Cougar Connect

Week of October 21, 2019

Construction Update - IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!

There will be some major construction work that will take place at the Goodwin school entrance starting on Monday. It will last 8-10 days. During this time no one will be able to access Kennedy from this entrance, which I know will be highly inconvenient. The gate we open at drop off and pick up off of the new parking lot will be open instead and you can still use the entrances on Washington.

I have also been asked to relay that we cannot have families stopping and/or dropping off students on Goodwin Ave in front of the new Admin office building. Stopped cars could cause a blockage of the street and create dangerous situations for all pedestrians.

October Middle Years

Attached below is the October edition of the Middle Years.

WEB Carnival

The 6th grade WEB Carnival is this Friday! Permission slips are due this Friday, October 22, to your student’s 7th period teacher or the office. Students who turn in a permission slip will receive a ticket to the event and a ziplock bag for all of their prizes during 7th period on Friday. Students will line up at the gym entrance after school and their backpacks will be locked in the gym for the duration of the event, 3:15-4:15 pm. The event will take place in the 500 wing, lunch shelter, and field area.

The games have been planned and will be led by our 8th grade WEB Leaders. They will be setting up the games during 7th period on Friday so that we are ready to go after school for the 6th graders. I need about 5 parent volunteers from 2:30-4:30 pm to help with the popcorn and cotton candy machines. Please sign up to help:

Halloween Costumes

We will allow students to wear costumes on Halloween and at the Halloween Dance. Costumes need to be school appropriate. Here are some guidelines/rules, many of which are our normal dress code items that still apply:

  • We must be able to tell who the student is, so no masks.

  • No fake blood or weapons (real or fake).

  • Students may not show midriffs or excessive amounts of skin.

  • Costumes may not have obscene language, hate speech or themes/references to drugs, alcohol, the occult, death/suicide, or violence.

  • No gang-related clothing or items.

  • Closed toed and closed back shoes must be worn at all times; slides, slippers, house shoes, and flip flops are prohibited.

Halloween Dance

We are getting excited for our first dance of the year on Friday, November 1, from 6-8 pm. While we want all students to be able to attend the dance, it is also a privilege. We have been announcing all month that students with any disciplinary issues (referrals, suspensions, etc.), will not be sold a dance ticket, so I want to make sure you have that same information.

Dance tickets will be sold at lunch starting Tuesday, October 29, for $5. We do not sell tickets at the door to discourage guests trying to show up from other schools. We will have a photo booth with props where the students can take unlimited pictures and get print outs, as well as a DJ. Included as well in the ticket price is pizza and a water bottle. Once students enter the dance they may not leave until the end of the dance unless a parent comes in to pick them up.

If you are able to donate water bottles that would be great. They can be sent to the office. Water bottles are difficult to get reimbursed. We also need 10-20 chaperones from 5:45-8:00 pm. Please volunteer:

Astronomy Night - Mark Your Calendars!

The Science Department is hosting our second annual Astronomy Night. Join us on Tuesday, November 12, at 6 pm at the picnic tables in front of the 500 wing by the field. We will have pizza and other treats. Then we will have telescopes out to look at the full moon. Feel free to bring your own telescope as well.

Message/Situation Thursday

Many of you have inquired more about why we secured the campus on Thursday, so I want to share the clarifying details that I can share. There are a lot of rumors going around, like a dad was going to come shoot the school or there was going to be a kidnapping. It was none of these things, nor was it that straightforward of a situation, which always makes things trickier. However, the situation has been 100% resolved and there is no danger to Kennedy students or staff.

We received some information from a parent about a personal situation not long before brunch on Thursday. As you know in life, there are two sides to every story. Mrs. Leonardo called the Redwood City Police to get more information and see if the school should proceed in a certain way or take any actions. We were told they had to do some investigating and they would get back to us. So at that point we had two choices: wait and do nothing or be proactive and take the cautious route that might be unnecessary. Given that we highly value safety and it was about to be brunch when there are a lot of moving people and things happening, we decided to lock the gates and have eyes at the three main entrances.

It just so happened that at brunch an officer came to campus to investigate something totally unrelated (that again was a family situation that happened outside of Kennedy). However, upon learning about our current situation and that we were about to participate in the County-wide Great Shakeout Drill where everyone would be outside for a while, he called the Sergeant. The Sergeant confirmed with me that it was Kennedy’s decision to secure the gates, which was correct. He did not agree nor disagree with the decision and basically told me to go with my gut feeling. He did advise that it was okay to move forward with the earthquake drill and the rest of the day until there was more information. The officer on campus supported our decision regarding the gates and that we were going to tell teachers to lock their doors after the drill. (A number of teachers actually lock their doors all day anyway, which is why I always have my lanyard around my neck with keys. So this wasn’t so out of the ordinary).

There were actually a lot of things working in our favor that day that in general made me feel better while we waited for more information. There was a random officer in his car on Maddux giving out tickets that morning for a while that I observed when I went out to watch some of our PE classes. The officer who came on campus to investigate ended up being at Kennedy for a large part of the school day. (Don’t forget it was a short day). Also, Dr. Baker was in the Bond Office (portables on Goodwin) most of the school day and we were in communication with him and Facilities.

Again, in the end everything is okay and I understand that everyone was a little uneasy. We unfortunately can’t share personal information unless it is absolutely imperative and confirmed. It is always better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this and I 100% believe we made the right decisions on Thursday based on the information we had.

As I have mentioned in the past, Kennedy is going through a lot of facilities updates because of the Bond. We are supposed to get some new gates that lock automatically from the outside, but we can easily exit from the inside, for just this reason. We are not quite there yet. The great thing about Kennedy is we have a nice big campus. The down side is that it can be accessed from a lot of different ways, which is why the new gates and other safety measures are needed in this day and age.

A parent asked me what the procedures would be if there ever was a lock down in terms of communication. Again, this was not a lock down or we would have been sheltered in place. If this were to occur, families would be notified as soon as possible from the District through our Blackboard Connect system (text, email, call/voice message). The level of shelter in place would depend on the situation. In some situations if there is something going on in the area and not on campus we might be told to shelter in place. This means classes would continue and students would stay inside. In a very serious “code red” situation we would barricade, hide, and be silent until further instructed. (We practice this as a drill twice per year. We did our first one in September).

Amazon Smile

A reminder that you can give back to Kennedy at no extra cost by using Amazon Smile when you purchase items on Amazon. Here is a link for more information:
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If you have any box tops at home, please send them in with your student this week. There are two dates each year we can mail them in to earn money for our school. The deadline is coming up, so we need to mail them in before November 1 . Even after this week, please continue to send them in for our next big turn in. Many of you have probably also noticed that Boxtops has gone digital. Please go to the boxtops website,, and create an account. Select that you want to donate them to Kennedy Middle School and then you scan your receipt each time.

What’s All the Buzz with JUUL & Similar Vape Devices?

Please see the flier attached below. We are bringing back the vaping parent and student informational night again this year. Kennedy is hosting, but it is open to anyone in the community who is interested in attending.

Volunteers Needed

We could use more volunteers during the school day to assist with a variety of things. If you are able to help, contact Office Manager, Liz Avalos, for more details. Please consider volunteering one day a week each week to help with lunchtime supervision. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays this is from 12:02-12:32 pm. On block days, Wednesdays and Thursdays, this is from 11:32 am-12:02 pm.

Another great opportunity to help is with after school homework help and tutoring. This takes place Mondays-Thursdays for an hour after school (Monday-Wednesday from 3:10-4:10 pm and Thursday from 1:40-2:40 pm). If that doesn’t work, but another time of the day does once per week, you can come in and tutor and mentor a student once per week as part of our partnership with Healthy Cities Tutoring.

I need some specific seasonal help on on October 24, 25, 28, 29, and 30 to setup and supervise the pumpkin decorating at lunch for our annual pumpkin decorating competition.

We are also looking for reading help in our English Language Learner classes. Please see the announcement below from our community reading partner, Los Ayudantes:

Literacy tutors/mentors wanted for the Long Term English Learners classes at Kennedy. Tutors help students with their ReadWorks reading assignments and act as mentors to help the students with organizational and life skills as they work toward passing the ELPAC test. Help is most wanted in the 7th and 8th grade classes, but 6th grade classes as well if that is best for the volunteer's schedule. Please see the schedule below.

Volunteers should be academic English proficient and enjoy working with students. Training is provided. You can volunteer for just one period a week (or more), but please commit to volunteering for the school year. Contact Jenni Farrell ( with our literacy partner non-profit, Los Ayudantes, to volunteer.

Monday, Tuesday, or Friday

Period 1 8:25-9:15 (50 min) (8th graders)

Period 2 9:18-10:06 (48 min) (6th graders)

Period 3 10:23-11:11 (48 min) (7th graders)

Period 4 11:14-12:02 (48 min) (7th graders)

Period 6 1:26-2:14 (48 min) (6th graders)

Period 7 2:17-3:05 (48 min) (6th graders)

School Tours

Many of you and families from our feeder schools have asked about school tours since they have traditionally been in October, November, and December. I was told we need to wait until after Meet RCSD Night, which is in January. The MIT Principal and myself have voiced our concerns that this is really late to wait for the middle schools since we are in a different boat than the K-5 and K-8 schools. I will keep you posted on the response. Thank you for being patient. We will be having our second annual Electives & Clubs Showcase Night on Thursday, November 21, from 7-8:30 pm that is for our current families, but this is also open to any perspective families. For those interested in our music program, they can also come to our winter concert on Thursday, December 5, at 7:00 pm in the gym.

Academic Support

Breakfast Club (Breakfast Provided)

7:45-8:15 am, Library (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays)

After School Help (Snacks Provided)

3:10-4:10 pm, Room 531 (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays)

1:40-2:40 pm, Room 531 (Thursdays)


Anime Club - Thursdays, Lunch, Room 417

Book Club - Wednesdays, 3:10-4:10, Room 531

Dungeons & Dragons Club - Tuesdays, 3:15-4:15 pm, Room 528

Earth Club - Wednesdays, Lunch, Library

Maker Space Club - Mondays, Lunch, Room 531

Photograph Club - Tuesdays, Lunch, and Wednesdays, 3:10-4:10 pm, Room 314

Pokemon Card Club - Fridays, 3:10-4:10 pm, Room 421

Sci-Fi Club - Tuesday, Lunch, Room B-5 (Every Other Week, Starting This Tuesday)

Yoga Club - Tuesdays & Thursdays, Lunch, Room A1 (Locker Room)

Students can show up to the club and do not need to sign up ahead of time.

Announcements From The Community

No Such Thing As A Bad Kid

The Parent Education Series that has sponsored some of our events last year is hosting two nights of a presentation called, No Such Thing As a Bad Kid. See the link for more details:

Pictures From This Week

October Events

Tuesday, October 22: WEB Leader Meeting, Lunch, Library; PTO Meeting, 7:00 pm, Library

Thursday, October 24: Candy Corn Caldron Toss Competition, Lunch, In Front of Rooms 534 & 535

Thursday, October 24-Wednesday, October 30: Pumpkin Decorating, Lunch, Outside of Room 529 and 530

Friday, October 25: 6th Grade WEB Carnival, 3:15-4:15 pm, Gym/Lunch Shelter, 500-Wing

Tuesday, October 29 - Friday, November 1: Dance Tickets On Sale, $5, Lunch, In Front of Room 534 & 535

Wednesday, October 30: Site Council, 3:15 pm, Library

Thursday, October 31: Halloween! Wear Your Costume To School (Must be school-appropriate); Pumpkin Contest Judging, Brunch

Friday, November 1: Halloween Dance, 6:00-8:00 pm, Gym