Sycamore Leaf

February 27, 2021

Reopening Update

As mentioned in a letter from Dr. Olesniewicz last week, our district has a tentative date of April 12 for moving to an in-person, hybrid model for TK-6 students currently in the blended program. This hybrid model combines continued online instruction and asynchronous learning with the opportunity for students to return in cohorts for socially distanced, on-site learning a few hours per week. Families can hear more about the District's reopening plans during the March 4 School Board Meeting. (See the District's website to join the 7:00 pm Zoom.)

Over the coming weeks, I will share information about our site's plans for the hybrid model with detail on our safety protocols, schedules for instruction, procedures for drop-off/pick-up, and information about childcare. I'll also share suggestions for preparing your children and family for this significant shift. As the time of reopening becomes more certain, staff and I will begin talking with our students and helping them prepare for a comfortable return to school.

This week, I want to share information about the development of hybrid cohorts. In order to ensure social distancing on campus, we must reduce the number of students who come to class at any one time. Some students will be assigned to Cohort A and attend in person for the first couple of hours on Mondays and Tuesdays. Others will be assigned to Cohort B and will attend on Thursday and Friday mornings. Students in both cohorts will continue to learn online with their teacher and class beginning mid-morning each M, T, TH and F. Our current Wednesday schedule and asynchronous learning will also continue.

The following outlines the steps every elementary school is using to create their cohorts. I'll not be able to announce your child's cohort for another week or so, but I hope understanding the process of placement is helpful.

1. Students who receive specialized supports and instruction will be placed into cohorts first, in a way that preserves their current services, as much as possible. (These are students with exceptional needs, such as students with Special Education services or English Language Development supports.)

2. Siblings of these students will be placed into the same cohort. We'll do our best to keep households on the same schedule.

3. Beginning in Kindergarten and working through the grades, students in the same grade level will be kept together as a cohort.* At Sycamore, we will follow this procedure in the K-1 classes, but second to sixth grade cohorts will all be multi-age. Again, once a younger student is placed, siblings are added to that cohort.

4. A randomized alphabet (created by Student Services) will be used to order the placement of students by last name into two, even cohorts.

We believe in person attendance offers students a level of connection, stimulation and support they may currently be missing in distance learning. We realize this move to the hybrid model requires a lot of families, an additional step above the many sacrifices families have already made to support children this year. Please know we are working diligently to make the change safe and as beneficial and smooth as possible. Your continued flexibility and support is greatly appreciated as we continue in distance learning and prepare for the possibility of a safe return to school.

Thank you,

Amy Stanger


March 1, 2, 3: Kindergarten Registration dates for Sycamore (see below)

Monday, March 1 at 6:00 PM: Equity and Inclusion Committee Meeting

Thursday, March 4 at 7:00 PM: School Board Meeting and discussion of reopening plans

March 9 and 10 (12:00 PM-4:00 PM): materials pick-up

Wednesday, March 10 at 6:00 PM: Governance Council Meeting

Materials Pick Up and Student Leadership gift

We'll see you on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9 and 10 from 1:00-4:00 PM for a materials pick up. All students will also receive a special treat prepared by our Student Leadership group. In preparation of the 100th day of school, Student Leadership surveyed their peers, asking for their best advice for distance learning. We received wonderful suggestions and encouraging words. These messages are included in the student gifts along with a fidget bracelet Student Leaders chose to support focus and a feeling that we are all "together." Enjoy!

Kindergarten Registration

If you or someone you know has an upcoming kindergartener, a child who will be five by September 1 of this year, it's time to register! Directions and FAQs for Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten registration are available on the Student Services page on the CUSD website. Timing is everything! Sycamore families should register on March 1, 2 and 3. See the website for details on the registration dates for other schools.

Equity and Inclusion Committee meets on Monday

Sycamore’s Equity & Inclusion Committee will hold its monthly meeting this Monday, March 1st from 6-7:30pm. Come hear key take-aways from the February 1st Amplifying Voices: Black Student Experiences panel, share your reflections, and help us plan future events.

Zoom link below. Contact with any questions.

Meeting ID: 981 7696 3043 Passcode: equity

Wednesday's Publishing House Speaker: Liz "Snorkel" Thomas

Join us as we welcome Liz “Snorkel” Thomas, a professional hiker, writer, and author, who was called “a living legend” and “the Queen of Urban Hiking” by Outside Magazine.

Liz Thomas is a professional hiker, adventure conservationist, and outdoor writer who broke the women’s self-supported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail. Considered among the most experienced hikers in the US, she’s known for backpacking light, fast, and solo. Liz has hiked more than 20,000 miles on 20+ long trails including completing the Triple Crown of Hiking (the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails) and first-known traverses of the Chinook Trail in the Columbia River Gorge and Wasatch Range in Utah.

Speaking will be followed by a Q&A session where students can ask questions. Since it is around lunch time, please feel free to nibble and zoom. Zoom link is available on the “Sycamore Students” Publishing House Canvas page.

Upcoming Speakers:
Mar 17th - Lina Patel (Writer & Actress)

Mar 24th - Kreffan Bunker (Writer and former Sycamore student)

Students who have signed up as this year's Publishing House authors will have PH author support time Tuesdays/Thursdays from 12:30-2:30pm on Zoom, during WIN (What I Need time). The Zoom link for WIN time is on the Sycamore Students Canvas page.

Activities beyond the classroom

The following activities will be available to students this week.

All links are available on the Sycamore Student Canvas page.

12:00-12:30 Monday: Lunchtime Yoga

12:30-1:00 Monday: Grades 2-3 Book Club

112:00-1:00 Tuesday: Upper Grade Math Club

12:30-1:00 Tuesday: Grades 2-3 Math Club

12:30-1:00 Tuesday: Grades K-1 Club

1:00-1:30 Tuesday: K-6 Picture Book Reading in Spanish

11:00-11:30 Wednesday: Crafting Club with Lis DesCombes

11:30-12:30 Wednesday: Publishing House Speaker Series

12:00-12:30 Thursday: K-6 Sign Language Club

12:30-1:00 Thursday: Grade 4-6 Book Club

12:30-1:00 Thursday: Lunch Bunch (added session)

12:00-12:30 Friday: Grades 1-6 Student Leadership

12:30-1:00 Friday: Grades K-6 Lunch Bunch (select the Elementary Chill Out button)

Art lessons on the way

We are thrilled to be adding two new staff members to our Sycamore group! Jac Tardie and Luis Vera will be providing weekly virtual art lessons for our students through the end of the year. These lessons will be shared via links for student use during asynchronous times of the day. We hope to formally introduce them to our students through a virtual lunch and greet on March 10.

Our upper grade students will be benefiting from virtual ARTstART lessons this spring through a partnership with Claremont Museum of Art and Project Director Rich Deely. This multi-generational program trains CHS students as docents who bring activities and the collections of local art galleries to the students of Claremont.

Last of this year's Sycamore Gear

We have just a few items left from this year's order of Sycamore gear. Adult items are $16 each, student sizes are $15 each, and hats are $20 each. If you'd like to purchase, please contact Tina Hensley at

Inventory includes: 3 hats; 4 boys' M; 2 girls' M; 2 girls' L; 2 women's S; 2 women's M; 3 adult L; 1 adult XL. All include this year's special logo created by student, Tyler Anthony.

Governance Council Representatives

Sycamore's Governance Council allows community members to participate in shared decision-making for our school. The group serves both as our School Site Council (SSC) and our Parent Faculty Association (PFA). It monitors the school's plan for academic and whole-child goals, fosters school spirit and connection through social activities, and supports staff, students and our school through fundraising.

Everyone is considered a part of the Governance Community, and each spring we elect members to leadership positions. Governance Council is led by our Facilitator, Co-Facilitator, and Past-Facilitator and supported by an elected secretary and treasurer. The group functions through committees led by elected representatives. Staff members select members as representatives for Curriculum and Assessment, Safety and Facilities, Classified Staff, Certificated Staff, and Personnel committees. Parents and community members are elected to lead Spirit, Volunteers, Equity and Inclusion, Ways and Means, Sustainability, and Technology committees.

If you would like to hear more about Governance, be a part of a committee or take on a leadership role in Governance Council, contact Sarah Rockne at We are developing our slate for elected members now.

*Monthly Governance meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month. Zoom links to those meetings are included in the Leaf. We hope you'll join us.

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is an afterschool program for girls in grades 3-5. Interactive lessons and running activities help participants develop friendships, physical abilities and life skills. Registration is open at for the virtual program starting March 16. Please see the flyer for details. Girls on the Run is not affiliated with CUSD but contact information is available on the flyer.

Claremont Educational Foundation Toyota Raffle

Claremont Educational Foundation has long been a supporter of Claremont's students. As a part of their fundraising and partnership with schools, CEF holds an annual Toyota car raffle. Claremont Toyota has donated a brand new 2021 Toyota Rav 4 to this year's raffle, and on June 5 one person will be the lucky winner. Tickets sell for $20. Seven dollars of each ticket comes back to our school, and the balance of the ticket price is profit for CEF. In turn, CEF donates those funds back to CUSD to support the arts and technology. We will sell tickets during the pick up days on March 9 and 10 and in the school office, if you call ahead. We encourage you to participate!