The Hidden Gem

El Carmelo Elementary School May 20, 2020

Caught You Reading

How Many Minutes a Day is Your Child Reading?

Wednesday Update

Dear El Carmelo Families,

I am excited to share with you that for the first time ever, the Paul K. Longmore Institute will be offering a Superfest Disability Film Festival specifically curated for kids. The entire family can tune in to watch four short films that use the magic of animation to teach disabled and non-disabled kids alike that disability is cause for celebration.

Date: Thursday, May 21, 10:30-11:30am PT

To watch, register here: //



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End of Year Preparations

As the 2019-20 school year comes to a close, teachers will be spending time in their classrooms over the next week packing up student belongings. Jennifer and I provided each teacher and their aide with a mask, gloves and reusable bags. When the student belongings pick-up plan is approved, I will share the process with you. I anticipate pick-up happening the first week of June.

Reopening Schools

From the Office of the Superintendent:

Dear Community,

Monday's “Backstage with the Superintendent” webinar 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. If you are interested in participating by rating the thoughts of others without adding new thoughts to the exchange, that's welcomed too!


Don Austin
Superintendent of Schools

Best school closure information found at

Class Placement

As we approach the end of this school year, it is natural for you to have questions about your child’s classroom placement for next year. Even through school closure, and virtual learning, teachers, specialists, and I are beginning a careful and thoughtful process of creating balanced classrooms for next year by engaging in conversations within grade level clusters. Placement recommendations are not completed in isolation; in fact, this is one of the most collaborative events for our teachers and staff each year!

Our teachers and support specialists spend several hours designing student groupings that consider the following factors:

  • The needs of the individual child.
  • Compatibility: Are there relationship/friendship possibilities for each child?
  • The need to create balance within each classroom and among classrooms at every grade level.
  • Learning Needs: Does each class reflect the range of learners, from independent to needing special support? Does each class reflect the range of academic performance levels?
  • Social Relationships: Will the social dynamics of the class work to foster a positive learning environment?
  • Language Acquisition: We have over 100 English Learners on campus. Are there students who can communicate with new English speakers in the classroom?
  • Parent Impact: Ensuring that each classroom has parent volunteers.

We take the classroom grouping process seriously, always trying to put the best educational interests of the children first. We expect parents will trust and respect the judgment of school staff in making classroom placement decisions. Teachers meet several times to construct balanced groups of children and work with our specialists to inform their recommended groups. Once our teachers have agreed on their recommended groups of students, I review them, and I assign the teacher’s names to those groups.

If you have specific information you would like to provide about your child’s learning or social/emotional needs, complete our Optional Parent Input Form. The information you provide to me will be shared with your child’s current teacher to consider for placement, and it will be shared with your child’s future teacher for a smooth transition into their next grade level. Here is more information about PAUSD’s board policy on class placement.

Thank you for always working in partnership with us, especially during these unprecedented times.

Be Well,


Movement at Home

Playworks Game: Snake

To develop eye-foot coordination and cooperation.

Resources for Parents


Everyone at Project Cornerstone hopes that you, your family, and your community are safe and well during these unprecedented times. With students now at home, we have pulled together this website to offer you some resources and activities.


Do I Need to Worry about My Child Falling Behind? May 26, 2020 from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Parenting During Uncertain Times - Parent Support Group May 27, 2020 from 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

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El Carmelo Elementary School

An inclusive & rigorous school in the heart of Palo Alto. Thoughtful educators partner with involved parents. We are the Dragons! We learn, play & grow!