Last Wednesday, November 3rd, marked our First Annual Orange Envelope Day! Kicking off our Annual Giving Fund (AGF) with lots of enthusiasm, students and parents were able to drop their orange donation envelopes in the orange box and ring our cowbell to mark the occasion – it brought lots of joy and attention to drop off and pick up! Thank you for helping to make it historic. Orange Envelope Day yielded 37 gifts and participation from 24% of our families- Go Saklan!
It speaks volumes about our community that families are willing to contribute a meaningful gift to the AGF. Each gift supports our commitment to fostering a sense of belonging and being connected to every student. Moreover, it strengthens the bond of shared common values between all of us. Those values of belonging and connectedness are instrumental to who we are and what we do.
Asking for a financial gift from a community that already gives so much in the way of time, money and trust, takes a nuanced approach. While we focus on participation because it is an indicator of belonging, the truth of the matter is that we would fall short of our financial goal without the larger donations that are made. Our community is socioeconomically diverse, with some families who have more capacity to give monetarily than others. This is where the nuance comes in. Larger gifts bring us closer to moving the dial on experiences that strengthen your child’s love for learning. High participation is a vote of being connected to the community that values those experiences. We strive for both. We want Saklan to be your primary philanthropic cause and ask you to give to your fullest capacity. Whether your gift is $5 or $15,000, if it is meaningful to you, it is meaningful to us.
Thank you for believing in us to partner with you in your child’s educational journey. Thank you to those who have already shown their support for the AGF. We are more than halfway to our goals of raising $150,000 and reaching 100% participation, and I am confident that both will continue to rise.
Last Friday, our Kindergarten and 1st grade students were delighted to find out who their 3rd or 4th grade learning buddy is for the year. For their first buddies meeting, the students played a get-to-know-you game and then spent time reading together.
The big buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their little buddies, and then were honored to listen to their little buddies read too. The Kindergarten, first, third and fourth grade students thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!
Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help the older buddies develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!
The Owlets, Hoot Owls and Kindergarteners learned about Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs around the world, including some of their classmates! Diwali is the festival of lights and lasts for 5 days in October or November. The students read the books Diwali by Hannah Eliot and Shubh Diwali! by Citra Soundar to get a better understanding of the festival.
The Owlets and Hoot Owls learned about an art form called Rangoli, a geometric design on the floor (or other flat surface) made using colored rice, sand, dry flour, or flower petals. The owls watched a video of someone creating a Rangoli, and then made their own. The Owlets used colored sand, while the Hoot Owls used colored salt, for their Rangoli.
The Kindergarteners learned about diyas, which are oil lamps that are lit during Diwali to bring light and dispel darkness. The Kindergarteners made their own paper diyas and decorated them with jewels and stickers.
In science, our fifth graders have been learning about the relative size and distance of the planets in our solar system. They began by drawing and cutting out scale models of the planets, and then went outside to measure their distance from the sun. The fifth graders had to go very far away from the Sun to correctly locate Mercury and Venus. Students started by placing the Sun in the far end of the church parking lot across the street from Saklan, and then used yardsticks to determine the correct placement of Mercury and Venus. They had to carefully cross the street, and continue measuring through the Saklan parking lot and into the front gate before they got to the correct spots for the planets.
This was definitely a multi-sensory, hands-on way to determine and understand the scale of our solar system!
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first Parent Ed talk of the year on Thursday, November 9th. During the event, Alexis Bernstein, founder of Within Reach Nutrition and a Saklan parent, shared everything one needs to know about sugar. She discussed how much sugar the average American consumes, sugars effects on the body, why we crave it, and gave advice on how to “crowd it out” of your diet. If you weren’t able to join us, you can view the recording of the session here.
Thank you very much to Alexis Bernstein for sharing her expertise with our community, and to the Saklan PA for organizing this event.
Our imaginative first graders fashioned constellations out of marshmallows and q-tips! Then the students wrote facts and stories to explain their creations and presented them to the class. They wrapped up their unit by learning their own version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
After learning about stars and constellations, the first graders delved into a unit about moons. Each student kept their own moon log for 4 weeks, observing the moon at home twice a week. They identified and described the different phases and drew them in their logs. Check out some examples of their logs below.
If you have questions about stars, constellations or moons, check with our local experts – the first graders!
In their Service Learning class, the eighth graders have been learning about food insecurity. They studied what food insecurity is and why it can occur in all areas of our world, including in our own communities. The eighth graders heard from two experts in the field who shared that those in need are mostly seniors on fixed incomes, working poor, and children.
In order to give back to the community, the eighth graders are going to be engaging in some activities around hunger in the coming month. On campus, the students will be leading a family group activity where they will teach the first through seventh graders what they have learned about food insecurity. Additionally, the eighth graders will be helping the 10,000 Lunches organization to make approximately 50 lunches for the homeless, and will be hosting a canned food drive for the Monument Crisis Center. They invite you to join them in giving to those facing food insecurity by donating to the food drive.
Since many families have been struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic and need help, the 8th graders decided that donated food would be the most practical way to help them. There will be large bins in the breezeway near the main office starting early next week, November 8th, and ending on Friday, December 10th. The following food items are requested: peanut butter, tuna, canned food (including soup, stew, vegetables, etc.), dry pasta, cereal, and rice. If your family does not want to donate food but still wants to help out, please click here to make a monetary donation. Thank you for showing compassion to our local community!
Saklan students have been learning about Dia de los Muertos in their Spanish classes. Dia de los Muertos is a celebratory tradition to welcome the spirits of loved ones who have departed. Ofrendas (altars for the spirits) are built using bright paper, flowers and candles (to show them the way), salt (for preservation and purification), calaveras (sugar skulls that symbolize the sweetness of life), food and drink (for nourishment) and photos of the loved ones. The students learned key vocabulary and then constructed different parts of the ofrenda in Spanish class.
The study of Dia de los Muertos was not only a great way for our students to practice Spanish vocabulary, and take part in a widely celebrated cultural tradition.
“For the past nine years, Annual Giving has become a welcomed time of reflection for our family. It’s a time when we pause and think about just how much Saklan means to our family, and to our kids individually. We initially joined Saklan to give Ryan (and eventually Cameron) an academically rigorous experience. We not only found that but gained so much more! We truly feel Saklan works with parents to raise future leaders; individuals with empathy and confidence who are capable of creating community-focused solutions for their generation. The special relationships between the teachers and students have empowered both Ryan and Cameron to embrace their individuality and passions, and be bold about acting on their ideas! The kids love going to school because they are having fun as they learn and they know that their actions, however small or large, can make a difference in the world!
We feel energized when Annual Giving comes around because it is a time when we can show the school how much we believe in its vision, and support them in shaping a new generation focused on compassion, courage and creativity. The Saklan community has been our community pillar for nearly a decade and our boys call it their ‘second home.’ What more can we ask for?!“