RHS Spotlight on Learning
Mon, Aug 28 4:53pm
Redwood Heights Elementary


RHS Spotlight on Learning

Thursday, August 31, 6:30pm - 8:00pm



Dear RHS Family,

Thank you for a beautiful first week of school:)! We appreciate all of you for your support and many of you who volunteered for our school-opening events. Through out last week, teachers and students were sharing hope and dreams for the new 2017- 2018 school year. This week we are highlighting our 4th-grade class and the student's excitement for their overnight trip to Nature Bridge. Below is a statement from our dynamic 4th-grade teaching team and a picture of the 4th-grade students' Hopes and Dreams artwork.


Dear PTA,

Thank you so much for your support of the donation to our Nature Bridge field trip! As you know, we applied that to our deposit and are moving forward with plans to secure the field trip for this December.

Needless to say, our kids are thrilled! Our first week of school, both 4th grade classes did a Hopes and Dreams activity, wherein students were supposed to identify the main things that they were looking forward to in fourth grade. Among responses that included being excited about learning fractions, and growing as readers, there were also an astounding amount of kids who named Nature Bridge as their one and only Hope and Dream for this year. More than 80% of the students in fourth grade said that this was the thing that they were most looking forward to. Attached is a photo of some of the students' collages about Nature Bridge.

We are planning school fundraisers to help support the cost of the trip. Be on the lookout for requests to contribute to bake sales, popcorn treats, and Italian soda parties

With gratitude,

your Fourth Grade Team

Anna and Stephanie


The History of Personalization at RHS

RHS has been actively experimenting and building towards our current model of personalization since 2008. We started asking ourselves the question: “How can we close the achievement gap given increasing class sizes and diminishing resources?”

A teacher discovered a literacy tool called “Daily 5” that involved creating cozy reading spaces in the classroom, putting kids into groups, and helping them find their “just fit” book to increase their reading stamina and allow the teacher to work with students individually. Other teachers followed and the work evolved into a broader RHS balanced literacy program to personalize reading and writing instruction to the appropriate level for each student.

Recognizing that teachers needed opportunities to work with smaller groups of students, in 2010-2011, RHS introduced a system of Garden and Music classes with a two-fold purpose: 1) Provide students with a rich curriculum in botany and music; and 2) Create a 6-week structure where one-half of the class rotated out of the classroom for a portion of the week to study outdoor education or music with a highly-qualified instructor while the other half of the class received tailored, small group instruction from their primary teacher. This model (an early version of a lab-rotation model) was fully integrated across all grades.

In 2011, the Principal worked with a coach from the National Equity Project to create a profile of a RHS low-performing student and figure out how to support that student in his or her sphere of success. In 2012, RHS became part of the OUSD Balanced Literacy Pilot Program, receiving training from Columbia Teachers’ College and strengthening our skills and practices in personalized literacy. That same year, the Principal and PTA created a new position to focus on reading intervention.

In 2013 – 2014, RHS became a district Balanced Literacy School, implementing a highly personalized English Language Arts Program with readers’ and writers’ workshops and Reading Horizons with a digital component; we also introduced a digital ST Math pilot in K-1 classrooms.

In 2015, we were selected to be part of the Next Generation Learning Challenge – a local and national cohort of personalization model schools. We have continued to experiment with interdisciplinary, project-based learning; station rotation; blended learning with the strategic use of technology; Makerspace; and Alternative Seating.

We have learned many lessons along the way:

We must continue to innovate to teach 21st-century skills, including real-life problem-solving and collaboration skills through Makerspace and Design Thinking.

Our diverse student population requires culturally competent educators and “Identity-Safe Classrooms.” 

Technology can serve as a valuable tool to create a personalized program where students drive their own learning process – with ongoing, small group instruction by qualified teachers.

Creating more student choice in learning involves a transformation of the classroom space and teacher approach.

It has been an exciting journey for teachers and students as we work to ensure that EVERY student’s needs are met. We look forward to sharing our innovations with you!