Letter from the Principal
August 2020

News

Greetings Tahoe Families,

I hope you all have been able to make the most of your summer. When we said our goodbyes in June, my hope for all of you was that you could stop the daily worry about distance learning for a bit, enjoy each other, get off schedule, and rest. If your lives have allowed you to do this, wonderful! If they did not, I hope that you have found ways that work for your family to both decompress and reconnect so you are ready to begin the new school year. I know there is a lot of anxiety about beginning the school year via Distance Learning, especially doing so without a specific end in sight. This is not how we would have liked to kick off the 2020/2021 school year to say the least. It’s disappointing. It’s nerve racking. But as last spring taught us, I know that together we can overcome this challenge and have a positive and successful school year. Unlike our experience in the spring however, this time around we have three months of experience with Distance Learning under our collective belts and the time we need to better prepare ourselves and our students. We learned what worked and what didn’t. We’ve learned how to best engage our students, and how to better support our families. We will be ready to ensure that each and every one of them has what they need in order to learn and grow this year, Distance Learning or not.  

With just one month left of summer break, I am back at work, preparing our teachers and staff for our return to school via Distance Learning on September 3. As I begin this work, I recognize that there are a number of universal questions and concerns that I hope I can address here. Please take a few minutes to carefully read each item. (The blue text are hyperlinks connecting you directly to additional resources). If, after reading, you still have specific questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Please know that I am a parent too. I deeply understand the enormous challenges of Distance Learning, particularly in a home with working parents and school-age children. My commitment to all of you is that in addition to ensuring our planning puts kids first and are in alignment with public health guidelines, District Learning guidelines and Tahoe specific goals, I use my parental lens to help guide my decisions as well. While, I cannot possibly begin to know the intricacies of scheduling, working and learning in each of your homes, I will do my best to mitigate as many complicating factors as I can. Most importantly, I will work to ensure our available resources are allocated to best serve our students.

Equity & Anti-Racism

In order to make our school, community and world a safe, equitable and welcoming space for all children and adults, Tahoe teachers and staff are committed to the work of being anti-racist educators. To this end we are spending time researching, discussing, and actualizing how we can better achieve equity in our learning environment that values every student, every single day.  Our work is centered around acknowledging our own bias, building relationships with students and families in the virtual environment, and engaging students in work that is socially and culturally relevant. As we progress through the year, we’ll keep you updated about what we’re doing! 

Distance Learning

All SCUSD schools and students are returning to school via Distance Learning this fall. This includes all grade levels, from TK through 12th grade, general education students and those with IEPs for special education. There are no exceptions. The first day of school is Thursday, September 3. We do not know how long Distance Learning will continue, this depends entirely on Sacramento County of Education Guidelines. It is my hope that your child’s teacher will be able to reach out to you directly prior to September 3 to share their grade level learning plans, schedules and how to get started that first week. We will also hold virtual Back to School Nights (dates TBD). For more information about how SCUSD is returning back to school, please visit our district Return Together website. Tahoe’s Distance Learning Plan will be developed in alignment with the district’s plan, for which some of the details are still being finalized and negotiated with labor partners. I ask that you remain patient and trust that I will provide concrete information as soon as I am able.

Class Assignments & Lists

In partnership with my grade level teams, we developed tentative class assignments in May for the 2020/2021 school year. This is a careful, thoughtful process in which we consider student academic, behavioral, and social emotional needs as well as strive to create balanced classrooms in which our children learn alongside all kinds of peers. Given that we are now returning in the distance learning format, I have made some adjustments to hopefully make learning at home for families of same age siblings more streamlined. In addition to help mitigate the negative effects of overlapping schedules; I will be working with grade level teams to align Google Classrooms, instruction, and the learning opportunities to be more streamlined. Finally, my intention is to post class lists earlier this year (date is to be determined, more to come on that) to allow families and teachers to connect ahead of the first day of school.  In keeping with Health Department guidelines, those lists will be provided to the Tahoe Community electronically via newsletter and email. If your email has changed, now is a great time to log into your Infinite Campus account and update your information so you do not miss any Tahoe news. As in years prior, I will not be changing class assignments for any reason. As I hope you can imagine, there is no such thing as a “small change” when it comes to class assignments as there is always a ripple effect for other students. In keeping with my commitment to equity, I cannot in good faith, make changes that impact students whose families are not in a position to advocate in this way for their children.

Enrollment & Dis-enrollment

If you are new to our small but wonderful Tahoe community, welcome! When our Office Manager, Jamilah Rhym returns to work next week, I will have a better idea of where we stand with enrollment and can answer your specific questions then. For now, if you registered either in our office for kinder this winter or for any grade level through the district enrollment center, your registration was complete when you submitted all required paperwork.

If your child is not returning to Tahoe this fall, please be sure to let us know. This information will help us plan and prepare for the first day of school as well as help us provide your students educational information to their new school of residence. Please know that should you choose to do dis-enroll at any point for any reason, I am unable to guarantee a space upon return.

Staffing

As with every school year, changes happen. We are saying farewell to Ms. Ah-Yun our 5th/6th grade teacher who has taken a wonderful new career opportunity outside of education. In addition, we wished Ms. Fossum our kindergarten teacher all the best as she left Tahoe for new experiences.  These goodbyes also bring a “hello”! I am excited to announce that Mr. Adam McCurdy will be joining us to teach 5th grade. Mr. McCurdy comes to us with experience teaching in both the elementary and secondary education system and has a background in Special Education. He is familiar with the distance learning format and is excited to meet all of his students! We also have some shifting of grade levels for our teachers:

  • Mrs. Kojima-Black will be moving down to teach Kindergarten with Mrs. Langpacan
  • Mrs. Moua will be moving down to teach first grade with Ms. Henry.
  • Mrs. Sullivan will be moving back down to second grade to partner with Ms. Gee-Campbell

As we approach the first day of school and our enrollment shifts, there may be additional changes that will be made to staffing so stay tuned!

Chromebooks

Chromebooks will again be available for families who need them and all of our incoming Kindergarten or newly enrolled students. As of right now, I do not yet have distribution information, but will share when I do. If you have a Chromebook you need to return because you have moved or it is not functioning, please send me an email.

Kindergarten

The kinder team will be conducting a virtual Kinder Parent Orientation on Wednesday, August 26th , 9-10am. We will provide information to prepare your children and yourself for the first weeks of school and answer all of your questions then. Login information will follow at a later date.

Early Kindergarten

Early Kindergarten (TK) will also be holding a virtual orientation. Your teacher, Ms. Dawn Orosco will be providing you with updated information on this in the coming weeks.

SCUSD Learning Options Form

If you have not yet done so, please complete the SCUSD Learning Options Form. You do NOT need your student’s ID number. Simply enter 99999999 if you do not have it on hand. Without office staff yet back on calendar, I am not able to respond to individual requests for student id numbers.

Communication

If you haven’t yet done so, please Click Here to check that your email information in Infinite Campus is accurate, view your student’s report card or set up an Infinite Campus account. This will be our primary way of communicating with you so it is important that you update your contact information. In addition, our website and Facebook Page will also have updated information for you to access.

I will be in touch as more information becomes available. In the meantime, stay safe, have fun and enjoy the last weeks of this strange summer as best you can!

Aprille Shafto

Principal, Tahoe Elementary School
Aprille-Shafto@scusd.edu