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Contact Information

650.854.3962, x210

mjones@llesd.org

I make every attempt to respond promptly to emails. Please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns, or feedback.

Mark Jones

la entrada principal

Dear La Entrada Community,

What a privilege it is to observe daily the kindness, optimism, resilience, creativity, and hard work that exemplify our La Entrada community of learners.  The exceptional growth we are accomplishing this year is visible in every classroom, in countless examples of student work, and in our positive and respectful relationships with one another. Leopards, thank you for your many contributions to each other and to our school.  Remember, you are your own teachers, capable of owning and taking advantage of your learning opportunities.

Parents, please know how profoundly important I consider your role in the success of La Entrada. As a Las Lomitas parent, I ask myself, “What kind of campus do I want to see?” I want a warm and welcoming campus for my daughter. I want her to become a passionate learner who takes academic risks and seizes new opportunities. As principal, I want to see all students share a passion for learning. To guide the LE learning community, I will share three core principles of my philosophy on leadership and learning throughout the year: fostering positive relationships, promoting open communication, and engaging in ongoing reflection to evaluate how effectively we are meeting students’ learning needs. Parents, you are a valuable part of the learning team. When we listen to and understand each other, we learn how to best support every student. Together we can strengthen our learning community by helping each other learn about and target our students’ needs. You are your child’s first teacher. Your voice matters!

La Entrada staff, I am here to support you. Teachers, your work is the most powerful and important work on our campus. You affect students’ lives every single day. How can we work together to put you and your students in the best position to succeed? We collaborate. We push each other. We observe and collect data to make instructional decisions. We create an environment of openness and risk-taking where our observations are consistently valued as the driving force in our instruction. We adapt our instruction as data changes to consider new and better ways to meet students’ needs. I plan to roll up my sleeves and do this work with you. Like you, I am a learner. As we learn together about our practice and our students, we grow our ability to support our students’ learning.

Paraeducators, custodians, secretaries, and bus drivers, you are equally valuable and valued as members of our learning community. Your impact on student success does not go unnoticed. During graduation, several eighth-graders spoke to their bus drivers’ influence on their Las Lomitas experience. I see Paraeducators’ positive contributions to our students in and outside the classroom every day. And secretaries and custodians’ work is central to our functioning as a school. Your collective contributions help us construct an environment where students are able to learn and thrive. You complete our school community!

I am honored to be La Entrada’s principal. I will work tirelessly to contribute to a safe and inclusive environment where all students, staff, and parents feel valued and respected on this campus. I will work with teachers to support the work we do with children by engaging in a process of continuous self-improvement with student learning at its core. I will engage in open communication to best understand and be able to support students’ needs. I will honor my relationship with every member of our school community to create a sense of belonging and pride. However, I am only one person; our strength comes from turning the "I" into "we." We are all teachers in this community. Our collective purpose creates an environment where students learn how to reach their potential and grow their independence. Together, we can become what we want our community to be and always look for ways to outgrow ourselves.

Best regards,

Mark Jones

Principal

La Entrada School

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”--Marian Wright Edelman.

I believe in facilitating an environment built on mutual respect, where every student’s voice, effort, and improvement is valued. I measure my success as an educator by the degree to which each student realizes her potential. Our success depends on creating an environment where we cultivate student mastery, promote self-responsibility and self-esteem, and honor diverse views and experiences. I make academic and behavioral expectations clear to all students and establish and follow consistent procedures. I show students that I care about what they do and how they do it. I advocate for student success.

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Teachers College at Columbia University is widely recognized as the model for best instructional practice in reading and writing. La Entrada has taken large steps forward in implementing workshop-style instruction and curriculum over the last four years by sending many of our teachers to Columbia for their Reading and Writing Institutes, as well as by bringing Teachers College trainers on site for training and demonstration lessons.

The goal of a workshop classroom is to increase the volume, clarity, and sophistication of students' reading and writing by drawing upon student interest, personalizing the reading and writing processes, and building students' stamina to read and write for forty minutes or more at a time EVERY DAY! If you would like to know more about this world-renowned research institute on best practice, please visit readingandwritingproject.org.

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In our mathematics program, problem-solving is at the heart of instruction, and students are encouraged to persevere.  You might see students drawing models to solve complex word problems, using algebra tiles to visually represent the area of an (x + 2) by (x + 2) region, or writing word problems that match fraction division equations.  As students engage in such tasks, they build visualization ability, notice patterns, and make generalizations, all while learning that mathematics is both precise and creative and that reasoning and communicating are central components of mathematics.  Teachers balance opportunity for discovery and direct instruction.  

The mathematics program in Grades 4 and 5 builds on the number sense foundation developed in Kindergarten to Grade 3 and aims to develop a deep understanding of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals before students enter Grade 6.  The K-5 curriculum, Math in Focus, emphasizes students making connections between concrete, pictorial, and abstract representations.  Encouraging these connections (in addition to an answer) engages more areas of students' growing brains.  Fourth and fifth grade lessons are designed to have multiple entry-points and to promote higher-order thinking skills.  

The mathematics program in Grades 6-8 builds on the fourth and fifth grade foundation and also prepares students for high school and beyond.  Sixth through eighth grade math is departmentalized, and students are placed in classes based on performance.  The curriculum, Big Ideas Math, balances discovery and direct instruction (just like Math in Focus K-5), and in addition, Big Ideas Math materials offer multiple pathways for middle school programs.

Professional development and coaching for teachers are key parts of the mathematics implementation plan in the district.  After teachers learn new techniques, we share our learning with families through math information nights.

P.A.W.

P.A.W.S. stand for Positive Actions of Welcoming Students and are a critical component of our positive school culture and community. What is a PAW? It is a dye-cut piece of cardstock that adults on campus give to students to recognize kind, positive, and respectful actions, as well as effort and initiative. Students then deposit PAWS into a box on the office counter, pick up a La Entrada PAWS-engraved pencil (our focus is on learning, of course!), and wait until Friday morning for Mr. Jones to announce the PAWS recipients selected randomly from the group. Believe it or not, we average about sixty to eighty PAWS submissions per week! Weekly recipients come to the office upon hearing their names called, shake Mr. Jones' hand, and select a token of our appreciation for their kindness and positivity. 

What is a PAW? It's much more than a piece of cardstock, and much more than a chance to receive a token from the school. The power of the PAW rests in the transaction between adult and student in our community. We place value in recognizing kindness and respect in each other's actions. We change our lens from a focus on discipline and punitive measures to one on positive actions which benefit others in the community. What a strong sense of togetherness we can create when we think and act intentionally for the greater good! PAWS give us the common language to live such an ideal.

One student in particular stands out to me this year (I will call her Julianna) as the embodiment of what PAWS represents. Julianna approached me late in the year, and asked, "Mr. Jones, can I give a PAW to my teacher?" I thought about it for a few seconds, then responded, "Julianna, you are absolutely right. Students SHOULD be able to recognize positive actions just as much as teachers." I asked Julianna to provide me a written proposal of her suggestion. She obliged, eloquently recognizing how hard her teacher works and how critical her teacher and her learning are to her future. I was moved by Julianna's letter.

I asked Julianna's class to pilot the new program of student-initiated PAWS. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined a more successful platform for recognizing positive contributions to school community. Julianna's classmates gave PAWS to teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, and custodians. Students were recognizing contributions from our landscape staff, our secretaries, and our parent lunch volunteers. I even received a couple of PAWS! Each Friday, I read several students' poignant messages to staff about how much they value their kindness and positive actions. Suddenly our adults who often go overlooked were being celebrated in front of the entire school community. Julianna, thank you for making this happen! Your vision helped bring us even closer together around a goal of supporting one another.

Parents, please support our PAWS goals by promoting dialogue at home that places value on kind, positive, and respectful actions. Together we can strengthen the LE community by modeling behaviors we wish to see in our children. Here's to a PAWS-itive school climate at La Entrada!

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To join La Entrada's PTA, or to learn more about the successful programs they support, please click here: laentradapta.org. As a La Entrada parent, I can attest to the tremendous positive influence our PTA has on our students' learning.The mission of the La Entrada PTA is to foster academic excellence and the social well-being of all students at our school. Working in conjunction with school administration and staff, the PTA works to foster home to school connections that ensure the most positive academic and social experience possible for our students. The La Entrada PTA designs and runs numerous programs throughout the year with the support of many parent and staff volunteers. The result is a strong community of involved families and school professionals. We hope you will join us!