Dear Arroyo families,
We’re in the final countdown and can’t wait to welcome our students on Wednesday! Our wonderful teachers came back early this year from their summer break to engage in professional learning about Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL has been a part of SCSD’s Strategic Plan for a long while, and we are now renewing our focus because it deepens learning while also increasing students’ voice and choice as well as their agency in their own learning. When I walk into a classroom that’s using the PBL approach, the excitement for learning is palpable. After three days of working with our teachers on their plans, I am so inspired and excited for the year ahead! I’ll be sure to keep you posted with photos and stories about our PBL journey as the year progresses.
Please read on for some important announcements and reminders that will help your family be prepared for the first week of school. I know there is a lot of information to digest at this time of year. Please read through it carefully. Some things are repeated from past messages because of their importance, but in most cases, new details have been added, so please read it even if you think you already have. If you need to refer back to any of the information shared, you can find a running document of my messages here.
I look forward to seeing many of you on Monday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. for our Arroyo & Central Day Welcome Event!
We Need YOU!
Volunteers are needed to help with drop-off and pickup daily. We’d love help throughout the year but especially rely on it the first few weeks of school as we are establishing our routines. We also need parent volunteers to help supervise our student-led clubs and other special activities during lunchtime. If you’re able to help with either of these, please complete this form and we’ll be in touch with you soon. Ideally this would be a year-long commitment at least one day a week with a regular schedule, but we understand that things come up and will be as flexible as possible. Our PTA will also be offering additional ways to volunteer and be involved both in classrooms and at school-wide events.
All families should have received an email with the class assignment on Friday. Class lists are not posted due to privacy considerations. Please know that the classes have been created with care, drawing on parent input forms, current year teachers’ input, and friendship groupings. We also strive to create classes that are balanced by gender, academic levels, and behavioral needs. I met with the third grade and fourth grade teachers in the spring to create the initial lists, and then these were adjusted as new families enrolled to ensure that classes remained balanced. Thank you for respecting this thoughtful work as you prepare as a family to start the new school year.
As we begin our first week of school we will be determining our accurate student enrollment based on whether families have moved over the summer or for other reasons are not returning to Arroyo and haven’t yet informed us. Class attendance will be monitored throughout the week, and if we find that the classes are unbalanced there may be a need to make changes, and we would appreciate your understanding if this should need to happen at your grade level. Please also note that we will not be making any other changes based on individual requests or preferences.
We have updated the staff section of our website so you can see photos of the staff and learn a bit more about them. We’re still adding some of our elective, PE, and support staff, but our homeroom teachers are all there. You will be receiving a welcome message from your child’s teacher sometime before the start of school. They will share a bit more information about their class. I’m sure you’ll be eager to communicate with them, but please be mindful that there is a lot to do to prepare for the start of school.
Welcome Week Events
We want to make the return to school as seamless as possible for our students, whether they are fourth graders transitioning from Brittan Acres or White Oaks, students who are new to SCSD, or our fifth graders returning after a long summer off! Our goal is to make Arroyo feel like our students’ home away from home. With this in mind, please take a moment to read all the details below and plan to join us for as much as possible.
As mentioned above, please join us for our Arroyo & Central Day Welcome Event on Monday, August 22, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Come meet other families from your class, PTA leaders from our school, and others from the community. This is a great opportunity for students and their families to locate their classroom and walk through the logistics of arriving and departing each day. We’ll have the Kona Ice food truck, activities on the field and blacktop, and volunteer sign-ups. Bring a picnic dinner for your family and get to know other Arroyo families.
Our PTA and I will be hosting a Principal’s Coffee Chat on Friday, August 26, at 8:35 a.m. Join us at the Arroyo lunch tables for some coffee and treats and another opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers, and get answers to any questions you have about Arroyo.
Please also mark your calendars to join us on Wednesday, August 31, for Back to School Night in your child’s classroom from 6:30-7:30 p.m!
Our first day of school is Wednesday, August 24, a minimum day (8:35-12:50). On the first day of school, students will be invited to join their teachers on the blacktop, where they will find their class lines and have a chance to meet their new classmates. Whether students arrive by bus, car, or on foot/bike, they’ll say goodbye at one of the school entrances and proceed across the campus to the play yard. PTA will have a table set up outside the school office where parents can meet, ask questions, and sign up for volunteer opportunities. (See below for more information about our daily routines and what students will need to bring with them.)
Please be sure to send a backpack and a water bottle labeled with your child's first and last name. Please also remember that sneakers or sturdy, closed-toe shoes are important for active play each day. Since face masks are still strongly recommended by the county for indoor spaces, we also recommend sending your child to school with a face mask and including an extra mask in your child’s backpack.
There is no need to fill backpacks with new school supplies. The San Carlos School District and the Central Arroyo PTA continue to be committed to providing the necessary school supplies for each student in order to ensure that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. As always, parents can also help provide classroom supplies and field trip funds by supporting SCEF and our Central Arroyo PTA.
Daily Bell Schedule
School starts at 8:35 a.m. every day, with dismissal at 3:10 p.m. every day but Wednesday, which has an early release at 12:50 p.m. Our daily bell schedule can be found here.
Drop-off and Pickup
Safety is especially important at the beginning and end of the school day. Please take a moment to review our Getting to School and Drop-Off/Pickup Procedures and follow all of the guidelines laid out. These are busy times of day for all of us, so please practice extra patience and caution, especially when driving on or near our campus.
As you plan your route to school, please consider encouraging your student to walk or bike to school as often as possible. Not only does it reduce traffic congestion around the campus (thereby increasing safety), but it’s also a great opportunity for students to start and end their day with some physical activity, as well as allowing for some great social interaction. We encourage students to use the buddy system and pair up with other students who live nearby.
Bike and scooter parking is located near the portables on the Woodland/Chestnut side of the campus. Scooters and skateboards may be stored in our transportation shed. For bikes we recommend investing in an inexpensive lock that can be used to attach their bike to the bike rack. Please ensure that your child wears a well-fitting helmet and remind them to walk their wheels once on campus.
Please take a few minutes to review these safety rules with your child:
- Cross at crosswalks only — no jaywalking! This is especially true right outside of our school driveway on Arroyo Avenue. There is a lot going on in this area, and cars are not watching for pedestrians. We talk to students regularly about not crossing here but find that parents sometimes encourage it. Please help us be consistent with this message. Several years ago there was a student hit by a car in this area and that’s definitely something we want to avoid in the future.
- If there is not a crossing guard, wait at the start of the crosswalk and check both directions multiple times to ensure that the path is clear and/or wait for any approaching drivers to make eye contact and come to a stop.
- If there is a crossing guard, wait until the crossing guard signals that it is safe to cross. At that time, cross within the painted crosswalk. If it is crowded, be patient and wait until you can enter the painted crosswalk area. Do not push, shove, run, or walk outside the crosswalk area.
Regardless of how your child gets to school, we also need all drivers to put the safety of children first. These are busy times of day for all of us, so please practice extra patience and caution, especially when driving on or near our campus. If you are choosing to drive onto campus to drop off or pick up, then you are expected to drive slowly, follow the directions of the crossing guards and any staff or volunteers directing traffic, drop off/pickup students at the school drop-off zone ONLY, be patient and courteous to other drivers, and stay alert for students in the roadway.
Every morning, yard supervision will begin at 8:20 a.m. Students are not permitted on campus until that time. Whether students arrive by bus, car, or on foot/bike, they’ll say goodbye at one of the school entrances and proceed across the campus to the playground area. Breakfast will be served at 8:20 (see below). At 8:30, a warning bell will ring, and students may line up outside their classrooms and place their backpacks on the hooks outside so they are ready to start the day at 8:35.
Electives and PE
An advantage to the 4th/5th Upper Elementary model is that our students get to have electives taught by our amazing middle school teachers. 4th grade students will get to participate in three electives this year, one per trimester, including Art, Music Fundamentals, and Theater. 5th grade students will have one year-long elective, either Band, Orchestra, or Innovation & Design. Students who opted for Band or Orchestra selected an instrument in the spring. Our band and orchestra directors reached out to families in June but will follow up with additional information next week. Please note that although electives will begin on Thursday, Aug. 25, no instruments will be needed the first week.
Students will also have PE twice a week with our Central/Arroyo PE teachers: Ms. McGuirk and Mr. Ulrich. Homeroom teachers will be sharing schedules for PE and Electives with students the first week of school, and we’ll share additional information with parents (including contact information for PE and Elective teachers) at Back to School Night.
Access to Technology
Most of our students will not need to have regular access to a device at home for completing homework or school assignments. However, if you do believe your child will need a device, one can be provided. Please contact our school secretary at [email protected] for more information.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
(repost from last week's message)
Calendars and Bell Schedule
COVID Updates for Fall 2022
We continue to follow the guidance from California Department of Public Health and San Mateo County Health (SMCH) to respond to COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests (at-home test kits) are the preferred method for testing should a person experience symptoms of COVID-19. We know tests are widely available, but if you need extras to test your students, please contact our school office and we’re happy to provide one for your child. Masks continue to be strongly recommended indoors for staff and students, but not required. We will continue to update our Health and Safety Plan to follow the latest protocols from San Mateo County; an updated version will be available soon.
We also plan to continue our safety protocols, including air filtration and ventilation in classrooms, as well as frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizing.
As a reminder, please continue to keep your children home and test if they show any signs of illness. If your child does test positive, please email [email protected] and cc our school secretary at [email protected]. Students are no longer required to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID, however, we do ask that you monitor your child closely for symptoms. Please note that we are no longer engaging in contact tracing. When we learn of a positive case amongst our students or staff, an exposure notice will be emailed to the entire school community. Due to the prevalence of COVID in the county, we expect that these notifications will be sent on a regular basis.
Breakfast, Snack & Lunch
During the 2022-23 school year, the district is providing free breakfast and lunch daily to all students (mandated by the state for all public schools in California). We have contracted with a NEW vendor, The LunchMaster, to provide the service this year. Please follow the steps below to create an account and get lunch ordered:
- Register - Create an account by visiting the website: https://www.thelunchmaster.
com/register. Use our school's code to register for an account: Arroyo Upper Elementary use code: arroyoschool
- Meal Application: We ask that each family, regardless of income level, fill out the EZ Meal Application. Completing this form helps your school receive more funding to support your child’s learning environment. The application is used to calculate school funding levels from the state and federal level. Please visit our Free & Reduced-Price Meal Application webpage for more information.
- Place Orders: Meals can be ordered daily, weekly, or monthly, either online at www.eatnow.thelunchmaster.com or through the phone app, The LunchMaster. Breakfast meals must be placed three days before meal service. Lunch meals can be placed by 10:00am two days before meal service
- Distribution: Meals will be distributed daily at Arroyo
Students will have a 40-minute lunch break including dedicated time for both eating and playing. If you send a lunch from home, please consider reusable containers (labeled with your child’s name), and take a moment to review with your students what parts of their lunch waste will go to landfill, recycle, or compost when they are finished eating at school.
In addition to breakfast and lunch, students will have a 20-minute morning snack/recess break each day. This is an important time for students to socialize, move their bodies, and refuel. Students should bring a healthy snack to school each day to eat at that time.
If your child is going to be out for any reason, it is critical that you contact our school secretary, Tracey Olazar, and not just your child’s teacher. You can email Tracey at [email protected] or call the school office at 650-632-8300 and press one for the attendance line to leave a message. We need to know the exact reason that your child is out and honesty is critically important for the sake of our entire community. If your child is exhibiting any symptoms at all or has been or has been exposed to someone with COVID, Tracey can walk you through the protocols needed for quarantine and/or a safe return to school.
There are many ways to stay connected here at Arroyo. Please review the Guide to Communications to learn more. Watch your email every Sunday morning for the Arroyo Eagle Eye newsletter. All of my principal messages are compiled on a running document. You may want to bookmark it so you can look back at past information. Please also bookmark our Arroyo School Website to stay up to date. If you cannot find something you are looking for, please contact our front office.
As I mentioned earlier, we rely heavily on our parent volunteers to run many of the programs that make our community special. Please consider signing up to be a Class Room Parent, Art in Action Docent, garden volunteer, committee chair/member, or student-led club supervisor. More information will be available at our Welcome Week events or you are welcome to reach out to me, your child’s teacher, or our PTA leaders any time to find out how you can get involved.
PTA & SCEF
We have one PTA that serves both CMS and Arroyo and we welcome your partnership. This year, PTA and SCEF will be joining forces to combine their fundraising efforts. More information will be coming soon. Your PTA membership, volunteer hours, and SCEF donations support teacher grants, library, Art-in-Action, Garden and other programs and events. We couldn’t do it without our parent partners. Thank you! Watch the Eagle Eye newsletter for information about how to join our PTA and support SCEF.
New Families Buddy Program
If you are a new family to SCSD and would like to be connected with a buddy family, please fill out this short Google Form. Veteran parents can answer questions large and small, from favorite activities to best extracurriculars to First Day of School prep.
Cellphone Policy: Supporting Our Culture of Social Development
As part of our culture, we expect students to be fully present in the moment, be aware of their environment and each other, even to happily cross the playground to speak with one another. To promote these behaviors, cell phones must be turned off and be out of sight in backpacks once students arrive on campus. In addition, if your student wears a smartwatch, it needs to be in airplane mode during the day. If students are receiving texts during the school day or using their smartwatch in other ways than timekeeping, they will be asked to store the watch in their backpack during school hours. If a student needs to reach you or you need to reach them, we will use the school phones: (650) 632-8300. Please create a contact for Arroyo on your own cell phones, so you recognize us if we call you, thank you!
Arroyo supports the Wait Until 8th Campaign. We encourage you to hold off in getting your child a cell phone. If your child must have one for safety reasons we encourage you to consider a basic phone or two-way calling watch instead of a smartphone.
Reinforcing Expected Behaviors Home and School
Our culture promotes behaviors that are Responsible (aware that our choices affect others), Respectful (considerate of others’ perspectives), and Safe (aware of our surroundings, making safe choices). Please consider using this language when you work with your students at home this year, thank you!
ACE (Afterschool Care Enrichment) provides before and after school care at Arroyo. ACE was founded by Eve Daskalakis who has served families in the San Carlos Childcare community since 2008. ACE is an innovative California State licensed childcare program that focuses on enrichment and youth development to challenge our upper elementary students each day. Please visit the ACE website for detailed program information and to register your child.
If your child will not be attending Arroyo, please email Tracey Olazar in our school office as soon as possible ([email protected]). We're preparing each and every seat! Thank you for your help.
The Central Arroyo PTA focuses on advocating for our students, supporting our teachers and staff, and building a strong school community. Your PTA membership lends your voice to advocacy efforts on behalf of children and educators at the local, state, and national levels. Our goal is for all parents to become individual members. Become a member today!
Arroyo Volunteer Opportunities
Are you interested in getting involved at Arroyo? There are still a variety of volunteer roles available, both for school-wide activities and in the classroom. Please check out the sign-ups online. A reminder that volunteers need to fill out a new SCSD Volunteer Request Form every year.
Get Spirit Wear for Your Arroyo Eagle (Orders Due Sept. 16)
The start of the school year is the ideal time to get Arroyo Eagle spirit wear for you and your child. Choose a T-shirt, hat, or hoodie. The online store is open through Sept. 16. Don’t delay — show your school spirit and order today! Orders will be distributed in October. Contact Sarah Kinahan if you have any questions or would like to pay by check. Go, Eagles!
Thank You to Our Generous Donors!
Your donations to SCEF last year will allow us to grant over $3.2 million to support every San Carlos public school student in the upcoming 2022-23 school year.
This year’s SCEF grant will support: social emotional programs and counselors, access to libraries, PE teachers, technology associates and devices for students. Music programs for all grade levels, middle school electives, a Principal’s Fund at every school and NEW THIS YEAR--funding for your school PTA. Your school PTA will use these funds to provide classroom/teacher grants, purchase library books, fund assemblies, create community building events/activities and more.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to SCEF last year. Together you make a real difference for students. Here’s to a great school year!
Like our Facebook page for more upcoming details and all SCEF news.
Happy First Day of School! #SCSDFirstDay
Welcome back to school San Carlos Families! We want to see your back to school photos on our social media pages. To have your photos featured, please email them to [email protected] and then follow/like us on our pages to see your pics.
Don't forget to use our SCSD hashtags - #scsdfirstday and #scsdproud and like or follow our SCSD pages!
Order Your FREE Breakfast & Lunch Today
During the 2022-23 school year, the district is providing complimentary breakfast and lunch daily to all preschool-8th grade students. We have contracted with a NEW vendor, The LunchMaster, to provide the service this year.
Please visit our School Lunch Program webpage for more information and follow steps 1-4 to create an account (one for each child) and get signed up today.
In addition to signing up for free meals, we ask that each family fill out the EZ Meal Application to benefit your family, school, and community even if you do not believe you will qualify based on your income. Completing this form helps your school receive more funding to support your child’s learning environment. The application is used to calculate school funding levels from the state and federal level.
Please visit our Free & Reduced-Price EZMeal Application webpage for more information.
Health & Wellness Letter
Please take a moment to read the Welcome Back Health and Wellness Letter if you haven't already! We discuss mental health, sustainability, Big 5 Safety Protocols, Social Emotional Learning, and more.
SamTrans Bus Route Changes
SamTrans has implemented changes to many of its school-oriented routes. These changes will improve efficiency while maintaining service for many students who rely on SamTrans to get to school. There will also be schedule adjustments to many routes to respond to changing school bell schedules for the 2022-23 school year. Check the SamTrans website for more information.
Alternative Forms of Transportation
- Consider picking one day a week (or more) to walk or bike your young children to school or have your older student walk, bike or bus to school. Pick a day where you are least stressed and can support students as they learn a new routine. If everyone who drove their kids to school took alternative methods of transportation just one day a week, there would be 20% fewer cars around the schools.
- Connect with neighbors. Kids can walk and bike independently to school much younger if there is a group. Parents can trade off walking the group of younger kids so that it doesn't have to be a challenge every morning.
- If you have to drive, park a few blocks away to drop off your student or to walk them in. This reduces traffic density at our school entrances.
Stanford Cardinal Kids Day - Sept. 3
Join us for Cardinal Kids Day and our football home opener against Colgate! For every one adult ticket purchased you can claim four free youth tickets. Youth tickets are for kids 8th grade and below. Grab your friends and family to join the fun. Tickets are only $15 each. To place your order, please visit GoStanford.com/promo-code and enter: SCSD.
2023 Calendar Contest Now Open
HIP Housing is a nonprofit that provides thousands of people in San Mateo County with a place to call home. They are inviting all K-5th graders in San Mateo County to send them a fabulous drawing of a home, along with a quote on what home means to you. The winning 12 will be featured in their 2023 calendar and have an opportunity to present their drawing to their local Town or City Council. Entries are due September 23. Learn more. Entry form in English / formulario de inscripción en español.
Parent Education Opportunities
Fire Safety and Prevention: A Disaster Prep Town Hall
Thursday, September 1, 6:00-7:00 p.m. (Online)
Design for Belonging: How to Build Inclusion and Collaboration in Your Communities
Thursday, September 8, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Online)
Visit the Parent Venture Series of Upcoming Events page for more information.