Topanga Mountain School

knowledge naturally

A unique and innovative program that provides for a solid academic foundation in core subjects, inspires a love of learning and cultivates compassionate, well-rounded citizens.

Mountain Mail: 9/12/19

This first week has gone by so quickly! Its hard to believe we will head out on our first hike of the year tomorrow. The kids have had an eclectic start, from the first three days of exploration to today when they met their Spanish teacher, had their first intro classes in all their subjects, and got their chrome books up and running.

Here are some memories of our time together so far…..

All the students are becoming more comfortable at school and as a consequence we are really beginning to get to know them. They had their Math and Reading and Writing assessments and now we are creating groups that will best support their learning. With such an inspiring first unit in store I am excited to see all of them engage and blossom over the weeks ahead.


Wednesday morning we had a special treat! A.J., Lincoln’s dad, introduced us to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. We all had a great time discovering our personality preferences! It was wonderfully enlightening and fun. Thank you A.J.

Thanks to Deborah, her first lunch of the year was a great success, and we are excited for all the good food we know is coming our way. Remember you can sign up on the Sign Up Genius to support Deborah on Tuesday - or to provide lunch yourself on Thursdays.

Thank you to all of you who came out on Tuesday - and we missed those of you who could not make it! It was a long evening, and in my less than focused state I am sure we are going to find some info that fell through the gap. But time will get us all on the same page, and please feel free to write or call if you need any clarification.

And thank you for signing up and jumping in to volunteer! There are still jobs that need filling, so if you couldn’t make it, look out next week for a full list and a way to sign up. I’ll share more about our Mountain Movers and we’ll pin down a location for our first family gathering and BBQ.

Special thanks to both Sarah Seelinger, Gwyneth’s mom, and Cindy Hitchcock, Olivia’s mom, for stepping up to take the helm. Its going to be a great year!



It has become rather a tradition to start our school year hiking in Solstice Canyon. We add in some extra fun as the Year 3s lay a scavenger hunt for the others to do on their return back to the trail head. It is a great first venture as it is a short hike, but with a little challenge on the initial up hill.

Please make sure your child has TWO FULL WATER BOTTLES. Sunscreen and hats are highly recommended. They should also have a good snack, a lunch, appropriate clothing and good walking shoes.

Drop off and pick up from school at 8:15am and 3:30pm respectively. Topanga carpool as usual in the morning. However, we can drop your child back at Pine Tree at the end of the day at 3:15pm. Please let us know if you prefer them to go back to school. And more to the point, talk to them so they know where they are going!!


This will be our first day back on the Mesa. Students should have appropriate attire for their electives. Ask them, they’ll know by then what they need. They should also have their two full water bottles, snack and lunch.

Drop off for Valley students at school for 8:15. Drop off for Topanga students either at Pine Tree at 8:35 or directly at the mesa for 8:45. If going to the mesa please drop off your child by the stable parking lot; at the T junction go left and then keep to the fence until you see the opening.

Pick up for Valley students is at 3:30 at school. Pick up for Topanga students is at 3:30 at Pine Tree. Once again let us know if you have a preference - and make your child aware of the arrangements.

There is so much more to share, but I will save for next time!

Peace ~ Joy

Mountain Mail: 9/1/19

Dear Families, 

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I hope you are all honoring the spirit of the occasion by not working - and feeling a sense of solidarity :)



It certainly seems from reports of our gathering last Wednesday that we have a wonderful engaged parent collective. I know for sure from spending time at the beach with your children that they have a great sense of fun and play and fell seamlessly into a group dynamic that was a delight to see.

Looking forward to many more circles as the year progresses!


Thank you Anne and Vincent Lombardo for opening your home and, as always, being such gracious and generous hosts. Though I am at the beach with the students and don’t get to be part of the festivities I heard wonderful reports; it would seem that a good time was had by all. I hope you enjoyed meeting each other - and for those of you who couldn’t make it, I know there will be many more occasions for us to come together.

Much gratitude is also reserved for the hardworking crew that showed up and rolled up their sleeves on Thursday. It was a typical overly hot day here in Woodland Hills but they were contagiously cheerful and willing! Many, many thanks - you know who you are!! 

It was also such a pleasure to see new and burgeoning relationships amongst the students there to help. The bond and ease was palpable. My personal gratitude for the opportunity to witness their openness and kindness, I know there will be many more moments as the year unfolds to learn from, and be grateful for, the honesty and transparency of your children.

The 4th is now just around the corner and we are gearing up for all that our first days of school will bring.

Here is some information to get us all off to a great start. Remember to get into the habit of thoroughly reading all the MMs. You’ll be lost without them!!

Arrival and Pick Up

Gate opens at 8:00am - Morning circle begins at 8:15am. Pick up at 3:30pm

Our main gate is on Oxnard Street. Drop off and pick up happens here.

Please be cautious when driving in the parking lot. Awareness is the key when children are accessing cars.

New policy this school year. We will open our gate on Oxnard Street only between the hours of 8:00 and 8:30 for drop off and 3:15 and 4:00 for pick up. The gate will be locked all other times. If you need to access campus other than these hours, please come to the gate at the Shoup Avenue parking lot. This gate is also kept locked but we are available to open it for you throughout the day.

First day of school Liz will be in the parking lot to collect forms and answer questions 8:00 - 8:30am.  

Please remember, bring all completed forms with you on the first morning. Emergency packets need to be compiled before we take your child out and about on Thursday.

Here are the forms for easy access:

Meds. Admin Form

Emergency Notification and Medical Form

Set Your Feet Free

Release & Waiver 2019

Rights and Responsibilities 2019

Transfer of Records - new students only

Carpool - Starts Monday 9th.

Please formalize and confirm your spot with Liz on the Wednesday when you drop off your forms.

Many parents like to take their children to school for these first days. However, if no carpool for the first three days is an issue for you, please let us know.

Topanga: Carpool will Meet at Pine Tree Circle outside Waterlily. Carpool departs at 7:50am sharp.

Valley: Carpool, if sufficient interest. Pick up locations and times to be decided.

Lunch Program

We will NOT be serving a hot lunch for the first three days of school. Please make sure your child brings a good lunch from home, snacks and their full water bottle.

Lunch program will begin on Monday 9th and lunch cards can be purchased from the office: 10 meals = $100.  Cards will be kept at school and punched as used. 

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Summer RequireMent

There are children who have still not submitted reviews to the Summer Reading Blog. Please give them a nudge!

Summer Booklist and Requirements

Materials List

Students should not bring any of their school supplies until Monday 9th . Payment for Homework Planners and Sit Spot Journals can be made either on the first day or at the Parent Orientation meeting on the 10th.

TMS Required Supply List 2019-20

First Three Days

These first three days of school are spent getting to know each other and our environment. This is an important time as we set the tone for the school year and get the children comfortable with each other, their teachers and our program. 


We will be on campus all day. Scavenger hunt, map making, teacher interviews and portraits and lots of other good fun! Pick up at 3:30pm.


We will be exploring some of our often frequented haunts in Topanga and Woodland Hills.  We will end our day at Warner Ranch Park, Woodland Hills. 

Please pick your child up at Warner Ranch Park, at the corner of Califa and Owensmouth at 3:30pm. Califa runs between Topanga Canyon Blvd and Canoga. Owensmouth runs parallel and between them. 

Students will purchase their TAP cards ready to ride the Metro the next day, If your child has one have them bring it with them. Each student needs $5 so that they can load their card.


We head out to experience the delights of LA's public transport system and explore downtown LA. 

Drop off is early at Warner Ranch Park at 8:00am (Thursday is a good trial run!) We take the Metro from the transit center on Owensmouth. The early start is necessary in order to make our connections in time. 

Students may bring money (max $20) to buy lunch - or they can bring their own packed lunch. They will not be allowed to spend money on anything other than lunch.

Pick up is at Warner Ranch Park at 4:00pm. (Extend time is needed in order to make our day). 

Please make sure your child has a full water bottle, good footwear, light weight clothing, sunscreen/hat etc. 

Peace ~ Joy



Dear TMS Students

I hope you are enjoying your summer. To help you pass the remainder of the time we are requiring that you do some reading! 

You will also need to participate in an online group forum where you will write a review for each book you read.

Here are the steps you need to take to be successful.


  • New students, create a gmail account for yourself. Write down your username and password so you don't forget it!

  • Click the “Apply for membership” link

  • Your request to join needs to be approved by Marcelle (your English teacher). Look out for the approval email and then you can click on “visit the group”.

  • Remember how to do this; you will post your reviews there. See below for how to post.


Choose from the book list HERE for your reading requirements. 

You must read at least two books from the list

8th grade -  you must read three books. The third may be from the list or a book of your own choice. 

After reading each book please write at least a 1 paragraph (5 to 10 sentences) review about the book in the online forum.

A review consists of a short (1-2 sentence) description of the book followed by a personal reflection about the quality of the novel. You will need to succinctly describe what the book is about, explain what the author did and didn't do well, and give a personal rating about how much you enjoyed reading the book and why.


To post a review click the “new topic” button (it is red).

In the subject box write the title of your book and the author. In the text box you can write your review. Once you are done writing your review click the “post” button (again it is red).

Remember to write a new topic post for each book!


to keep you sharp over the summer and get you up and running for the new school year….

Check out this website and practise some skills every week!

Fun Kids Online Math Games

Practice typing. Typing Club 

Free Touch Typing Software

Happy Summer!!






Topanga Mountain School  |  5920 Shoup Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367  |  818.346.8355