Lucille M. Nixon School

from the principal

June 3, 2020

Dear Nixon Families,

I am in a swirl of emotions right now and perhaps you are, too. We are ending this school year in this strangely distant state. We can’t offer the hugs that typically help us send the children off to summer fun. I am not able to spend time with our 5th graders assuring them that they are going to love middle school. Uncertainty clouds our view of the future for how and when we will get back together in person. But I smile with genuine pride as I think of the performance of our students and teachers over these recent months as they have been asked to do the work of school in dramatically different ways. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of your support for your children and for us as we struggled to make this version of school work.

Most of the school year occurred before we had to leave the buildings and I want to offer our sincere thanks for all the ways that you donated your time and resources to our school this year. Thank you for volunteering in our classrooms, in our library and on our fieldtrips. Thank you for leading family activities and attending our Back to School Picnic, Art Night, Pop-up Movie Night, Ice Skating, etc. Your contributions to PTA and PiE provided us with supplies, assemblies, Playworks, tech licenses and invaluable classroom aides, art and music teachers, counseling and our computer lab instructor. Special thanks to the parents who have stepped up to lead Site Council, PiE and PTA. We are able to provide so much more to your children because of your generosity! Know that you have made a difference in the education of each of our students!

Six weeks ago, I shared some advice from education researcher John Hattie regarding situations of school closure. Included in this was encouragement to “develop a shared culture of stories, symbols, and memories” associated with our situation. Some of this simply evolves as time goes on, but the Nixon staff decided to develop two videos that we hope will become shared pieces of our Nixon culture from this time of pandemic.

Nixon Song

Our music teacher, Robin Smith, led and encouraged Nixon staff members to record portions of our school song, which she had written for us at the start of this year. She mixed all of these recordings into a lovely version of the song and added photos to make it a video gift to our students and families. Please listen, watch and enjoy! Thank you, Robin and singing staff!

The Nixon Song Project

Whatever the weather, dolphins swim together!

Thanks to all of you who have contributed your photos to the collage that Nixon Librarian, Laura Lajeunesse has assembled and set to music. This a wonderful theme for now and whatever comes next!

Dolphins Swim Together Video

5th Grade Class Gift

Our 5th graders are the 50th class of fifth graders to be promoted from Nixon School. The parents leading the class activities decided last summer to do something truly memorable for our 50th anniversary. They did extra fund-raising and are donating a beautifully carved dolphin statue. Please read all about this 50th Anniversary Gift if you have not already done so in UptoUs. This 50th year has become memorable for reasons that we did not anticipate, but the timing of this gift will make it a symbol of our commitment as a community to always “swim together!” Thank you 5th graders and families!

Our Nixon Padlet continues as a place to share

We will also continue the Nixon Dolphin padlet as a place for students and families to share their experiences as we carry on through this time of sheltering in place. We will add some new columns for summer activities and 5th graders’ memories.

Community Graduation Celebration

Across Palo Alto this evening, Wednesday, June 3, residents are encouraged to go outside at 5:30 pm and make noise to congratulate graduates of all ages throughout our community. At about 5:45 pm, high school seniors will get into cars and join a parade of cars following a route around Palo Alto. The route travels south on Middlefield, west on Charleston/Arastradero, north on Junipero Serra, east on Stanford Ave (past Nixon School) , north on El Camino and east on Embarcadero back to Middlefield. The community is encouraged to go out along the parade route and cheer on the seniors. Elementary and middle school students are being asked to let the seniors have this parade event to themselves and not to ride in cars along the parade route.

Resources for Supporting Parents to Talk about Issues of Race with Children

The death of George Floyd has brought attention in our community and across the nation to the treatment of black Americans. While it may be easiest for those of us who are not black to avoid this topic with our children, that avoidance plays a part in the continuing situation of injustice. Children see and sense much more than we realize at times. We can only make progress towards ending racism in our community and our country if we are willing to educate ourselves and talk about this. I encourage you to begin in your own family. The following resources (including the one I sent in Monday’s brief note that didn’t work) can help you.

1. Teaching Tolerance

2. USA Today Interview with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum and Dr. Erlanger Turner

3. Framing Brave Conversations about Race and Ethnicity

4. Aha! Parenting: Talking With Children About Racism, Police Brutality and Protests

We are committed at Nixon School and within PAUSD to address issues of social injustice and racism in age appropriate ways. We want to empower students to know that they can help create change in our democracy.

Progress Reports available Thursday at 2:30 pm

Your child’s progress report becomes available to you tomorrow, Thursday, June 4 at 2:30 pm through the Infinite Campus portal. This third trimester of the school year occurred almost entirely while we have been in the situation of distance learning. Our teachers were directed to identify only 10 or fewer standards to assess for this trimester and to mark all of the others as N/A (not assessed). They have included comments about each student’s participation in our distance learning. As always, the progress report is our communication with you about your child’s learning. If you have questions, you may reach out to me or your child’s teacher. There is also an explanation of the change for this trimester only at the top of the progress report. You can directions for viewing your child’s progress report here: Login to Infinite Campus and follow the instructions described on this page.

PAUSD is offering an online K-8 summer school resource for social and emotional learning related to the pandemic. Further information in the pdf attached below.

Staying in Touch

I will stay in touch over the summer, but not weekly. As our plans for restarting school in August become clearer, our district and I will share with you so you can plan appropriately. In my final Lifeskill video, I encouraged the children to be creative and take initiative in this unusual time to invent new ways to play and have fun, and to be sure to read everyday (Epic continues to be available through June 30 and the library links are good forever). Knowing the strength of our staff and of you, our community, assures me that we will manage the months ahead and provide for the students of Nixon School.

Take good care of yourselves this summer,

Mary Pat