Andy Goldsworthy Natural Sculptures

With the end of the year around the corner and the sunshine peaking out of the clouds, the 5th grade is doing art class outside. Students learned about the British artist Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is famous for his site specific sculptures made up of natural materials such as rocks, leaves, and ice.

They discussed the concept of ephemeral art because most of Goldsworthy’s work does not physically exist in the present because of natural conditions destroying the work, but is documented by his photography. The students then went out and about the campus to gather twigs, leaves, and pine cones to arrange their nature sculptures throughout Saklan.


Science of Roller Coasters


The 8th graders culminating physics project was to design and create a roller coaster for a marble that utilized the forces the students learned about in class, had enough momentum to fulfill a loop, and had a slow down stop. Each group used their creativity, math skills and the scientific method to design, redesign, start over, and eventually create their coasters.

The students also got inspiration for their coasters by going to Physics Day at Great America, where they experienced the need for gravitational pull to power the coasters, centripetal force and air resistance to provide thrills, and of course friction to stop safely! You can see their amazing designs on the pictures. Our Science Teacher, Miss O, is extremely impressed with their efforts in this project. They are a great class and they are ready for high school!


Author’s Celebration


The fifth graders completed their Author’s Celebration project this month. Students have been learning many strategies for making their creative writing stories a joy to read. Some strategies they have learned this year in order to enrich their writing are: using vivid vocabulary, sensory words, figurative language, interesting story leads, “said” is dead, and character development.

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The students chose a favorite story they had written that best exemplified these strategies to make into a book. During the celebration, students read to groups of parents and made their stories come alive by reading with expression. They did such an amazing job!


Let’s Subtract!

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The kindergartners have been busy with subtraction. They had fun experiencing many ways to subtract. During centers, the children subtracted play dough balls with their toes. They played subtraction bowling and used manipulatives such as “hiding bears in a cave.”

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As a class, they had fun sending children to the bathroom and out on the yard as another way to understand the “take away” concept. Finally, the children began reading equations and crossing out pictures as a way to subtract.


Surprise from Ms. Kennedy!

The 4th graders wrote to one of their favorite author’s, Kim Kennedy. They tried to use their best persuasive writing skills to convince her to write a sequel to a book they read in class, Misty Gordon and the Ghost Pirates. They even gave her fantastic ideas, in case she had writer’s block.

Last week, the 4th graders received a box from Ms. Kennedy!!! She not only wrote each student back individually, but included Madame Zaster glasses (a very important feature in the mystery). Our class could not have been more thrilled!!! We hope, we persuaded her to continue writing!


Head’s Corner


“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”  ~Muhammad Ali

If you have the chance to join us for the Middle School Musical, West Side Story, take the time to read the director’s notes by Ms. Chaffey. In her notes, she speaks about the fact that she never felt she would be able to have middle school-aged students perform a musical as complicated as West Side Story. In a word, she thought it was impossible. When I read her notes, it made me think of Muhammad Ali’s quote and how it relates to Saklan.

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For Ms. Chaffey, she writes about the “impossibility” of adolescents pulling off intricate dance scenes designed to be performed by professionals. Of them connecting to a musical that is 70 years old and based on a 500 year old play. She worried about how they would handle the romantic scenes in front of their peers. While in her director notes she uses the word “never,” she probably thought it was impossible. And yet, here we are opening night – impossible is just a word.

At Saklan, I feel every day we do what others consider impossible. Take relationships for example. At Saklan, we believe that strong relationships between teachers and students are critical for academic success. Those students and teachers are partners in the journey of learning. This is a paradigm shift for most educators and takes an immense reallocation of resources. Smaller class sizes, taking time to know a student inside and out, making the effort to connect at a meaningful level. Conventional wisdom says that  it is impossible to increase learning by spending time on things other than academics. The opposite is actually true. Warm relationships between teachers and students lead to increased academic achievement and  improved social development.

As a teacher, Ms. Chaffey knew she could do the impossible because she has strong relationships with her students and their families. Because Saklan has a culture of compassion and courage where kids will take chances, knowing we are there to support them. From Owlet on up, we use our relationships to build confidence. That confidence helps our students overcome the pessimism of “small men” and to change our world. Our graduates see that  “impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Warm regards,



Saklan at Moraga Rotary Field Day

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Last Wednesday, the Twenty-Eighth Annual Moraga Rotary Field Day took place at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. Third, fourth, and fifth graders from all the Moraga schools participated in a variety of fun field activities. The Saklan School had twelve athletes compete in this year’s contest.


Field activities included: a sack race, softball toss, basketball toss, long jumps, steeple race, 50 yard dash, and a 4×50 yard shuttle relay. As always, this was a very fun event.


This year, Thomas (5th grade) won third place medals in the sack race and 50 yard dash. Sadie (4th grade) won the silver in the long jump (10’3″). The fifth grade finished fifth in the shuttle relay. Good job to all the students who participated this year! Thank you very much for showing up and representing Saklan!


All About the Digestive System

The first graders spent the last 3 weeks in the science lab learning about the Human Body. They discovered the digestive system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the excretory system and how each of these different systems play a key role in their health. It was a jam packed unit! The students got to see what happens to the food they eat and how the bones and muscles work together to help them move. They also learned how the blood circulates oxygen and that the nervous system helps them react to their environment. Lastly, and always one of the more memorable discussions, they learned how the excretory system rids the body of wastes.


Here are the first graders showing off the organs in the digestive system!


Alumni Highlight

Saklan Alum Helps Build Library in Uganda


Saklan Alumna, Tali Braun, has been spearheading an effort over the past year to build a library for a primary school in Uganda. Tali, a 2015 Saklan grad, was inspired to support the library after visiting Uganda last year. She has been collecting donations in order to construct and furnish the build, purchase books and drive book donations.


Tali was a well-loved community member at Saklan. She was fearless in her willingness to speak up and take a stand for what she believed in. She cared deeply for all those around her, and she was a great role model for every student at Saklan. In 8th grade, Tali served as student council co-president, leading the school with creativity, compassion, and courage.

Tali wrote in her yearbook “Saklan teachers were like finding a gem.” We believe Tali is quite the gem, and we are proud to highlight her project and support her in her humanitarian spirit. For more information about Tali’s project, please click here: HopeForYouth-1-1.

#SaklanCompassionate #SaklanCourageous

Did We Reach 100% Participation in Saklan’s Annual Giving Fund, Yet?

AGF hands hpALMOST! Did you know that each year we ask current families, faculty and staff, trustees, grandparents, alumni families and friends of the school to make a tax-deductible donation to Saklan’s Annual Giving Fund?  It’s true that we’re “Building Our Future Together”!

One of our goals is to reach 100% participation from our current families by MAY 28, 2019. The chart below shows you where your student’s class is towards reaching this goal.


Well, if you haven’t yet, it’s not too late to contribute by MAY 28th. YOU can make a difference and get ALL of us closer to 100% with your gift today!

Not sure how much to contribute? We receive gifts anywhere from $10 to $10,000. Please know that whatever amount that is meaningful and affordable for your family, Saklan is truly appreciative of your gift.

So, if you haven’t contributed yet, we want to let you know that Carol Goldman, our Director of Development, will be calling you over the next week to discuss your participation. If you would like to make a gift before she calls, you can:

  • DONATE ONLINE through our secure site; or
  • Write your check made out to The Saklan School with “Annual Giving Fund” written on the Memo line and deliver it to our office.

If you would like to discuss your gift further, please contact Carol at

On behalf of all of us at The Saklan School, thank you very much for all your support.