Cougar Connect

Week of September 25, 2023

Big picture

A Message from Mrs. Leonardo

Dear Kennedy Community,

I hope you all had a restful weekend. We are in our last week of September! We are now entering our seventh week of trimester one.

Keep in mind that another district-wide super minimum day will be held on Thursday, October 5. I also have a Principal's Coffee scheduled that day at 8:45 am. I plan to visit classrooms during this Principal's Coffee.

On Wednesday, October 4 students will go to all seven periods. There will be no block day on this day due to the super-minimum day on October 5. Teachers really want to meet with all of their classes on Wednesday and Thursday.


Last week we got to put our shelter-in-place skills into effect. Due to the poor air quality, RCSD schools were required to shelter-in-place on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, we got the message after our recess/brunch breaks, so we had to think quickly about lunch. I want to thank our teaching and cafeteria staff for their flexibility. Students were required to eat lunch in classes, and this meant we had to rely on teachers to give up their usual duty-free lunches to supervise students. Our students also did a good job of following directions.

⚠️Lockdown Drill This Wednesday

This week I have a lockdown practice drill scheduled for this Wednesday during first period. I will send another reminder on Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday morning. I will remind students about the drill in the morning announcements on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is important for students to be aware when these events are drills because they can cause students to feel panicked or anxious. I always encourage our teachers to check in with students, and I will ask that they talk with their students before and after the lock drill.

🌟Student of the Month

This week students will be recognized for being prepared for class. Our teaching staff selected up to three students to recognize for the month of September. Teachers will recognize students in their classes on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, students will be recognized in front of their peers at lunch on Friday. They will receive a treat and 100 Cougar Cash dollars.

🔔Reminders About Attendance

If your student must be absent, please inform us about their absence. Please remember that a doctor's note will be required after three days of absence. Students are required to make up all assignments they missed once they return. Please reach out to your student's teachers in order to get clarification about incomplete or missing work. Remember: if students miss a day, they miss a lot. One of my goals this year is to decrease our chronic absenteeism rates, so you'll hear more from me about attendance. Please reach out to us for any additional support you may need.

You can call the Kennedy attendance line and leave a message. Dial 650-482-2409 and press option 3. You can leave a voicemail message with your student's first and last name, date of birth, grade, your relationship to the student (parent, guardian), and the reason for their absence. Our office staff checks the voicemail messages from 7:30 to 10:00 am.

You can also email our new attendance clerk Tatyana Tafoya:

🛶6th-Grade Canoe Field Trips

It's Canoe Trip Season! Our 6th-grade science classes have scheduled canoe trips with the Marine Science Institute. Maestra Adriana's science classes went on the canoes this past week. The students were helpful, respectful, and followed directions. There were no overturned canoes. EXCELLENT! When students go on field trips, we update their attendance to show that they are on a school-sponsored trip. In the event that you get a notification that your child is absent, don't panic. Please send me an email so that I can update their attendance.

😁Picture Day Updates

Picture Day was last week. Jostens has an online platform where families can review student photos.

PE teachers will distribute the picture unique IDs by Tuesday. My plan was to send these flyers home on Friday, but the office copy machine stopped working.

If your student missed Picture Day or simply is unhappy with their photo, picture retakes will happen on October 24.

Picture Day Event Code: FE250723


Kennedy uses Treering to publish our annual yearbook. Families can pre-order yearbooks now. You will need Kennedy's unique code to purchase the yearbook: 1015926081674110. You can get 10% off when you purchase by September 30. Click this link to buy a yearbook. Price: $39

🎃Halloween Dance Friday, October 27

Please be advised that in order for students to attend the Halloween Dance in the Kennedy gym, they must have a 2.0 GPA or better. This means no Ds or Fs. They must have good attendance and good behavior. This means no behavioral referrals, suspensions, or incidents with other students or staff members. We will need parents to chaperone for this event, so we will reach out in October for your support.

That's all for now!

See you soon!

Mrs. Leonardo

School Site Council

Kennedy is a Title 1 school. This means Title 1 funds are used to support effective, evidence-based educational strategies that close the achievement gap and enable the students to meet the state's challenging academic standards.

As a Title 1 school, we must have a School Site Council (SSC). Our SSC must review Kennedy's budget and School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). Our SSC must review and approve Kennedy's School Parent Involvement Policy 23-24, School-Parent Compact, and review our district's Uniform Complain Procedures.

Our current school site council members are:

Patrick Apodaca (Teacher), Diane Camara (Teacher), Rita Pilkenton (Teacher), Liz Avalos (Staff), Elizabeth Calderon Garcia (Community/Staff), Nicole Caldwell (Parent), Gail Sheena (Parent), Pam Swint (Parent), Sandra Rincon (Parent), and Debbie Moore (Parent).

We have three parents whose term will end this month due to their students graduating from Kennedy or because their two-year limit has been reached.

This means we have an opening for three parent positions on our SSC.

Vote for School Site Council Members

Please cast your vote for up to three new SSC members. You can use the Google Form ballot. If you would refer to cast your vote on a paper ballot, you can get a paper ballot in the Kennedy office. Vote here! Voting ends this Friday, September 29. New SSC members will be notified by Monday, October 2.

This Week's School Site Council Meeting

Our current SSC will meet this Tuesday at 2:30 pm via Google Meet. Here is the proposed agenda: SSC Agenda 9/27/23 Please note: this time frame was changed. We initially planned to meet on the last Wednesday of each month at 5:00 pm. However, this time frame did not work for current SSC members. Once our new SSC is established, we will work to identify a new time frame. The school community will be notified about these changes.

Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month @ Kennedy!

Last week students got to enjoy music at lunch and eat pozole for lunch on Friday.

This week students can visit Ms. Hernandez or Ms. Nienke's classrooms at lunch to make Mexican marigolds or castanets.

On Thursday, 35 students will watch the movie Selena with Mrs. Morales. Students received permission slips last week. The movie is rated PG. Here is a link to the Common Sense Media guide.

Students will watch the movie after school from 2:30 to 5:15. Mrs. Morales will stop the movie to discuss important cultural references and students will fill out a movie-watching guide. Students will also get to eat tamales, chips and salsa, and get a concha for a sweet treat.

If you are picking up your student at 5:15, you can pick them up in the staff parking lot area off Goodwin Avenue. If your student goes to the Boys and Girls Club, they will be escorted to BGCP by 5:15.

Big picture

Mr. Reynoso's PE Classes Danced at Lunch

Mr. Reynoso had previously scheduled his PE students' dance competition for Wednesday, September 20. Due to having to shelter-in-place, we got to have more students watch their peers dance!

Shout out to the students who danced individually and in a group! They will all receive 100 Cougar Cash dollars, and the top three winners will receive an additional 100 Cougar Cash dollars. It is not easy to perform in front of your peers, but these students did a great job!

1st Place: "I Like it Like That" Anthony, Xochilt, Itzel, Daniela, Caitlin, Samantha

2nd Place: "Mix it Up" Charlotte, Naima, Leah, Lilly

3rd Place: "24 Karat Magic" Kgosi, Imani, Michael, Fei, Mazzie, Lola

Mr. Reynoso's Dance Competition 2023

Redwood City Parks & Rec Sports This Week

8th Grade Volleyball Games

Monday, 9/25

4:00 - Kennedy Green team plays at McKinley

6:15 - Kennedy White team plays at McKinley

6th & 7th Grade Volleyball Games

4:00 - 6th grade Kennedy Green plays against the 7th grade Kennedy Green team at Kennedy

4:45 - 7th grade Kennedy White at Kennedy Gym

5:30 - 6th grade Kennedy White at Kennedy Gym

Flag Football

Mon 9/25

5:00 PM Kennedy Cougars Green vs. Charles Armstrong at Hawes Field

Wed 9/27

5:00 PM Kennedy Cougars Gold vs. McKinley Bulldogs at Hawes Field


Kennedy Family Center Updates

Our September Family Challenge is almost over! We want families to work together to organize and clean up a space in your home. Please take a picture of your family completing the challenge, and send a picture to the family center: You can also text a picture to (650) 656-0501. The winning family will receive a family prize pack. Watch the podcast for more information!

September Podcast

Padres de Kennedy 2023 WhatsApp Group

If you prefer to receive information in Spanish and by text, click on the link to join the Kennedy Family Center's WhatsApp group “Padres de Kennedy 2023"! You will receive updated Kennedy Middle School information in Spanish and reminders of our school events.

Parent Support Groups

Parent support groups are back at the PAL Center. This week's support group will cover topics on mental health.

6:30 to 7:30 pm at the PAL Center 3399 Bay Road in Redwood City

For more information, contact Rocio: (650) 204-0638 or

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

Second Harvest Food Bank

Thank you to the volunteers who assisted us with our food bank last Tuesday. Second Harvest Food Bank comes to Kennedy on the third Tuesday of every month.

Big picture
Big picture

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.

What's Happening in the Kennedy Library?

Book Club is coming! Our first meeting is Tuesday, September 26th. If you are interested in joining come by the library to sign up or sign up here.

Get more details from Ms. Cooper and the awesome Kennedy Library by visiting the Kennedy Library Website.

Big picture

Updates from Kennedy's Mandarin Immersion Program

Over the past two weeks, the Mandarin Immersion classes for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades participated in a pen pal writing activity. Students established a connection with Chang Chun Middle School in China. Our students have already written introductory letters, sharing details about themselves, their families, hometowns, and schools. We are eagerly anticipating receiving pen pal friends from China in the coming weeks. At Back to School Night, Ms. Cao had the pleasure of showcasing this activity to parents. Some expressed keen interest in further communication with the students from China.

On September 29th, 2023, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm 6th, 7th, and 8th graders will visit Orion Elementary School to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Day festival. Our 6th graders will be performing a Chinese song titled "Chinese Language," while 7th and 8th graders will join together in singing a song about the moon. Please join us!

Big picture

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

High School Event Updates

Please check the High School Shadow Programs & Informational Event Links document.

  • TIDE and Woodside posted their shadowing request links.
  • Carlmont posted links for campus tours and the Chat with a Carlmont Student event.
  • Sequoia will open the shadowing request link on 9/13/23.
  • Menlo-Atherton will open the shadowing request link within the next ten days.

Big picture

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 received planners during the fourth week of school, and included in the planner is the student handbook.

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

PTO Corner

Hello, Kennedy Community!

All the cool kids follow the KMS PTO on Instagram and Facebook @KennedyCougarsPTO!

The Cougar Connect is our main avenue of communication at Kennedy, but did you know the KMS PTO is also on social media?! Let’s get those likes, build our followers, share posts, and have fun with all things Kennedy!

You’re invited to the party! Hope you’ll join us on social media - Follow and start liking today!

You can also check out for information about the PTO, supporting Kennedy and the latest school updates.

Everyone is invited!

Please mark your calendars for next Tuesday, September 26, from 7:00-8:00 pm, for our monthly PTO meeting. Topics will include a guest speaker from RWC Healthy Schools Coalition about school meals, updates from Drama and the Student Store committees, budget talk and more!

Here is the Zoom link.

Meeting ID: 985 9237 3018

Passcode: Kennedy

Direct Drive Campaign Needs Your Support!

The Direct Drive fundraising effort supports academics, student activities, staff appreciation events, and our elective 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 With 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.

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.

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

We are incredibly grateful for your support! Thank you!

Thank you, Jonas Barbour and Luna Chu, for the Crayola pack. Our teachers love this set for their classrooms!

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

Upcoming Events


  • PTO Meeting Sept 26 Zoom 7:00-8:30 pm

  • Site Council & ELAC Sept 26 Zoom 2:30-3:30 pm


  • Super Minimum Day (Staff Development) Oct 5, 8:30-12:00 pm
  • Principal’s Coffee Oct 5 Library 9:00-9:50 am
  • Indigenous People’s Day~ No School Oct 9
  • High School Fair Oct 19 Gym 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Super Minimum Days (Due to Conferences) Oct 23-27 In-Person 8:30-12:00 pm
  • Fall Conferences Oct 23-27 In-Person 1:00-4:00 pm
  • Picture Day Make-up Oct 24 Gym 8:30 am-12:00 pm
  • PTO Meeting Oct 24 Zoom 7:05-8:30 pm
  • Site Council & ELAC Oct 25 Zoom 5:00-6:00 pm
  • Halloween Dance Oct 27 Gym 6:00-8:00 pm
  • 8th Grade Yosemite Trip Oct 29-Nov 2 Yosemite National Park

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