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October 2008

Volume 3, Issue 2

The New City School

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Our Mission We will provide a thoughtful, healthy, intimate environment in which community building is valued over competition. Through a curriculum enriched by the arts, technology, and the natural environment, we will teach students to develop into independent critical thinkers who demonstrate expertise in reasoning and problem solving, English and Spanish literacy, creative expression, and historical perspective. Toward these goals, the families and staff of the New City School will work together as partners to understand the needs and interests of the students, to act in the service of justice, and to extend learning opportunities into the home and community.

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families sure know how to enjoy good food. For entertainment, our children played and played some more. The trykes were out, and balls and Frisbees flew. The kids were having a great time chasing and yelling, enjoying the freedom to play. Many played soccer and some jumped rope. It was refreshing to see that they could fill unstructured time with joyful activity.

Individual Highlights :

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School Calandar


Family Spotlight


Director’s Note


Testing Report


NCS Guidelines


Afternoon Music


NCS Student Page


Academic Support Committee 6 NCS World Kitchen


Pine Ave. Calendar


Wishlists, Tips & Reminders


On the first Friday of September, I brought vegetarian enchiladas. I wondered how my strange version of a standard Mexican dish would be received. After all, who puts so many sautéed veggies inside of enchiladas? But that’s what my kids like. Next time I won’t worry.

Once we arrived, it was clear the food was flying off the tables. There were huge pots of pasta with sauce or simply tossed with garlic and parmesan. There was pizza, bowls of fresh fruit, layered dips and even Vietnamese sandwiches. Leave it to New City parents to provide variety! The dessert table was no less delicious, and I hear the lemonade was terrific. Our

The parents enjoyed time to sit and talk. I think, like our kids, we don’t have enough time to just hang out. So the First Friday Fiesta provided us with that. We didn’t seem to need “ice breakers” or games to play in order to enjoy each other’s company. I know that some of us caught up with old friends, and were maybe too shy to meet new people, but it

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NCS 2007 -2008 Calendar Day November 11 November. 24 - 25 November 26 – 28 December 22 – January 9 January 19 February 16 & 23 March 16 & 17 March 18 – April 3 May 25 June 2 – 4 June 24 – 25

Event No School – Veteran’s Day Student-led Conferences No school Winter Vacation No school- Martin Luther King Day No school- U.S. Presidents & Abraham Lincoln Student-led Conferences Spring vacation (students) No school - Labor Day La Tierra Camp at De Benneville Pines June Conferences

NCS Family Spotlight

QuickTime™ and a THE HERNANDEZ FAMILY decompressor are needed to see thisWhere picture. did you live before coming to spend as much time together as possible Long Beach? Before Long Beach we lived in Mexico City. Aquetzaly was born there. Carolina was born here in Long Beach and we have lived here ever since.

This month’s spotlight on an NCS family tells us about a family that has been with the New City School since it’s beginning. Aquetzaly Hernandez, Oscar and Maria’s first daughter, is one of the first students to enroll in the New City High School, the Colegio New City. Tell us the names of the members of your family and about your children here at New City School. Oscar Maria Aquetzaly, Carolina, 6 years old, in el mar. Where do you live now? We live in Long Beach.

How did you learn about NCS and what made you send your kids here? One of Aquetzaly’s teachers recommended the school and after looking at the results of her experience we decided to send Carolina to New City School What does your family do on weekends? We go for walks, eat ice cream, play and go back home to watch movies together. We often go out and dream of the things that we can accomplish in the future as a family

and we try to always eat our meals together.. Tell us something we don't know about your family that might be interesting? We are a big family and we like to learn about other families and their backgrounds. ******** Do you have a family that you think should be spotlighted? Drop us a note in the Newsletter suggestion envelope in the binder in the front office.

What languages do you speak at home? Spanish What's your family's favorite meal? Posole and mole What do you like to do when you are not volunteering your free time to the New City School? We have fun and make friends. We try to

Carolina (left) and her cousin, Alison, also an el mar student

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Director’s Note from José Hernandez What your child’s “Super reader” is all about? In the spirit of encouraging a lifelong love for reading, teachers at The New City School expose students to a wide variety of genres and book styles throughout the day. At the end of the day El Mar students take a self-selected book home from their homeroom library. If an El Mar student is an advanced reader, s/he reads the book to her/his family that evening. Then, as a family the book is discussed. (some questions you can use: What was it about? What happened at the beginning? What happened later? What happened at the end? Would you recommend the book to your friend? Why?). The goals here are to enjoy this literacy time as a family, and for her/him to verbally

discuss and describe what s/he just read. If an El Mar student is an intermediate or beginning reader, either read the book to her/him, or have him/her look through the book and tell you what s/he sees in it using descriptions based on the illustrations (some questions you can use: What is happening here? What do you think is going to happen next? What colors do you see in this page?). The goals are to enjoy this literacy time together, and for her/him to verbally use as much vocabulary as possible based on the pictures or short text in the book.

paper consist of a drawn box on top (where students draw their favorite part or the cover of the book), a line for the title of the book, two lines for the author and illustrator of the book. The last thing a Super reader paper has is a place for the students to write about the book (What was the book about? Did you have a favorite part? What happened at the beginning of the book? What happened afterwards? How did it end? Would you recommend the book? Why or Why not?). These types of questions are the same as the ones you would ask them everyday, except that once a week s/he writes their answers down in their Super reader paper.

A “Super reader” is a writing assignment that extends the reading of the book s/he took home that afternoon. Students from El Mar have a “Super reader” once a week. Homeroom teachers give out the “Super reader” papers the afternoon prior to the students’ Super reader presentation day. The

An advanced writer in El Mar will write her/his Super reader with little or no help making some grammatical errors that do not prevent her/his writing from being read. An intermediate writer in El Mar will write her/his Super reader with some help making some grammatical errors that sometimes

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know. ~Daniel J.

School Tests and Assessing Your Child: A Study Guide Testing ... 1, 2, 3, testing! Whether we like it or not, there is no getting around standardized tests. But what do the scores mean? And how do these tests fit into the program at the New City School? Ted Hamory, NCPS co-director, and Jose Hernandez, Pine Avenue campus director, talked about school testing and some changes this year at NCS--Pine Ave. that aim to raise our standardized test scores, and provide more and

detailed feedback to parents and teachers on the progress of each child. These changes were made carefully and with the goal of not giving up what makes us special -field trips, daily arts, music, electives. The changes were made with great effort to continue serving the school's mission, staying true to the constructivist philosophy and educating each child. At the meeting, parents learned about four new ways their children will be assessed as they go through NCS.

(1) California State Test The CST is the big one. This test is taken in the spring, starting in the 2nd grade. It's also how the school's API score is determined. API scores are often the number people use to determine whether a school is good or not. In recent years, the NCS API has steadily risen. The year before last, it was even above the LBUSD and state QuickTime™ decompressorand a average and just short of the are needed to see this pictu state's goal for every school,

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Quick Reminder on NCS Policies and Guidelines Has it been awhile since your child started attending the New City School? Maybe you've forgotten some of the policies and guidelines over the years. Or maybe you didn't catch them the first time around. No problem, we've got a summary of them right here. Keeping these in mind brings our diverse and special school closer to its mission of community building while creating a learning environment that benefits everybody (including your Pokemon loving child!). For a more detailed explanation of these policies -- and also for a year-in-a-glance calendar and list of annual festivals and performances -- please stop by the office and request a green

packet. Dress code : Kids should where clothes that are safe (no opentoed shoes or high-heeled sandals or big dangling earrings), allow for freedom of movement (nothing too tight, nothing too baggy), nothing that includes violent, offensive or disrespectful words or images. Clothes and accessories should be modest and not distracting -- hide those bellies, pull up those pants, and leave the acrylic nails and makeup for weekends. Also, no hats! Stuff from home: Please leave electronic items and toys at home, including cell phones, iPods, hand-held video games and trading cards, like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh. While it's fine to bring no more than $5 on Thursdays

for purchases at La Tiendita, money should otherwise stay at home. Also, valuable items are safer if kept home from school -- this includes favorite lunch boxes, lucky hats and books from the public library. Meals and Snacks : Children should, of course, have a delicious lunch they will not only enjoy but will help them get through the rest of the day. It is the school's hope and mission that parents will pack nutritious items for their children to eat and drink. For this reason, the school asks that students not bring chips, soda, candy, fast food or instant soups in their lunches. For pre-packaged lunches, such as Lunchables, we request parents remove the candy and save it at home for later.

Music Classes After School Are you interested in more Music or instrument classes for your child in both campuses? Lets meet to find ways to work together to help offer more opportunities for our students and children from the community to engage in music making.

Next meeting: Tuesday October 13 th , 6 PM in the Community Room of NCS Pine Ave. Last Wednesday, September 24, we had two meetings to discuss how we could work together to continue having music classes after school. A total of 12 parents came to the meetings and brainstormed on ways to collaborate with work, promotion in the community, administration and financial resources, to bring Música

por la Tarde/Music in the Afternoon back.

Some ideas from the meeting:  Have an actual operating budget, so families know how much money we need to gather  Families can contribute either monetarily or with work: administration, visual design for flyers and banners, registration announcements, registration forms, diffusion on My Space and Craig’s List, etc.

Parents offered to promote our classes throughout the community, to increase enrollment.  Contact CSULB to find students in Music Education that would be interested in having teaching practice in our program. These were some of the ideas going around last Wednesday, and it was the first time we met! Please join the wonderful group of parents to help us bring Music in the Afternoon back. 

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New City Student Page Book Review by Niko Buck. La Tierra Student QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

class. After that, I wanted to read it again, but the school year ended too soon, and I had been looking for it since.

hours. When you finish it, you will be thinking: “Hey, why isn’t there a sequel?”

Maniac Magee is a great book by Jerry Spinelli. It has a very interesting story, which you can get into for

It is a perfect book for all ages, and one of my favorites. The first time I heard it was when Brenda read it to the

I read it again, and it is still very high on the list of my favorite books.

La Tierra Student, Natalia Vasquez, Gets the Scoop on New Teacher, Samuel Natalia: How long have you been

Natalia: Why did you want to work

Samuel: I love working with my


at New City School?

team. I completely agree with

Samuel: I have been teaching for

Samuel: This school offers the

one year.

teacher the opportunity to really

Natalia: Where did you go to college and do your student

the idea of constructivist teaching. I enjoy my time with

Samuel: I graduated from UCLA

work individually with each student.


with a BA in History. Currently I

Samuel: I was born in México and

am going to Claremont Graduate

went to school in México and it’s

School for my Masters in

my first language.


Natalia: What do you think of the program? The students?

Smiling Samuel Salazar!

the students. Natalia: What do you generally

Natalia: How did you learn to speak


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eat for lunch?

Did you KNOW? That Samuel went to UCLA!

Samuel: I always eat a ham and cheese sandwich it’s the easiest to make. Natalia: What do you do in your free time? Samuel: Read and Play Soccer!

El Mar Students Visit Bolsa Chica Wetlands By Trixie Wright with Jazmin Bush, el mar students

What we saw at Bolsa Chica was mostly birds. We saw a snowy egret and a sand shark and an anemone.

Jazmin saw three diving birds, a wading bird, and the kelp forest. I saw seaweed. We had journals. We saw turtles. It was fun.

There was a black skimmer and a water bird. The whole el mar went. We drew what we saw. We had printouts. There was a lot of birds.

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How to Own Your Own Ramon Rodriguez Painting Fine Art for $5? Enter Our Drawing and Win! Among the many talented members of the New City Public Schools is Ramon Rodriguez. He's a renowned painter and sculptor and also father of La Tierra's Mayu and El Mar's Rumi. Ramon is a leading Latin American artist and his work has been

Learning without thought is labor lost. ~Confucius

shown around the world. Rodriguez and his wife, Debbie, director of NCS development, have donated one of his paintings for a prize drawing. Tickets are $5 each. Once the pot has reached a minimum amount, a name will be drawn randomly and the lucky winner will get to take this painting home.

Anybody who purchased tickets last year at the $10, be assured those tickets have been duplicated and each is entered twice. Don't miss this chance to own an original Ramon Rodriguez drawing -a piece of fine art and a symbol of what makes our school so special. Finally, would you like to get more involved in the school

New “Academic Support” Committee Created at September Community Council Meeting

In an effort to better serve the mission of the New City School, which provides that the families and staff of NCS “will work together as partners to understand the needs and interests of the students,” a committee has been formed to help explore the everevolving academic needs of today’s NCS students. The Academic Support Committee will provide the NCS Community with an opportunity to discover ways in which the school’s curriculum can best answer concerns of parents while serving the school’s fundamental commitment to constructivist learning. Are you seeking a better understanding of what it means to follow a constructivist philosophy?

This month’s New City World Kitchen brings us gleefully back to desert with a recipe from my own family. The Trefethens have spent every major holiday fighting over my grandmother’s Dark Cocoa Fudge (and now your family can too). My Nana will turn 92 years old next month, and I am pretty sure that she has been making this same fudge -- in the same 8x8 pan—for just about her whole life. The recipe is truly delicious but it’s also tricky and even after all these years Grandma Trefethen would tell you that she has yet to perfect it.

Do you want to know what you can do at home to help your children become better learners? Or, do you have suggestions on how the curriculum might be improved.? Bring your ideas to the formative meeting of the Academic Support Committee on October 15th at 6:00pm. Both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking volunteers are needed to co-chair this committee. Also, if you are interested in taking part in the New City Community Council (the governing body of the Pine Avenue School), meetings will be held on October 22nd at both 9:00 and 3:45.

Rich Cocoa Fudge Ingredients: * 3 cups sugar * 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa * 1/8 teaspoon salt * 1-1/2 cups milk * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: 1. Butter 8-or 9-inch square pan. 2. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat,

stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full rolling boil. 3. Boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on a candy thermometer. (Of course, my grandma does the “soft ball” test: put a drop of the mixture into very cold water to see if it forms a soft ball that flattens when you dump out the water). 4. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. Cool at room temperature to 110°F (which is lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its

Page 7 of 8 Don’t forget daylight savings

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2 . Turn your clocks back.

Pine Avenue Monthly Community Calendar Day October 3 October 8 October 9 October 10 October 13 October 15 October 17 October 22 October 24 October 28 November 7 December 18

Event La Tierra Beach Clean Up – Alamitos Beach El Mar Trip to Colorado Lagoon First Friday Family Fiesta – Movie Night Parent Workshop #2 Mathematic El Mar Parent Volunteer Meeting for Harvest Mask Festival 4-5:00 pm La Tierra trip to Bolsa Chica El Mar trip to Rainbow Lagoon Music in the Afternoon Meeting 6:00 pm Communications Committee Meeting 3:45 pm Academic Support Committee Meeting 6:00 pm La Tierra trip to Colorado Lagoon El Mar to El Dorado Nature Center Community Council Meeting 9:00 am & 3:45 pm La Tierra to Los Angeles Pubic Library El Mar Beach Clean Up Ice Skating Fundraiser Night Picture Day Fall Harvest Mask Festival First Friday Family Fiesta Peace and Human Rights Night

Test Scores, cont. from page 4.

While NCS has never been about teaching to the test and spending large amounts of class time prepping for the test, the school has looked for ways to get the scores back to where they were -and even higher. So, some new strategies have been implemented this year: putting the most experienced teachers with the kids who will be required to take the most challenging tests. During summer professional development, teachers looked for ways to embed the standards -- the required knowledge to succeed on the CST -- into the core courses of reading, writing and math. Does this mean students are doing flashcards and taking pop quizzes in spelling? No. The NCS learning framework is still the same -- and Ted said the best way to improve your child's overall test scores is

that the assessments are looking for. (2) Another change is one that many NCS parents will wholeheartedly welcome: the Learning Record. Teachers are developing an individualized Learning Record for each student at the school. This LR is like a portfolio, which, at the end of the year, will amount to 10 to 15 pages of information and daily recordkeeping about a student's classwork, participation, projects and progress. This LR will take into account not only each child's progress in core courses, but also look at those other areas that NCS feels are equally important -- creativity (art, music, dance, drama), second language and, of course, the standardized test results. Much of the information comes from teacher anecdotes -notable happenings during each

made (the second test). Parents may also ask teachers about this test, what it means, where their child is at on the November Selection scale and what can be done to improve. The results are in the child's LR and are also an important clue to teachers where each child is at in the courses. Teachers trained QuickTime™ and a rigorously over the summer decompressor and continue to train in how are needed to see this picture. to develop, administer and score these tests.

NCS MultiCultural Book Club

Three Cups of Tea Next Meeting November 5 6:00 pm NCS Pine Library

valuable feedback on a child's progress, it can help them see what additional support the student may need at home. The LR forces teachers to look closely at each child and think of specific ways to push that child forward. Ted and Jose said that parents may check with the children's teachers anytime to see the LR and discuss how the child is doing and what help might be needed. The LR is a work in progress, but it is meant to follow the child's day-to-day learning and give a clearer picture of progress and needs throughout the year. (3) Another set of tests that are new to the NCS--Pine Ave. program are developmental reading, writing and math assessments. These tests are developed and administered by the teachers twice a year. Test scores are marked on a scale and give an

(4) MAP test or Measure of Academic Progress. MAP tests are given starting in the 3rd grade. And while MAP is not the standard California looks to, it is a standardized test that gives instant results and extra information about the results and one that is quite useful within the NCS framework. Third-grade students will take the MAP test once in the Fall and then again in the Spring. All older students will take the MAP in the Spring only. MAP tests the core areas (reading, writing and math), is taken on the computer, compares each test grade to the other two million students who take the test and also may predict success or failure on the CST, helpful information for everybody. For more information, feel free to ask Ted or Jose questions about testing. And, of course, bring any specific concerns about your children to them or your child's teachers. If you'd like more information on some of these tests, go to the following Web sites: For MAP: For information on the middle school math

and home visits. This LR not only gives parents and teachers

more of the specific knowledge

starting in the year (the first test) and how much progress they have

If you'd like to know more about California State Standards and see examples Page 8 of 8 of the CST questions, go to (or just Google "California Released Test Questions")

Reminders, Tips and Wish lists! Wish Lists Office: Band Aids. La Tierra: Spanish books, Newspaper, Alicia: Bird Books in English and Spanish, yarn for crochet elective. Johanna: empty bathroom

tissue rolls, arts & crafts feathers (not real), newspapers, empty cereal boxes. Debra: for class pet: romaine lettuce, carrots, broccoli, pine bedding for elective: 15 bound sketch books, 15 large ziplock bags


1230 Pine Ave. Long Beach, CA 90803 Phone: 562-436-0689 E-Mail: amanda@

Hundreds of products and over 60 popular online stores provide the opportunity to help our school earn the extra cash it needs. Look for the above symbol or go to the Box Tops Marketplace to learn about qualifying purchases. What could be easier? Shop smart, and earn cash for our school at the same time— visit QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

Crochet Club is Come learn to crochet or Back! practice your skills with friends!

Starting October 15th, we’ll be meeting every Wednesday from 3:15-4:30 pm, in the library. It’s free, and you don’t need to sign-up beforehand. We have hooks and yarn to use, so come and join the fun!

News from the New City Gardens New growth is happening in our two garden areas at Pine Ave. You may have noticed how our downstairs garden is looking neater and more welcoming. This is thanks to the hard work our El Mar and La Tierra students have put in during their lunch breaks. During recess on Mondays and Wednesdays I am in the garden and any students

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Where is our second garden area? On the roof! We have 16 large planters on the enclosed

grammatical or reading errors. Their language arts teacher will help them with the grammar and reading ability everyday. Please do not hesitate to see your child’s teachers if you have any concerns.

How can you help your son or daughter? 

Find some time everyday to sit with your son or daughter and look at or read with them the book they chose to take home. Focus on the reading experience as a family and not on the

from Chris Phelps

who want to work on small projects, or just dig in the dirt, are welcome to join me. Many have, and their completed projects include installing poles to hold bird feeders and a birdhouse. Keep watching for more improvements!

Super Reader Cont. from p. 3

Also, please check out next month's newsletter. We will for classroom: curtains and rods, have more information on hand held sharpeners (4), and testing and LRs and, more indoor plants importantly, what you can do at home to support Armando: used cameras,your SD disk child's academic progress. drives for cameras, photo paper, (Sneak preview: read, read, media readers, AA batteries. read some more -- anything Samuel: P.E. anything equipment, a child you like, your soccer ball.Bonus tip: comic books likes! are totally OK!)

Send them with a small backpack or bag everyday to school. The backpack or bag

portion of our roof, outside the music room. That means each class has two planters to fill with winter veggies and more! Right now we are busy painting our planters, but will soon be filling them with soil and plants. Be sure to visit at conferences to see what is coming up! Want to help? We need:

should be big enough to fit a picture book and a small paper folder, but small enough to be carried on a fieldtrip. Please do not buy oversized backpacks El Mar kids really do not need them. On their Super reader day encourage them to prepare for their Super reader presentation. Help them prepare for it by

October 2008 - English  
October 2008 - English  

the food was flying off the tables. There were huge pots of pasta with sauce or simply tossed with garlic and parmesan. There was pizza, bow...