December 1, 2019 LCMSD Newsletter

In this edition, questions parents can use during math practice, meeting our attendance goal, and Board updates.

cgi problem 1st gradePictured above: 1st grade problem-solving in the early fall. 

 Importance of Questioning

At the beginning of this year, we stressed the importance of reading at least 20 minutes per night and how parents can engage their children in questions to deepen their comprehension. However, did you know that questioning about mathematics can have a similar impact and deepen a child’s conceptual understanding? Thinking back to your own experiences as a student, you're probably familiar with this routine (noted in research across the nation and socioeconomic status): 1) teacher answers questions about last night’s homework, 2) teacher shows (step-by-step) how to solve for that given day’s content, 3) students practice using the same step-by-step method, and 4) a worksheet is assigned to repeatedly practice that same method over and over again. While this might have “worked” 20-40 years ago, it is not the way to produce flexible mathematical thinking with deep conceptual understanding and persistence in problem-solving. In LCMSD, we have worked not only in supporting multiple strategies and persevering to solve a problem, but also how to identify where a student is on conceptually understanding the mathematics and using questioning to either deepen that understanding or extend to new learning. At home, you can support these efforts as well. While our first instinct when a child is stuck might be to show them how to solve a problem the same way we did as kids, please resist that urge. Going straight to the algorithm and teaching it step by step can often mask a genuine understanding of the math behind the math. Instead, ask your child questions such as this:

  • How did you begin working on this problem?
  • Can you explain that in a different way?
  • What do you already know that could help you figure this out?
  • What would happen if the numbers were changed to . . . ?

When you ask questions, there are benefits such as more cognitive demand placed on the task, greater understanding, and fostering perseverance in problem-solving. Also mathematical questioning doesn’t have to just occur during problem-solving - use cooking your favorite holiday recipe, watching or playing sports, driving around town or on vacation, and holiday shopping as opportunities to see math in our everyday world. Here is a questioning resource you might find helpful. 


Thank you! This year we set out to have a 97%+ attendance rate, and so far we are meeting that goal. For every 1% of attendance, LCMSD receives approximately $123,000, which means every day counts! The holiday season and winter months are often exciting and filled with family, friends, and activities; however, this time of year also becomes our greatest barrier in maintaining a strong attendance rate. Please keep your children at home when sick, but if you need to take your child out of school for another reason, please reconsider, as it can lead to gaps in learning and results in less funding for our schools. (Note: there is not a minimum amount of time for your child to be at school to count as present.) Below you can see our overall positive attendance rate; however, the last seven days of school, especially November 22, were challenging for us. 

                                  Nov 22.         Last 7 Days          Year to Date

Cove                          93%                  96%                       98%

Neil Cummins            91%                  94%                       97%

Hall                            92%                  96%                       97%

Let’s keep up our positive attendance rate and meet that goal! 

Board Updates

At the November 20th Board Meeting . . . Trustees approved the CSEA/LCMSD Tentative Agreement and AB1200, discussed priorities for the Joint Legislative Action Committee (JLAC), celebrated Cove students who led "Dollars for Dorian," recognized Cove’s anti-bullying efforts, received gratitude from LCMEA, and were informed of the fantastic news that SPARK exceeded their 60% goal for an all-time record (almost 70%) in parent participation. The agenda can be found here

For the December 16th Board Meeting . . . Trustees will take action on the 1st Interim Budget and conduct their annual organizational meeting. Additionally, the Board will engage in a governance team workshop on December 19th (8:30 am at the District Office).


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Larkspur-Corte Madera School District Board of Trustees
Sarah Mueller, President; Jill Sellers, Vice President; 

Monica Cañas; Katherine Chan; Sasha Morozoff

Dr. Brett Geithman