Cougar Connect

Week of September 18, 2023

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A Message from Mrs. Leonardo

Dear Kennedy Community,

I told myself that this would be a short and sweet newsletter since we don't have any major events this week. However, once I started writing, I realized I had several reminders for all of you!

Before we get to those reminders, let's talk about what makes Kennedy amazing! Kennedy represents the variety of cultures and people that live in Redwood City. Our students and their families come from a variety of countries and cultures. This year, one of my goals is to highlight these countries and cultures throughout the year.

From September 15 to October 15, we will celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of lunchtime celebrations. On Friday, students got to listen to and request music from various Latin and Latin-American artists (there was lots of dancing, too!). This week we also plan to have one of our students play his accordion at lunchtime! Our PTO will also assist with decorating the campus. Our makerspace will be open during lunch time and students will be able to make papel picado decorations. Mrs. Morales (8th-grade social studies teacher) is also working on a movie-watching event after school hours. I will have more details about this later this week. I am hoping to connect with local companies who are willing to support us by having our students enjoy special treats like churros, agua frescas, and other treats during lunchtime. Please reach out to me if you can support me with this endeavor.

I'm looking forward to celebrating other cultures this year as well. If this is something you're interested in partnering with me, please feel free to send me an email.

Reminders for the Week:

😓Short-Staffed in the Office

Our new attendance clerk will start this week, so we appreciate your patience while we are short-staffed. When calling in your absences, you can always leave a voicemail message. You can also email Jessica Perez: When our new attendance clerk starts, I will share their email so families may email any questions they may have.

🔔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.

Reminders About Tardies

We are encouraging students to be on time for class. We have too many seventh and eighth-graders who are taking their time to get to class. Students have a three-minute passing period, and most students make it to class on time. We are asking teachers to mark students late (L) if students are not in the classroom and in their seats by the time the bell rings. We want teachers to begin instruction as soon as possible, and tardy students disrupt the learning environment.

Students who are late to class may make up lost instructional time during lunchtime. Families will be notified by text. Families can also check students' attendance and tardies on PowerSchool. If your student is late, you can ask them what is preventing them from being on time.

🍔Reminders About Food Deliveries

Food deliveries from delivery apps such as Door Dash and Uber Eats are not allowed at Kennedy. We also do not allow fast food lunches or Starbucks drinks in the classroom. Please be sure to review our Student and Family Handbook for more details about our policies.

🚗Reminders About Safe Driving

I am speaking to students about the importance of being a safe pedestrian. However, I am also encouraging families to be cautious while driving. Please remember to drive and park safely at all times--especially in school zones. Redwood City Police Department will begin to visit our campus in the mornings and afternoons in order to make sure all families and students are safe.

🏫School Clubs

School clubs are usually during lunchtime. However, we do have some after-school clubs. Right now we are looking for teachers to advise the various student-created clubs at Kennedy. We plan to officially launch clubs during the last week of September. Students can listen to the morning announcements for more information about clubs.

Intramural Sports

Intramurals are coming! Our students are READY for lunchtime sports competitions. Intramurals will begin the week of October 2nd!

🍞Second Harvest Food Distribution

Tuesday, September 19

The Kennedy gym parking lot will be closed to traffic from 8:30 am through 10:30 am.


Students were given PowerSchool Parent Portal information sheets last Monday. If you do not have access to PowerSchool, please use the information on the sheet to help you create an account.

If you already have an account, and continue to get error messages, please follow the instructions on the handout linked below. One of the questions that will be displayed is whether the district is located in Canada. While RCSD is not in Canada, our PowerSchool server is located there. Please click yes.

Link to Instructions

If you continue to have issues accessing PowerSchool, please contact Maria Segundo in our Family Center. She can assist you. 650-482-2409 ext. 3471

😁Picture Day September 18

Don't forget about Picture Day! Students will take their pictures during PE this Monday. We will use Jostens this year, and you will have the ability to preview and purchase pictures online. Picture Day reminders were sent home with your student two Fridays ago.

Please make sure your students do not wear anything green on picture day. Jostens uses green screen technology in order for families to personalize backgrounds. Wearing green clothing will make it disappear into the background.

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

Support Kennedy: Eat at Crouching Tiger Restaurant

We have our second dine-in or out event this week. Support Kennedy by eating at Crouching Tiger Chinese restaurant on Thursday, September 22. Mention Kennedy when you pay! More details are included in the flyer below.

That's all for now!

See you soon!

Mrs. Leonardo

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Latino Heritage Month Speaker Series

Join the Latino Leaders Coalition of the Bay Area (LLCBA) for the Latino Heritage

Month Speaker Series on Friday, September 22 with two guest speakers!

Friday, September 22


Friday, September 22

5:45 p.m.: Reception

6:30 p.m.: Comparsa La Cumbiamba Colombiana

6:45 p.m.: Guest speaker Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca, Founder and CEO, DREAMers


8 p.m.: Guest speaker Dr. Richard Carranza, Executive Officer, IXL

Location: San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware Street, San Mateo


Kennedy MS Celebrates National Hispanic/Latinx Month!
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Kennedy Cougar Leaders

Our 8th-grade Kennedy Cougar Leaders supported their 6th-grade mentees at lunch on Friday! Our leaders connected with our 6th-graders by discussing middle school and then completing a team-building activity. Then, everyone got ice cream! While talking with a 6th-grade student, he told me it was nice talking to his leader because his 8th-grade mentor knew everything about Kennedy!

Kennedy Family Center Updates

Our September Family Challenge is here! 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: Watch the podcast for more information!

September Podcast

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

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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.

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!

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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.

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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.

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!

As we settle into the school year, I’d like to explain exactly what the PTO is and why you should care about joining us. If you want to have a direct impact on your child’s academic, social and emotional life at school, the PTO is for you!

What is the PTO?

“PTO” stands for “Parent Teacher Organization.” Whether you are a parent, guardian, or extended family member of a Kennedy student, YOU are automatically a member of the Kennedy PTO! We are a nonprofit volunteer organization whose mission is to help students thrive and grow during middle school. This means that your voice matters and you can actively participate in your child's education.

Why is the PTO Important at Kennedy?

Kennedy offers an array of programs to support our students' social,

emotional, physical, and academic needs, many of which are funded by the efforts

of the PTO. Our amazing elective programs, Art, Drama, Music and STEAM, all receive monetary support from the PTO’s fundraising.

Kennedy Middle School is also a community school, a special designation given

to a limited number of "full service" schools in Redwood City where educational

success is achieved by addressing any social and economic barriers to learning. To

this end, the Kennedy PTO’s fundraising also supports our Kennedy Family Center located on campus.

How Can You Help?

The great thing about the Kennedy PTO is that you can be involved as much or as little as you’d like - whatever fits your availability, interests and talents! The PTO is a team effort and no one works alone. All of our leadership roles find us working in small groups to put on activities and events, fundraise, and make Kennedy the best it can be for the students, teachers and staff!

Do you love books and literacy? Help out with the KMS Book Fair in November. Are you a fabulous party planner? Join the Student Activities team to help organize 2 school dances. Do you want to see lots of students showing their school spirit with KMS gear? Assist with the school spirit wear webpage. Are you motivated to seek out creative ways to fundraise to keep our elective programs thriving? Join the fundraising team. AND SO MUCH MORE!

Here are some other key PTO roles we are looking to fill:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • STEAM Liaison - Work with KMS STEAM Program lead teacher to support the program. Coordinate 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.

Do you have other ideas or feedback around making the Kennedy Middle School experience extra-special for students? Please contact us directly and let’s chat!

Finally, everyone is invited to our next PTO meeting on Tuesday, September 26, from 7:00-8:00 pm via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 985 9237 3018

Passcode: Kennedy

One tap mobile

+16699009128,,98592373018#,,,,*67001186# US (San Jose)


Dial by your location

• +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

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, Steve O., for the pencils and Elmer's glue!

Thank you, Lori Bluvas and Anna W., for the headphones, glue sticks, and pencils. These headphones came in handy for one of our science teachers!

I didn't get to open a few packages before leaving school on Friday, so I will open those later this week.

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

Upcoming Events


  • i-Ready Assessment Window Opens Sept. 5 - 19
  • Picture Day Sept 18 (during PE) 8:30 am-3:15 pm
  • Kennedy Food Distribution Sept. 19, Kennedy Gym 9:00-10:30 am
  • PTO Meeting Sept 26 Zoom 7:00-8:30 pm

  • Site Council & ELAC Sept 27 Library 5:00-6:00 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.