Parent Teacher Letter - 2016

Dear LACS Community,

Summer is drawing to a close, and I pray God would give you great enthusiasm and encouragement as you come back to Los Altos Christian Schools (LACS).  The 2016-2017 school year marks our thirty-fifth anniversary of serving students in preschool, elementary, and middle school.  Whether you have partnered with LACS for several years, or you are new to our school community, you will find we are blessed with a legacy of excellence and uniquely capable of preparing students for a future of brilliance.

Our key verse for the school year is Luke 10:27 (NIV) which reads, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” In line with this verse, we want to highlight the importance of loving God in all areas of life and learning.  God has many great plans for our school community in the days ahead!

LACS is welcoming new staff members, and some of our staff have moved to new positions.  Based upon her excellent work this past year, Mrs. Cathy Robinson has been named the new Director of Learning and Instruction.  Cathy will oversee the planning and practical implementation of curriculum, teacher training, assessment, learning needs, and testing.  She previously served as our Learning Services Coordinator and has gained the respect of all for her dedication, organization, and top level knowledge of the broad spectrum of learners at LACS.  Miss Katie Hutchison, who previously served as our EDC Director, will come on board in the front office as an Admissions and Marketing Assistant.  Katie will work closely with our Registrar, LaSha Heard, to grow our school admissions and marketing profile which is expanding rapidly throughout the Bay Area.  Mr. Kerry Vanderberg is a new addition who will teach Middle School Bible.  Kerry comes to us from Fremont Christian School and holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University with a double minor in Theology and Biblical Languages as well as a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary.  Mr. Vanderberg is a Certified Bible Specialist with ACSI, our accrediting body.  Ms. Norita Hoegel is a new addition who will teach K-8 Music full-time this year as we seek to build our Musical Arts program at LACS.  Norita comes to us with over 20 years of Christian school teaching experience as well as extensive experience leading musicals, teaching various musical instruments, leading worship, and conducting children’s choirs.  Miss Megan Haugen has moved to teaching in our second 5LAD classroom.  Megan is a Cum Laude graduate of Cal Poly SLO with extensive teaching experience at both the middle school level and elementary levels.  She is yet another asset to a strong team of 3 teachers in our 5th grade this year.  Mrs. Maria Benevento has moved from the 1st grade classroom into the position of the 1LAD/2LAD combination class teacher this school year.  Mrs. Benevento’s excellent work as our former 1st grade teacher will be a phenomenal benefit to our LAD program.  She will be joined by the very capable assistance of Mrs. Erin Yamabe who will serve as a regular aide to Mrs. Benevento.  Mrs. Evonne Litfin will move from Kindergarten to the 1st grade classroom this school year where her outstanding educational background and skill make her a perfect fit for our incoming 1st grade class. We are blessed to have such a wonderful staff.  LACS has hired and retained the most qualified and dedicated teachers possible who understand their efforts are what make this school community so special.

The administration and school board continues to make plans to enhance our campus facilities and educational programs.  Preschool Director, Jessica Kang, has completed a wonderful upgrade to our preschool playground facilities this summer.  We have laid all new carpeting throughout the lobby, halls, and staircase of Burkhart Hall.  IT Systems Administrator, Brian Neal, is working with our technology committee and has upgraded our campus fiber network to allow for higher connection speeds and the ability to largely increase our technology usage throughout the campus.  In addition, we will provide twenty iPads to be used in a new technology phase within our Lower Elementary (K-3) classrooms.  In order to further differentiate our middle school program we will roll out a new, more open dress code and a newly designed hybrid block schedule for middle school classes which will increase the core classroom instruction time each week as well as provide special advisory and extended lab periods.  More details regarding our new middle school dress code and schedule will be provided.  Special informational meetings for middle school parents will be held on Monday, August 22nd.  Parents of 6th grade students may meet with administration in the Family Center beginning at 11:00 a.m. and parents of 7th and 8th grade students may meet with administration in the Family Center beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Please print and save the attached copy of our First week of school at-a-glance.  Jennifer Walker, Community Life Coordinator, will send our Lions’ Roar newsletter this week with several details including K-8 dress code, changes to our Parent-Student Handbook, Hot Lunch welcome letter, PE uniform information, and more.  Please contact Jennifer at if you have any questions regarding school communications.

I am always open to receive parent, staff, or student needs and requests.  Appointments scheduled in advance are appreciated.  However, do not hesitate to contact me as needed using the email and phone number listed below, or simply stop by my office at any time.  I am here to serve parents, students, and staff.  Thank you again for choosing to be part of our preschool through 8th grade learning community focused on nurturing leadership, pursuing academics, building character, and placing service above self, to the glory of God.

Warm regards,



Gabe Pethtel, M.Ed.
Los Altos Christian Schools
650.948.3738 x123