Sycamore Leaf

September 12, 2020

Principal's Message

Relationships are key. Students need to feel known, safe and valued in their learning environment. Positive peer relationships allow students to comfortably collaborate, share ideas, take risks and access help with their learning. Teachers help students feel welcome and valued, and they use their knowledge of students to support and challenge students in personalized ways. Relationships are foundational to personal and academic growth.

We are intentionally creating opportunities to build relationships right now. Our multi-age community gives us a head start in this department. A portion of the students in each classroom are returning for a second or third year with their teacher, benefitting from their existing relationships and providing continuity within the classroom. This becomes a resource for the new students coming in. Still, we know being new to a school can be tough! Over this coming week, I'll be meeting with the second to sixth grade students who are new to Sycamore in the blended program. In small group meetings, these students and a few peers from their classrooms will get together to share a bit about our school and start what we hope will be a comfortable bond with the Sycamore community. In the coming weeks, I'll continue this process by meeting with our CORE and CHAMP students as well as students in the blended program for grades K and 1.

I would encourage family members to build school-based connections, as well. This Wednesday, we'll have a virtual Pizza Night. It will offer a chance to virtually share a meal with other Sycamore families. If you're interested, reach out to someone in your child's class and set it up yourselves. If you need a little help, simply use the link to sign up, and we'll partner you with another family or two. More information is available about Pizza Nights below.


Wednesday, September 16

Virtual All-School Pizza Night! (see article below)

6:00 PM Governance Council (a Zoom link will be shared via email Tuesday evening)

The agenda will include a look at the draft of this year's Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) as well as committee reports.

Friday, September 18

3:00 PM English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) meeting (a Zoom link will be shared via email)

The agenda will include a review of assessments, interventions for English Learners, and suggestions for the school's plan for the year.

PIZZA NIGHT and Governance

Typically, the second Wednesday of September is our Courtyard Picnic and Governance Council meeting. Since we won't be able to get together in the courtyard, we'd like to encourage you to enjoy the evening as a virtual Pizza Night.

Pizza N'Such, a local Claremont Village staple and longtime supporter of Sycamore will donate 15% of your purchase to the school when you order and pay online. Ordering a couple of hours in advance would be best, though a minimum of 30 minutes before pick-up may work. As a general rule, families with students in grades K-3 should plan to pick up around 5:00 and those with students in the upper grades should plan for 5:30 or after. Of course, pizza from anywhere would make a fine dinner, but we appreciate the generosity of Pizza N'Such!

Here's a great opportunity to get to know fellow families in a virtual way. Simply use this link to let us know if you are willing to host or join a Zoom dinner with other families. Please complete the form no later than Monday night. On Tuesday, we'll email families with notes about their dinner groups. Please feel free to use the Pizza N'Such picture (above) as the backdrop for your Zoom!

At 6:00 PM, we'll open a community Zoom for our Governance Council meeting. We realize not everyone will be able to make it, but please know everyone is welcome. We will be discussing the school's Single Plan for Student Achievement (see below), an annual action plan for supporting Sycamore's students. Committee chairs will also highlight areas of activity for their groups. A Zoom link for the Governance meeting be emailed to families Tuesday evening.

Free School Lunch and Breakfast

The USDA and the CDE recently extended the Summer Feeding Program. All students in our community will be served free lunch and breakfast for the next day. From 12:00-1:00 PM daily, families may pick up meals at Sycamore by driving east to west along the white curb of 8th Street. We'll ask you to show your child's meal card, since this identifies them as a CUSD student. You may pick up a lunch and breakfast for any child in your home younger than 18. Please say hello and get to know our food services staff members, Nora, Oralia and Sylvia.

If you or your child are feeling thankful for our food services program, consider sharing student artwork, photos or letters with the Southern California School Nutrition Association for their "We Love Our School Lunch Heroes" contest. Visit for details and submit by October 2.

School Plan for Student Achievement

Annually, each school develops a School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). This plan is developed by analyzing student performance data; demographic information; attendance and participation data; student, staff and parent surveys; and current conditions for learning. Working closely with teachers and parents on Governance as our School Site Council, we set priorities for program improvements, develop strategies and actions, and monitor our results.

We are in the final stages of creating this year's plan. A final draft will be shared with our Governance Council this Wednesday and our English Learner Advisory Committee this Friday. In case you're not able to attend, here are the highlights of our planned efforts.

We have set goals for improving our students' academic growth in English Language Arts and Math as measured by the third to sixth grade summative test, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Equally as important, we have set goals for strong student attendance and engagement as measured by student, staff and parent surveys as well as attendance data. Our Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), a program for assessing, adjusting and monitoring instruction and intervention in both academic and behavioral areas is key to both goal areas. Staff will provide foundations for learning and engagement within the classroom.We will continue to encourage conceptual learning, flexible problem solving and communication about and organization of one's thinking. Efforts to ensure students explore their interests and feel connected to learning and their school are also included in our actions this year. Where additional needs are present, staff such as our interventionist, Teacher on Special Assignment, English Learner Coordinator, Educational Specialist, Speech and Language Pathologist, School Psychologist, and Mental Health Team will join teachers and families to support.

The plan is quite a lengthy document, but it will be shared in full once it is complete. It will be shared with the School Board in October, and we will revisit the plan to monitor our progress several times during the school year. If you'd like to see last year's SPSA, use this link:

If you have any questions or would like to talk more about the school's plans, please contact Amy Stanger at