La Colina Junior High School

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Principal's Message for May 4, 2015

Principal’s Message: David L. Ortiz

District Website:

District Fast Facts: Http://

La Colina Website:

Smarter Balanced Assessments: By virtue of the impressive leadership of Assistant Principal, Carole Nevarez, as well as the ongoing support of our teachers and staff, we continue to have an effective implementation of the tests. The testing window permits us to continue to May 20; includes additional testing and make-up testing. If you have any concerns, please contact Ms. Nevarez ( or 967-4506 at ext. 3111).

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP): The CAASPP is the new state-mandated testing process to measure student progress towards college and career readiness; Smarter Balanced Assessments is one component. Each student will receive a “Student Score Report” relative to English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics. In each category, the student will receive an overall score and ranking relative to the standard not met, standard nearly met, standard met, or standard exceeded. The report will also include additional information. For example, English will include: reading, writing, listening, and research/Inquiry. Mathematics will include: problem solving & modeling/data analysis, concepts & procedures, and communicating reasoning. Information per each of these elements of knowledge and skill will also be provided.

Preparing each child to achieve at a proficient level or higher will be a challenge. However, given the determined mindset of our students, families, and staff, we are fully capable of achieving this goal.

6th Grade Placement Tests: The 6th grade placement tests in mathematics and English will serve as the primary identification criteria for course level assignment, (i.e., Honors, At-level). The tests will be completed in May either before or after the respective elementary schools completion of the Smarter Balanced Assessments. Students taking the tests will include all SBUSD secondary-bound students, (e.g., SBUSD, Hope, Goleta, Montecito, and Cold Springs). La Colina feeder schools include: Mountain View, Hollister, El Camino, Foothill, Hope, Vieja Valley, and Monte Vista. The feeder school students will take the tests at their current school. Students new to our district via private schools or moving to the community will take the test at the District Office on a date to be determined. After June 20, new students will take the tests at the respective junior high.

The English 6th Grade Placement Tests will graded May 20 and 21. The Mathematics 6th Grade Placement Tests will be graded on May 22 and 26. 

I will forward a district-based letter to each student/parent with the test scores and “recommended” course placements, (i.e., Math 7, Math 7 Enrichment, Math 7, 8 Accelerated, Math 7 with Support, Honors, At-level).

After-School Homework Support Program: The library is open Monday - Thursday from 2:45 - 4:45. An English and Math teacher are available to assist with school work and the computer.

EDU: Grades are expected to be updated every two weeks. If you have questions, commendation, or concerns, please contact the teacher immediately. Subsequent questions and concerns should be directed to your child’s guidance counselor; Kristi Morris (last names A-L) and Athena Sims (last names M-Z).

Roofing Project: The La Colina summer roofing project will begin June 24, 2015 in the Administration, 300, and 400 wings. Relocation of the office will likely be to the 600 or 500 wings.

Bright Spots:

  • Shannon Saleh: Shannon has been awarded a Curriculum Project Grant by the SBCEO Teachers Network. The grant is part of a collaborative project with Rat a tat theater company.  They will be performed at the May 21st performance. Congratulations Shannon!

  • Latin (Teacher: Sarah McGinnis): 17 La Colina Latin Students were awarded national distinction this year for their participation in the National Latin Exam. For Latin 1, 7th graders Ryan Hathaway and Alexi Gill earned Gold Medal- Summa Cum Laude. Maxima Cum Laude Silver Medalists were Bryan Shott, Marina Suh, Amelie Funk, and El Simon. Magna Cum Laude Certificates were given to both Brynn Sofro and Caden Heinze. Cum Laude went to Gina Shapiro. Additionally, for Latin 2 7th grader Rhea Kommerell earned Gold Medal Summa Cum Laude.The 8th graders Kyle Cekada, Michelle Qin, Albert Miao, Jack Pearson all won Silver Maxima Cum Laude awards. Anjali Thakrar was awarded Magna Cum Laude. Abigail Chapman earned Cum Laude. Over 153,000 Latin students competed, from all 50 states and 20 foreign countries. Go Lions!

Math Con Scores: Congratulations to the following students who participated in a national mathematics competition, Math Con, in Chicago!. The first number is score second number is rank:

MathCON 7th Grade Chicago Finals


Ratcliffe, Talgani



MathCON 7th Grade Chicago Finals


Shapiro, Gina



MathCON 7th Grade Chicago Finals


Young Ju, Suh (Marina)



MathCON 8th Grade Chicago Finals


Faison, Kyle



MathCON 8th Grade Chicago Finals


Hurvitz, Isabella



MathCON 8th Grade Chicago Finals


Jones, Sarah



MathCON 8th Grade Chicago Finals


Steele, Gradey



Pacific Youth Football League (Boys & Girls Club of SB, Inc.):

  • La Colina will have at least (1) team (grade 8) and may be (2) teams (grade 7

  • Season begins 7-27-15

  • Practice at La Colina fields

  • Costs: $250 per player per season

  • Sign-up days at 632 E. Canon Perdido St. (805-962-2382): 4-11-15, 5-2-15


  • Athletic Director: Kim Kjar

Mark Your Calendar:

5-5 Cinco de Mayo; ASB Elections Assembly (8:30, auditorium)

5-6 Bike to School Day; ASB Elections (lunchtime, room 303)

5-7 ELAC meeting (6:00, library); Spring Choir Concert (7:00, auditorium)

5-10 Mother’s Day

5-12 SBUSD Board Meeting: LCAP (6:30, District Board Room)

5-13 LC Special Education Secondary Parent Advisory meeting (6:00, Staff Lounge);PTSA meeting (7:00, Library, social from 7:30-8:00)

5-14 AVID Parent Night (6:30, Cafe)

5-15 80’s Day

5-16 AVID Student Interviews (9:00, Room 501)

5-19 Smarter Balanced Assessments: end; Dr. Drati visit (9:00); Minimum Day(8:30-11:56)

5-20 6th Grade English Placement Tests grading (La Colina, Staff Lounge)

5-21 6th Grade English Placement Tests grading (La Colina, Staff Lounge); MusicalTheater Performance (7:00, auditorium)

5-22 6th Grade Math Placement Tests grading (La Colina, Staff Lounge)

5-26 6th Grade Math Placement Tests grading (La Colina, Staff Lounge)

5-25 Memorial Day

5-27 Earthquake Drill (8:35); ards (1:00, cafe)

5-28 PTSA Honorary Service & Staff Appreciation (8:00, cafe); Outburst Showcase (7:00, auditorium)

5-29 Placement Tests notification: letter sent to 6th graders

5-31 Library closes

6-3 Textbooks due: Social Studies, Science; Awards Ceremony (4:00)

6-4 Faculty meeting (8:00, library); Textbooks due: World Language; ELAC meeting (6:00,


6-5 Promotion Party (4:30)

6-9 Yearbook distribution

6-10 Promotion (10:15)

6-11 Staff Breakfast/Celebration (8:00-10:00, site tbd); Faculty Checkout

Sustainability: Our site representatives on the SBUSD Sustainability Committee are: Whitney Paz (teacher), John Reed (parent), and me (David Ortiz, principal).  You can help promote this effort by:

  • Promote sustainability

  • Restrict water and energy use

  • Recycle paper, plastic, and glass

Yearbooks: Order your 2014-15 yearbook now! The La Colina Lions yearbook is a full color 104 page publication, which includes student pictures, and memories of the school year. Follow the link to the Webstore from our La Colina Website at or purchase one in the office Monday through Thursday, before and after school. The cost is $55. We accept cash, check and most credit cards. Yearbooks will be distributed on June 9 at 8:30.  

English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC): The ELAC meetings are on the 1st Thursday of the month from 6:00-7:00 pm. in the library. However, due to Spring Break, the meeting for April has been changed to Thursday, May 7 from 6:00-7:00; child care is also provided. The focus of the meeting will be needs assessment recommendations to School Site Council and reclassification of English Learner students. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Rodriquez-Mester (Assistant Principal, ext. 3112).

Secondary Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC): The next site SSEPAC will be held on Wednesday, May 13 from 6-7 pm. in the Staff Lounge. The SSEPAC chairperson is Ms. Melissa Fitch. Ms. Fitch will oversee our school meetings as well as represent La Colina at the District meetings. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Nevarez (Assistant Principal, ext. 3111). Spanish interpretation will be provided.

PTSA: The PTSA meeting is Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 7:00-8:00. After Board and committee reports, there will be a social to celebrate another outstanding year. Spanish interpretation will be provided.

PTSA Promotion Party: The promotion party will be Friday, June 5 from 4:30-7:00. Please contact Mr. Ortiz (principal) if you want to volunteer and/or make a donation.