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Updated Wed, Apr 26th
  • Three parent meetings have been scheduled for May 8, 9 and 10 to provide information and discussion about recent decisions affecting thw 2017-18 school year. Letters will more details will be sent to middle school families on Thursday, April 27th.
  • Meeting notes, key dates, and other information about the school transformation is available on the Transformation web page.
Updated Wed, May 24th

By Amilia F., Parent

Equality and Equity… Does anybody know the difference?”

I was cleaning up dropped pencils and paper scraps on the back table, but my head popped up at the question. “That’s a pretty big concept for six-year olds,” I thought, intrigued. Teacher Aline was introducing the new Hokki chairs that had been delivered to her classroom earlier in the week. There were only 4 of these special chairs, and 24 eager bodies.

“Equal is when everybody gets the same thing,” she continued, pointing to a poster of three kids watching a baseball game from behind a fence. Each kid was standing on a box to get a better view. “In this photo, even though each child received exactly the same thing – one box – the result is that the shortest kid still can’t see.”

“Now look what happens if we take the same three boxes, but give them to the kids who need them.” In this version, all kids ended up with a clear view of the baseball game. “This is Equity,” Aline explained. “The kids may not have received the same thing, but they all have the same outcome.”

When it was clear that the students were following her logic, she showed them the new chairs. “You will all get a chance to try out these chairs and, when it’s your turn, I want you to think about whether you like the chair or whether you need it.”

“Some of our friends have a harder time sitting safely in regular chairs,” she continued, “so maybe they need these chairs to sit safely and to focus. Other friends like the chairs, but they don’t need them. Since we only have four Hokki, I need your help deciding how to share them equitably so that the end result is that all of our friends can be safe and learn.”

I can’t find words to explain how profoundly, even emotionally, these words affected me. I’d never really had it broken down quite so simply, visually, un-disputably. It made me see the classroom, and so many other every-day happenings at school in a whole new light…

Where before I saw an over-abundance of choice, I now saw opportunity for self-reflection and focus in the varied seating options — from the aforementioned Hokis, to bean bags, to swivel chairs, to standard-issue classroom chairs. I watched a single math lesson, reconstructed as an art activity, as word problems, as dice games, and even reinforced in small, teacher-led groups — an attempt to individualize instruction to a wide range of learning styles. I participated in group snack, where all children ate together until their tummies were full, regardless of allergies and of parent-ability to provide food. In this revised context, popsicle sticks with names written on them became ‘equity’ sticks to ensure students were called on at random (not subconscious bias) and Kindergarten Book Browse (which recently went parent-free) became an empowering moment for students to read the “just right” books selected specifically for them, tailored to their individual reading levels.

Equity is not a new concept, but it has become a big buzzword in the educational community over the last several years. “If equality means giving everyone the same resources, equity [has meant] giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and thrive.”1 The philosophy has gained enough traction that, this past year, the Campbell Unified School District hired a full-time Equity Administrator, April Mouton, in addition to the Equity Coach staff position at each district school. (At Village, Teacher Andy fills this position.) But what impact have these positions had in terms of reform and what really is their function?

April describes her job as analyzing statistics on student performance, identifying demographics that are not succeeding and then developing ways to address or compensate for these disparities. This could mean anything from connecting families with community resources and local support organizations to coaching teachers on how to modify their teaching to target a struggling demographic. She makes regular visits to all of the classrooms in our district to observe teachers, identify successful practices and coach teachers.

She speaks directly and honestly about the importance of identifying one’s own individual triggers and biases, and about how self-evaluation and awareness can help a teacher to better serve her students.

She is also passionate about supporting minority populations and is a proponent of ‘culturally responsive teaching,’ a practice that recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. She advises teachers to be intentional in their lessons to make the curriculum relatable for students.

And, finally, she deeply believes that every child can succeed if they feel that they are valued. She describes Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) not as a sign that a child can’t learn, but as a reminder that every child learns differently. In this revised framework, the question of how to support an underperforming child (or demographic) becomes, “How can we change our teaching to accommodate this child’s (or demographic’s) uniqueness?”

As for our School Equity Coach, Teacher Andys job is to be both an advocate for our students and an on-site resource for our staff. He provides coaching, feedback and support to teachers in their work with our students. He advises and models for them to how to provide ‘differentiated instruction’ — that is, how to tailor their teaching methods, lesson plans or classroom to students’ varied individual needs. His coaching job is to support our teachers in planning and delivering equitable instruction.

Every day — both in obvious and apparent ways, as well as in hundreds of small, barely noticeable, but deliberate ways — the teachers and staff in our Village work diligently to ensure that all of our children succeed. Because, despite our many individual differences, ‘We all belong; we are all significant.’
1. “Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Towards Equity” by Shane Safir

Updated Fri, Apr 21st

By Lynne Marie S., Parent

Under the Big Top, Village parents and friends gathered. In the weeks leading up to the notoriously fun event, ticket-holders researched many possible costumes. Some made expert use of the internet and found themselves newly familiar with the darker side of turn-of-the-century, traveling circuses. Costumes included corsets, feathers, top hats, striped tights, mime make-up, and tutus. One guest even treated himself to a ride on an elephant. (Well, sort of). Whether guests were in costume or spiffy cocktail attire, all looked happy to be foot-loose and child-free.

As the guests poured into the doors of the appropriately historic San Jose Women’s Club, they were treated to a circus performer on stilts (happily no accidents were reported!), a magician, and a fortune teller predicting bursts of sunlight and happiness in our lives.

The event had everything it promised — a silent auction, a raffle, and a live auction as well as a bar, hors d’oeuvres, and dancing. Guests walked away as proud “winners” of such items as a 12-person nerf party, a bourbon basket, a train experience, and much, much more.

Not only was fun had and goods acquired, Village PTA funds were raised, in a big way.  According to Ringmaster Shannon S., we increased our profit from 2016 by nearly $800! 

And so it was another successful tour stop for this Village circus.

All credit to Village’s Silent Auction team!

Updated Mon, Apr 24th
Rise Against Hunger Community Service Project

Village school students, parents and staff came together on March 7th to ‘Rise Against Hunger.’ This is the second year that Village School has participated in this wonderful all-school, hands-on volunteer global service project. Students, parents and teachers raised money to pack 16,000 meals, which will be distributed to communities in need in Southeast Asia.

Here are some fun facts:

  • Students and their families raised over $4,600. (The initial goal of raising enough money to pack 10,000 meals was greatly surpassed!)
  • Each meal cost $0.29. (With a $4,600 fundraising total, we were able to purchase enough food for 16,000 meals!)
  • Reading buddies worked side-by-side to fill, seal and package bags. Each bag contained soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, a vitamin pack and rice — enough for 6 meals.
  • Each sealed bag contains soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, one vitamin pack and rice — enough for 6 meals.
  • 36 bags (or 216 meals) were packed into each cardboard box. As a school, we packed 74 boxes of food!
  • After every 500 meals packed, students rang a gong and everyone cheered or danced in celebration.
  • Students packaged 16,000 meals, all before lunch time! They made memories, working together tirelessly, dancing and singing along to the fun, upbeat music!
  • The food we packaged will be sent from Rise Against Hunger’s west coast facility to Southeast Asia. Representatives said they will notify our school with the exact shipment destination once it has shipped. Last year, meals were sent to the Children of Vietnam organization.
  • The truck, packed full of nutrition and sustenance, drove honking through the Village parking lot and alongside the courtyard, garden and fields at the end of lunch recess, bidding a final adieu to the waving students.
  • Sons of Norway, the organization that meets at Nordahl Hall (with Viking property management, who run the Hall) gave us the use of the space, rent-free (usually at least $250)!!
  • Green hair nets rock!!

Thank you to all the families for your support of bringing this program to Village with your generous donations.

Thank you to all the parent volunteers — from the early set up crew to the parent who brought muffins for volunteers, from those who packed meals alongside the kids to those who lifted the heavy rice and soy bags to replenish ingredients, and from photographer, to the clean up crew who helped to make the event run smoothly.

Thank you to our teachers who supported this event and used this as an additional learning experience, whether for math, social studies (global health issues, cultural awareness), reflective writing or for emphasizing how children CAN make a difference.

Thank you to David, Becky, and Michelle, and all the staff for their support. Thank you to Fred who came over without hesitation with his backpack vacuum for the final clean up!

Thank you to Mary I. and family, and Aine O. for bringing this program to Village School, and to Mandy U. for her amazing help coordinating the event this year. 

Thank you to every student at Village for packing the meals with a fun attitude while dancing away. Whether you raised donations or just told someone about Rise Against Hunger, you inspired people to learn more, and YOU made a difference in the world.

Reflections from Student Bloggers

Rise Against Hunger

Today the class went to the rescue! We put on some gloves and hairnets, and started packaging! First, we put a small bag of vitamins inside the bag. Then we put in some soy, next something healthy, and finally, we put in the rice. We passed the bag to the measuring station. At the measuring station, we put the bags on a scale, and had to make sure that the weight of the bag was between 389-394 pounds. And lastly we passed the bag down to the final station, sealing. There was a big machine that looked like a stapler. We pushed on it to seal the bag. We gave it to the people who put the sticker, that said when it expired. They put it into the box. We did that again and again, until we had 500 boxes. Every time there were 500 boxes, somebody, (every time someone new) hit a big bell called the kong. That is how we stopped hunger.

We Went to Rise Against Hunger!

Today we went to rise against hunger! They used to be stop hunger now but they changed. First we put on hair nets than we sanitized and started packing! First we put in a vitamin package than we put in SOY than we put in VEGGIES than RICE and we weighed we need to have the package weigh between 389-394 and if it’s less than we put in some more rice if it’s to heavy than we take some rice out. Than onto the sealing we put it into this machine that seals it. Than we put a sticker that said when it expired. And we packaged them into a box that can hold 36 packages. I had so much fun!

Updated Fri, Apr 21st

By David Wilce, Principal at Village School

Where, Oh Where, Did My Teacher Go?

Many of you have wondered or even asked about where our teachers are and what they are doing during ‘planning’ or ‘collaboration’ days. Although not in the classroom, our teachers are on campus doing important work. They spend the day in grade level teams, called Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), working collaboratively to review student work and to discuss how to adapt their teaching and curriculum to better support students struggling with specific lessons, while still engaging students who have mastered the concepts.

At Village, our school philosophy embraces a hands-on, project-based curriculum, rather than a traditional top-down, worksheet-oriented approach. Our teachers excel at this practice — planning, developing and delivering an engaging multi-sensory curriculum that continually motivates our students. Delivering a fun lesson, however, is the easy part; the tricky part is ensuring that the curriculum has met the needs of all students.

How do we know which students have learned? What do we do for the students who understood or excelled at the lesson, and how do we support the students who didn’t get it? Most importantly how do we identify these different needs in a timely enough manner to do something about them? This is the where ‘collaboration days’ come in. Our teacher-groups use a protocol that not only ensures these questions are answered, but that also develops and refines their practice, allowing them to become better at meeting the unique needs of each students as they teach. Using student work samples as an authentic assessment and collectively discussing student outcomes, our teachers purposefully uncover professional practices that result in greater student engagement and success. As a result, teachers improve their practice and all students benefit.

Our Village teachers work hard to create lessons and learning environments that foster the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. ‘Collaboration days’ build on these lessons, allowing teachers the time and tools to differentiate the curriculum and delivery, ensuring that all students have not only access but also success.

Updated Mon, Apr 17th

Students had equal say as adults as more than 100 parents, students, staff and neighbors gave input at a March 23 community forum about creating a new Preschool–8th-grade school in the District.

The meeting began with attendees using stickers to vote on the Guiding Principals the Transformation Team will consider as it develops recommendations for the Governing Board. Then, participants and facilitators separated into affinity groups—parents with other parents, students with students, and so on—so they could discuss hopes, concerns and ideas for the new school. They consolidated their input and reported it back to the whole group. Their responses are posted on the District's Transformation web page in the March 23 meeting notes.

In April, the Transformation Team will review the responses and identify common themes to address in recommendations it sends to the Board in June.

Updated Tue, Mar 28th

State testing will happen from mid-April through May, and we're doing our best to ensure our students do their best.

Each year, students in grades 3–8 will participate in the statewide testing program called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The tests cover English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics for grades 3–8, and science fore grades 5 and 8. They provide information to teachers, parents/guardians, and students about students’ progress and readiness for college and career.

The principal will send information about specific testing dates and times at your child's school.

Meanwhile: Don't Fret. Stay Informed.

Updated Thu, Mar 23rd

Strategic Plan Committee noted progress during its review of strategic goals and objectives, including STEAM, standards and student support.

The Strategic Planning Committee—35 students, employees, parents, community members, and Board members—met on March 7, 2017 to discuss progress, challenges, and next steps toward achieving the District’s strategic goals.

As part of the semi-annual review, the group created objectives to be completed by September 2018 and a list of current “Perceived Strengths and Accomplishments”.

More details about the Strategic Plan are on the Strategic Plan Web Page

Updated Thu, Mar 23rd

The State of California is field-testing a new school accountability tool that uses multiple measures to report school performance and growth.

 Watch the Video

The California School Dashboard is a new tool from the State of California that replaces the old Academic Performance Index (API).  It will provide parents, educators, and the public with important information they can use to evaluate schools and school districts in an easy-to-understand report card format.

The California School Dashboard is a critical piece of California’s new school accountability and continuous improvement system. A 5-minute video explains how the new tool works and what it looks like.

Updated Thu, Mar 23rd

Preview dates are March 27th and 30th

Parents have the chance to preview, ask questions, and provide feedback on the three curricula being piloted for Math in grades K-5

The proposed new curricula— Bridges, Eureka Math*, and Investigations— will be available for advance viewing and providing feedback at the District Administration Office’s Hamilton Room:

  • Monday, March 27th, 12 – 1:30pm
  • Thursday, March 30th, 5 – 5:30pm

If you have questions about the proposed curricula, please contact your school’s principal or call the District’s Instructional Services Department, 408-364-4200.

* Name of curriculum corrected 3/14/17

Bell Schedule

  • In Session 8:25–10:40
  • Snack Recess 10:40–11:00
  • In Session 11:00–12:40
  • Lunch & Recess 12:40–1:20
  • In Session 1:20–2:30*
  • * Wednesdays end at 1:30
  • In Session 8:05–10:40
  • Snack Recess 10:40–11:00
  • In Session 11:00–12:40
  • Lunch & Recess 12:40–1:20
  • In Session 1:20–2:30*
  • * Wednesdays end at 1:30

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