Lucille M. Nixon School

from the principal

May 20, 2020

Dear Nixon Families,

There have been moments during these weeks of school closure when our predicament has felt interminable. Now that we are getting close to the end of this school year, I am worried about how little time is left!

During these last couple months, I have repeatedly been reminded of the phrase from a Robert Frost poem, “the best way out is always through.” We have certainly all been negotiating our way through our challenging circumstances. And while we are not yet out, we have learned a great deal about ourselves and the path we have been on. We have learned about both the limitations and the potential of recorded instruction. We have learned how much support our youngest students need to manage participation in online learning and how many of our fourth and fifth graders can make the Schoology platform work with minimal support. We have learned that within each classroom, there are students who are comfortable in zoom sessions and others who are not. Each of us has learned how important live, in-person communication with colleagues, teachers, students and friends is to us for our emotional well-being. We have learned that we can do more than we thought we could, and we have learned that doing all that we are now doing exhausts us. We have learned all of this and so much more. I refer not just to the teachers and myself; I include you, our students’ parents, who have needed to partner with us in unprecedented ways to support our students’ learning across these last several months. The children have also been learning about themselves right alongside the academic skills we have been teaching them.

Having gone “through” these months of school closure will enable us to make adjustments to the path we take until we make it “out.” No matter what health guidelines are in place as next school year gets underway, our instruction will be adjusted based on what we have learned and which constraints are in place as school opens. We are developing several possible plans (all students back in the school; half of the students present at any one time; continued school building closure with all remote learning) in order to be ready to adjust in early August with our first day now predicted to be August 13, 2020. More than anything, we want to be back in our classrooms with our students. Until we finally make it out of this pandemic, we'll proceed together, support each other and, most importantly, the children. Now let's get ready to celebrate the children’s accomplishments and have some fun!

Take care,

Mary Pat

Nixon Spirit Activities

Mrs. Lajeunesse, our librarian, is spearheading a fun activity to encourage you and your children to show your Nixon spirit by writing the slogan, “Whatever the weather, dolphins swim together” on paper or the sidewalk or the top of cake - whatever you like - and take a picture of yourselves with the slogan. Send it as a jpeg to Mrs. Lajeunesse ( or students can submit it through Schoology. She is organizing these photos into a fun video for the students!

The Nixon Padlet is growing! Please encourage your child to find a place to share some art or writing, ways to have fun, a book or movie recommendation. Take a look at it together and enjoy!

Nixon PTA

Our Nixon PTA is hosting a general meeting this Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm. Please consider joining this meeting if you can. I will stay on after the general meeting business is concluded to speak with those present and answer questions that you may have. Meeting ID: 84733896874 Password: 94305 Or click on this zoom link to join the PTA General Meeting.

A big thank you is due to our PTA for funding books for all of our Nixon students which have been or are being delivered to the children! Big smiles and grateful notes have let us know how much the students are enjoying the books!

Your PiE Dollars at Work during School Closure

Thanks to your generous donations to PiE, our students and teachers are being supported by our wonderful classroom aides who are working with students during zoom meetings in individual or small group sessions and helping teachers to organize student materials to be returned to you. It is a group of our classroom aides who have coordinated the purchase of books as well as the delivery of these books to our students. Thank you so much!!

Our Spectra Art teachers have been sharing lessons with the children during this period of school closure. Read on to learn about and view the virtual Elementary Art Showcase.

We are so fortunate to have our programs enriched by this talented, caring group of dedicated staff! Thank you families and thank you PiE!

Elementary Student Art Show

Your contributions to PiE pay for art instructors in all of our elementary schools! Thank you! The Elementary Visual Art Exhibition is a yearly tradition celebrating student’s artwork through a long term partnership with the Palo Alto Art Center. Approximately 240 pieces of art were collected and matted by the Spectra team. The Virtual Exhibition was organized and created by Emily Marshall, Gretel Colvert and Dawn Tower Irvine (Nixon 3rd-5th grade art teacher) . The work reflects Kinder through 5th grade lessons dedicated to creative thinking, problem solving, skill building and social emotional learning.

This year’s instructional goal for Spectra teachers was to develop learning objectives and lessons that create horizontal and vertical sequencing throughout the elementary Spectra Art curriculum. During distance learning students have turned to art as a way to express their sadness, loss, freedom, joy, and to expand their creative boundaries.Enjoy the show!

Thanks to Nancy Coffey, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Kate McKenzie, Visual Art TOSA and Nixon Spectra Art teachers Susan Emsley and Dawn Tower Irvine

Backstage with the Superintendent

Monday’s webinar with Superintendent Austin featured responses to live feedback from over 800 participants through a platform called thoughtexchange. Participants responded to the following two questions:

· What are some thoughts, concerns, or questions that are on the top of your minds right now?

· What do we need to consider to make sure you feel safe and supported as we plan for an eventual return to classrooms?

If you were unable to view the webinar, the recording is available on YouTube. In order to continue collecting feedback from those who were unable to attend, the second thoughtexchange question will be open until Friday, May 22.