A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 09/24/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

We are always busy here at Canyon School.  It sounds like the 345 camping trip was a fabulous success.  The 678 group departs tomorrow for Calaveras Big Trees Park. It should be wonderful! This Sunday is our walkathon, which is a huge fundraiser for CATSS and always a wonderful time.  If you have never been, it is a delightful day with a party-like atmosphere. There is music and sunshine and lots of adults enjoying the opportunity to catch up while flocks of children run past, or walk holding hands and singing… At noon everyone takes a break and enjoys the taco truck and then the whole thing continues for two more hours.  Adults can chat with each other or walk with the kids and get in a little quality time. It is a delightful day! So please come! PLEASE remember to have all walkers bring a reusable water bottle (preferable with their name on it). We want to cut down on our single use waste and would prefer not to use disposable cups. The greenest way would be for each kid to bring a water bottle that could be housed at the water station.

For those of you who received the “reverse 911” or “robocall” from an unfamiliar phone number, I have resolved that issue.  It turns out that the calls appear from a random number and caller ID picks up whoever that random number belonged to last. I have changed the settings (technical genius!) and now you should receive the calls from…. Canyon School!  So I imagine that will be clarifying. At this point, despite the red flag warning over the next two days, we have not heard any chatter about PG&E shutting down power in our area. If we do, we will keep you posted.

We have heard that there will be a power shut off in Canyon on Saturday, October 5th for routine maintenance.

Camille and I have been working on getting afterschool enrichment up and running.  Wolfpack will be back with archery, there will be an afterschool art class and our very own James McNeil will be offering a middle school class to teach kids to use tools and do simple repairs. Stay tuned for details and sign up information. In the past, coordinating enrichment has been a parent volunteer role.  I would love it if someone would like to take it off my plate. Please let me know if you are interested!

I have been working on trying to explore transportation options for students getting to school from outside of Canyon.  This would be beneficial for our community in many ways. It would reduce the carbon footprint and related traffic of so many cars coming to Canyon.  It would make parents’ lives easier. I also believe it would improve our attendance AND make the school more accessible to potential students who do not have the capacity to be driven here every day.

So far I have learned that student transport is expensive and complicated.  I had lengthy discussions with First Student, the bus service that serves LaMorinda; their service is around $900 and that is with 60% of it being subsidized by local taxes.  I am currently working with another transport company that was going to try and run a route and see if it would be feasible. I should have some information back from them later this week. Stay tuned!

I want to clarify the billing process for lunch.  In the mornings, the teachers ask students who will be getting school lunch and students indicate the desire to have school lunch at that time.  That record is what Misty uses to determine the quantity of food that she should prepare for the meal. That record is used to indicate a child has signed up for lunch, much like if you ordered food on an app and then went and picked it up.  We always try to accommodate our community and make our systems responsive. If a child goes home sick and doesn’t eat the lunch they requested, we would take it off the register and not charge them. If a child forgets to order lunch, we can always feed another person.  If you do not want your child to order lunch, that is a conversation you need to have with your child. We will not refuse a child lunch if they ask for it.

There has been some communication about the lunch cards in the past.  The lunch card is a record of the lunches you have paid for. When your child gets lunch they put their lunch card in the box and Ramona cross checks that with the orders.  If your child does not have a lunch card, we write their name down and attempt to alert you that your child needs a lunch card. The lunch card is not the ultimate authority, it is a second piece of information.  Kids who are servers grab their lunches from the kitchen and often forget to put their lunch cards in the box. Kids forget to put their card in the box. The card is a record of what you have paid. The lunch count is the order for the meal.

Our lunch program is very special.  How many kids get a freshly cooked meal at school with real dishes and flatware? We encourage you to come and join us for lunch.  Our lunch program often loses money because of the costs of ingredients; the more people who buy lunch, the better it is for the lunch program and the school.

Our auditor takes lunch debt very seriously.  If you followed any of the national news stories about lunch debt, some districts handle it in ways I find to be shameful and horrific.  Kids are given “alternate meals”, publicly shamed or their families threatened over nine dollars. We are never going to do any of those things.  If your child wants lunch, we will feed them. If you are in arrears, we will alert you and encourage you to pay off the debt. If you do not want your child to order lunch, please make sure your child understands this.  

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 09/12/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

I have a few important topics I plan to address at Back to School Night. In the interest of ensuring everyone gets the information, I will also include them in this email. It is long but all important information.

Potential PG&E Power shut offs:
PG&E has told municipalities that it will cut power in the event of a high fire risk. If they do so, it may take 72 hours to turn the power back on. The Canyon School Board met Tuesday night. Among the discussion topics was what to do in the event that PG&E shuts off the power due to high fire risk. I have been communicating with area Superintendents to better understand their plans in the event this was to occur. Here is what you need to know now: If PG&E cuts power to the school for high fire risk, we will immediately contact you through our OneCallNow reverse 911 phone system and alert you to the situation. I conducted a “test” call from OneCallNow this afternoon as a reminder about Back to School Night. Did you receive it? If not, let Ramona know. If power were to be cut during the school day, we would continue the remainder of the school day but we would not reopen the school until the power had been reliably restored.

We understand an unexpected school closure will be a challenge for many parents. We hope it doesn’t happen! The safety of the students and staff is paramount. If PG&E cuts power for high fire risk and we do not yet have a generator, we do not feel it would be safe or appropriate to hold school.

We are in the process of examining our electrical needs and exploring the possibility of getting a generator, but in the meantime, the above is the plan. When we begin talking about the 20-21 calendar, we will also consider building in extra days at the end of the year in case they become necessary due to weather-related school closure. This is a common practice in areas with snow. The calendar is typically built with 5 extra days in June. At some point in the spring the Board would determine the “actual” last day of school based on how many were used. If there were no school closures the school year would end 5 days early.

We had our first fire drill last week and the kids were great. We will do other drills as well. We do NOT conduct active shooter drills, as many people find this traumatizing– instead we will conduct a wild animal drill (what would you do if a Coyote got into the school?). This will accomplish the same outcome but not offer a horrific violent image to young children. With 678 we can discuss varied scenarios and plans of action. There are always additional safety issues to consider. If you would like to be part of an emergency preparedness committee, please let me know. I would love a small cadre of parents and community members to think through ways we can prepare for any potential crisis.

Math Placements for grades 3-8:
We strive to offer a rigorous and highly differentiated math program that meets the needs of each learner. In the upper grades, we assess students to determine their current proficiency levels and aim to build math classes that will challenge and support each child appropriately. In the 345 class this year, we are offering 4 levels of math. In the 678 class we are offering both Algebra 1 and Geometry 1 in addition to 6th, 7th and 8th grade math. This year we are experimenting with instructors teaching multiple concurrent sections. For example in 345, Kirsten is teaching the 3rd grade math course and Lily will be teaching both 4th and 5th grade math with the support of Steve Miller. In this way, all students receive high levels of instructional skill and support. This may look like groups of kids working for part of the math block with Lily and then spending part of the math block engaged in practice with Steve’s support and supervision. Lily may grab 4th and 5th graders together to review a particular skill or launch an assignment. Virginia will be teaching a small group of accelerated 5th graders.

In the 678 class, Alix will be teaching 6th grade math and Geometry 1. So she may have those kids all in one space and move between them checking in, having discussions and launching lessons. Kids will at times work independently, with her or collaboratively. Virginia will be teaching Algebra 1. Lily will be teaching 7th and 8th grade math and Steve will be supporting. Your child probably knows their math placement at this time. Please reach out if you have a concern, so that we are able to address it. We do our best to accommodate children’s desire for challenge as long as the instructor believes that the student has enough of the precursor skills to be successful.

Attendance/Recruitment:
In the state of California school funding is based on average daily attendance (ADA). This means that if we were fully enrolled with 72 kids and everyone attended 180 days of school, we would receive full funding. The state essentially multiplies our enrollment by our attendance and then divides by the school days to determine our funding. When we submit this information to the state we are allowed to pick the ADA from the better of this year and last year. Based on last year’s attendance our 18-19 ADA is 66.33. We used 17-18 data last year which was 67.69. This means that even though we had 72 kids last year, we only received funding for 67.69 children.

What this means is that we need to both increase our middle school enrollment and drastically improve our attendance. Kelley Westling has made a fabulous flyer. Please stop by the office and get one if you have a good idea of where you might hang it. We are actively seeking 8th graders. We gained a 7th grader last week and an 8th grader this week. Please welcome Preston (grade 7) and madison (grade 8). Ideally, we would gain 4-5 eighth graders and 2-3 seventh graders by the end of September. We do not have space in any other grades. Though all are welcome to join the waitlist and should contact Ramona to do so.

The attendance issue is complicated. We have spoken before about the impact on the classroom, the Board’s ability to revoke inter-district transfers for poor attendance and the Education Code on truancy. I have school age kids as well and understand the visits to elderly relatives, the cost of plane travel on the busiest days, the desire for students to be able to participate in once in a lifetime experiences that conflict with the school calendar. For health safety and comfort of everyone, we do not want sick kids at school. However, we all need to understand that every absence, excused or unexcused, costs the school about $70. It doesn’t matter why the child is out. An absence can be excused (so the School Board is not seeing the absence as truancy), and still cause the school to lose money.

If you are absent for 5 continuous days, you can apply for an Independent Study which does mean that the attendance is counted for the school and we get the funding. However, our auditor does check to ensure your child completed the work. If your kids don’t come to school, we lose money.

Transportation:
Last spring I started researching the possibility of a bus service that we could contract (paid for by parents) to provide transportation from some popular locations to school. If you are remotely interested in the possibility of your child riding a bus, please click the link to complete a very brief survey. This information about numbers, locations and pricing will help me get a realistic quote. https://forms.gle/Xpfj2oAksCpoifN79

Clothes:
Please remember that kids should wear sneakers (or bring them) and clothing that allows for athletic activity every day that they have PE. 345 has PE every day but Wednesday. 678 has PE Monday, Thursday, Friday. First and second graders have PE on Mondays and fridays.

Students in 345 who enjoy playing in the Creek, should consider keeping some back up clothes in their backpacks. We have noticed that many third and fourth graders would benefit from extra clothing:) A large ziploc bag with a change of clothes in it is a great thing to have just in case!

All kids should really aim to wear protective footwear every day. When kids are running around in the grove they can get sticks in their sandals and sneakers would work better.

Conflict Resolution:
If you have a concern with a staff member or parent, I would urge you to start by speaking directly to the people involved in an effort to communicate what you have observed and your feelings about it. If that is ineffective or too difficult to do, you are welcome to come to me for help. If you have a concern with school administration and feel that communicating directly with the office staff is not effective, you are welcome to speak to a Canyon School Governing Board member.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your support to make Canyon School an even more special place.

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 06/19/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

It has been a wonderful year. Thank you so much to all the staff and parents who worked so hard to support the kids.

The Board voted to approve the LCAP and the proposed budget at their June 18th meeting. We bid farewell to Art Peterson who taught 6th grade math this spring and helped out with supervising 678 snack and lunch and we say goodbye to Steven Day. We will be welcoming Alix Feinsod in 678. All other staff is projected to remain constant.

At the last Board meeting the Earth Guardians presented a climate resolution. The resolution spurred almost an hour of discussion and made me think about several things. Chief among them was the notion of transportation. One of our on-going struggles is attendance. This impacts our funding and causes financial stress. Improving attendance increases our funding. As the Board was discussing climate action, I was thinking of the carbon footprint of all the inter-district families driving into Canyon. It got me thinking that if we could set up a bus system we might be able to:
Get more people to school on time (thus improving our ADA, increasing our funding and improving academic outcomes)
Reduce our carbon footprint
Make the school more accessible to families who are unable to drive here every morning
Make the lives of parents easier
Do we have anyone in our community who has the skills to help investigate the feasibility of a bus? It would be amazing if we could see where people live on a map and figure out if we could have one or two bus stops and pick up lots of kids? This would have to be parent funded (think of the money you would save on gas and brakes:). Let me know if this something you’d be interested in. And if you think you have the urban planning know-how to help make this happen, please reach out right away!

We have two parent volunteer summer work days. The first is Sunday, July 7th. The “must-do” tasks on this day are first getting the stage thrust taken down and then getting all the furniture out of the classrooms so the floors can be cleaned and waxed. The next work day is Saturday, July 27th. On the second work day the furniture is cleaned and replaced in rooms. If we get lots of helpers there are many other projects that can be done on this day as well. Please let me know if you plan to come to the first work day. This will help me know which projects we can expect to complete. It will also help CATSS know how much food to provide. The new 678 teacher would like a bit of help cleaning and organizing that room as well. Please let me know if you’d like to help with that.

Middle school enrollment continues to be an inflection point. Please help us out by recruiting kids who may be interested in our middle school program. We currently have availability in 7th and 8th grades. Please direct interested parents to email me directly as I will be on email all summer and eager to answer questions and talk to prospective families.

Raphaelle Steinzig participated in School Site Council this year and together we reviewed and analyzed the parent survey feedback. Thank you for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. Things that came across clearly as hopes, wishes, wants:
1. Dogs on campus MUST be leashed. Some kids are afraid. If you bring your dog to school please leash it and pick up after it:)
2. Spanish has been a great success and is universally appreciated. Next year we will have more!
3. People love music. Some wanted more (like instrumental lessons as part of the school day). Unfortunately we do not have the resources for an in-school instrumental music program at this time.
4. There was a suggestion of getting a counseling intern so that we had more staff available to address the emotional needs of students in the school day. We do have a school psychologist. Her name is Kara. She works for the county and comes to school as needed to serve students who receive counseling as part of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or to do psychological testing as part of the IEP referral process. I spoke with Ali Guida Smith and she said she would explore options for a Counseling intern. Thank you Ali!
5. Parents want the lunch calendar posted on the website. We do that now. Look under the tab that says LUNCH.
6. Parents want an accurate google calendar of school events posted on the website. We want this too!
7. Parents appreciate the weekly newsletters from homeroom teachers AND would like more communication from other teaching staff.
8. Parents continue to want more opportunities for afterschool enrichment. In the past we have had a parent volunteer work on this with Camille. Is anyone interested in doing this next year?
9. Parents in grades that have chrome books want to limit computer use to designated academic tasks and reduce freeplay on computers.

We will work to address these wishes. Have a wonderful summer!

Summer Calendar:
Sunday, July 7th Parent Work day
Tuesday, July 9th @ 7 PM Board Meeting
Saturday, July 27th Parent Work day
Tuesday, August 13th @ 7 PM Board Meeting
Sunday, August 25th Welcome Breakfast
Wednesday, August 28th First day of school (ends at 1:35!)

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/23/2019

Dear Canyon School Community,

Happy spring! It is such a delight to feel the sun shine and see the kids working outside getting fresh air.

Please join us this Thursday (4/24) at 4:30 if you’d like to meet our finalist for the 678 position, Alix Feinsod. She will be here for an informal meet and greet from 4:30-5:30.

We have continued to work on recruiting more students for 678. So far we have two girls (7th and 8th respectively) definitely coming and two more who recently visited and may join the group as well. I am very excited to be able to add fresh faces to that room.

Moraga School District has invited us to a workshop they’re hosting on May 1st Exploring the Dynamic World of Gender. If you are interested in learning more there is an attached flyer. All are welcome!

It’s not too late to get your tickets for the Luau:

Luau in the Redwoods

It is not too late to volunteer to help with the Luau either!

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4faea62daafb6-luau

Aftercare Update from Wendy:
I am updating here because, together with other co-workers, I have “filled” the lost and found box. Now is the time for all good kids and parents to go through the box.

Whatever is left, I know, gets donated to whomever. There is some “good stuff” in that box. As a parent, I know these clothes can be costly. Replacing lost clothing can be an even greater expense. Therefore, I encourage all parents and students to go through these items now. There is no more room to continue this interesting collection of textiles 🙂

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/18/2019

Dear Community,

This has been a busy and productive week! As you know a dedicated group of parents has been working hard to plan a fun fundraising event. Please come! Bring friends! The event itself will raise money, so feel free to get lots of people to join! Many people have asked how they can help. The link for the sign up is here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4faea62daafb6-luau
Please sign up for a job using the link. Contact Lola, Marieke or Kelley Westling with any questions.

Monica and I have just completed our Federal Rural education grant. It is only when you tackle a large federal grant that you realize how much institutional memory walks out the door with a retirement. I just want to take a moment to acknowledge that since retirement Gloria has continued to volunteer every Tuesday supporting Monica with the financial software. And Esperanza has continued to volunteer supporting the 678 class, the art program and as a School Board member. I am so appreciative of their work and so grateful that they are still helping in retirement!

On that note, I am delighted to announce that we have a finalist for the 678 position next year! Esperanza and Sequoia helped with screening; Judy, Lily, Kirsten, Jocelyn Bale-Glickman and Cassie Hilaski joined me in the interview process and observing model lessons. As a group we are all very excited to introduce our finalist. Her name is Alix Feinsod. Alix attended UC Santa Cruz where she earned a BA in Computer Science and Computational Science (both with high honors). After which she worked briefly as a software engineer before realizing she wanted to be a teacher. Alix attended the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute through the University of the Pacific. Alix impressed the interview committee with her enthusiasm, positive energy, strong academic background and her love of and experience with theater production. Her model lesson demonstrated an excellent command of class management and creative, engaging curriculum design. Stay tuned for a date soon when we will host a “meet and greet” for parents, Board members and community members.

Speaking of middle school, I am also happy to report that we have continued to recruit middle school students. We have had several visit recently and more in the coming weeks. We hope to have several new kids signed up for next year’s 7th and 8th grades to keep the energy in the 678 room fresh and dynamic.

For anyone celebrating holidays at this time of year, I wish you happy gatherings filled with loved ones and joy.

I include the calendar to help keep you apprised of events at school. If you are new to our community and are unclear about what some of these things are, please ask!

Warmly,
Lucia

4/19 Activated Story Theater
4/23 Costa Rica parent info meeting 3 pm
4/27 Luau night @ school
4/30 & 5/02 ELA state testing grades 3-8
5/02-03 K12 camping trip
5/07 & 5/09 math state testing
5/07 & 5/09 Sex Education for grades 5-8
5/14 & 5/16 Sex Education for grades 5-8
5/14 & 5/16 makeups for state testing
5/14 Board Meeting
5/18 Pancake breakfast at the school
5/18-28 Costa Rica trip for 8th graders
5/23 Sausalito Kayak trip for grades 5, 6 & 7
5/27 Memorial Day, no school
5/30 Open House/Science night
5/31 Kindergarten Orientation
6/06 spring performances
6/11 All School Picnic @ Cull Canyon
6/12 Graduation* (note date change)
6/14 last day of school, minimum day

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/10/2019

Hi Folks,

I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break. As you know, after spring break time seems to move at a much faster pace. So, let me share a few items with you as May and June are right around the corner!

As you know, a dedicated band of parents has been hard at work planning the Luau as our big spring fundraiser on Saturday, April 27th. Perhaps you have seen the gorgeous posters and cards? If you purchase tickets before 4/19 there is a significant discount! Prior to 4/19 you can get TWO tickets for $100. After that they are $65 each and $75 at the door. Tickets include food, entertainment and a drink! There will also be an auction. Contact Lola if you have something wonderful to donate!

There is also a raffle to support the school. Kids went home today with raffle tickets to sell. The prize is a brand new ipad! Tickets are $10 each. If each family sells their 20 tickets it’ll make $11,000 for the school! Let’s do this!

State testing will start Tuesday, April 30th. We were going to start next week but decided to push it back a bit. Students in grades 3-8 participate in testing in ELA and math. Students in grades 5 and 8 also have science testing. Here at Canyon, we try not to make state testing overly important. It is a snapshot of your child’s academic performance on a given day. In the aggregate the data is helpful at the county and state level as it reveals patterns of performance that may indicate needs for support in certain areas. For your children, it should feel like an opportunity to wrestle with challenges and show what they know!

You have a legal right to opt your child out of state testing. If you wish to do so, you need to provide a letter in writing indicating this wish. My advice is to just do the testing (but not make a huge deal about it). Kids will be taking online entrance exams for college and graduate school; they might as well get used to them. The most important thing you can do is just make sure they are well rested. State testing is currently scheduled for April 30th, May 2nd, May 7th, May 9th and makeups the following week. Typically we start first thing in the morning and let them take as long as they need to finish each day. Students in K12 do NOT participate in any state testing.

Sex Ed will be starting as well: May 7, 9, 14 and 16. All students in grades 5-8 will participate unless you send a written letter exempting your child. Students in grades 5 and 6 will meet together. Their program mostly focuses on the changes of puberty and self care (like understanding body odor, menstruation, etc). Students in grades 7 and 8 will meet together and have their questions about sexual health answered in a scientific and non-judgemental manner.

Please know that if you request an ISP, your child must complete the assigned work. Our auditor reads each ISP and checks for complete work. If the student does not complete the assignments, we do not get credit for the day.

We have replaced the urinal in the boys’ bathroom. There is still concern from our maintenance person and cleaning person that the boys are not very accurate. If you have a child who uses the urinal, could you possibly discuss urinal etiquette with them? Encourage accuracy.

May 30th is scheduled to be our Open House/Science night. Misty and I are teaming up to try out a fundraising dinner prior to the event. We are thinking of an easy meal that could be served from 5:30-6:45 so that parents coming straight from work could just arrive at aftercare and stay and get an easy dinner prior to the evening. If you would like to help, please let me know! We thought that if this works it could be an efficient regular fundraiser before women’s history night or other non-performance evenings.

Community notes——————————————–
Lily shared that her parents will be bringing their umiak down from Washington this summer to participate in a native canoe journey. More information can be found at the website below. This California canoe journey is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz. Lily thought some of you might be interested in this event happening locally in August.
https://www.canoejourney2019.com

Calendar:
4/09 Board Meeting
4/19 Activated Story Theater
4/27 Luau night @ school
4/30 & 5/02 ELA state testing grades 3-8
5/02-03 K12 camping trip
5/07 & 5/09 math state testing
5/07 & 5/09 Sex Education for grades 5-8
5/14 & 5/16 Sex Education for grades 5-8
5/14 & 5/16 makeups for state testing
5/14 Board Meeting
5/18 Pancake breakfast at the school
5/18-28 Costa Rica trip for 8th graders
5/23 Sausalito Kayak trip for grades 5, 6 & 7
5/27 Memorial Day, no school
5/30 Science fair
5/31 Kindergarten Orientation
6/06 spring performances
6/11 All School Picnic @ Cull Canyon
6/12 Graduation* (note date change)
6/14 last day of school, minimum day

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 02/28/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

Things are busy here at school! Mid-winter is a wonderfully productive time in schools. The kids are hard at work and making strides with the content and not yet thinking about spring break. This is a great focused period with lots of academic and emotional growth. When the kids come back in April, it feels like we get on an accelerator and the pace ramps up until summer.

We have 40 responses to the parent survey. It would be great to hear from the remaining families. Please reply to the survey.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yattSKHZkYGcV2TiOSbiVPoC5QDVCV6nXqsvVox9ylc/edit

In honor of Black history month, Kirsten’s class has been choreographing movement pieces with Jody Powers that accompany students recitation of Maya Angelou poetry. Judy’s class is memorizing and reciting poems by Maya Angelou as well and 678 is conducting research on people. This is all be shared in assembly with buddies over the next few weeks. These projects are great, and at the same time, I feel personally conflicted about the notion of Black History month. It seems like the contributions of Black (and other under-represented groups for that matter) should be a key focus of our curriculum all the time. Once the kids can think abstractly (like 9 years old and up), I think it is important to constantly question whose story are we hearing? Whose voice is not being heard? Which books are we selecting for ourselves and our kids? Are the authors always people who look like us and reflect our experience or are we intentionally seeking out work by narrators with another perspective? It is a good question for all of us. Schools have traditionally taught a dominant narrative, but the history of all groups of people (black, brown, LGBTQ) is AMERICAN history– We are working to actively diversify our curriculum and welcome your suggestions for books, etc.

On that subject, I have been thinking it would be great to have a parent book group. Is there a title (maybe a parenting book) that people would like to read and discuss? Some ideas that are intriguing to me include but are not limited to:

Quiet by Susan Cain

The Parents We Mean to Be by Richard Weissbourd

The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel

The Explosive Child by Ross Green

Unselfie by Michele Borba

If you might be interested in a book group or if you have a different idea, please email me.

The Fundraising committee met last night to plan our big party fundraiser on April 27 (mark your calendar! Save the date!)– Lola Leeds has admirably broken up the work into many subgroups. If you are remotely interested in helping in any way, please contact Lola. Many hands make lighter work:)

Finally, as many of you know, we have some budding climate activists in our community. We started an afterschool club to involve kids in the movement to support the Green New Deal. Some of our kids were seen by millions in the now viral video https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2019/feb/23/dianne-feinstein-rebuffs-young-climate-activists-calls-for-green-new-deal-video (this is an abridged 3 minute version). As a point of clarity, I just want to let everyone know that we at the school support the kids’ activism and civic engagement, but it is coming from kids and families. The 678 kids spent some time this week reading parts of the Green New Deal document in an effort to better understand it so they can have informed opinions. If you have any questions or concerns about all of this, please get in touch.

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 01/30/2019

Dear Canyon Community,

We are enjoying the rain when we get it! Please make sure your kids have warm, dry layers for colder and wetter days.

Thank you to Raphaelle Steinzig who has graciously volunteered to serve on the School Site Council in addition to her role in CEF. We have worked hard to create a parent survey that should help give us valuable information to continue to support and strengthen the school experience for kids and families. PLEASE carve out some time in the next two weeks to complete this survey. Your responses and feedback are invaluable to us. We are asking open response questions on a range of topics to ensure that we capture the most helpful feedback. Please share your thoughts! https://goo.gl/forms/baFLp1w71l7cbDRz2

Sequoia will be starting a PhD program in the fall in earth and atmospheric sciences! Please join me in congratulating her! And this means we will be looking for a math/science instructor for the fall.

John Heylin is planning a community potluck on March 16th– He’s planning to reinvigorate community association support for the building– if you are interested in helping him please let him know.

Ways to get involved–
Suzy McAllister, the art teacher, is looking for yarn donations for an art project. Do you have any random yarn you’d like to get rid of? Please send it in!

We will be waxing the classroom floors over the holiday weekend in February. Can you help move furniture after school on Friday, 2/15? Many hands make light work! If we can get a number of people to help, it will be quick work. Please email Ramona if you can come help with this.

One exciting thing that has happened as a result of the changes in 678 is that we have hired Sita Davis (Ollin’s mom) to teach Spanish. She is also starting a weekly class with the younger students. So far the feedback from all grades has been fantastic! We are really thrilled to be able to offer some Spanish in school this year.

Unrelated to the start of in-school Spanish class, the after school Spanish class seems to be winding down. A few students are needing to leave because of spring sports which makes the class no longer sustainable. There could be an opportunity to offer Mandarin after school if we had a critical mass who was interested. Can you let me know if you’d be interested in after school Mandarin class for your child?

As you may know, Ramona is the primary caregiver of her 94 year old mother. Sometimes she needs to step away from her desk to check on her. If you pop into the office and nobody is available to help you, please just leave a note. You may see Monica Santiago, our Chief Business Official, working in the office. Please resist the urge to interrupt her with questions. She is hard at work managing our finances and each time she is interrupted it takes time to get back into her work.

Mile markers have been put in on Pinehurst. If you were to get stuck or see a stranded motorist on Pinehurst. We can now provide tow trucks and emergency service personnel with mile marker information.

I got some resources from Alameda county and thought I would share them with you.
Tobacco prevention information:
https://med.stanford.edu/tobaccopreventiontoolkit.html

Upcoming Calendar events:
1/31 K12 field trip to St. Mary’s
1/31 345 field trip to the dump
2/04 678 field trip to Cal Performance Kodo drummers
2/11 345 field trip Bay Area Children’s Theater
2/12 Hundredth day of school and kids’ Centennial celebration, Board Meeting @ 7
2/14 Valentine’s Day, CATSS meeting
2/15 move furniture
2/18 No School
2/27 345 field trip EBMUD Valle Vista

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 01/10/2019

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful break. We spent time with family on the east coast. In addition to spending time in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC we also visited Knoxville and Nashville, TN for the first time.

Though the break was great, it is wonderful to be back to regular routines. I had the opportunity to join the middle school teaching team’s class meeting Monday. I was so impressed with the poise the middle school students showed explaining the Canyon mission statement and their program to new staff. The new team seems to be working well. Please contact me if you have any concerns or wonderings.

If your child is having any issues at aftercare, please contact Camille so that she can work with staff to ensure the issues are resolved. Her email is: camille120@gmail.com Please contact Camille if you anticipate an inability to pay your aftercare bill. Families with bills more than 60 days past due can NOT leave children at aftercare.

Board meeting recap. We discussed the new schedule and staffing for 678. Mr. Day will continue on in the mornings and we are adding Spanish with our very own Sita Davis along with snack and lunch supervision and 6th grade math with Arthur Peterson. Another topic raised by a parent was about getting all families to volunteer to support the school. We discussed why some families may volunteer more than others and strategies to increase volunteerism. Ideas included but were not limited to:
Spaghetti dinner or other community building event
A Volunteer coordinator to call all families and discuss volunteering options that may work within the structure of their families
Website information and handouts specifying ways that families can volunteer
Reiterate to parents importance of volunteerism

The staff discussed parental involvement today and were in agreement that most parents drive on field trips, or volunteer in other ways. And we all understand that sometimes people have a lot on their plate and need to focus on their own health or their loved ones at the moment. However, we realized, that many parents (especially new ones!) may not know all the ways they can help, and how vital that help is to our little school.

Volunteer opportunity. We will be having the floors waxed in February over the holiday weekend. All parents and community members are invited to come and move furniture out of classrooms after school on 2/15/18. Please help! Many hands make light work.

Should you be interested in attending, the next CEF meetings:

Mon Jan 14, 6pm
Wed Feb 20, 6pm
Mon Mar 25, 6pm
Mon App 29, 6pm

It sounds like a lot of halloween stuff has wound up thrown over the railing where the kiln is supposed to go behind Building C. Camille is unclear if this is trash or useful Halloween decorations. It needs to be moved because it is just sitting in the rain getting ruined and the staff has no idea what it is or where it should go. We don’t want it slide into the creek.

Calendar:
1/10 345 field trip Peralta Hacienda
1/10 NO CATSS meeting, rescheduled (new date forthcoming)
1/17 678 field trip Exploratorium
1/21 No school MLK day
1/25 semester ends
1/28 No School Teacher work day
1/31 K12 field trip St. Mary’s Theatre
2/12 Board Meeting @ 7 pm
2/12 Hundredth day of school & Centennial celebration
2/14 CATSS meeting @ 8 am
2/15 Volunteers needed to move furniture
2/18 no school President’s day

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 12/13/2018

Dear Canyon Community,

Before things get too crazy, I want to thank everyone for all their support and community in 2018. It takes a village to run this school. Jim Smith, Board President is fond of calling it a Do-It-Yourself school, and in many senses it is true. We rely on the incredible skill and vitality of our community to make things run. We could not do it without all of you! Our little community has suffered some losses and endured some hardships this year, and I am continually touched and heartened by the way the people in this community show up to take care of each other and support one another. Thank you for that. You are a wonderful loving, kind and resourceful group of people and I am grateful to have you in my proverbial fox hole.

Our new Governing Board met on December 11th. Our current Board members are: Jim Smith, President; Brain Coyle, Vice President; Kaya Westling, Clerk; and please welcome new board members Peggy Lynch and Esperanza Surls. We want to thank outgoing board member, Ian Llewelyn, for his many years of service!

Thank you to everyone who worked on the art faire. It sounds like a good time was had by all. I was so sorry to miss it. I took my kids to see the Raiders before they head off to Vegas. The vendors contributed more than $1100 for the lunch program!

The facilities committee had its first meeting of the year on Saturday, December 8th. I was so impressed by the breadth and depth of skills, talent, commitment and energy we have in our community. As soon as the group stopped talking (and it was just supposed to be an organizational meeting), people started actually tackling tasks. We left the meeting with 12 immediate action items and half of them were done before I got back to school the following week! A huge thank you to Tim Quayle, Juan Juarez, Patrick Riley, Ian Llewelyn, John Heylin, Jeff Pratt, James McNeil, Wendy Avellino, Adam Styles, Kaya Westling and Esperanza Pratt.

The dress rehearsal for the winter performances will be Thursday, December 20th at 9 am. We will start with K12, followed by 345, a brief intermission and snack break and then the 678. I would tell you exact times if I knew them! Anyone is welcome to attend the dress rehearsal! It is especially nice for those who have difficulty getting here in the evening. The actual performance will be that evening at 7 pm.

We were so fortunate to find Mr. Day when Esperanza was preparing to retire. As you may have known, he was in the process of re-certifying in order to accept the position as he had left teaching for a while and his certification had lapsed. We were able to secure a one year emergency credential for the calendar year of 2018. During the intervening time, Mr. Day has both been teaching full time and studying for the extremely rigorous CTEL (which is a 6 hour exam and the last essential requirement for him to gain a new teaching license). Despite great effort, Mr. Day was unsuccessful in his attempts to re-certify before the deadline.

Sadly, this means that he will be finishing out the calendar year with us and then moving on to other opportunities. Mr. Day shared this news with his class on Wednesday. We will all miss his critical thinking puzzles, rigorous teaching, charming personality, fascinating hobbies and wonderful rapport with the students. I know Mr. Day is looking forward to continuing the friendships he has established with kids and families.

He wants you all to know that he deeply appreciates the warmth, support and openness with which he was welcomed into this special community. And that it has been a pleasure to teach your children. He really appreciated the individual efforts by members of the community to make him feel welcome, supported and provided with feedback.

I recognize that this is a challenging and upsetting turn of events. I share your disappointment. It is my goal that we take this crisis and use it as an opportunity to create an even stronger middle school program here at Canyon School.

Warmly,
Lucia

Community notes:
From Miles Jensen: Check out the new Kickstarter for our business! Video made by Clara! Thanks