White Oaks Weekly - September 12, 2021

From the Principal

The Year of Wonder
White Oaks 2021 Launch Book

I make a habit of learning for learning’s sake. I just want to know! I ask so many questions and enroll in education classes to fill my constant appetite for wonderings. Sparking and encouraging curiosity plays a crucial role in fostering learning and acquiring knowledge in everyday life. Inspiring students to embrace their curiosity is an important part of education. Curiosity is key to learning. In fact, studies show that, when we’re curious about a subject, we are much more likely to remember the information we learned about it.

The book Everywhere, Wonder explores the wonder in the world while encouraging young minds to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, to creatively share their stories, and to question the world around them. During the past few weeks, each classroom teacher read this heartfelt picture book, encouraging students to question and explore. 

Before each Welcome Wednesday, I select a wonder from our school Wonder Wall (pictured below). A student volunteer and I research the wonder and present the findings at our assembly, hoping to inspire further curiosity. The Welcome Wednesday student presenter sign-up form includes the chance to research and present the weekly wonder. I hope our Wonder Wall will ignite the natural curiosity in all of us to deliberately and simultaneously address skills-based learning and the “5 Cs” of 21st-century skills.

White Oaks Wonder Wall

Attendance Awareness Month
September is Attendance Awareness Month, and I am partnering with the San Mateo County Office of Education and the San Carlos School District to highlight important information about why we need your child at school learning as much as possible. Our goal this year is to ensure that every student attends school regularly.

Showing up for school has an impact on a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life. The state monitors chronic absenteeism as a performance indicator on the California School Dashboard and has asked each school to engage its community to build awareness about attendance. Take a moment to read 10 Facts About School Attendance prepared by Attendance Works (and click on the infographic below for more info) to help your family make attendance a priority this school year.

Attendance research shows ...

We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. The SCSD Health & Safety Plan advises on pages 5-6 when to keep your child home due to illness. We also know that when students miss too much school — regardless of the reason — it can cause them to fall behind academically. Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent, meaning they miss 18 or more days in a school year. 

Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month! Please ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time. Here are a few practical tips to help support regular attendance:

  • Build regular routines for bedtime and getting ready for school. 
  • Select clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Talk about the importance of regular attendance and how your child feels about school.
  • Avoid allowing your child to miss school unless they are truly sick. Use a thermometer to check for a fever. Remember that stomachaches and headaches may be signs of anxiety, and our school counselors can help. 
  • Try to avoid scheduling vacations and doctor appointments when school is in session. (There are 185 days in the year when school is NOT in session.)
  • Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
  • Develop backup plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.

At White Oaks, we are here to support your family so that your child can show up for school on time every day. If you have questions or need more information, please let us know. As a clarification, absences due to family travel are unexcused absences, as this reason does not meet the state’s criteria for excused absences. It is a requirement that I notify families of unexcused absences or tardies in excess of three days. This notice is meant to build awareness and offer support if there are obstacles to getting your child to school that we can address collaboratively. 

view pdf from attendance works: attendance in the early grades

Please click on the infographic above to see a larger version. Many thanks for your partnership with this effort to increase school attendance at White Oaks! 

One Position Open on the White Oaks School Site Council
The White Oaks School Site Council consists of 5 parent or community members and 5 staff members, including the principal. Parent or community members are selected through an election. About seven meetings are scheduled each year, usually on a Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. via Zoom until further notice. Please refer to the SSC News September 2021 email that will go out Sept. 16 for more information.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Site Council, please email Kim Norgaard with a blurb about why, and how you would contribute. If more than one person is interested, we will hold an election to fill the opening. 

Upcoming Events

Monday, Sept. 13: Late Bird schedule starts for Kindergarten
Tuesday, Sept. 14: School Board special open meeting, 6:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 23: Site Council meeting, 3 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 27: Picture Day

Warm Regards,

Kim Norgaard, Interim Principal

Picture Day is Monday, Sept. 27

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School News and Events

Join Us in the Classroom: Volunteer for Art in Action!
Art in Action is a volunteer-led, hands-on classroom art program. No artistic skills required! Just an interest in working in the classroom and an enthusiasm to engage with students about art. Lead a lesson or help make sure the lesson runs smoothly. Sign up through this PTA form.

Tour the Art Closet to learn more about this PTA-funded, parent-led program:

Monday, Sept. 20, 2:00-2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 21, 8:25-8:55 a.m.

Please RSVP for an Art Closet tour at aia.whiteoaks@gmail.com

Location: The Art Closet is accessed from the eastern yard, near the After School portable. Please check in at the office first.

NOTE: Before volunteering on campus, you must complete this volunteer form, then complete a Self-Certification of Vaccination Form (to be email to you by the district), and provide a copy of your vaccination card or show evidence of a weekly negative COVID test.   

Thank You from the PTA and How to Join
Thank you to everyone who came to our first PTA meeting. It was great to see so many new faces. We are grateful to everyone who presented and shared feedback. And a huge thanks to all our incredible volunteers who worked throughout the summer and are continuing to work each and every day to keep our community and school strong.

We are also happy to announce that we have over 75 PTA members! Thank you to those who have joined. Our goal this year is 100% membership. The details:

  • How do I join? Sign up online via Totem.
  • What is the cost? $20 per family (plus $1 fee).
  • Why join? 
    • CONNECT with new friends and the White Oaks community.
    • SUPPORT school-wide events and programs.
    • MAKE your voice heard in Sacramento.
  • Why is your membership important? Members play a role in decision-making at our monthly White Oaks PTA meetings. Higher membership gives our PTA a powerful voice in advocating for our children in the California Legislature. 100% membership sends a message that our district is made up of voters who are concerned and involved.


SCEF News and Events

Meet the Executive Director of San Carlos Education Foundation
Welcome back and thank you for your commitment to SCEF. Please watch this video for a message from Execu

tive Director Kathy Parmer-Lohan. Learn more about how your donations benefit all students at every school at scefkids.org.

Ready to Give but Not Sure How? Be a GEM.
When you Give Every Month, your support of SCEF is spread across the entire year. If you sign up NOW, your donation will be given over 10 months (September-June), for example: $150 a month = $1,500 total. Learn more and join this campaign (at any dollar amount) at scefkids.org/gem. Did you know that you can also set up monthly donations on most corporate workplace giving portals? Visit yours today to give with your company matching if possible.

Like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram @scefkids for all SCEF news. 


District News and Events

Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC) Parent Education Night
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 6-7 p.m.
Please join us for a Parent Ed Night on Mental Health. We are excited to welcome guest speakers from the San Carlos School District and One Life Counseling Services: 

  • Kiersten Daniel Baca, Mental Health Coordinator 
  • Katherine Chi, One Life Associate at Mariposa 

They will be discussing mental health services that the SCSD provides, One Life Counseling and their resources, as well as other areas surrounding mental health and kids. 

We look forward to connecting with you soon! Please send questions about attending this presentation to Trisha Lebus or Judy Woo

Join via Zoom. ID: 92552834293 / Passcode: Kb5e8yL6
(US) +1 669-900-6833 / Passcode: 25625154 

Sponsored by SEDAC and SCSD Special Education Department.

COVID Reminders: Stay Home When Sick and Get Tested
Staying home when sick and getting tested for COVID-19 are two of the most effective ways to keep our community safe. Find details from the SCSD Health & Safety Plan in this document


If you have any of the symptoms listed above, call your school office to report an illness, stay home, and take a COVID test.
If you need to report a COVID case, please call District Nurse Page Pollack at 650-632-8300 (Arroyo office) or Human Resources at 650-590-5922 if the nurse is unavailable.

For more information, visit our COVID-19 Resources page and review the SCSD Health & Safety Plan.

Schedule Your Appointment at the Curative COVID-19 Testing Van
Please take advantage of the no-cost COVID-19 testing provided by the San Mateo County Health Department.

Sign up online to begin your regular weekly testing at the Central Middle School parking lot, under the solar structure (757 Cedar St., San Carlos). 

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Thursdays 1-7 p.m.
  • Fridays 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Find other community testing sites in San Mateo County here.


Community News and Events

Hummingbird Music School
Join after-school Piano Class or Ukulele Class with Hummingbird Music School on Thursday afternoons! Classes are held right after school in Room 8. Fall Session begins Thursday, Sept. 16 and runs 10 weeks. Register on the Hummingbird website

Legarza All Sports and Basketball Wednesday Programs Starting
Join Legarza Sports for an All Sports or Basketball Program on Wednesdays from 12:45-1:45 p.m. beginning Sept. 22.

Legarza All Sports: Our All Sports after-school programs take the energy, organization and fun you are used to with Legarza Camps and adapt it to a shorter format. Your child will have an opportunity to learn a little about and play basketball, soccer, football, baseball/softball, ultimate frisbee, capture the flag, obstacle course and relay races, among many other age-appropriate camp games and activities. 

Legarza Basketball: Our goal is for all kids to work hard and feel good about themselves in a safe, disciplined, highly structured and motivating environment of learning and fun. We place the child and his or her personal development ahead of the game. Positive encouragement and measured improvement in the fundamental skills are trademarks of our programs, as well as players learning to work together in a team setting. 

Register at legarzasports.org.

Parent Education Series from The Parent Venture
As Olympic athletes pushed mental health to the forefront, we welcome clinical and sports psychologist Steve Smith for a timely discussion on “The Twisties”: Youth Sports, Competition, and Mental Health (Sept. 15, online).

SPECIAL EVENT! Frank Bruni, author of “Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be,” joins Alice Kleeman, award-winning former college advisor, in Beyond Being Admitted: Making the Most of the College Experience (Sept. 22, online).

September is Suicide Prevention Month. San Mateo County Health, Sequoia Healthcare District, StarVista, and The Parent Venture offer resources for youth mental health and suicide prevention. Mark your calendars! (Sept. 28)

How will the pandemic affect learning and mental health? Anya Kamenetz, NPR education correspondent, will discuss her upcoming book, The Stolen Year: How Americas Covid Response Failed Children, and How We Can Fix It (Sept. 29, online).

Keys: for Parenting is here! Keys is a new communication tool that puts parenting advice at your fingertips — literally, it’s a keyboard! — developed by Charlene Margot and Bev Hartman, co-founders of The Parent Venture. Give Keys a try!

Want more great parenting advice? Follow the Parent Education Series on social media (Instagram and Facebook), or subscribe to our free Video Library (YouTube), a popular and trusted resource with over 21,000 views!