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From the Principal


I hope you are all doing well and preparing for the much-needed rain! It appears that we will have wet weather over the next couple of days, so please give yourselves a few extra minutes in the morning. We will do our best to keep your children dry!

On the evenings of Wednesday, March 6th and Thursday, March 7th, we have Math-Science Night. You may have seen me with my clipboard trying to recruit volunteers for this event. We are in need of several more volunteers and there are a couple of different options for your participation. Please sign up on PTA Volunteer Opportunities Website  and select the evening that works for you. It’s a terrific event, but requires a lot of support from families. If you have a son or daughter in high school (or even 8th grade!), please sign them up. I’ll be happy to sign for their community service hours!

Also, in my last message, I included a link to a survey on school climate that six schools in the SMFCSD are using to gather information. This is in addition to the LCAP survey that came from the SMFCSD this week. The school climate survey takes about 3 minutes to complete. There is a question that asks for grade level -- parents can skip this if it causes confusion. Baywood Elementary School has been using this survey for several years and have found the data useful as they’ve improved their school climate. The link to the survey is Foster City Elementary School.  

On Friday, your children will be bringing home a questionnaire for 2018-19 enrollment. Look for it in your Friday folder. Remember, we need one for each child!  We use this information to make plans for the upcoming school year. Please return as soon as possible so the teachers can turn them into the office by March 9th.

Thank you for encouraging your child to participate in our Read-A-Thon. The San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation funds our “Music for Minors” program and our 5th Grade Instrumental music program. One of most rewarding events as a first-year principal was watching the fifth-grade concert and reflecting on the progress that they made over the year in our instrumental program. Please continue to encourage your child to read and invite donors to participate!  

Over the next week, your child may be bringing home sign-on information to an online learning program called IXL. Each student has a username and password (this can be difficult for students in TK/K-1!). This is a secure website and there are no social networking functions. Teachers may use IXL for independent practice in Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies in the classroom or computer lab -- and students may also practice on their devices at home. (IXL offers a free App.)  Due to your generous donations to the PTA, each classroom in grades TK/K and 1 will have six iPads. Grade 2-5 classrooms now have six chromebooks. Teacher can push appropriate content to their students in all four content areas. This is a trial subscription to IXL from now through the end of the 2017-2018 school year. Your feedback would be appreciated.
I wrote my last message to you on the morning of Valentine’s Day and scheduled it to be delivered that evening. In between, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School occurred. We grieve for those who lost a loved one on that day and for the community that will be forever changed by this tragic event. While the country is engaging in much-needed conversation about gun violence and school safety, those of you who entrust their children to schools and we who are the caretakers of those children, are tasked with making sure that schools are secure, safe, and prepared for all emergencies.

Each month at Foster City School, we practice one of the five emergency preparedness responses from the San Mateo County Big Five.  Two weeks ago, we practiced the “Secure Campus” response drill.  We respond with a “Secure Campus” if there is a potential threat in the surrounding community. A “Secure Campus” begins with a notification from the police or school district that there is a potential threat in the community. At this time, we make an announcement to the school and all teachers lock their classrooms. If students are outside for PE, they have designated classroom areas where their teachers will take them. If it is recess or lunch, students will go back to their classrooms. The office staff will also lock their doors and nobody should be outside. During a secure campus, instruction and business continues as usual.

In the future, I will send a message to you when we have practiced one of the Big Five Emergency Responses so that you can discuss the drill with your child. On March 27th, we will have a district-wide disaster drill, which will include “Drop, Cover and Hold On” as well as classroom evacuation. I will update you after the drill. Please help us to keep the school safe by reporting any suspicious activity that you see and adhering to our sign-in policy and by carrying identification when volunteering at the school.

Thank you! I hope to see you at Math-Science Night(s). Try to stay dry.