Sycamore Leaf

September 19, 2020


Goal Setting Conferences

October 5-9, individual meeting time, daily after 1:00 PM

Sycamore's Equity and Inclusion Committee

Monday, October 5 at 6:00 PM (see article for Zoom link)

Materials Pick-up (choose a date/time that works for you)

October 6 from 1:00-4:00 PM

October 7 from 1:00-5:30 PM

October 8 from 1:00-4:00 PM

Parent Survey

In an effort to understand and improve the way our students and families are experiencing school, we will regularly collect parent feedback through all-school surveys. The first of these surveys will help us ensure families have the resources they need to support distance learning for their students. Please use the following link to access and complete the survey between now and Friday, September 25. We appreciate your time and honest feedback.

Goal Setting Conferences, October 5-9

During the first full week of October, we'll hold our annual goal-setting conferences. Students will select goals related to their school-based learning or personal interests. With the help of their teacher and a parent or guardian, they'll identify actions to build the desired skills and create a plan to monitor progress. Teachers will provide additional details on the planning and scheduling for these afternoon conferences as the time gets closer.

Daily Attendance and Engagement

Though this school year is full of change, one thing hasn't changed at all: the importance of being present and engaged. Group Zoom meetings, small groups lessons and asynchronous activities are strategically designed to develop understanding and confidence. Missed lessons or social engagements can be disorienting and distancing for students. Make school an absolute priority every day. The routines of school will be grounding and comforting. If you need suggestions for building at-home routines, please give us a call. We'll be happy to support.

School Shirts for School Spirit

One of our favorite ways to spread school spirit is by wearing Sycamore gear! This year's school t-shirt will be a student-created design. All students are invited to share their idea. Submissions should represent our school and be wearable by any K-6 student. Because of the process and costs involved, the designs should not be too intricate and must use ONLY 1 or 2 colors. Students may submit only one design, drawn on an 8 1/2" by 11" page, then scanned or emailed as a picture to by September 30. Please include the student's name and the name of their teacher in the email but not on the drawing itself. The final design will be chosen through student voting.

Looking for reading material? We've got you covered!

Since the 1970s, Sycamore has been encouraging young authors through Publishing House (PH). This tradition is open to students who choose to use their time outside the classroom to prepare a piece of writing for publishing. A committed team of volunteers supports students with editing and formatting, then each piece is printed for the author and our school's library. Over the past couple of years, volunteers led by Joanna Lord have elevated this project further and created a digital archive of student work. The archive offers just a sample of our complete PH collection, but it's growing and already full of fantastic stories! I suggest you explore this collection with your children. They may be inspired to write their own Publishing House story someday (and you may be inspired to join the PH team as a volunteer!). The archive is available at (password: sycamore225)

If your child enjoys read alouds, consider this link shared by our librarian, Lis DesCombes. offers an assortment of books read by actors of the Screen Actors Guild. Lis recommends checking out Library Lion read by Mindy Sterling.

The LA County Library and Claremont Helen Renwick Library are prepared to support students during distance learning. The LA County Library is offering an online digital library card for LA County residents who are 18+ and a sidewalk pickup service is available here in Claremont. Use this link to get started: . If you live outside the Claremont area and need assistance, our local library staff may be able to assist. Call 621-4902 between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM for assistance.

Sycamore's Equity and Inclusion Committee

The seeds for Sycamore’s Equity & Inclusion Committee were planted roughly three years ago when a small group of parents discussed the idea of starting a group focused on equity and inclusion at Sycamore. Seen in higher education as well as the corporate and non-profit worlds, offices and departments of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion help to promote a healthy culture for students and employees. Our goal was to fill such a role at Sycamore. Recognizing the supportive and collaborative environment at our school, we were excited to build upon what already existed and provide encouragement for further growth. Since then, the initiative has blossomed from a small group of parents to a robust and dynamic coalition of parents, teachers, and students meeting regularly to foster an environment of inclusivity both inside and outside of the classroom. In fall 2019, we officially became part of Sycamore’s Governance Council. We are guided by the following mission statement:

The Equity and Inclusion committee seeks to foster a community where students of all identities, backgrounds, and abilities are valued and embraced. We strive to raise awareness of and provide strategies for creating and sustaining an equitable and inclusive community on the Sycamore campus and beyond, and to help prepare all students to be compassionate and informed people of the world.

Over the course of the 2019-20 year, we hosted a presentation for parents and educators on “Children’s Gender Diversity and Self Expression” by Dr. Jane Ward, we organized several sessions for students during Service Day, and we hosted a presentation by diversity, equity, and inclusion specialist Farzana Nayani on “How and Why to Talk to Your Kids about Race.”

In the fall of last year, a student Equity and Inclusion group took root. Twice monthly, students met during lunch to discuss ways they could promote equity and inclusion within our school. With upper grade teacher and the group’s sponsor, Jessica Marchant, students discussed ways we can respond to one another with understanding and respect. The group took action in three ways: they raised funds to donate so that every student could have breakfast and lunch, regardless of a family’s ability to pay; they advocated for a gender-neutral student bathroom on campus; and they led peers in mindfulness activities as a part of our school’s Service Day. Way to take action! Virtual meetings of the Student Equity and Inclusion group will continue to be held on the first and third Wednesday of each month, starting October 7. Students in grades four through six can meet Mrs. Marchant in a Zoom from 12:30-1:00, using the meeting code 940 4403 5029 and password room18.

In the summer of 2020, Sycamore's Equity & Inclusion Committee hosted a discussion over Zoom in response to “Raising Antiracist Kids,” a recorded online conversation between best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi and human rights lawyer Derecka Purnell, hosted by Haymarket Books on June 18th and available here. We also assembled a list of Equity and Inclusion resources, now housed on Sycamore’s website, which include a google doc of recommended books, websites, and other resources for children, parents, and educators, on such topics as anti-racism and social justice, gender diversity, neurodiversity, and adoption. See resources here:

Despite the disruptions and challenges of schooling during a pandemic, we are forging ahead with plans for the current year and are eager to broaden our network of parents and co-conspirators. So far, we plan to help mobilize community input to CUSD’s newly formed District Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, to help organize sessions focused on disability and neurodiversity for Ability Awareness Day in December, and to consider ways we might get involved in the Black Lives Matter at School week of action in February.

The Equity and Inclusion Committee typically meets the first Monday of the month from 6-7:30pm, and our first meeting of the year will be this coming Monday, October 5th at 6pm. In addition to making introductions, we’ll start brainstorming ideas for the year and begin planning for Ability Awareness Day. The Zoom info is:

Meeting ID: 981 7696 3043

Passcode: equity

If you’d like to be added to the E&I mailing list to receive updates and meeting reminders, please email You can also keep an eye on the Leaf. We look forward to seeing new and familiar faces at our October meeting and to hearing your ideas on how we can work together to ensure that Sycamore is equitable and inclusive for all!

-Anthea Kraut and Sharon Stranford, Co-Chairs of Sycamore's Equity & Inclusion Committee