Dear Saklan Community,
Welcome to the start of the 2017-18 school year and to my first blog of the year. School has been in session now for only a couple of days, but already a lot has happened that indicates what a great year we have ahead of us. With 34 new students starting the year, a considerable number of school improvement projects completed over the summer, and a great sense of school spirit and positive energy, I could not be more pleased to see our doors open to this academic year.
A big welcome goes out to all of our new students and families, and to the new faculty that have joined us over the summer. Our new Spanish teacher for Grades 4-8 is Ms. Ivonne Padilla, who comes to us after teaching last year at Bishop O’Dowd High School. Our new Grade 5 teacher is Ms. Elizabeth Peters, who previously taught at Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in Orinda and was on the faculty at St. Mary’s College. And finally, we are very pleased to have increased our Extended Program team with the addition of Cameron Brandt and Stefany Wall, both of whom were instructors in our Summer @Saklan program.
While many of you were enjoying a well-deserved summer break from school, some interesting things were still going on at Saklan. Our summer camp grew by 23% and hosted a total of 287 students in three 3-week sessions focused on language and culture. This proved to be a very successful program which once again won four Best of the East Bay Gold awards from Parents’ Press which were:
- Best Academic Summer Camp
- Best Foreign Language and Cultural Immersion Summer Camp
- Best General and Traditional Summer Day Camp
- Best Preschool Age Summer Camp
In addition to these awards for our Summer Camp, Saklan also won the following awards for our regular school program:
- Best Independent Elementary School
- Best Alternative Learning Styles Elementary School
- Best Independent Middle School
- Best Independent Preschool
- Best Child Care
This summer we also ran our Culture and Language Trip to Japan. This was open to both parents and students in the upper grades and proved to be our biggest group ever with a total of 42 participants. A second summer trip for Saklan alumni involved a group of 13 participants going to the Global Leadership Summit in Paris. Next year, the trip goes to Germany and the Alps and we already have a good number of participants signed up.
A number of campus improvements also occurred this summer. These included installing a new water fountain, eliminating the trip barriers in the pre-kindergarten playground, adding a sink to the art room, and repairing the roof in the math room. However, the biggest improvement involved our Fund-a-Need Project, which was the complete renovation of our old science room into a new STEM lab. Thank you again to all parents who helped fund this project.
It was so great to see the big turnout of parents for the Beautification Day and the Back to School BBQ, which is hosted by our Parent Association. The 2017-18 year has gotten off to a great start with much enthusiasm, and a determination to make this a great year at Saklan!
Have a restful weekend!