Cougar Connect

Week of September 4, 2023

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A Message from Mrs. Leonardo

Dear Kennedy Community,

I hope you are enjoying your three-day weekend. I definitely needed this break, but I am also looking forward to the week ahead.

This week we have a minimum day on Tuesday due to Back to School Night and a super-minimum day on Thursday due to Back to School Night. Please note: SamTrans public buses will still arrive at their regular times on Tuesday and Thursday. They are unable to make changes based on our early release times because they have to maintain their routes. If your student takes SamTrans, please be aware that on Tuesday the SamTrans bus will depart at 3:25, and on Thursday, the bus will depart at 2:00 pm.

Our family center coordinator, Cynthia Cardona, and our mental health clinician, Kathryn Lige, invite you to watch their first Kennedy Family Center video podcast. Please watch this video to learn more about our very first family challenge! You can find the link here.

Here's what you need to know for this week:


PowerSchool is the student information system we use for grades. If you already have a PowerSchool account, you can log on and check your student's grades. Our RCSD tech department is still working on updating accounts in order to give all families access. We will send out access IDs and passwords to all families as soon as they are ready. They will be hard copies, so students will need to take these papers home.


The i-Read diagnostic window for reading and math opens this week. This means students will test in English language arts and math for the next two weeks. The fall diagnostic lets us know your student's current reading and math levels. Please encourage your students to try their best and to complete the assessment during class time. Once we have these results, we will share them with families.

🍎Back to School Night

Back to School Night will be this Tuesday, September 5th from 5:45 to 7:30 pm. Please note the time change. Our Calendar of Events has been updated to reflect the change, but if you have a paper copy of the calendar of events, it won't reflect the changes we made. Then students and their families will be dismissed to visit classes from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Teachers will be given 10 minutes to give a very brief overview of their class. Families travel to classrooms in the order of their students' schedules. We will have students fill out their schedule in class this week so that they will be ready for Back to School Night.

Please keep in mind that Tuesday, September 5 will be a minimum day. We will be dismissed at 1:50 pm due to Back to School Night.

ℹ️High School Information Night

After Back to School Night, we invite 8th-grade families to come to the Kennedy gym to learn about important high school information. We will meet from 7:30 to 8:15 pm.

Principal's Coffee Thursday, September 7

My first Principal's Coffee will be on Thursday, September 7 in the Kennedy Library. I plan to get started by 8:45 am.

🕛Super-Minimum Day Thursday, September 7

Our teachers will have professional development meetings almost every month this year. On these days, students will be dismissed at 12:00 pm. This Thursday is a super-minimum day with a 12:00 pm dismissal.

🫱🏼‍🫲🏽School Site Council Meeting/English Learner Advisory Committee Meeting

To nominate yourself for School Site Council, please fill out this form by Friday, September 8. Once we have nominations, our school community will vote. I'll send more updates about this

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday and Thursday of this week.

See you soon!

Mrs. Leonardo

Kennedy Family Center Updates

We heard your inquiries about parenting classes and workshops. Please fill out this form to help us gather more feedback.

Our September Family Challenge is here! Please watch the video podcast to learn how you and your family can earn a prize. Please take a picture of your family completing the challenge, and send a picture to the family center: Watch the podcast for more information!

September Podcast

Cynthia Cardona, Community School Coordinator

Maria Segundo, Admin Assistant

Kathryn Lige, Lead Mental Health Counselor

Contact the Kennedy Family Center by phone: (650) 482-2110

Zero Tolerance Policy

If you allow your student(s) to use and access social media, we advise you to please monitor what they are saying and doing. Students are engaging in negative behaviors on social media, and then we have to deal with these incidents at school.

We encourage students to notify teachers, staff members, or parents if they are running into any kind of problem. We want to support all students.

Kennedy Middle School should be a safe and welcoming space, so any cyber-bullying, name-calling, intimidation, or physical incidents will be dealt with as we have a zero-tolerance policy for this behavior.

Kennedy students are welcome to use the Incident Report Form to anonymously report any concerns. This link isn't available to non-RCSD individuals, but students can access it on Clever through their Chromebooks.

Some consequences for violating these policies include but are not limited to:

  • loss of brunch and lunch privileges and participation in academic lunch/detention
  • the requirement to complete campus beautification
  • restorative circle or conversations
  • in-school or out-of-school suspension
  • school and district-mandated safety plans
  • opportunity school

This year our Kennedy admin will be looking into outside support and mentorships to assist students with positive ways to deal with conflict. Ms. Williams, our assistant principal, has experience leading Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) initiatives, and she will take the lead on PBIS at Kennedy. Our lead mental health clinician, Kathryn Lige, is also working on Social-Emotional Learning lessons for all grade levels; we hope to have an update on this work by the end of September. We are also encouraging Kennedy teachers to embed social-emotional learning in their daily lessons.

Kennedy Middle School creates a safe and supportive, inspirational and rigorous, joyful and inclusive environment for all learners.

Thank you for your support.

Meet the Woodside High School Principal Event Kennedy 7th & 8th Grade Parents.

Please join us for a casual and informative evening with Principal Karen van Putten, teachers, and new prospective parents. Karen will share an overview of the school's strong offerings as well as her vision and priorities for Woodside over the next few years, including programs and expanded course offerings. Kennedy graduates who are currently Woodside upperclassmen will be in attendance to give the student perspective.

October 16th at 7 pm

Parents of 7th and 8th Graders

Host: Angie and David Tinson

Address: 1242 Edgewood Road, Redwood City, CA 94062

Link: Kennedy Event

Homework Reminders

Your students should have homework Monday through Friday. Our English language arts and math teachers will assign homework on a nightly basis. Here are the general homework guidelines for each grade level:

6th Grade: 30 minutes

7th Grade: 45 minutes

8th Grade: 60 minutes

These times may vary depending on the assignments and projects, but students should have some math or reading assignment each night. If your student says they do not have homework, please make sure they show you their assignments in Google Classroom. You can also check PowerSchool for grades. If your student says they finished their assignments at school, make them show you their finished work.

If students are finished with their assignments, they can still:

  1. Read their independent reading books.
  2. Practice reading or math i-Ready or Khan Academy lessons.
  3. Review notes from classes to make sure they understand their lessons.
  4. Create flashcards for key vocabulary terms and review them.
  5. Clean out or organize their backpacks, binders, and folders.


Chromebooks were distributed to students last week. We are working to make sure any issues with the hardware are fixed. We will give students loaner Chromebooks while we await repairs.

Please remember to remind your student to charge their Chromebook every night and bring their Chromebook to school every day.

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Public transportation is provided through SamTrans. Route 79 is for Kennedy students only. In the mornings, students are dropped off by 8:15 am. In the afternoons, students are picked up by 3:25 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Thursday afternoons, students are picked up by 2:00 pm.

The SamTrans bus stop is located on Washington Avenue near the Boys and Girls Club entrance. Kennedy staff will guide students to the bus stop and monitor them after school until SamTrans arrives.

The SamTrans bus schedule can be accessed on page 10 of the Maze Day packet. Click here to view.

The 2023 - 2024 Youth Unlimited Bus Passes will activate starting September 1, 2023, and expire August 31, 2024.

If you need assistance with bus passes, please contact Maria in our Kennedy Family Center. You can also contact Maria if you need assistance with Redwood City School District bus transportation. Maria can be reached here: 650-482-2409 ext. 2110 or

Student & Family Handbook

In order to make our handbook for students and families more accessible, we have digitized it. Please know that the information in the handbook will be continually updated to ensure families are informed. Students will receive planners during the second week of school, and included in the planner is the student handbook.

Click to view and save the Kennedy Student & Family Handbook.

Google Classroom

Teachers will begin inviting families to Google Classroom over the next two weeks. We encourage all families to get connected with Google Classroom so that you may see your students' assignments. We will host a Parent Information session in the coming weeks where you can learn how to navigate Google Classroom, PowerSchool, Amplify, CPM, and other important tools for you to monitor your students' success.

Los Ayudantes Tutors Needed to Volunteer in the Classroom

Are you looking for an easy volunteer opportunity that makes a real difference? Then why not consider being a Los Ayudantes (The Helpers) tutor, and make a difference in the lives of English Learner students at Kennedy? At the direction of the teachers, you will work one-on-one with students helping them read articles, books, and other texts. You’ll also help the students think deeply about the subject matter making personal connections to the text. Most rewardingly, however, you can become an important, trusted adult and mentor in the students' lives when you make this commitment to tutor them throughout the remainder of the school year. You can volunteer once a week or more! Training is provided and you can also shadow one of our volunteers before you decide to volunteer. For more information and to volunteer, visit our website,

SEPTAR Meeting

Join SEPTAR's first meeting of the school year to meet the Special Education Department, led by Dr. Maeve Mulholland! We will meet on Zoom at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 19. To register, go to

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PTO Corner

Hello, Kennedy Community!

Are you ready for Back to School Night?

The PTO looks forward to seeing lots of parents at school this Tuesday evening from 5:45-7:30 pm. Visit our PTO table for information about ways to get involved at KMS!

First PTO Meeting a Success

Thank you to those who joined us last week for our first PTO meeting of the year. You can also catch up on the meeting highlights here: August 29th 2023 Kennedy PTO - Minutes

Remember that ALL PARENTS are automatically members of the PTO. Your voice matters and we’d love to see you at our next meeting on Tuesday, September 26, from 7:00-8:00 pm via Zoom (link forthcoming).

Join our PTO Leadership Team!

There are still some key PTO roles we are looking to fill. They are:

  • 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade-Level Community Leaders - Work with PTO to communicate needs and ideas for each grade level. Ensure parents know what’s happening in each grade.

  • Fundraising/Grant Writing Help - Help with KMS PTO fundraising through grant writing and procuring corporate donor partnerships.

  • Parent Volunteer Coordinator - Create sign-up forms and help recruit and coordinate volunteers for PTO and school events.

  • Safe Routes To School Coordinator - Work with PTO to encourage students to bike and walk to school. Help kids with traffic safety skills and work to reduce traffic congestion.

  • Spirit Wear Lead - Manage spirit wear webpage and work with the vendor on designs. Help promote sales with the PTO communications team.

  • STEAM Liaison - Work with KMS STEAM Program lead teacher to support the program. Coordinating family volunteers for program activities as needed.

  • Student Activities Coordinator - Help plan two school dances
    (October & March); organize DJ, food and decorations, and recruit volunteers.

  • Student Store Coordinator - Work with KMS administrators to procure, organize, and distribute Student Store items.

Direct Drive Campaign Needs Your Support!

The Direct Drive fundraising effort supports academics, student activities, staff appreciation events, and our elective programs. SPOTLIGHT→Art, Drama, Music and STEAM programs are unique to our middle school and help kids thrive. Our students love these enriching electives, so let’s keep supporting these programs! We are asking $200 per family, but please consider donating any amount that fits your personal financial situation. Whether it's $25, $50, $100, or $1,000, every dollar helps us reach our fundraising goal and our students are worth our investment.

To support KMS, DONATE at the link below:

Represent Kennedy in Style

KMS Spirit Wear is on sale now. Order online at the link below.

Follow the KMS PTO on Instagram and Facebook, @KennedyCougarsPTO.

Check out for more info.

Feel free to email with questions or concerns, ideas, and feedback:

Kind regards,

Jess Bryski

PTO President


PTO Calendar

The Kennedy school calendar is now on the PTO website and has been updated with school events and activities for the year! You can add it to your personal calendar by going to and clicking the +Google Calendar button on the bottom right of the calendar.
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Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

We are incredibly grateful for your support!

Thank you to Peter Black for donating a PA/speaker system. We hope to find a good use for this equipment.

Thank you to Carolina Website for the classroom set of markers. Our teachers love this set!

Thank you to the Hayes Family for purchasing Post-It notes, pencils, and laminating sheets. Ms. Hernandez is super excited to use the laminating sheets in the maker space!

Thank you to Claudia Montes for purchasing pocket-size note cards for the maker space.

Thank you to Lisa Eli for purchasing glue sticks. We were able to support three classrooms with this purchase.

An anonymous Kleenex fairy also purchased more Kleenex for us. Thank you!

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

Upcoming Events

  • *NO SCHOOL* Labor Day Holiday Sept. 4
  • Back to School Night Sept. 5 5:45-7:30 pm
  • i-Ready Assessment Window Opens Sept. 5 - 19
  • High School Information Night for 8th-Graders Sept. 5 7:30-8:15 pm Kennedy Gym
  • Principal's Coffee Sept. 7, Kennedy Library 8:45 am
  • Super-Minimum Day Sept. 7 12:00 pm dismissal
  • Picture Day Sept 18 (during PE) 8:30 am-3:15 pm
  • Kennedy Food Distribution Sept. 19, Kennedy Gym 9:00-10:30 am

Click here to view the most up-to-date version of the Kennedy Calendar of Events.

There has been an update to the Kennedy Back to School Night schedule. Please note the change on the updated Calendar of Events.

Kennedy Middle School

With a commitment to excellence, Kennedy Middle School engages, encourages, and empowers students in challenging and creative learning opportunities while preparing them for their futures in high school and beyond.