Celebrating Mrs. C

Earlier this week, we announced the retirement of our beloved Mrs. C (Karen Catanzarite). From Preschool teacher and ECE Director to Kindergarten teacher, Karen has been an integral part of Saklan’s success for almost two decades. We know there are many families whose lives she has touched, and we’d love to extend an opportunity for them to send a note of appreciation/congratulations to Mrs. C from afar. To that end, we have created a kudoboard where anyone can add a message for Mrs. C to read and keep forever. We know as parents that it’s hard to forget your child’s first teachers. Please take a moment to share a memory or thought for Mrs. C as she begins this transition.

Additionally, if you have any pictures of your child/children with Mrs. C, we would love for you to share them with us. Please email pictures to Emily at ewilliamson@saklan.org.

We love you, Mrs. C! Thank you for all you have done for Saklan.

Weathering & Erosion

Last week the second graders became geologists, learning about fast and slow changes to the Earth’s surface. They began their exploration by learning about weathering, a natural process by which rocks and other minerals are broken down. The class used sugar cubes to conduct some experiments to help them gain a greater understanding of chemical weathering (changes the molecular structure) and physical weathering (which causes the minerals to crumble).

Next, the class discussed erosion, a geological process through which earthen materials are worn away and transported from one location to another by natural forces. The students then played a paper boulder game to help them better understand how erosion works.

#SaklanAcademic #SaklanHandsOn

Researching Turtles & Sharks

The Owlets have been busy biologists this month! After learning about different animal classes, the Owlets each got to nominate an animal that they wanted to research. Before choosing the first animal to study as a class, they watched a video to learn about Jane Goodall, a real animal researcher who studies chimpanzees by observing them in the wild. They also learned about other ways of doing research including using nonfiction books, internet resources, and talking to experts. 

The Owlets then voted to learn more about turtles! They read nonfiction books from the library that taught them turtle facts, including what turtles eat, where they live, and different types of turtles. The class watched this video to learn more about turtles and tortoises. The Owlets then strengthened their fine motor skills by painting turtle shells and decorating them with hexagon shapes. Lastly, each owl decided if their turtle would have flippers to help it swim or feet to help it walk on land like a tortoise.

The Owlets then got to vote for the next animal they were interested in learning about. The overwhelming winner was sharks! Ms. Jessica checked out books from the library that showcased different types of sharks, from the 30-foot whale shark to the 7-inch dwarf shark. The class read If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams and learned how important sharks are for our oceans and the world as a whole. The Owlets were very excited to cut out shark fins to make shark fin hats! While practicing their cutting skills, the students also discussed what type of shark they would want to be.


4th Grade

Last week the fourth graders blasted off into space exploration! They began their study with the big question – why should/shouldn’t we explore space? Opinions were mixed at first, but after viewing NASA videos and taking a deeper look at the real Mars Rover program, students agreed that we should explore space. The class decided to make their own mission to an unknown planet and send a remote rover to explore it for them first. They looked at how real rover “drivers” operate their machines from earth by writing code. Then, the fourth graders each wrote a working code for their partner to read and follow exactly as a “human rover.” The goal for each rover was to successfully navigate obstacles on an “alien planet” to reach a “crater”  and retrieve a “rock sample.”

The students quickly discovered that their codes needed to be very specific or they wouldn’t work. After testing and improving the codes, the class re-launched their rovers and completed several successful missions. This week, the fourth graders have been using the engineering design process to build working Mars rover models!


Book Fair Success

Saklan’s Book Fair was a huge success! Saklan received 63 brand new book donations for our classrooms and raised $330 to use towards new book purchases for the library! 

And, more importantly, our students went home with new treasures to read and adventures to have!

Thank you to everyone who supported the book fair, and special thanks to all those who purchased books from the teacher wish lists for the classrooms. As a community we purchased $3,300 worth of new books.

A big thank you to all the volunteers who made Saklan’s Book Fair possible. Tara Nemeth, thank you for taking the lead and organizing the event. Mrs. Meredith, thank you for liaising with Bel and Bunna’s Books and for working with the teachers to create their classroom wish lists. Randy Darden, Makeda Assefa, Lauren Wolf, Joy Kim, Mr. Javier and Ms. Shay, thank you for your help with the event logistics, setting up, cleaning up, and helping students and parents find books.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the help of Bel from Bel and Bunna’s Books. Thank you, Bel!

#SaklanBookFair #BooksAreTreasures

Head’s Corner: What a Special Place

Dear Saklan Community,

I’m enjoying being Head of School today! After CLAS, I walked all around the campus asking students and teachers what they love about Saklan. Almost everyone in every class had something to share with me, which was so cool for me to see. A lot of people said they loved the teachers, the specials, and their friends. They also said they loved the small classrooms so they could get more attention from their teachers. Here are some other quotes from this morning:

“Everyone is always kind, caring, and helpful in this community.”

“Everyone gets to know each other at Saklan.”

“I love the field experiences, whether it’s Moraga Commons or far away.”

“I love that it’s safe here and there’s no stealing.”

“The students make this place brighter.”

“Everyone is there for you.”

“Everyone has the ability to be themselves.”

“I love the family feel of Saklan.”

“I love my colleagues and my community.”

“I love the playground, the redwood trees, and the beautiful campus.”

“Saklan has the best students!”

“The teachers listen to your feelings.”

“All the teachers and students connect with each other.”

“Family Group leaders take care of you and are always helpful and caring.”

This was a great reminder of what a special place this is to me and why I love to come to school. I am grateful to have teachers and friends that are always caring and kind. I loved being Head of School for a day, and I hope I get to do it again someday!

Happy Friday!



#SaklanConfident #SaklanConnected #HeadsCorner

Creative Saklan Students

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Art Show! It was a fantastic event, showcasing the creativity and hard work of all Saklan students.

Thank you to Ms. Lauren for making the Art Show a reality. Her expert guidance of the students through the art making process, helping them to explore their creativity and express themselves, was evident in the art. We also appreciate the time she took to organize the art, determine the placement on the boards, create the scavenger hunts for the students, and take care of all the other details that made the event a success!

Thank you to the volunteers who helped set up and prepare for the event. Amy Schofield, Saphierrina Sutherland, Elizabeth Stoltzfus, Lucy Luo, Amy Perkins, and Bob McClain, thank you for sharing your time and energy to bring the Art Show to life.

Thank you to the Saklan teachers and staff for their help in getting ready for the Art Show, guiding their students through the event, and helping with clean up at the end of the day.

Thank you to the Saklan students for sharing their work with us. The time and detail that went into each of the pieces was evident, as well as their propensity to think creatively!


Thank You, Saklan Families

Thank you, Saklan families, for a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week! It was a week full of warm messages, Saklan swag, and delicious food. You definitely made all of the Saklan teachers and staff feel like stars!

We enjoyed tasting your family recipes! Each day of the week featured at least 14 appetizers, main courses and desserts. From ‘Crockpot Cookout’, ‘Holiday Faves in May’ to ‘Special Family Recipes’ there wasn’t a day when any of us left feeling hungry!

The messages the students left for all of us on the Kudoboards were so heartfelt and made us feel seen and appreciated. Thank you to all the parents who worked with your kiddos to help share their thoughts and for sharing your own words of thanks.

From our own Walk of Fame, red carpet and stars hanging in the entryway, to swag bags and our own step and repeat screen, it was certainly a week full of star-studded activities!

THANK YOU to all of you for making us feel so special!


Homes Around the World

The first grade class has been learning about the importance of shelter and what homes look like around the world. To begin the unit, the students wrote down questions they had related to homes. Culture, climate, and materials that are used to build homes were all part of the questions that were then posted on their Wonder Wall. Next, the students set out to learn the answers to their essential questions using a variety of resources.

One resource that the first graders were able to learn from was the 8th graders! Having recently returned from their Puerto Rican field experience, where they helped rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Maria, the eighth graders were now well versed in the building materials used and the ways homes are constructed in Puerto Rico. The eighth graders shared a presentation with the first graders about the climate and impact of hurricanes in Puerto Rico. They then shared how the houses are now being constructed to withstand the hurricane winds and water.

The first graders joined the eighth graders and Mr. Javier to get a hands-on demonstration of the home building process in Puerto Rico. The first graders helped mix cement, adding in extra rocks and sand to make it even stronger. The group then filled a preformed column, which Mr. Javier had already inserted rebar reinforcements into, with the cement.

A big thank you to the eighth graders for teaching the first graders about homes in Puerto Rico. This was a great hands-on learning experience for first grade.

#SaklanCrossGradeLearning #SaklanHandsOn


At the end of April, the Owlets watched this video to learn that biologists are scientists who study animals, plants, and other kinds of life. During the month of May, the Owlets have had many opportunities to be biologists. Recently, they talked about characteristics of different animal classes, including reptiles, mammals, fish, and birds.

Last week, a guest expert, Ms. Emily from Wildcare, visited the Owlets and Hoot Owls to teach them all about mammals! The students enjoyed seeing the real taxidermy animals she brought, as well as a real whale tooth and some deer antlers!

#SaklanGuestExpert #SaklanHandsOn

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