News and Information

We are focused on testing these days, as our third – eighth grade teachers and staff administer the CAASPP tests to those participating. In case you are wondering, CAASPP stands for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. (The term Smarter Balanced refers to the public agency that created the online tests that align with the Common Core standards. It is housed at UCLA in the graduate education and information departments.)

We have many families who opt to exempt their children from the standardized tests this year. In fact, currently, we just have 4 students in the Open Classroom, out of a possible 52, taking the tests. In the Montessori program, we have 22, out of a possible 49, taking the tests. In Middle

School, more students take the tests than in elementary. We have 84, out of 95, taking the tests.

Our wifi system has been upgraded, so, after the first day of practice testing, we have not had the problems of computers unable to log onto the system. This is a great help – not just during testing season, but all year. Much appreciation to Mark Tong for making this happen and for supporting our teachers in the complicated launch of each test session.

Our school board discussed drafting a resolution about standardized testing at the last board meeting. The resolution proposed would publicly state the board’s opinion on the time, expense, and purpose of testing. We will continue to give the tests as we are mandated to test our students. The board will take action on this discussion item at the next meeting.

We are pleased to announce the hiring of a new Open Classroom teacher for next year. Our well-represented committee selected Jenelle Ferhart from a large pool of potential candidates. The selection then went to the administration, and ultimately to the school board for approval.

Jenelle has a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in curriculum design and instruction. She is bilingual with a credential for teaching Spanish. Jenelle taught Spanish at nearby Ross School in kindergarten through 5th grade before teaching all subjects in a 4th grade classroom at Ross. Jenelle has 14 years of teaching experience in kindergarten through 6th grades in 5 distinct schools in California. Most recently, Jenelle taught a 1st – 3rd mixed-grade classroom at the AltSchool in San Francisco. AltSchool was recently reviewed in Wired magazine.

To begin to describe her educational approach and background, Jenelle shared her experience as a student and daughter. Jenelle attended alternative education Open Classroom programs started by her parents. Jenelle looks back at her early education experiences where her love of learning, curiosity, integrity, compassion and empathy were fostered. In her introductory letter to us,

Jenelle wrote that she understands the importance of building community and makes sure her students continue to grow emotionally and socially as well as academically. She values daily opportunities for students to develop critical and creative thinking skills. She also has significant experience integrating technology in meaningful ways. She looks forward to being part of a teaching team.

A new member of the team is an opportunity to consider teacher grade level assignments. Our Open Classroom teachers will consider experiences, strengths, and interests in the decision on grade assignments. We expect to have a decision this week and will send out an email when we have information to share.


Congratulations to students Robin Stranton, Jack Simon, and Townsend Moore for their placement in the Marin County middle school bike races. In their first race of this type, Robin finished 3rd, Townsend finished 5th, and Jack finished 8th. Great accomplishment for all! Thanks to our mountain bike team of Emile Mulholland and Wayne Stranton for helping prep our students through the mountain biking elective.


Registration for West Marin Youth Soccer League is now open for fall 2015 for all age
groups! U6 through U19! Come out and join other families in supporting our children in the West Marin league as they build their physical and social skills through participation in the great sport of soccer!

Click here to register your child for the upcoming fall soccer league:

For more informationabout each age group and participation level, please click here:

Early bird Registration ends on June 30th so sign up soon to get your discount and be included in upcoming evaluation days! Evaluation days will be held onSunday, June 28th and Saturday, July 11th. These days provide an opportunity for coaches to register, players to be observed and evaluated by coaches, and placed on teams that are carefully balanced, providing a rich experience for all players.


The 2014-2015 Yearbook has gone to print! This year’s book will cost $25. This year we focused on the many field trips the kids take that enrich their school year, and we included school events from the last trimester of last year that typically get left out of the yearbook, such as Ace of Cakes, the Montessori Open House, and beach trips.

The Yearbook is 80 pages of candid photos of students from all three programs. The middle school yearbook elective kids worked really hard to put it together and we hope you enjoy it!

The Yearbook arrives June 9, 2015. Please order yours soon before we are sold out.