Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

Today was our last flag of the school year. It is amazing how fast this year has gone by, but equally amazing how many wonderful things have happened at Saklan. Our flag was hosted by three Hoot Owl students, Sean, Caleb and Elyse, who showed the confidence and courage to speak in public, which is a trademark of Saklan.

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At flag, we also recognized our entire student council for their work and efforts this school year and gave out appreciation awards. A big thank you to Kim Parks and Lisa Rokas for advising the student council and helping to develop the skills of leadership, community service and collaboration, which we have seen grow stronger in our student body.

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Today, we also held a Thanks-A-Latte event to thank and appreciate the many parents that have supported the school during the year through their volunteering efforts. In the spirit of acknowledging our volunteers, at Flag we recognized Hillary Conlon and Miranda Heerah for their many years of service and support of the school.

Next week is our last week of school, and on Monday our students will have fun participating in the Family Group Field Day. This is the last event in our Family Group program and is one that highlights the sense of community and “being at home,” which our students feel while they are at school

While this will be the last blog of the year, you will receive more communications from the school during the course of the summer. Please look for updates on staffing, transportation, and events planned for the next year.

It has again been a great pleasure and honor to be part of the Saklan community this past year and I look forward to an exciting last week of school.

Enjoy your weekend!

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

Unfortunately, Flag was cancelled today due to rain. The last Flag of the year will be next Friday and thus not to be missed.

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I hope you had a chance to see the middle school musical last weekend. Mrs. Chaffey’s production of The Addams Family was another stellar production with outstanding performances by our middle school students. This smash hit was a great way to end the year’s performing arts program, which included a memorable lower school production of The Lion King and an outstanding Annual Concert at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The 2017-18 school year will certainly go down in Saklan history as a year of stellar events. Many thanks to all of you who have supported the Saklan performing and visual arts programs through your generous donations at the auction and your volunteering efforts. Look for a link to the video of The Addams Family in the Blog on June 7th.  

Our Book Fair, organized in collaboration with Orinda Books, has been running these past few days. This Wednesday was author visit day and we had two dynamic Bay Area authors come on campus. Mr. Steve Goetz, author of Old MacDonald Had a Boat, met with our PreK – 2nd graders and Mr. Armand Balthazar met with our 3 – 6th graders. Armand’s new book is called Timeless and is the first book in a six part series. The rights to this series have already been bought up and will soon be made into a movie. Our students were fascinated by Armand’s description of how the ideas for his book originated and by his drawing, which are included in the book. Available copies of Timeless sold out immediately and had to be urgently restocked.

All parents are invited to our Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, June 7th at 10:00AM at the Holy Trinity Cultural Center. Come and hear what our graduates say about their experience at Saklan and share their goals for the future. This is a great opportunity for our community to see what is in store for their children and celebrate the students that have graduated with a Saklan diploma.

Have a good long weekend!
Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,img_8636.jpg

In this past week, there has been a full calendar of activities and events at Saklan. It started last Friday with the very excellent Spring Arts Festival. Hundreds of works of art were put on display throughout the Saklan campus and included work from every student in the school. The diversity, creativity and quality of the art produced this year has been highly impressive and a testament to the work of our art teacher, Natalie Palms. Many thanks to Miss Palms for organizing the Art Festival, and more importantly for inspiring the students to produce such great works of art. Also, thanks to Mrs. C and Miss Amanda for contributing art from the PreK. Please look for an ongoing display of the art on our video monitor in the entrance way. Part of the events surrounding the Art Festival was a scavenger hunt, which resulted in a whirlwind of student movement and engagement in finding the various details contained in the art pieces. This morning we had a drawing for students that completed the scavenger hunt with winners receiving prizes of art supplies.

The Art Festival was immediately followed by the Family Fun Night. This event, which has now become a Saklan tradition, lived up to its name as there were lots of families and it was FUN. With our new sound system, a great movie, warm summer weather and a wonderful BBQ, this was a great way for Saklan families to spend a Friday evening on campus. Many thanks to the Student Council for organizing some fun games and to the Parents Association for organizing the movies and the BBQ. A special shout once again to Jenny and Mike Choi for providing the delicious barbecued pork.

This morning, our Parents Association organized a talk by Vickie Obenchain and Kim Parks. Vickie shared her field experience in working at a school in Senegal. This was the culminating activity in her program with Teachers for Global Classrooms. Vickie’s presentation was followed by Kim Parks, who summarized the work done this year by our curriculum review committee in reviewing and revising our reading program.

All week long, our middle school students have been feverishly rehearsing for their production of The Addams Family at the Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette. This morning at Flag, 8th grade student, Skylar Wolff, gave us a little taste of the show by singing one of the songs called “Death is Just Around the Corner.” This was indeed a tasty morsel and everyone is now eagerly looking forward to seeing the show which goes on stage both tonight and tomorrow night.

This coming week, we look forward to our Book Fair which runs from May 23rd to 25th. In collaboration with Orinda Books, we will have two author visits to Saklan. Grades 3 to 6 will get to meet Mr. Armand Baltazar. Mr. Baltazar is the author of a new epic fantasy adventure book called Timeless: Diego & The Rangers of the Vastlantic. He has been an art director with both Pixar and Disney. Director Ridley Scott recently purchased the movie rights for this book series. Mr. Steve Goetz will speak to our students in Pre-K to grade 2. Steve will read aloud his newest book, Old MacDonald Had a Boat, as well as his original book Old MacDonald Had a Truck that garnered a starred review which stated, “The MacDonalds and their farm-animal crew return in a rollicking new adventure to transform an old fishing boat into a slick speedboat. Large, colorful spreads provide lots to look at, inviting readers to slow the song down, building suspense. A delightful way to reinforce cooperation in getting a job done while having fun.”

 Next Friday we will be holding a morning coffee for parents in Pre-K to 1st grade to discuss the staffing transitions planned for the upcoming school year. This coffee is open for anyone interested in participating.

Have a great weekend.

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

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As we rapidly approach the end of this school year, I would like to share some important staffing news with you for the next year. First of all, I must announce the retirement of Carol Schofield after teaching 2nd grade at Saklan for these past 20 years. Retirement is naturally a great achievement and just reward after a long and successful career of teaching, and thus an event of joy and celebration. For Saklan, however, it represents the loss of one of its most accomplished and respected teachers. Having spent countless hours in the 2nd grade class, I can truly say that Carol is one of the most competent and creative teachers that I have worked with in my career. Saklan has been very fortunate to have had her services for these past 20 years.

There is, however, a silver lining to this announcement in that moving into 2nd grade for next year will be Yette Prizeman, who has been our Kindergarten teacher these past two years and whose previous experience was in the lower elementary grades. Having Yette take over 2nd grade will ensure for a smooth and seamless transition for next year. The open Kindergarten position will be taken over by Karen Catanzarite, our Hoot Owl teacher and Early Childhood Director. Prior to her work in the pre-kindergarten, Karen taught Kindergarten for 10 years and thus is more than qualified for this role.

SASTA-AshleyJenningsWe will also be saying goodbye to Ashley Jennings who has been with us for two years as an assistant teacher in the preschool and Kindergarten, and teacher in the extended program. Ashley will leave Saklan to finish her teaching credential. In light of the outstanding work and talent that Ashley has shown at Saklan, I would not be surprised to see her back in the near future in a teaching role.

SASTA-ChristineKuckukAlso leaving Saklan, after being in our community for many years, will be Christine Kuckuk, our Director of Marketing. Christine’s efforts in crafting, refining and promoting the Saklan image has helped establish the outstanding reputation and visibility that Saklan has today in the Lamorinda and surrounding areas. Our congratulations, mixed with a bit of envy, to Christine and her family on their move to the ever beautiful Lake Tahoe region.

This Saturday, May 12th is the date of the Moraga Community Faire and Car Show. Saklan will again have a booth at this fun event. Please drop by and say hello!

Have a great weekend!

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

This past week has been one of the best weeks of school this year for all faculty and staff. All week long, we have been thrilled and pampered by the wonderful messages of appreciation, meals and gifts organized by our parents. All of the faculty and staff feel gratitude and thankful for the wonderful community that supports our efforts and inspires us to do our best in our work at Saklan.

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On the theme of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to share with you a video clip by poet Taylor Mali titled, “What Teachers Make.” I shared this a few years ago but it is still relevant and very much sums up the complexity, passion and importance that the job of teaching entails. Please enjoy and share.

Next Friday, on May 11th, we will be holding our Saklan Arts Festival from 3:00-7:00PM. Please come and be astounded by the wealth of creativity that has come from our student body during their Art program this year. On the same evening, we will have our Family Fun Night with a movie and BBQ which makes this an event not to be missed.

Next Wednesday, May 9th, all students in Grades 3-5 are invited to participate in the annual Rotary Field Day. This event involves all schools in Moraga and is a fun event for our students. The event takes place starting at 3:30PM at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. Mr. Crabtree and I will accompany our students, and everyone is invited to come out and cheer for the Saklan team.

Have a great weekend!

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

We recently received a letter from an organization called Guide Dogs for the Blind thanking our 2nd graders for a donation of $343.00. This is a community service project that our 2nd grade class has been doing for many years. The money, raised through a bake sale, was used to buy and train a guide dog that would be given to a blind person. Congratulations to Mrs. Schofield and our 2nd graders for making a difference.

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Community service is an important aspect of the educational program at Saklan and is an essential part preparing our students to take responsibility as open-minded, principled citizens in the local and global community. Moreover, it teaches students about people of all backgrounds, about issues and problems in our society, and promotes compassion and understanding. All of our middle school students engage in some form of community service. Activities range from coaching younger children baseball and taekwondo, helping animals at ARF, bagging food at the Alameda County Food Bank, or building backdrops and sets for school musicals and concerts.

Some classes, like the 2nd grade, do additional projects, which range from 4th grade doing book drives to 3rd and 6th grades helping with EBMUD to weed out non-native plants. Larger school-wide projects have included participating in the Monument Crisis Center Food Drive, helping at the Moraga Garden Farm, and last year raising funds to donate to the Moraga All-Access Playground Project.

This year, our 7th graders are participating in the World Citizen Essay Contest sponsored by the World Affairs Council. The goal is to promote discussion among students about the ways that individuals can effect positive change in the global community. This is great way for our students to learn about the 17 United Nations Development Goals and think about ways to address the global challenges that they will be facing in the future. I am happy to hear that this project will be presented at Flag next Friday morning. I encourage all parents to come out for Flag on May 4th and hear what our students have written about before the world contest winners are announced on May 10th.

Have a good weekend,

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

Today we had a very interesting Flag. Of course they all are. What stood out was the depth and variety of learning that occurs at Saklan on a daily basis. The spectrum of this was wonderfully shown by Kindergarten students presenting an analysis of the structure of the fairy tale, and then 8th grade students presenting an analysis of the algebraic function. Equally impressive as the depth of our curriculum, was the creativity of the presentations and confidence that the students demonstrated in speaking before the entire school community.

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Thanks to our parents, their families and friends, The Saklan School has a long-standing history of being voted BEST OF in the annual contest put on by both the Bay Area Parent magazine and the Parents Press magazine. Please take a moment to vote for your favorite school.  Please note that there are separate categories for:

  1. Preschool
  2. Elementary School
  3. Middle School
  4. Summer Camp

Tomorrow night is our Annual Auction and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Lafayette Park Hotel. This is not only an important fundraiser for Saklan but a fun event that brings our community together. Please remember our fund-a-need project, which is in support of the Creative, Performing and Visual Arts.

Have a good weekend,

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

This morning at flag, our 8th graders presented their Legacy Baskets, which will be auctioned off next Saturday evening at our annual auction. I was very impressed by the amount of effort, thought and creativity that went into each basket. It was also interesting to see how each basket reflected the character and interests of each graduate. One can truly see what a group of dynamic individuals we will soon be sending on to a variety of high schools in the upcoming school year.

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In addition to this, Carol Goldman, our Director of Development, presented two works of art that will also be auctioned off. They are a collage made by the Owlets and a painting made by our talented Spanish Teacher, Ester Vines. I look forward to seeing you at the auction, and if you haven’t already signed up, please do come and support the great education that we provide for each of our students.

This is the time of the year when our 8th graders have found out which high school they will attend in August. Finding the right high school is important and the middle school faculty at Saklan has worked hard over the past months helping our graduates make the right choice to match their skills, interests and goals. I am pleased to announce that this year’s graduates were accepted to the following list of high schools:

  • The Athenian School
  • Campolindo High School
  • Bentley School
  • Las Lomas High School
  • San Ramon Valley High School
  • St. John’s-Ravenscourt School (Winnipeg)
  • De La Salle High School
  • St. Mary’s College High School

Have a good weekend,

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

I would like to start by thanking all of the wonderful grandparents and special friends that came out this morning for our annual event celebrating this important aspect of our community. The day was truly enjoyable and our students were thrilled to show off their campus, teachers and classmates, and engage in a fun activity with their guests.

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I am happy to formally announce a new scholarship program that Saklan has instituted in memory of Sharon Reichow.  Sharon, who passed away one year ago, was our 5th grade teacher for thirteen years and was one of the stellar teachers that contributed to the school’s growing reputation in the community. Much of the success of the Saklan middle school program can be attributed to the high level of preparation that was characteristic of the students that graduated from Sharon’s 5th grade class. In honor of her commitment and dedication to Saklan, we are launching the “Sharon Reichow Memorial Scholarship for New Middle School Students.” This scholarship will be available for new students who have not yet applied to the Saklan middle school for the 2018-19 school year, and who show high academic potential and commitment to the school’s mission.

We now go into our Spring Break, which I hope will be restful and re-energizing. Upon our return, we will have less than two months of school left, and in this time we have a number of big activities planned at Saklan. These include the Middle School Musical, the Spring Arts Festival, Book Fair, Family Fun Night, and Graduation.

Have a great Spring Break!

Peter

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community, IMG_7474

At Flag this morning our Director of Development, Carol Goldman, announced this year’s Annual Auction, Festival Des Arts, which will be held on April 21 at the Lafayette Park Hotel.

Each year, tied to the auction, we designate a Fund A Need project for the year.  The Fund A Need helps us enhance a program or our grounds and facilities to benefit all of our students.

Last year our Fund A Need was for the STEM program and thanks to your generosity we were able to raise over $55,000 to renovate our science room and add new technology and materials to enhance the program.  Our students have been enjoying this new classroom and all of the additional projects and science kits they have been able to dive into this year.

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This year’s Fund A Need project is Amplify the Arts and your gifts will go directly towards enhancing our music, performing and visual arts programs.  At Saklan, educating our students goes far beyond acquiring important academic skills. The experiences in our Arts Programs are an essential piece of how we accomplish our mission of fostering students…

To become more Compassionate– through exploring other cultures, communities, and characters through music, art, dance, and drama, and supporting one another through these processes.

To become more Creative– through exploring various media and learning how to express themselves with their voices and hearts: singing, acting, playing instruments, or with their hands by creating unique pieces of visual art.

To become more Courageous– through being on stage, displaying their art, or composing music as means of expressing their unique ideas and voices to the world.

Our goal is to give Mrs. Chaffey, Mr. Isaac, and Ms. Natalie the items and technology they feel will be the most impactful ways of enhancing our programs and take our music, performing and visual arts programs to the next level.

Highlights of this year’s Amplify the Arts project include:

  • Kiln, Mini Print Presses, and New Art Tables
  • New Technology and Equipment for Recording and Composing
  • African Drums in the Ewe Tradition of Ghana
  • New Mac Computers for Teachers and New Digital Art for Students
  • Protective Glass Display Cases for Student Art

The faculty and I thank you in advance for supporting our kids.  We look forward to seeing you at the auction.

Have a great weekend!

Peter