Last week, we held an all-school earthquake drill. Saklan students did an outstanding job of following the prescribed procedures of duck and cover, and then evacuating the building in an orderly fashion. To simulate what might happen in a real earthquake, we had one staff member hide in the restroom, which required our search and rescue team to go back and find her.
Being prepared in an emergency is something we take seriously and practice regularly at Saklan. Every month, we do an earthquake, fire or lockdown drill, and our faculty and staff have done an outstanding job in emergency preparedness. After every drill, we do an evaluation and look for issues and improvements. We have also improved our communications plan in the event of an emergency. Contacting parents during or after an emergency is critical, and we have recently implemented a new feature through Renweb which will provide a more efficient and broader range of contact options to include text messages in addition to emails. For this to be effective, all parents must make sure that their information on Renweb is up to date and all emergency contacts are included. More information on our safety procedures can be found in our Crisis and Preparedness Plan, which is found on Renweb.
Security is an important consideration at Saklan and we have recently changed our gate code. Please be very careful in sharing this code with others. In the next few weeks, we will be upgrading our alarm system and adding surveillance cameras. We will also be replacing the external door by the Admissions and Business Offices with one that is more secure.
Another safety issue that we have addressed this year is that of the parking situation. With the increase in traffic on School Street over the past few years, the crossing of the street without an official crosswalk has resulted in the need for a safer solution. Having negotiated a new parking agreement with the Holy Trinity Church, parents no longer have to cross the street to get to the school.
Another safety issue, which has come up a few times this year, is that of smoke from wild fires affecting the air quality. In these instances, the school evaluated the information provided by the EPA and followed the lead of the local school district in deciding on the need for school closure. This did, however, result in our decision to keep the students indoors for recess and PE classes, and advising parents to keep their children at home if they have respiratory problems.
We are all looking forward to our Halloween and Harvest Festival next Tuesday. The fun starts right away in the morning with the costume parade and ends after the Harvest Festival with an early dismissal at 2:00PM. Please note that extended care will be available on that day.
The seventh graders developed their own unique culture in small groups as part of a Humanities class project. We invited parents, family members, peers, and friends to attend our Culture Fair, Presentations, and Potluck on Monday, October 16 from 9:30-11:30AM. The seventh grade students prepared a 10-minute Power Point presentation to explain the basics of their culture. Some categories that they included were their location and geography, belief system, traditions, demographics, government structure, and social hierarchies. Afterward, the seventh graders welcomed other students and teachers into our classroom to make rounds in our Culture Fair. We shared food, fun, and learned so much. Below are the group names and members.
The third grade has been working on using adjectives in their writing. On Thursday, they gave a spooky Halloween presentation for their parents. Each student shared their original Halloween themed couplet. Their poetry is on display in the third grade classroom. Please feel free to stop by our classroom on Halloween to read their poems.
The last few weeks the 5th grade has been coming to science lab to learn some basics of astronomy. They have learned about the big bang theory, scaled down the solar system, learned about the formation of the moon, and discovered how our sun produces its energy. Lastly, we have been discussing space exploration, and so the 5th graders worked together to create their own rockets to shoot off!
We invite all current and prospective parents to join us for an inside look of the highlights of Saklan’s middle school program. Whether you are interested in the lower school or middle school, hearing what our students experience by the time they graduate from Saklan will inspire you.
The Fall Session of our after school enrichment program has gotten off to a great start. We have nine different sections which meet after school from Mondays to Thursdays, with a total of 85 students participating. I am pleased to announce that Saklan will again be participating in Mathcounts this year. The Mathcounts Competition Series is a national program that provides students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers. Mr. Zippin will be coaching our Mathcounts team, which is open to students in grades 6-8. This is the second year that we have participated in Mathcounts. Last year’s team of seven students had a great time participating in our local Diablo Chapter Competition. Feedback from the students who participate in the program includes comments such as: “I enjoy math,” “I like solving complicated problems and being challenged,” I did it last year and really enjoyed it,” “It’s fun doing math in a group.”
This year’s Mathcounts Team, which meets on Mondays from 3:30 – 4:30 is currently made up of six students. During the weekly meeting, the students will typically do a warm up exercise followed by reviewing some math concepts that come up in the problems that the students are working on. After this, the students will get into teams to get practice in working collaboratively on the problem of the week. They end the session with a workout on some harder problems. A big thank you to Mr. Zippin for coaching the Saklan team. This activity allows students who like math to get together and have a different kind of problem solving experience. Plus it’s fun!
The goal of the Mathcounts Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to provide engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels in order to build confidence and improve attitudes towards math and problem solving. The Foundation believes that middle school students exist at a critical juncture in which their love for mathematics must be nurtured, or their fear of mathematics must be overcome. Mathcounts thus provides students with the kinds of experiences that foster growth and transcend fear to lay a foundation for future success. You can get a taste of the kind of problems that Mathcounts students solve by looking at the problem of the week on the Mathcounts website.
The Hoot Owls spent some time this week with their buddies, the Fourth Grade, and created vibrantly colorful fall leaves. The end result of this paint-filled activity is loads of beautiful leaves that will be used to create our Gratitude Tree. They also brainstormed ideas for a Gratitude ABCs poem, which represents all of the things that we are thankful for. Hanging out with our Buddies is the best!!!