School News

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's October 13, 2014 letter:

As we definitely want to encourage our students to do free reading, outside of school, it's also very important that we monitor or read books that are selected by your students as sometimes titles can be misleading or not reveal the content of a storyline. Case in point, Dairy of a Wimpy Kid and the Junie B Jones series contain characters that model or glorify unkind behavior that is portrayed as humorous. We have recently experienced students who replicated unkind behaviors from these books at the expense of their schoolmates.

A new collaboration with Pepperdine began on Tuesday this week. Working with the Associate Head Coach of men's basketball, Mark A., we have two of the men's basketball team joining us for service during recess. They worked with both 5-8 and K-4 students who were interested in developing their basketball skills. As time goes on, the two players, A.J. and Marley, will also spend some time in the classrooms tutoring and reinforcing the importance of getting an education.

Speaking of collaboration, our Parent Guild is officially in full operation mode and ready for anyone interested in earning Volunteer Hours and helping out with the next event. Under the leadership of Jerry R. and Theresa F., as Co-Presidents, the Parent Guild is having a planning meeting for Halloween this Tuesday, 11/14 at 1:45 pm. Discussion will center on the upcoming decoration of the campus in Halloween themed decorations. Also, the organization of the Pumpkin Decorating Contest, Halloween Costume Parade, selected lunch provider and other related tasks. We welcome all who want to be a part of the festivities.

Many of our 8th graders took a physics field trip on Friday to Disneyland's California Adventure.  Mrs. C. and Mrs. D. left OLM at 7am to make sure to be on time for the physics lab. The students were in the lab from 10-1 and were accompanied by Ms. Retts and Mrs. C.  After the lab was over the students experienced some of their own personal physics on the rides at California Adventure.

What a wonderful job our students did at Friday's All School Mass. It was the last All School Mass to be held in the tent. The next All School Mass will be in the renovated church. Third grade was magnificent doing the readings, some of our fifth graders stepped up to provide the music through singing as Peter and Beverly were unable to attend. We ended blessing the third grade bearded dragon lizard "Bubbles" and finished by presenting Fr. Bill with a birthday card and singing of "Happy Birthday" OLM style. Kudos to Angela Sall and Emily Brown, job well done!

Friday, the second graders held their first Brown Bag Book Club!  While eating a healthy snack, the students discussed the story of the week in small groups.  What a fun way to develop literacy and cooperative learning skills!


Math Matters! This week, the sixth graders are working on statistics projects in order to learn more about their classmates.  They formed their own questions to ask their fellow middle school students and created their own surveys to collect data.  They will use their knowledge of statistics to analyze, represent and interpret their data to present on their findings on Monday about typical middle school students!

Integrated Curriculum in Action The 7th grade English class traveled back in time to 44BC. They read Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" dressed in togas, looked at period art and enjoyed foods of that time. This was part of OLM's integrated curriculum approach.

Robotics Club News! Mr. Sunyich offered two sessions on Friday, so that students in MathCounts Club could also participate in Robotics. If you're interested in having your student(s) participate in the Robotics Club, please see Mr. Sunyich for all the information.


OLM's Student Council is now fully staffed. Joining President, Liam M.; Vice President, Jillian N.; Secretary, Bella M.; Treasurer, Caitlin F.; Religious Affairs, Gregory V.; Athletics, Calvin J. and Spirit, Rachel D. are: Liaison to the Principal, Teresa C.; Publicity, Harry C.; Publicity Assistant, Bronwen O.; Service, Nicholas V. and  Quinn C.; Ecology, Bailee C. and Kamilla P.; 8th Grade Rep., James M. and 7th Grade Rep., David S. Congratulations to all!

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's October 6, 2014 letter:

I hope you had a chance to visit our new Kennedy Center - Arts Integration Program through the middle school science classes on Tuesday, September 30th. Ms. Retts and the middle grade students turned Room 7 into a museum with the Scientist Research Projects that the middle grade students produced. The students acted as docents to all who stopped in by explaining what they learned about the scientist they chose, through the Observe. Infer. Inquire. process. It was very impressive as it combined their research knowledge, their Art Integration techniques and their public speaking skills.

On Friday, with our unusually warm weather, during a drought and some winds, I thought it was important to conduct our first Fire Drill of the year. I am pleased to announce that we were able to evacuate our rooms and have all our students in a safe place in exactly two minutes and thirty-four seconds. Multitasking, we took the opportunity to recognize Eder's birthday by singing Happy Birthday and presenting him with a card from the students, a card from the staff and the generous donations made by our parents. Eder is a very special part of the OLM family and we are so lucky to have him here supporting our community.

Friday was also the first time, at OLM, for the lunch menu offering of turkey wraps. Kathy Wiggins set up a wonderful spread of: whole wheat tortillas, sliced roasted turkey, hummus, spinach, carrots, red cabbage, fresh or grilled bell peppers and cheese. The Eat a Rainbow™ curriculum was definitely in full force as Ms. Tafi gets ready to build her wrap. Bon appétit !

Math Matters! The sixth grade students in math have recently begun their enthusiastic endeavor through statistics and graphing. Learning how to ask unbiased questions, the girls then moved forward into collecting, plotting, analyzing and presenting their data to the rest of their classmates through illustrations of bar graphs, line graphs, circle graphs and line plots. Although these girls have only just started, they are extremely quick to learn and eager to show their findings. Recently the classroom was divided into four different graphing stations. Each station presented the students with a question. Their task was to gather the data and plot the data on a graph. The girls happily and successfully completed each station and ended with a clear visual of how to represent data on bar graphs and line graphs. Shown below are the different groups collecting their data. The first group is diligently working on counting and tallying the words "it", "the", and "of" from an LA Times article. They will then place their findings in a bar graph.

The second group is actively measuring one of their group members and pretending she is growing over time, all the while charting the growth on a line graph.

Well Done Sixth Grade! Keep it up!


Our Robotics Club is off to a great start. If interested please see Mr. Sunyich for all the participation information.

Speeches and elections for Student Council were conducted this past Wednesday. Speeches were given at the morning assembly then the 4th through 8th grade students voted in their classrooms. Congratulations to President, Liam M.; Vice President, Jillian N.; Secretary, Bella M.; Treasurer, Caitlin F.; Religion, Gregory V.; Athletics, Calvin J. and Spirit, Rachel D. Congratulations to all!

The "New Parents' Cocktail Party" on Thursday, hosted by Anthony and Renee V., was a marvelous event. Many thanks to the Parent Guild members for bringing such great appetizers and bottles of wine, for helping with set up and clean up and being there to greet and get to know our new OLM families. The whole event was fantastic and I need to publicly thank Tony and Renee for their superb hospitality and warmth in opening their spectacular home. It was truly a night to remember and a great way to start off the year.

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's September 29, 2014 letter:

We have finished our two weeks of testing and are now focused on our instructional program. We anxiously await the results of testing so we can do more detailed planning for the academic benefit of your students. We plan on having the results back and analyzed in time to be part of our Parent Conference discussions. (October 23rd and 24th).  A big thank you to all the parents for providing snacks during the past two weeks.

Thursday was Picture Day and all went well. Picture orders can be turned in through Tuesday, September 30th. If your child was not able to be here, or when the packets come in you're not happy with your child's picture, make up picture day is scheduled for Thursday, October 30, 2014.

It seems there is some confusion on the OLM Annual Golf Classic.  It had originally been set for this Saturday at Malibu Golf Club, but due to a couple of unavoidable conditions, it has been changed to Saturday, November 15th at the Westlake Golf Club. Last year's event was a great time and I know this year will be even better. I hope to see you there!

In our new Arts Integration Program a question arose in their science class. How are science and art related? Some answers were both: "Can create a masterpiece. Use imagination. Have hypotheses. Expand your mind. Have different outcomes. Draw conclusions. Involve questioning. Help us find out we can do something we didn't think we could before." If you are available and interested in seeing this question in action you are invited to stop by the middle school science classes in Room 7 on Tuesday, September 30th (1st, 2nd or 3rd Period) for the Scientist Research Project.

Math Matters! The OLM Math Counts Club held its first meeting of the year on Friday, in Ms. Nelson's math classroom, after school from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. This program matches middle grade students with mentors/tutors from Pepperdine, who are math majors. There is no charge for this club. This is our second year offering the club.


Also holding its first meeting of the year on Friday, from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m., in the computer lab, was our Robotics Club. If interested please see Mr. Sunyich for all the participation information.

This week we started a couple of after school enrichment activities. Mondays we will be offering Academic Chess from Sky High Enrichment. On Tuesdays, the very popular Woodshop, from Design It in Wood, Inc., with Lawrence, returns and the project they will be building is a Chess/Checker Board Box. There are still a few spaces available if you are interested.

Speeches and primary elections for Student Council President were conducted this past Wednesday, 9/24/14. Speeches were given at the morning assembly then the 4th through 8th grade students voted in their classrooms. Congratulations to Jillian N. and Liam M. who qualified for the general election, which will be held next Wednesday to decide who is President and who is Vice President. The remaining Student Council positions will also be elected next Wednesday 10/1/14. There will be speeches at the morning assembly and then immediate voting in the classrooms.


The "New Parents' Cocktail Party", hosted by Anthony and Renee V., will be on October 2nd. Please contact Lucinda M. or Lisa H., of our Parent Guild, if you have any questions.

I wanted to share a wonderful letter we received from the parishioners who delivered your donations to the Mexico Mission:

Dear Principal, Faculty and Staff, Parents and Students of Our Lady of Malibu School,

The Mexico Mission team wants to extend its heartfelt thanks for your support in helping with donations for the children and families living in poverty in La Morita, Tijuana, Mexico. Thanks to you and your families, we were able to deliver food, school supplies, backpacks and toys to over 300 families. Imagine how happy these kids were to own their first backpack and especially excited to be able to choose one in their favorite color! They could not believe their eyes when they saw all the school supplies packed into their new backpacks!

We wanted to also thank all of the students who helped carry and separate the many bags of donations in Sheridan Hall. This was such a tremendous help and saved the volunteers many hours. You all did an amazing job and should be very proud of yourselves as you are doing Gods work by helping others in need.


The OLM Mexico Mission Team

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's September 22, 2014 letter:

We finished our first week of ITBS testing and will continue this week with ITBS make-ups, as well as COGAT testing for 3rd, 5th, and 7th. We anticipate completing all testing by Friday, September 26, 2014. Please continue to make sure your student gets a good night's sleep and eats a nutritional breakfast every morning. The Room Moms will continue providing snacks in Sheridan Hall, at recess, to all students during the testing period.

Please take a moment to remind your student that we need their help in keeping our lunch area clean. If they eat a snack at recess they need to make sure they throw their trash away when they leave the area.

"Math Matters!" The 8th grade Honors Math class recently presented their research of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian math professor at Stanford University. Last month she became the first female to be awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. She recalled her first memory of math during her childhood when her older brother showed her how to add the first 100 whole numbers. He used a formula discovered by mathematician Carl Freidrich Gauss to reach the solution in seconds. "That was the first time I enjoyed a beautiful solution," she said. Our students were then asked to find the solution on their own without the formula. Working at the board, they produced a variety of successful approaches. However, they were more time consuming than the Gauss formula. Going online to find the formula they were then able to compute the solution in seconds. Their final task was to create a variety of sequences, such as the first 20 multiples of 5, using only the formula to find the sums. The Gauss formula will not be soon forgotten!

This past Thursday, OLM middle school students in Ms. Wachs' Studio Art class visited the Weisman Museum at Pepperdine for an exciting docent led tour of the current art exhibit, "Environmental Impact". The students were fascinated with the wide range of art and how the (mostly young) artists created bold works that commented on pollution, global warming, and natural disasters in our ever-changing environment, whether the result of nature's forces or man's interventions. Their favorites were the giant wave sculpture made of styrofoam covered in photo paper, the six foot tall plexi-glass water image representing the 6 feet of water in the artist's studio after Katrina, and the chain sawed wood & branch painting of Mount St. Helen's eruption by Malibu local Chuck Arnoldi.

Thursday's K-4 Back to School Night was extremely well received. We started with a short informational program in the "tent", had a brief "Eat a Rainbow" presentation from Ms. Tafi and then had parents visit their students' teachers. As with our 5th- 8th Night, many parents shared how well prepared our teachers were and how excited they are about this school year. I couldn't agree more! I want to publicly thank; Bernice, Mary, Heather, Savannah, Emily, Ruth, Beverly, Patrice, Sara and Coach, for a "Job Well Done!" I would also be remiss in not thanking Elena S. for funding the entire "Eat a Rainbow" program last year.  Her generosity is truly appreciated.

Friday, September 19th our 4th grade class took a field trip to the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. They attended the Ice Age Encounters presentation then toured the Page Museum exhibits of the ice age mammals.

Friday also saw our middle graders helping to transfer the wonderful donations to Sheridan Hall for the upcoming Mexico Mission trip. The organizers from the Parish community wanted to let all the school families know how much they appreciate all your support and donations for this project. You're all great models for your children.


In case you weren't at the K-4 Back to School Night, I wanted to keep you updated on the current status of the construction projects at OLM. I spoke with the contractor working on the church renovation and it appears that his target date for completion is first week of October. The asbestos abatement, which occurred about a month or so ago, took a little longer than initially planned. The Art Studio project has retained Julie Friedrichsen Design LLC who is in the process of getting the Fuel Modification portion of the Fire Permit. Please know both Fr. Bill and myself are doing everything we can to get both projects completed.

I also wanted to remind you that as each new school year starts, we should speak with our children about welcoming new members to our community. This year we welcomed twenty-nine new families which equates to thirty-six new students to OLM. Please know that it can be hard for new students who have left their previous school to begin a new experience with us. Making new friends and learning new procedures can be challenging. Please remember, we are a Catholic school that welcomes all who come and we should model that part of our mission statement through our accepting behavior. 

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's September 15, 2014 letter:

We are back in full operation beginning Monday. Our Kindergarten program starts full day schedule and will be dismissed with the first through eighth grade students at 2:45 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays and 1:45 p.m. on Fridays. Kindergarten parents can drive through the pick- up line and Ms. Hayden will walk your child to your car. If you park in the lot below and walk up to pick-up your child please make sure Ms. Hayden knows you've connected with your child before you leave.

We also begin ITBS testing on Monday. Please make sure your student(s) get a good night's sleep on Sunday and eat a nutritional breakfast Monday morning. Research shows that being well rested and having eaten a good breakfast significantly helps students perform to their highest potential. Room Moms will be providing snacks in Sheridan Hall, at recess, to all students prior to their testing period.

On Thursday September 11th our Middle School students took a field trip to the 911 Memorial flag display at Pepperdine.  The students reflected and honored those who were lost on that fateful day. Our students each chose a flag that represented a victim of those attacks to sit near and have a moment of silence to remember and pray for the victims. The students and parents prayed and sung as a faith community, as they recognized the many blessings of being American.  They spoke of the many emotions that the flags evoked for each of them and shared those feelings with one another.  It was a wonderful community building experience for our students and the parents that attended. A big thank you to: Holly C. for organizing the activity, to Lisa H. for the photographs, and all of the teachers and the many parents who participated in this field trip.  

Thursday's Back to School Night for 5th -8th grade was extremely well received. We started with a short informational program in the tent, including Ms. Tafi's presentation on Eat A Rainbow, and then parents visited their students' teachers. Many parents came up to me, at the end of the night, and expressed; what wonderful teachers we have, how great the new elective structure is and how happy their students are after the first week. It was truly a "Job well done!" Our teachers were all very well prepared, knowledgeable and confident in their presentations. I need to publicly thank; Dan, Lexi, Savannah, Laura, Michelle, Glen, Angela, Beverly, Patrice, Sara and Coach for doing such great work here at OLM.

Our language teachers finished the assessments of all the students K-8 on Friday, 9/12/14. We have created classes by language proficiency and classes will begin starting next week, 7th/8th grade classes will be held on Monday and Wednesdays and 6th grade classes will meet on Tuesday and Thursdays. Kindergarten through fifth grade classes will be offered on Tuesday and Fridays.

It'll be our K-4 teachers' time to shine this Thursday, September 18, 2014. We'll begin Back to School Night for K-4 at 6:30 p.m. we'll meet in the tent for a brief orientation, introduction of staff and Ms. Tafi's Eat A Rainbow presentation. Following the short program, parents will be able to visit their student's classroom where the teachers will give an overview of their plans for the coming school year. There will be two presentation blocks so parents with more than one child, in grades K-4, can visit each child's classroom. Please remember this is an event for parents only.

As many of you know, all adults interacting with our students as volunteers, chaperones, drivers on field trips, etc. MUST be Virtus trained and LiveScan fingerprinted by the Archdiocese's LiveScan unit. Also, those who were last Virtus trained four years ago MUST complete a short update training. We will be offering training for both update and new on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. here at OLM. We also are taking sign-ups for LiveScan appointments on October 1st here at OLM as well.

The OLM parishioners will be making their next Mexico Mission trip on Saturday, 9/20/14. They are able to accept donations up to Friday, 9/19/14. Items can be dropped off at the school office or the parish office.

Save the date of Thursday, October 2, 2014 for the New Parents Cocktail Party, hosted by the Parent Guild. More information will follow.

Don't know if you saw the September 4th edition of the Malibu Times, but we are very proud of one of our 7th grade students, David S. There was a very nice article about his speaking at the Malibu Rotary Club regarding his work with the Malibu Youth Commission. David is definitely demonstrating how he can meet his School-Wide Learning Expectation of being a Community Leader.

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's September 8, 2014 letter:

Our first three days of school have been fantastic. It was very smooth as students settled in with their teachers and classmates, both old and new. Our modified after school pick up went very well overall. We will continue this procedure until the tent and storage containers are removed. Thanks for your assistance with this little change.

It was great seeing everyone at Friday's All School Mass, under the tent, followed by the Welcome Back Breakfast. It was a great way for us to reconnect. Kudos to Angela Sall for putting together such an upbeat start to the school year at the All School Mass. The Parent Guild members provided a delicious breakfast and a short program on the different ways to volunteer here at OLM. Our new faculty member and families were recognized with our traditional gift of an apple pie. I also want to convey my deepest gratitude for all of the birthday wishes, it made my day!

The first two days of our new nutritionally balanced hot lunches have been received well by our students. If you haven't already done so, you can sign your students up for hot lunches from "Lunches with Love" and "Kathy Wiggins/KFC ". If interested, you can order and pay on-line for the meals you want for your child. Also, we are looking for any parents who would like to earn volunteer hours by serving lunch. The hours would be, any day(s), Monday through Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and/or 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. If interested please contact the office.

Saturday, September 20th, will be the Parish's next Mexico Mission trip. If you have any items that you would like to donate please bring them to the school office by Friday, 9/19.

From Mr. Michael A. Smith's September 1, 2014 letter:

Our week of professional development went by in the blink of an eye. It's no wonder it went so smoothly when you consider that OLM School is at the end of our six year accreditation from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Six years represents the maximum number of years that can be earned by a school. We have been writing our Self-Study in preparation for our next NCEA/WASC Accreditation visit in 2015. This week, our faculty and staff was all certified in CPR, we analyzed our pre and post Iowa Assessment data from last year and teachers collaborated on planning curricular units with our Art Integration training with the trainer from the Kennedy Center for the Arts on Thursday and Friday.  Following the inservice on Thursday, Fr. Bill hosted his annual Faculty and Staff BBQ. A great time on the patio was shared by school and parish staff along with board members.

We welcome this year two new teaching staff: Savannah Armour and Sara Gonzalez. Savannah will be a floating teacher helping with middle grade math, elective offerings, P.E. and serving as an assistant teacher in second grade with Ms. Russell. Savannah is an OLM alum Class of '06 and a recent graduate of University of San Diego, and has earned her preliminary Teaching Credential. Sara is our new Spanish teacher replacing Sr. Flint. She is a native of Seville, Spain and has been studying at UCLA and teaching Spanish in an immersion program in the Valley.

This coming week, Thursday and Friday will begin hot lunches from "Lunches with Love" and "KFC". If interested, you can order and pay on-line for the meals you want for your child. In our move towards a more healthy, nutritional environment you will notice some new items to choose from as well as some items no longer available. Also, we are looking for any parents who would like to earn volunteer hours by serving lunch. The hours would be, any day(s), Monday through Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and/or 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. If interested please contact the office.

As I discussed in my message on August 14th, we are excited about the church renovation. It will be a beautiful place to congregate and celebrate our faith. It is on schedule and should be done by the end of September. So for the first few weeks, there will be very limited parking, if any, in front of the church. If you need to come up for any business, you will need to park in the lower lot and walk up. Second, as long as the tent and storage containers are on the yard, drop off AND pick up will occur in the drive through circle. Eder and Coach will be there in the morning and teachers will walk their classes down at the end of the day.

Some great news! Thanks to the collaboration of Dr. Gini V. and Glen Sunyich, we received a acceptance letter of our grant application to upgrade our technology infrastructure and bandwidth. Many new and exciting things will come as a result of receiving this grant. More information to follow!

Finally, over the summer I had some time to do a little research. Considering all that's going on in our educational community of Malibu and knowing our school was built during that time period, I wanted to check OLM's environmental status. I am pleased to say that ALL our classrooms on campus are contamination free. As a result of the fire of 2007, where the school lost its computer lab to the fire, we were responsible to have the entire campus checked. American Restoration of American Technologies, Inc. came out and abated all asbestos and other toxins from each classroom and replaced many of the windows damaged in the fire. In addition, any contaminates that were found in the church renovation have all been abated as well. I know that this is an important topic and I wanted to ensure you we are on top of it.

From Eat a Rainbow™ Nutrition Program:

Interesting video:  18 minutes - cuts to the chase
Toxic Sugar?



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