Cougar Connect

Week of October 9, 2023

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A Message from Mrs. Leonardo

Dear Kennedy Community,

I hope you are enjoying your extended weekend. My sister-in-law was brave enough to watch my two-year-old this weekend. This meant I had time to do all (okay...SOME) of the things I needed to do. Woohoo!

🏫No School November 1, 2023

Please add this date to your calendars. There will be no instruction Wednesday, November 1 due to RCSD teacher professional development.

🎯Goal Setting Conferences

One of the amazing things about Kennedy is our teachers' ability to collaborate with one another. We met on Thursday to discuss our upcoming goal-setting conferences and figure out how to make sure all teachers supported students in this new endeavor. Thank you, Kennedy Staff, for your cooperation!

Teachers created sign-up links for conferences, and they will email these links to their first-period classes this week. I previously said I would email the links to families this week, but teachers wanted to take ownership of this and email families directly to prevent any confusion about which teacher to sign up with.

Goal-setting conferences will empower our learners as they set goals for themselves, determine a plan to meet these goals, and learn how to advocate for themselves. We want every student to attend their goal-setting conference with their parent or guardian.

Conferences will be held Monday, October 23 through Friday, October 27 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Students will conference with their first-period teacher.

Principal's Coffee

Here are the slides from last Thursday's Principal's Coffee.

🎓High School Fair

Kennedy will host our annual High School Fair in the Kennedy gym from 6:00 to 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 19. Come learn about local public, private, and charter high schools. This is a district-wide event, so any Redwood City family is welcome to attend.

📚Kennedy Book Fair

The Kennedy Scholastic Book Fair is coming November 13-17th! Click here to explore Kennedy's Book Fair website. Click here to learn more about e-wallet.

🐾Kennedy Student Store

The student store will be open online from 8:30 am to 10:00 am on Monday, October 9. Our 6th-graders can pick up their items on Tuesday at lunch from the student store. Our 7th and 8th graders can pick up their items on Wednesday at lunch from the student store. Thank you to parent volunteer, Julia Feng, who spent over three hours with me on Friday taking inventory and updating our student store. Also, shout out to students Ella T., Lola B., Julia L.P., Ava B., Michael H., Jack R., and Samantha S. who took pictures of all items for our store. Ella, Lola, and Julia also cleaned up and organized the store, too!

Students do not use real money for the student store. Students earn Cougar Cash by showing their P.A.W.S. They must be prepared for class, have a positive attitude, make wise choices, and be safe. Teachers and staff can give students Cougar Cash!


Intramural lunchtime soccer is back! We have a volunteer, Jordan, who is creating the schedule and referring the games. We have six teams playing three games at a time. We have 16 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teams who have signed up to play. It's great to have intramurals back!

☺️Kennedy Clubs

We have over 15 clubs at Kennedy. Clubs will be held during lunchtime or after school. We will have K-Pop Club, Art Club, Rock Band Club, Cooking Club, Community Service Club, and so much more. We encourage every Kennedy student to be involved in a club or a sport. Please see our list of clubs here. Ms. Williams will organize and lead a Club Rush this week--a space where students can learn more about the clubs and sign up.

Student Council

Congratulations to the Student Council Executive Board for 2023-2024:

Matthew S. - President
Sofia S. - Vice President
Ria E. - Secretary
Troy S. - Treasurer
Eibhear W. - Press Secretary
Corinthian M. - Community Service Chair
Brody P. - PTO Student Representative
6th Grade Senators: Michelle G. M., Lyla L., Makai P., Joanna O.L., and Yealenne V.

Please bookmark the Student Council Website to get the latest information on spirit days and other events.

💯Progress Reports and i-Ready

Progress reports will be mailed home this week. For the most up-to-date information about your students' grades, please log on to PowerSchool.

i-Ready reports will be included with progress reports. You will get to see your student's current reading and math levels at this point in the year. I will include more details about i-Ready in next week's newsletter.

🔔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.

You can call the Kennedy attendance line and leave a message. Dial 650-482-2409 and press option 3. You can leave a voicemail message with your student's first and last name, date of birth, grade, your relationship to the student (parent, guardian), and the reason for their absence. Our office staff checks the voicemail messages from 7:30 to 10:00 am.

You can also email our new attendance clerk Tatyana Tafoya:

🎃Halloween Dance Friday, October 27

Please be advised that in order for students to attend the Halloween Dance in the Kennedy gym, they must have a 2.0 GPA or better. This means no Ds or Fs. They must have good attendance and good behavior. This means no behavioral referrals, suspensions, or incidents with other students or staff members. We will need parents to chaperone for this event, so we will reach out in October for your support.

That's all for now!

See you soon!

Mrs. Leonardo

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.

PTO Corner

Hello, Kennedy Community!

Our middle school is so special because students are able to choose from many electives that enhance their academic and social-emotional growth! This week I’d like to shine a spotlight on Kennedy’s amazing Art Program that serves over 180 of our students and is led by Mrs. Segal.

Students taking Art classes with Mrs. Segal work on projects and activities that will boost critical thinking habits, improve collaborative participation, grow creativity and develop communication skills through writing and talking about art. Many media types are explored, such as graphite pencil, colored pencil, acrylic paint, textiles, watercolor and more! Art students also help with set design and decoration for Kennedy’s spring musical. This year, Mrs. Segal hopes to introduce the students to ceramics as well. So stay tuned!

If you’d like to support the Art program specifically, please click the link to view Mrs. Segal’s Amazon wishlist.

Thank you to the 25+ parents who were able to join us for the September PTO meeting last week. The group received school updates from our admin team, were briefed on grant-writing efforts to fundraise for our drama program, learned more about the Student Store, and engaged in a discussion about the PTO budget process and priorities.

Here is a link to the draft Meeting Minutes for September 26, 2023, for further details.

Everyone is invited to join us for our next PTO meeting on Tuesday, October 24, at 7:05 pm via Zoom. Remember, all parents are automatically members of the PTO and your voice is important!

To support KMS in general, PLEASE DONATE at the link:

Follow the KMS PTO on Instagram and Facebook, @KennedyCougarsPTO.

Check out for more info.

Kind regards,

Jess Bryski

PTO President


6th-Grade Canoe Field Trips

Ms. Strangman and Ms. Virnich's 6th-grade science students visited the Marine Science Institute this week for canoe field trips!

STEAM Field Trips

For the last three years, Kennedy has been a part of two K12 Stronger Workforce Program grants to create its “Green Careers Awareness” middle school program. As part of the program, Ms.Hernandez's 7/8 graders from Period 3 STEAM Elective classes went on a Sustainable Water Field trip to complement Career Technical Education (CTE) classroom learning with hands-on field trip experiences that expose students to sustainability-centric companies and careers in the real world. The students went to Hidden Villa, a 1,600-acre educational farm in Los Altos Hills, learning how organic plants, farm animals, and farmers use water to produce food. Then, they went to Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City to learn about the water sources for our area. Finally, they went to the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification System Plant in San Jose to see the latest technologies involved in reclaiming wastewater into potable water to maintain lawns around Bay Area Stadiums such as Levi's Stadium. Along the way, they also learned about various job opportunities and careers in the water and renewable energy industry.

SEPTAR Meeting

Join SEPTAR for our next association meeting on October 17 at 7 pm on Zoom. The topic will be "Navigating Transitions". There will be three breakout rooms with presentations from RSCD teachers, staff, and a Sequoia Union High School District representative. The transitions being discussed will be Pre-K to K, elementary to middle school, and 8th grade to high school. You can choose which transition you want to learn about! To register, go to
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Kennedy Family Center Updates

Congrats to Guillermo J.P.! He and his family won September's Family Challenge!

Our October Family Challenge is HERE! Find out the details in this month's podcast (9:33 mark)

Please take a picture of your family going on a hike or walk together, and send a picture to the family center: You can also text a picture to (650) 656-0501. The winning family will receive a family prize pack. Watch the podcast for more information!

October Podcast

ELAC: English Learner Advisory Committee

Cynthia met with 13 families for our English Learner Advisory Committee on Wednesday evening. We are SO excited about this committee. We are looking forward to working together this year in support of our students! Please reach out to Cynthia for more information:

Padres de Kennedy 2023 WhatsApp Group

If you prefer to receive information in Spanish and by text, click on the link to join the Kennedy Family Center's WhatsApp group “Padres de Kennedy 2023"! You will receive updated Kennedy Middle School information in Spanish and reminders of our school events.

Parent Support Groups

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

Second Harvest Food Bank

Thank you to the volunteers who assisted us with our food bank last Tuesday. Second Harvest Food Bank comes to Kennedy on the third Tuesday of every month.

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Redwood City Parks & Rec Sports This Week

Flag Football

Wednesday, Oct. 11

4:00 - Kennedy Gold vs. Roy Cloud at Hawes Field

5:00 - Kennedy Green vs. KIPP at Hawes Field


8th Grade

Thursday, Oct. 12

5:30 - Kennedy White at Hoover

6:15 - Kennedy Green at Hoover

What's Happening in the Kennedy Library?

Book Club has started! We meet on Tuesdays after school. 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.

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.


Come and find out WHY TIDE Academy is a great small public high school option in the Sequoia Union High School District!

Please join us for TIDE Academy's 8th Grade Information Night on October 19th at 6 PM and hear from our academic departments, students, administrators, parents, counselors and our partner Foothill College about our dual enrollment program. TIDE Academy also offers After School Tours and Shadow Opportunities to spend the day with a current TIDE Academy student! All information about our events is also on our website at

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Updates from the Redwood City Library

The Peninsula Libraries and San Mateo Office of Education are partnering together to provide 2023's San Mateo County Reads. This year the theme is Empowering Change: Stories of Climate Justice.

There will be 4 virtual author events in October. Both authors have written one of the selected books for San Mateo County Reads (picture book, and middle grade). Each author will provide 2 presentations:

  • Susan Verde, author of The Water Princess
    • Thursday, October 19 from 9:00 am-10:00 am
    • Thursday, October 19 from 1:30 pm-2:30 pm

  • William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
    • Thursday, October 26 from 9:00 am-10:00 am
    • Thursday, October 26 from 1:30-2:30 pm

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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 received planners during the fourth week of school, and included in the planner is the student handbook.

Click to view and save the Kennedy Student & Family Handbook.

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

We are incredibly grateful for your support! Thank you!

We got some Kleenex this week from an anonymous donor. Thank you!

Kennedy's Amazon Wishlist

Upcoming Events


  • Indigenous People’s Day~ No School Oct 9
  • School Site Council Oct 17 Virtual Time TBD
  • 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
  • Halloween Dance Oct 27 Gym 6:00-8:00 pm
  • 8th Grade Yosemite Trip Oct 29-Nov 2 Yosemite National Park
  • No School Nov 1-Teacher Professional Development

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.