We are off to a great start for the 23-24 school year. I hope your children are happy and excited to come to school. We had a short assembly on Wednesday morning where we welcomed our kindergarten students and new staff members, as well as learned the school song and chant from our middle school student council. On the first Wednesday of the month, we will conduct our “School Line Ups” and invite parents to stay after drop off. This month and next, our school theme is “Community” – teachers are building community in their classrooms, and there are opportunities for you to help strengthen our community, including attending our annual PTA BBQ on Friday, August 25th at 5 PM.
Ms. Jones, our PE teacher, and I met with every class to go over some school wide expectations for positive behavior – and what it means to be Safe, Respectful, and Responsible around the campus. All communities have expected behaviors, including Woodside School. Last year, I gathered ideas from all lower school students and created these expectations based on this feedback. We hope this common language will reduce conflicts on the playground and create an even safer school environment. You may hear me praising students for exhibiting these behaviors and reminding students of our agreements.
Thank you for your cooperation in helping your child with any disappointment they may have felt when they were not in the same class with some of their friends. By the time they got here on Wednesday, they were happy and excited. It’s not lost on me that you had a lot to do with that.
Thank you for a wonderful year at Woodside School. I enjoyed getting to know so many of you and all of your children, and am grateful to be part of this community. Your children make me laugh every day. I get to lead an amazing and talented group of educators who have taught me so much. More importantly, they create safe, imaginative and magical classroom environments where your children learn, laugh, and play.
I’ll miss being the principal of this year’s spirited (and competitive!) 4th grade as they move to the Upper School. They will be in good hands under Jenn Pedersen as so many of you already know. (I think she has something planned for them next year since they didn’t go to Gold Country!) I really enjoyed working with them and will continue to be part of their Woodside School experience. Thank you to all of the 4th grade families who have been so generous with time and other resources over the years.
I’m looking forward to the 2023-2024 school year and building off some of the work that we started this year. I’m excited to meet all of our incoming TK and Kindergarten students and several new families who are relocating to Woodside. I’ll be taking some time off this summer to visit family and friends in the Midwest but will also be closing out this year and planning for 23-24!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer and look forward to seeing you in August.
I enjoyed seeing so many of you at our annual Open House event – as well as both the May Day Parade/Carnival and the Soap Box Derby. Thank you to all who organized and participated in these events. We also had our Spring Book Fair this past week and many of you will attend our Annual Auction. It’s a busy time for you, but I think it’s worth it to see the joy on your child’s face when they show off their writing books, art projects, musical prowess, dance steps – and that combined look of determination and apprehension at the top of the Soap Box Derby hill. I am grateful that I get to play even a small role during this time in your family’s life.
There is a lot happening over the next three weeks – chicks will hatch, butterflies will emerge from their chrysalis (I hope I got that right!), a few more post-CAASPP / MARs Tasks field trips, and our annual whole school Field Day on Monday, June 5th. At the same time, there is still quite a bit of teaching and learning going on in their classrooms before students begin their summer vacation.
Thank you for the cards, flowers, food, and coffee during Staff Appreciation Week! I know that all of us felt very appreciated!
This week, we begin CAASPP testing. For those of you who are new to this, the CAASPP test is administered to all California public school students in grades 3-8 and during their junior year in high school. All of our students in Grades 3-8 have taken several Interim Assessments throughout the school year to help us know their progress and introduce them to the testing interface. You can read more about the CAASPP HERE. You will get a report in August with your child’s scores in both Math and English Language Arts.
We will be taking the English Language Arts portion from 8:30-9:50 on Tuesday 5/9, Wednesday 5/10, and Thursday 5/11. The following week we will follow the same schedule for Mathematics. The test is not timed, so if students don’t finish, they have an opportunity to do so later. This assessment is well-designed and assesses some, certainly not all, of what they learned this year. Ideally, your child will be in school during those times; however, if they miss for any reason, we will have an opportunity for students to take the test at a later date.
Some students may feel anxious about this – please let them know that you just hope they try their best. Try to make sure they get plenty of sleep and have breakfast before they come to school. I know this is likely your daily routine, so I’m sure they’ll be ready!
Last week was the first week in January when students came to school all five days! I know how important routines are, and we have three more weeks with no interruptions before February break. Thank you for your flexibility throughout January.
I hope to see some of you at our February lineup this Wednesday, February 1st at 8:20. I hope we can meet outside; however if it is raining, we will be in Sellman. During these events, the whole school gathers to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the School Song – and we hear a few songs that Dr. D’Ambrosio has taught our lower school students. We may also have a few announcements and introduce the theme of the month. Lineups last approximately 15 minutes. I know that it’s impossible for many of you to attend; however, if you get the opportunity, you might enjoy seeing the whole school together as we show some Wildcat Spirit!
I really enjoy this time of the year. I try to get into all lower school classes several times a week and see how well the students are working together and how much they’ve learned. I am uniquely positioned to see this development in real time as I go between the grade levels. Last week, I saw second graders taking an assessment on Place Value and fourth graders being assessed on long division. I saw students in third grade learning how to find and record evidence from multiple sources for their non-fiction writing unit – and then fourth graders completing their Opinion papers. (Their opinions must be supported by facts!) Kindergarten students are learning sounds and letters and beginning to form words, while first graders are writing their conclusions for their “How To” books. And TK is this special, magical place where students learn to interact, communicate, create – while at the same time learning the skills that will help them as they enter Kindergarten.
And each week, I meet with the teachers on Wednesdays where we engage in continuous improvement processes and discussions. And just like I’m impressed with the students, I am equally impressed with the dedication, creativity, and curiosity of our teachers as we engage in this work.
I am happy that I now know most of you by now – I may not know your first names yet, but those will come. Your support and willingness to donate your time, efforts, and resources make Woodside Elementary School a special place. We are grateful for all that you do.
Thank you to all of you who supported our Read-A-Thon and Book Fair over the last couple of weeks. I saw many of you at the evening event last Wednesday. There was a bake sale, pizza, and guest readers from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Woodside Fire Department!
This week, on Friday, we have our Winter Concert, featuring members of our school choir and instrumental music groups. It’s at 1 PM in Sellman and all families are invited. We ask that parents sit in the middle section and classes will be seated on either side.
Just a reminder that Wednesday, December 21 is a minimum day and all students will be excused at 12:30 on that afternoon.
Last week we had rain on Thursday and then a cold, wintry morning on Friday. Perfect winter weather for our Kinders to go to Canada College for the Nutcracker – perhaps not so perfect for their 6th grade siblings in Marin for their three day, two-night field trip! (They actually had a great experience.) Our second graders went to Stanford on Thursday – also in the rain! Thank you to all of the staff and parents who make these experiences possible for our students.
I also want to thank those of you who attended our virtual Story Time last Tuesday evening. Ms. LaCrosse and I read a couple of stories for 30 minutes – all which could be logged for student Read-A-Thon minutes. Many students said “Thank You” the next morning and asked if we could do it again.
I hope to see many of you on Wednesday (12/7) for our Book Fair Evening Event – with guest readers. Earlier on the same day (12/7), we will have our December Line Up immediately following drop off. Our theme for this month is “Celebration.” And while it’s a couple of weeks out, please try to reserve time on Friday, 12/16 at 1 PM for our Winter Concert.
And finally, 1st trimester report cards should be in the mail sometime this week. You should have plenty to celebrate!
I hope you enjoy the week off with your children. Our students contributed to our “Gratitude Trees” which are located along the side of our office just inside the school grounds. Please check them out! You can also contribute to our Family Gratitude Tree in front of the school. Thank you to the PTA for creating this community experience during our Gratitude Month,
If you have a child in 4th grade, our Upper School will be hosting its annual “Meet the Upper School” on Wednesday, November 30th from 2-3:30 PM. We will meet in Wildcats and provide tours of our middle school classrooms. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here so that we get an idea of the headcount for tours.
I’ll be reading a story over Zoom on Tuesday, November 29th at 7 PM. This coincides with our Read-A-Thon that begins on Monday, November 28th. Look for more information soon.
I am extremely grateful that I landed at the Lower School in Woodside. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your children. While they keep me busy, they make me laugh every day. Thank you for your ongoing support of Woodside School. I am almost always out in front of the school at drop-off, so feel free to approach me with any questions or concerns.
Congratulations to our 4th graders and Dr. D. for an amazing musical on Friday. This is the first time I’ve seen one of these musical performances, and I was so impressed by their preparation and enthusiasm. Thank you to the parent volunteers who helped to make this performance a success.
I also want to thank those of you who were able to attend our annual Halloween Parade and our monthly Line-Up on Wednesday. I know that not everyone can make events like this. Our next line up is Wednesday, December 7th at 8:25.
Remember that students do not have school on Thursday, November 10 or Friday, November 11th. Enjoy the long weekend.
Our annual Halloween parade will start at approximately 1:20 pm on Monday, October 31, followed by a Sing-A-Long at the amphitheater! Please join us for this special event! We ask that family members view the parade from the artificial turf field. You are invited to stay for the sing-a-long as well; however, the benches are reserved for students.
Students may wear their costumes in the parade but costumes should NOT be worn to school — they will have time to change before the parade. Your child’s teacher will be in contact with you about this process. Costumes should not include anything resembling a weapon.
1:20pm: Parade Begins
2:15pm: Students Return to Class for Halloween Celebrations
I hope to see some of you at Garden Fest tomorrow, Tuesday, October 18th. Here are some details that have been communicated by Mr. Frank:
Kindergarten students will experience Garden Fest from 2:00-2:30 p.m.
1st-8th grade students will visit from 2:30-3:10 p.m.
Garden Fest will remain open after school
Parents are welcome to accompany their child at Garden Fest at the appropriate grade level time. Please enter the campus through the office and go directly to the garden
Students will be excused from school at the normal dismissal time
This is my first Garden Fest, and I’m looking forward to it. Thank you to everyone who helped plan and run this event.
Some of you have asked me where I got my Woodside School t-shirts. Our PTA recently launched its Spirit Wear website with lots of options for kids and adults. I ordered a new shirt yesterday, and it was easy to use and delivered directly to your home. Click HERE for the Spirit Wear site.
I know that Halloween is coming up, and we are working on the schedule of events and guidelines for costumes. Look for more information very soon. I’m sure it’s already a topic of conversation at home as it is in school. I do know that we will be having a parade after lunch and families will be invited to attend.
I’m sure for some of you, Spirit Week may have added additional stress to your family routine! The kids enjoyed it, so we appreciate your efforts. It’s not easy starting your day with hair dying or ending your day driving to Target to get a 49ers t-shirt!
I always enjoy seeing you at our monthly line ups. Our next one is November 2nd. If you haven’t signed up for a Parent/Teacher Conference date, please do so. This is a great opportunity to partner with the school in order to support your child.
I hope to see you this Wednesday morning (9/28) at our school-wide “Line Up” at 8:25. We will be kicking off our October theme of “Responsibility.” These events last about 10 minutes, and it’s an opportunity to connect with other families and see your children with their classmates. There are monthly line ups, so don’t worry if you can’t make this one!
If you have not had an opportunity to sign up for our October family conferences, please do so and contact your child’s teacher if you would prefer to have the meeting over Zoom. Teachers are also willing to do both in-person and Zoom at the same time if one family member is unable to come to the conference.
Many of you are taking advantage of our free lunch program – Friday pizza is especially popular! In the event that you didn’t send your child with lunch or order lunch, we have blue canvas bins in the office where you can come throughout the morning to drop off a lunch. We ask that you remind your children in the morning that you will be doing this so that they know to come up at lunchtime. We don’t want to interrupt learning with phone calls to classrooms. This system works well once children know what to do.
Finally, I recently joined the PTA and am proud to be a member of this important partnership between family and school. You can also join HERE (and it’s easy to pay through Zelle).
See some of you on Wednesday! If you ever need to talk to me about anything, I’m almost always out in front of the school near the tennis courts at drop-off!
In this week’s message from Mr. Frank, you should receive the sign up links for our Fall Parent Conferences on October 11-12 and 20-21. We will be holding these conferences in person this year; however our teachers will provide a Zoom link to anyone who requests one. There is not an option to select this in our sign up link, just email your child’s teacher directly. This is a great opportunity to strengthen the partnership between home and school to improve the academic, social, and emotional growth for your child.
I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes last week. I doubt that many people my age get to experience a birthday like a seven-year-old! I got crowns and cards – even a horseshoe for my office! But most importantly, I got to see the faces and smiles of all the kids as they wished me a Happy Birthday.
Thank you for your attendance and attention during our “Back To School Night” grade-level presentations. I had an opportunity to speak with many of you in Sellman Hall. Thanks to all who brought food and beverages – especially those of us who didn’t have a chance to have dinner!
You’ll have an opportunity to have a conference with your child’s teacher in October. You will receive an email with a sign-up link on Friday, September 16th. Unlike last night’s event, this is an opportunity to have an extended conversation with your child’s teacher.
It was wonderful to see so many of you at our first “Line Up” of the year last Wednesday. If you were not able to attend, these events last about 10 minutes where students say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing a few songs. I also interviewed a couple of 3rd grade students who talked about their meeting with Woodside’s Mayor Brown! And Dr. D and the third graders sang the song “L-O-V-E.” These will usually be the first Monday of the month; however, our next Line Up will be on Wednesday, September 28th since October 5th is a school holiday.
I enjoyed talking with many of you at the PTA Family BBQ last weekend. The food and music were terrific, and I was reminded of how lucky I am to be part of this school community. Please continue to introduce yourself.
On Wednesday, September 7th, we invite you to come onto the campus for our morning “Line Up.” Our students will be sitting with their class on the lower school playground and we will be making a few announcements and singing some songs. Parents generally stand in the areas around or behind the students. This is a long-standing tradition here at Woodside that was interrupted over the last few years.
I hope to see you at “Back To School Night” the following evening, September 8th. You will meet with the entire grade level to learn about the specifics of the academic, social, and emotional learning programs for your child’s grade.