Sycamore Leaf

January 30, 2021

Principal's Message

This week as you picked up February materials, your student was also given a small succulent plant and a note. The idea for this gift was created back in the fall by a parent, Sarah Rockne.

The succulents in those bags are known for tolerating less than perfect conditions. Their waxy leaves help them hang on to essential moisture during the dry seasons. We, too, have an ability to adapt, adjust and draw upon resources to get through difficult times. Still, our reserves have their limits. In large part, we have been able to draw upon our community's deep well of shared experiences and sustaining relationships. But, we've been at this a long time. All of us, at one time or another, run dry.

If you find yourself or your child in need of help or alternatives, please reach out. We are eager to help. Call or email me directly. Contact us in the school office or talk with your child's teacher. You may also:

If you feel you need immediate help we hope you find the following information helpful:

In the case of an emergency, please contact the following:

Police/Emergency Services - 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - (800) 273-8255

Crisis Text Line - Text 741741

The Trevor Lifeline is a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth. Call 1-866-488-7386 24/7

The following can be contacted if you find yourself in need of additional support at any time:

The California Warm Line - (855) 845-7415

Finally, I want to share a link to the CUSD Family Engagement Calendar. You will find there are many opportunities to engage in adult learning as well as advisory committees.

Equity and Inclusion Committee

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." This Monday, the committee will host a Zoom panel on Black Student Experiences as part of an “Amplifying Voices” series. The panel will include Black students who currently attend and alumni who have attended Sycamore Elementary and other CUSD schools. As listeners, we can gain perspective and consider ways to improve our efforts to make Sycamore a welcoming and equitable place for all students. See this flyer for details. RSVP by January 31.

The Equity and Inclusion Committee meets on the first Monday of each month. Details for our March meeting will be shared in the Leaf. Everyone is welcome to join.


Monday, February 1 from 6:00-7:30 PM

  • Amplifying Voices: Black Student Experiences Zoom Panel

February 1-8, Cookie Fundraiser (see below)

Wednesday, February 3 from 6:00-8:00 PM

  • CUSD Community Forum: Racial Equity in CUSD

Friday, February 5

  • Making Change Entries are Due

February 10-16, Talent Show Auditions (see below)

*No School February 8, Lincoln's Birthday

*No School February 15, Presidents' Day

Community Forum: Racial Equity in CUSD

The district will be hosting a community forum on the topic of racial equity. This event is designed to include community voice as the district works to understand equity and address the challenges and impact of institutional racism within CUSD. The meeting will be held virtually on February 3 from 6:00-8:00 PM. See the flyer for details on the event and how to register.

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: K-6 Noontime Yoga

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

12:00-1:00 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

11:30-12:30 Wednesday: Grades K-6 Publishing House Speaker Series, Liz Climo

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

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

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)

Claremont's "Making Change" Contest

For the past thirty years, the City of Claremont and CUSD have sponsored an annual “Making Change” contest to recognize champions of human rights and social justice. This activity encourages students to study and celebrate individuals who have taken action to improve the world around them. A flyer has been posted on Peachjar. It provides detail for participants at each grade level. In this 31st year, entries will be submitted digitally. The due date is February 5.

A SWEET Fundraiser

From February 1 to 8, we'll be enjoying a "sweet" fundraiser. The Cookie Trio allows you to order customized cookies as a treat for your family, neighbors and friends. Simply visit to order cookies and include "Sycamore School" in the notes of your order. The Cookie Trio will deliver the cookies by February 12 and our school will receive 15% of the proceeds. Free delivery to locations in a 10-15 mile radius. See the flyer for additional details.

Publishing House Authors and Volunteers

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.

Save the date for our next PH Special Guest: Liz Climo!

Liz Climo is a cartoonist, children’s book author, illustrator, and animator. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Los Angeles after college to work as a character artist on The Simpsons. She is the author of the Rory the Dinosaur series, The Little World of Liz Climo , Lobster Is the Best Medicine, and Best Bear Ever! Her books have been translated into ten languages and have sold more than 2.25 million copies worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

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. The Zoom link is available on the “Sycamore Students” Canvas page under the Publishing House button. Join us this Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 11:30 AM.

Black History Month

Carter Woodson established Negro History Week to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and promote a real, more complete view of history. Originally aligned to the week including birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, we now enjoy both Black History month and promote a full and more inclusive study of history all year. In addition to reviewing your child's classroom activities around Black History Month, consider joining in with activities, book reading and discussion at home. Here are a few resources to get you started.

For additional resources, check out our Equity and Inclusion Committee Resources posted on our school's website.

Bring on the Talent Show!

Each February, we host our Annual Sycamore Talent Show. The Talent Show gives students an opportunity to share their talents and skills with an audience of friends and family. All students are able to participate and need only to “audition” to ensure their performance is well-planned and appropriate for our young audience.

This year, our show will be virtual. Auditions and the performance itself will be completed via FlipGrid. Students will “audition” between February 10 and February 16 by uploading a performance-ready video of their act to FlipGrid. They will receive feedback about that audition (so they can revise, as needed), then students will upload their final performance video by Thursday, February 18. We do recommend preparing the videos with iMovie, or AppSmashing with apps like Chatterpix, Screencastify, or Adobe Spark BEFORE uploading them to Flipgrid. On Sunday, February 21, we will open the FlipGrid Talent Show for the entire school family to enjoy.

Start planning now using the following guidelines:

· Students may appear in only one individual or group act. Accompaniment may be provided by those in your home.

· Joint acts with those outside your home can be done by editing separate videos into one.

· Acts are limited to 3 minutes maximum.

· All acts (lyrics, background music, spoken material, movement, dress, etc.) must be appropriate for elementary aged students.

· Parents will need to provide permission for students to submit a video.

More directions are coming soon!

Parent Input is Needed

Families received emails with links to District surveys over the past week or so. The first relates to preparations for reopening schools and the second is our annual parent survey which seeks parent opinion on a broad range of school and district efforts. I am including the messages and links here. We appreciate your time in completing the surveys by Friday, February 5.

"Over the past few months, CUSD has developed comprehensive plans for students to resume in-person learning. In addition, the District has purchased extensive Personal Protective Equipment, trained employees, and prepared all sites. We are also working daily with our employee associations to ensure agreement regarding safe working conditions when students and staff return.

As District staff work on the final stage of the phase 2 reopening plan, we would like to hear from you. Please click on the link below to take a quick, four-question survey. Since CUSD has not surveyed parents/caregivers since the summer, we are requesting your thoughts at this point in time regarding sending your student back to school when it is safe to do so. Please fill out one survey FOR EACH CUSD STUDENT in your household who attends a different school. Thank you." LInk:

"Claremont Unified school District is committed to continued excellence. To help us acheive this goal, we request a few minutes of your time to complete our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Parent and Community Survey. This survey will provide us with important feedback from parents and community members like you to better serve our students.

The Parent/Community Survey can be accessed at or by visiting the District website and selecting the LCAP link on our homepage. The link will be active through February 5, 2021."

Kindergarten Class of 2021

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 start planning. 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. See our school's website for a video of our recent informational Kindergarten Open House.