks to the talents of our teachers and the commitment of our parents to support our successes, Almond has continued to educate our students in innovative ways. In an effort to provide an education for all students that prepares them for the 21st Century, we have continued to investigate ways of making technology a part of every Kindergarten through sixth grade student’s experience.

Thanks to PTA for purchasing our two iPad carts at the end of the last school year. This year we have successfully begun the implementation of iPads in our Kindergarten through third grade classes! Thanks to our Technology Committee and the expertise of our iLearn Lead Teachers, our K-3 teachers have received training and support in using iPads in the classroom.  Our teachers have been focused on implementing appropriate applications of the iPad to enhance the educational experience of our students. We look forward to next year, when students will be involved in using the iPads for more creative and project-based opportunities.  

Thanks to PTA support, we were also able to purchase another laptop cart for sixth grade. This purchase has made it possible to have one-to-one access to technology in sixth grade!  Our goal is to increase that ratio to all grades. That does not mean a computer assigned to each student, but rather the opportunity to have access to the appropriate technology tools for project-based activities. This year, upper grade students were involved in using many multi-media resources to analyze and evaluate information, and create products that demonstrate understanding of content learned. 

During this past year, teachers have actively explored innovative ways of “upgrading” their curriculum. They discovered many creative ways of involving students in interactive projects that actively engaged students in their own learning. This process will continue as teachers collaborate and plan meaningful learning opportunities based on the Common Core standards that prepare our students for productive and successful college and career experiences. 

Almond currently has three teachers that attended the District LAEF funded iLearn training opportunity provided last summer. Two more Almond teachers will attend the iLearn training this summer. These teachers will be learning innovative ways of teaching and learning through the use of technology, and will be responsible for assisting in the planning and facilitating of staff training opportunities for the Almond teachers. Their expertise will assist us in achieving our goal of further integrating technology in the classroom. We are very lucky to have such dedicated teachers that are willing to devote their time, energy and knowledge to help support continued staff development.

We want to extend a sincere thanks to our Almond families who support LAEF and PTA, and our efforts to provide an exemplary educational experience for all students. Your time and generous donations are essential elements of a successful school community. As we look forward to next year, we are enthusiastic about being able to continue providing an innovative educational experience for all Almond students!

Nancy Davis

Class Placement for Next Year

posted May 9, 2013, 10:36 AM by Daryl Odnert

As the end of the school year approaches, we are beginning the process of placing students in balanced classroom arrangements for the 2013-14 school year. This process accommodates both parental input and professional judgment with the final decision for classroom placement resting with the school.

Using a team approach with input from specialists, staff, parents, and administration, the grade level teachers will develop class lists by the end of this month. This thoughtful process relies heavily on what we have learned about each child during the current and previous school years. When students are assigned to classes, many factors are taken into consideration.  We look for a match between learning styles and teaching styles.  We want to achieve balanced and compatible heterogeneous classes that include independent learners, self-starters and students who may need more guidance and assistance. There are also times that other considerations may play a role in class assignment, such as interpersonal relationships between individuals or groups of students. Above all, every child will be a member of a class that reflects the diverse range of interests and abilities of Almond students. By the end of May, we will have tentative placements that may be reevaluated over the summer as we accept new enrollees. All student class assignments will remain provisional and confidential until they are announced the week before school starts. If you feel there is information about your child that we may not have that should be included in this year’s process, please communicate this information to me in a written note. We regret that we do not honor requests for specific teachers, as it is important for us to have maximum flexibility in creating heterogeneous classrooms at all grade levels. If you have any questions, or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Nancy Davis

Staff Appreciation, Plus Junior Olympics

posted May 2, 2013, 2:07 PM by Daryl Odnert

Thanks for the Appreciation!

The teachers and I would like to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks for the wonderful luncheon provided for us on Tuesday by the PTA! The food was delicious and the decorations were beautiful! We are always in awe of the support and kindness that we receive from our Almond parents. Thank you!

A special thank you to Lillian Stadler and Maria Bautista for organizing this special event!

A Successful Junior Olympics!

On Saturday, April 27, our 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students participated in the LASD’s annual Junior Olympics. The opening ceremonies celebrated the coming together of Almond, Covington, Loyola, Oak, Santa Rita, Gardner Bullis and Springer schools.  As our students competed with other students from all over the school district, Olympic ideals were displayed by all.  Congratulations to all of our Almond participants who put forth their best efforts. The Almond Eagle spirit and positive sportsmanship was especially visible this year! Thanks to our Almond students for enthusiastically supporting their peers!

As always, our parents made this day possible. Thanks to everyone who volunteered!

A special thanks to Marcia Chmyz, Rasha Dessouki, Alix Apfelberg, Michelle Gottlieb, Kirsten Sirey, Liz Parker, Cynthia Arnold, Angelique Champagne, Martha Gomez, Karen Townsend, Kathleen Mitchel, Kelley and Mike Corley, Dan Walker and Craig Pellegrini for all their efforts in supporting this important event!

Nancy Davis

Thank You to Our Almond Volunteers!

posted Apr 25, 2013, 4:54 PM by Daryl Odnert

The staff and I want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all the Almond parents who volunteer their time and efforts to make Almond a great place to learn for all our students! To show our appreciation, we would like to invite each of you to our Volunteer Breakfast, tomorrow, Friday, April 26, at 8:00 in the Multi!

A Special Thank You!

Thanks to all for making my two years at Almond, filled with special memories! It has been a joy to be part of such a caring, supportive community. As you have already heard, as of July 1, I will be taking on new responsibilities in LASD as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. While I am enthusiastic about this new opportunity, I will miss the special relationships with the students and parents of the Almond community. I am deeply touched by all the thoughtful, kind words, and encouragement. I sincerely thank you for your support.

The process of identifying a new principal will include getting input from the community. You are invited to attend a meeting with Jeff Baier, tonight, Thursday, April 25, at 7:00pm in the Almond multi.

Nancy Davis

STAR Testing

posted Apr 18, 2013, 4:35 PM by Daryl Odnert   [ updated Apr 18, 2013, 4:36 PM ]

This is a reminder that teachers and students in grades 2nd - 6th are preparing for the upcoming STAR test. As a school community we view STAR testing as a tool to reflect on the positive achievements of our students, and to identify areas of instruction we may need to focus on. The tests are designed to measure student understanding of grade level standards in language arts and mathematics in grades 2-6, and science in grade 5. These assessments are just one measure that we use to inform our instruction and assess our educational programs. Although the test is important, we strive to create a calm and stress-free environment during the testing period.

The testing period for 2nd - 6th grade students is between April 29 and May 10. The majority of the testing will take place during the first week. Please do not schedule doctor or dentist appointments during this time. 

Here are a few suggestions on how you can support your children during the testing process:

  • Take care of the basics:  See that your child gets a good night sleep the night before the test and eats a good breakfast.  The brain can’t work if the stomach is empty.
  • Keep your cool:  While tests have increasing importance, they are just one measure of student learning so try to keep the process in perspective.  Explain that the results may help your child, and the teacher, understand the areas where he or she might be especially strong or may have a need for improvement.
  • Get to school on time:  Testing will begin when school starts.  Students arriving late will not be allowed to interrupt the testing process. 

Thanks for your support!

CSTEM Competition and Showcase

posted Apr 4, 2013, 1:48 PM by Daryl Odnert

Almond is proud to host the Los Altos School District CSTEM Competition and Showcase on Friday, April 26 from 4-5:30 in the Almond multi. The 6th grade CSTEM Program teaches Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with a focus on the 3 C’s: Creativity, Collaboration and Computer Science. CSTEM is funded by your generous donations to the Los Altos Education Foundation (LAEF). All are invited to this exciting event. Students will have the opportunity to play fun computer games created by sixth graders from all LASD schools. Learn about computer programming, robotics and 3D design from our LASD sixth graders! Prizes will be awarded to the competition winners at 5:00pm. 

Thanks for your donations to LAEF that support an engaging and innovative education for your children! A special thanks to Sheena Vaidyanathan for her expertise and dedication in teaching programming skills that will certainly prepare LASD students for a 21st Century global experience.

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