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Mr. Popper's Penguins            Read by Mrs. Kawahara


Patricia Kawahara

June 4, 2020

Well, we made it to the end of the year!  This year, more than ever, we could not have done it without your support!  We all deserve a little bit of a break and I hope that you and your children have some time to relax, even if it is just in the backyard. I am attaching a link to a survey that will help us reflect and grow in our service to the community. If you have a few moments, we would appreciate your insights.   Survey link   

I know that there are many questions about what next year will look like, and at this point, I do not have any answers.  At the last MDUSD Board Meeting, Jennifer Sachs presented the development plan that will be used to design the program(s) for next fall.  I am attaching the link, should you want to review it.  As we receive information I will keep you posted.  We will also post it on our website.  No matter what adjustments may lay ahead, we will continue to support our students in their academic and social-emotional growth.  Development Plan link


As this is the end of the school year letter, I had wanted to keep the tone light and celebratory.  However, given recent events around the country I feel that it would be remiss to not address the deep sadness and anger being expressed on the streets throughout the country and the systemic racism underlying it.  As a white woman I have worked to understand my privilege and the responsibility to address institutionalized racism.  The urgency of this work is felt everyday as I look at the faces of our beautiful students and know that the work must be done now so that our students have a better tomorrow.  As a staff we have begun the conversation and work around equity – deepening our understanding of our own racial experiences and how they inform the work we do with students. This work will continue to be a focus as we move forward. 

Thank you, as always, for the gift of your child,

Patricia Kawahara

Principal, Sequoia Elementary

Principal’s End-of-Year Updates

Pick Up/Turn in Dates:

Parents will be invited to school starting Wednesday, May 27th through Friday, May 29th to turn in Chromebooks and library books, and to pick up student’s personal items.  Yearbooks and Alumni T-shirts (for 5th graders who ordered them) will also be available for pick-up at this time.  The Leadership Team has developed a plan that allows for appropriate social distancing.  We will be sharing the plan next week.

Distance Learning Update:

The week of May 26th students will transition from online learning to offline lessons and experiences, so students can expect that Zoom and other online meetings will conclude after May 22nd.  Offline learning will be concluding on Friday, May 29th.  This will allow students to stay engaged without devices, as we are collecting them that week of May.

5th Grade Zoom Promotion Celebration:

We will hold an online promotion ceremony for our departing 5th graders on Thursday, May 28th at 9:00 am.  This is a change from previous plans to hold promotion on the official last day of school, due to updated guidance from the District.  5th Grade Teachers will be sending out all the details.

Report Cards and Assessment:

Every student will be sent a report card by mail at the end of the school year. We are following the district guidelines to “Hold Harmless” students during this unprecedented time. Many students will receive marks of NA (Not Applicable) for many standards, as the distance learning model creates too many variables to hold students accountable, and we do not necessarily have a true measure of a student’s understanding. Over the past month, teachers have been working on closing the loop in terms of gauging student progress.  This information has been used to measure growth and target instruction.

April 26, 2020

Dear Sequoia Stars,

I hope you are doing well! We miss you and continue to look forward to the day that we see you again!

My children greatly enjoyed the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater so I thought I would share it with you.  Click on the link if you get a chance.  I hope you find the story as silly as Walter and Emiko do.

Sending hugs!

Mrs. Kawahara

April 12, 2020

Dear Sequoia Stars,

Happy Monday!  I hope you all enjoyed Spring Break – even if you were just home relaxing. 

We recently got word that we will have to extend the School Closure through the end of the school year.  While this is very sad news for all of us, I know that we will continue to come together as a community!  We will see our classmates and teachers in Zoom/Google meetings and continue to learn and grow together!  I may even drop in on some meetings – I hope to see each of you there!

The IB Learner Profile for April is Principled. We are Principled when, We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.” 

This week is Spirit Week (thank you to Mrs. Altman and SPA for coordinating!).

Monday             Stuffed Animal Day

Tuesday            Hat Day

Wednesday       Crazy Sock Day

Thursday          Silly Hair Day

Friday               Spirit Day

Enjoy the week my friends and continue to shine bright Sequoia Stars!!

Mrs. Kawahara