Back to School: Menlo Park district makes plans for new campus

As children in the Menlo Park City School District headed back to classes on Aug. 20, the district is moving ahead with the planning for a new campus for Laurel School at the old O'Conner School site.

The plans are nearly ready to submit for state approval in September and contractor selection is underway.

Families will see some changes at the schools this year.

At Oak Knoll and Encinal schools, doors have been put in between several classrooms to make collaboration among classes easier. At Encinal, some teachers will "co-teach" work with other teachers in a classroom for portions of the day.

Trees were planted at Oak Knoll and Encinal schools to provide shaded outdoor space for students, while at Oak Knoll, paving stones were added to make an outdoor learning space.

The district hired a new director of technology, Al Hart, on June 30. Since 1999 Mr. Hart has been director of technology at the Reed Union School District in Tiburon. Previously he worked in the technology department at the Marin County Office of Education in San Rafael.

In addition to Mr. Hart, 19 new teachers are joining the district.

Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said the district's guidance and wellness programs will increase this year, due to a partnership with the Sequoia Healthcare District, which will provide funding for a "wellness coordinator" who will be in charge of school health programs.

The district will increase and update programs that address the appropriate use of social media, emotional health and conflict resolution, the superintendent said.

Another new program for the school year is a pilot "full inclusion classroom" project in one third-grade class at Laurel School. Four credentialed teachers, including a special education teacher, will join forces to work with a diverse class of students.

Several summer programs helped to prepare for the new school year, including a new "Kick-Off-to-Kindergarten" program designed to help incoming kindergartners who did not attend preschool or are learning English, Superintendent Ghysels said.

During the summer, students took nature hikes, set up camp in the school yard, sang campfire songs, created camping recipes, investigated native plants and animals and participated in field trips to the library and museums. Academics and lessons focused on developing literacy and language skills through writing in journals and reading items related to the outdoors.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Oak Knoll and Hillview campuses and staff have become the best of the best. If you haven't seen them lately take a drive by or even better take a walk around.

I can see parents pulling their kids out of Menlo School, keeping the $50,000 tuition and going to city schools.

Anyone know if any improvements are planned for the run down school campus in Belle Haven. It looks like portables left over from WW2.

City officials, please take a tour of the campus for yourself.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Coming soon: Fire Oak & Barley in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 2,958 views

Meditation Before Medication for Better Mental Health
By Chandrama Anderson | 11 comments | 1,809 views

The Saddle Room – A True Friend of Kids
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,790 views

The Four E's--Pope Francis and the Middle Class
By Steve Levy | 2 comments | 642 views