IHS IB Notes

August 2020

Thinking back and looking forward...

I chose this background for the newsletter so we could reminisce about being inside a classroom, though it's hard to find chalkboards these days. A year ago we were working on our first week of school with no idea of the changes that 2020 would bring. Whatever you think about starting 2020-21 virtually, we're all adapting, and we will get the best outcomes if we can work as a team to support each other, communicate clearly, and practice our patience.

I took time away from school tasks this summer, and I know that's left some of you with pending questions. I'm gearing back up this week and will strive to catch up with emails & Reminds by Friday. Please reach out to me on Monday if I left anything unanswered. You should have received various announcements from the school and district administration. I won't repeat all that, but you should know that all students start back virtually on August 27, participation is required, and grades can go both up and down (unlike the special conditions last spring). If your household has not been receiving those emails and/or automated calls periodically, it's probably best to call our main (virtual) office at 916-567-5640 to ensure that they have your information correct in Infinite Campus.

Inderkum IB Committee Meeting

Wednesday, Aug. 12th, 6pm

This is an online event.

The IB Committee is having their first meeting of the year on Wednesday, from 6-7, via Zoom. We had great participation at our last virtual meetings and hope that will continue. Yes, meetings normally are on the second Tuesday of the month, but we had some conflicts this week.

In addition to IB Board Members and President Sonia Mercado, Principal Dan Motherspaw and I will be participating. This meeting is intended for parents/guardians, but it's fine for students to listen in.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 950 9696 5476

Passcode: 519559

Gala 2020

I'm sure you all realized that the IB Gala can't be held in August, either. If you purchased a ticket and need a refund, please contact Sonia Mercado. As this is the only fundraiser that the Inderkum IB Committee normally holds for the year, their budget for "extras" is restricted. If you can leave your funds with the committee, tickets will be honored as soon as an event can take place. Donations always are welcome!

Service Opportunities

Why the cute picture? Since we'd be spending much more time at home this summer, I looked for another volunteer activity for myself. I knew that animal shelters were mostly shut down and offered to be a foster home for kittens. Between making that offer and hearing back, I lost one of my senior cats and adopted two kittens of my own to keep my other senior cat and dog company. So for the past two months, I've had quite a full house with my own animals and the fosters. My grumpy old cat is not impressed, but my dog thinks this is the best thing ever! That's Aki with one of the fosters above, and you can see a couple more of my fosters here. I take in bottle babies for Itsie Bitsie Rescue, and the three litters I've had came to me at 2 weeks, 2.5 weeks and 4 days old. I've worked and laughed a lot. There have been highs (getting to see eyes open, first kitten going to her permanent home) and lows (not all orphaned kittens make it).

I asked IBR leaders if there were some opportunities for students to help them, too, and we came up with three things you can do from home.

  • They would like to have students make thank you cards which could be sent to volunteers. This opportunity is open to any of you, and you can indicate your interest by signing up on this spreadsheet.This is a chance to be creative and use up some of those art supplies which you may have at home. Further details are on the spreadsheet. This activity can be done by up to 20 students.
  • The second way to help would be to collect supplies or do a fundraiser for IBR. This could be a fairly small activity done for 9th/10th/CAS service hours, or it could be turned into an actual CAS project. If you'd like to do this, email me with a brief description of what you see yourself doing. If you're seeking donations of supplies, I will tell you what they specifically need. More than one person/group could do this idea. (Simply buying supplies or donating your own money does not count.)
  • The third opportunity is open to just one student or a team of two and will take more time. It can count for 9th/10th/CAS service hours but does not rise to the level of a CAS project. You would be creating a spreadsheet to organize all their volunteer's information. That means you need some proficiency with Google Sheets and Forms, plus you would need to be comfortable emailing and perhaps calling people to collect any missing information. (I need your parents to be okay with that part, too.) If interested, you need to "apply" for this opportunity by emailing to tell me what makes you qualified to do it. If you can share links for any Sheets or Forms you've done, that would be great. I'd prefer this to be done by a junior or senior, but that's not a requirement.

I'll take a moment to remind you that we ask Scholars to do a total of 20 hours of service over grades 9 & 10. Juniors and seniors pursuing the full IB Diploma are required to do CAS, which includes a service component, and others may opt in to it. If not doing CAS, you would do the regular Inderkum Senior Project.

I've sent out information about Sacramento Blankets for Sacramento Kids previously, and they continue to be a good option for doing service from home. As their name indicates, they ask volunteers to make blankets which are donated to kids. Almost any sort of blanket will do, and they even have donated yarn you for those who knit or crochet. Since spring, their volunteers also have been making masks, and they frequently have fabric donated to them. You can cut and/or sew. They operate on a porch pick-up/drop-off basis, so you just need a ride to one of the houses where that happens. See the SB4SK website for further info.

Another place to find service opportunities is to go to the Californians For All site. There are so many different opportunities ranging from uploading handwritten notes to Instagram to serving in food banks. Look for one that matches what you can do. You can sign up to get emails about needs in your community.

Class of 2020

The Class of 2020 may prove to be one of the most resilient groups ever. They certainly were accepted to the greatest number of colleges of any class so far! Not only that, but many reported being accepted into Honors programs, receiving Regents or other special scholarships (including at least one full ride), getting into special majors such as the MET at Cal and more. In past years, we've alternated with clusters getting into UCLA or Berkeley, but this year we saw a healthy number accepted into both. We had a large number of students accepted to Cal Poly SLO--enough to make their reps take notice. We saw our first acceptances to Stanford, with both enrolling there. Some students had already planned to start at a community college, with others starting to join them for this year of online classes. I think more are headed out of state than usual, and certainly more enlisted in the military than usual.
Big picture

Staff Changes

Final changes to the schedule may be coming, but there are some changes among our staff. Mrs. Noorani-Dara came to Inderkum last year and will join the DP Chemistry teaching team. Mrs. Hennessy has been teaching Scholars French for several years and now will participate in DP French, too. Ms. Glubka is new to IHS and will have DP English classes. Ms. Taylor finally flew out and now is prepping for her classes at an IB school in Hungary.

Another major change this year is in the organization of the counseling department. We are at 6 counselors! Instead of having the Scholars and full Diploma students concentrated among two counselors, they will be split according to their last names among all counselors. This will allow more consistency over the four years. Ms. Eisberg continues to head up the counseling department, and Mrs. Stoddard will act as the lead for Scholars/DP counseling.

  • Last names A-Dh: Ms Eisberg
  • Last names Di-J: Mrs. Stoddard
  • Last names K-Ma and English Language Learners: Mr. Munguia
  • Last names Mc-Sal: Mrs. Ramsey-Gilbert
  • Last names Sam-Z: Mrs. Pavao
  • CECA students: Mr. VanNort


Back to school shopping may seem different this year, but general supplies such as notebooks and writing utensils are always useful. In all cases, if a student is having difficulty getting supplies, they should let the teacher or me know. Anyone in need of a chromebook and/or hot spot can still get those through the school.

One question I get every year is about calculators. Students in IB and AP math classes are expected to have graphing calculators. Our preferred model is the Texas Instruments 84+ CE. This week, the best price is at Staples ($99). It was that price last week at Target and may go back on sale. Based on what I saw last year, it's unlikely to go below that price. You might also look for used calculators or check with friends who have graduated. The TI 83, 84+ Silver, 85 all work substantially the same but will be slower and have less precise displays. The TI 89 is not allowed for exams. Casio graphing calculators are less expensive, but the teachers will not be able to support them as well.

Students in Math I, II, III and Trig, plus Physics and Chemistry could use graphing calculators but will be just fine with scientific calculators. The Texas Instruments TI30XIIS model on sale for $11 at Target this week is a popular model. For $20, you can get the TI-30XS Multiview which displays problems more like the way they are written in a textbook.

Yes, we are fully aware of calculator apps available for phones. Those are not permitted for exams. It's extremely important that students learn how to properly use their calculators, and that takes regular practice.

Keeping in Touch

Now that we are getting set for the new year, I want to be sure you're getting all my messages. Not everyone uses email regularly, so I will also send messages via Remind to alert you when important information has gone out. If you haven't done so already, please use the appropriate code below to join my Remind. You'll find many teachers use it, too.

Remind can send you messages via text or through the app (phone or computer). If you use the app, please set it up to send push notifications via text. I find students who rely only on the app tend to forget to check it. I have my Remind set so that you can send me messages, too.

If there are any email addresses you'd like me to add to my records, just let me know. Bye for now, but not for long! I have much more to share with you soon.

Big picture