Notes From Your Principal

Welcome Back!

August 20, 2022

We hope you've all enjoyed a wonderful summer with your children...relaxing, smiling, safe and healthy, and of course, making memories. But now it's time to get down to business!

Welcome and ¡Bienvenidos! McKinley Families,

Before I begin, I wanted to let you know that I will be using this new platform, Smore. While different and new (for me), it also automatically translates into your preferred language at the click of a button. This is a long one, so please take your time as it has a lot of important/useful information.

We are just days away from starting the school year! And yet, the campus has been buzzing for a couple weeks. Our custodial team, Mr. Raffy and Mr. Ken, have been working tirelessly to ensure our campus sparkles for the first day of school. Our office staff, Mrs. Soohoo and Mrs. Evans, have been organizing materials and preparing the class assignment letters that should be in your mailbox any day now. And our dedicated teaching staff, who don't officially start until Monday, have been here for weeks preparing their rooms and collaborating with their colleagues. We can't wait to see you!

If you haven't already had a chance to see our new South Yard, I hope you'll see it tomorrow at MAZE Day, 9-11am. Two giant, colorful bollards along with landscaping have been added to the southwest corner, and we have most colorful playground in town!

Just a reminder that the first day of school is this Thursday, August 25th. School begins at 8:30. (See below for more information.) I encourage you to visit our school website (a work in progress) to keep up to date with events and information, our school directory and so much more. Don't forget to check us out on Twitter and Instagram.

Along with our Google Calendar, we have put together a list of key dates for you. (Spanish translation will be added in the coming days.) I've also included a detailed Bell Schedule.

As you can see above, my theme for the year is "We All Fit In". As we call come back for the most "real" year we've had since Covid appeared, it is my goal to be sure that every student, staff, family and community member feels that they belong. I want everyone to find their place at McKinley, and know that we value each and every one of you. I look forward to all the ways we can incorporate and celebrate this theme into our year.

Speaking of fitting in, please be sure to welcome these new Bulldogs:

  • Yumeng (Kate) Feng - school psychologist
  • Jennifer Kirmse - teacher
  • Jorge Londoño, DLI teacher
  • Aura Martinez - DLI teacher
  • Jennifer Reich - Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Adam Rios - school counselor
  • Victor Zerpa - PE teacher
  • Helena Aredo - long-term substitute

Here is a full list of all our staff!

First day information:

  • School begins at 8:30am.
  • Students will enter the campus through their designated gates. (see this map)
  • On the first day (only) we will all dismiss at noon.

Other important dismissal information:

  • 1st through 5th graders will release at regular hours starting Friday, 8/26. (3pm M/W/Th/F, 2pm Tuesdays)
  • Kindergarten will dismiss at noon through Friday, Sept. 2
  • From 9/6 through 9/23 they will dismiss at 1:30.
  • Beginning 9/26, kindergarten students will dismiss with the rest of the students.

Drop off and Pick up:

  • Kindergarten and 1st grade– south yard/kinder gate, and pick up at the same gate. (If looking at the school, it’s to the left of the main entrance)
  • 2nd and 3rd grades – “Champions” gate/north yard. (Just to the left of the main entrance) 2nd grade pick up is at the same gate, and 3rd grade pick up will be at the basketball courts gate.
  • 4th and 5th – enter near the basketball court, and pick up at the gate on Fairfield. Please do not double park or wait in your car in the street. Please park and walk to that entrance.
  • The safety of our students is our #1 priority. Please pay attention while dropping off/picking up your child. Always pay extremely close attention to your surroundings, looking for students who may be crossing.
  • Paloma is one way, southbound, in the morning (8:15-8:45am) and afternoon (2:45-3:15pm). You may not turn on to Paloma from Oak Grove during those times.
  • The loading zone in the front of the school is just that. Please do not park and leave your vehicle. Approach in a line on Paloma. As you approach the pick up zone, please pull over to the right and up as far as you can. Once your child is in your car, please pull out from the curb. Our staff will ask you to pull forward as each car leaves. Please help us in keeping our pick up smooth, orderly and safe.
  • Do not drop off or pick up your child from the middle of the street.


School attendance is essential to student success. Please avoid mid-year vacations, extended weekends, and please...make sure your child is at school on time. Please plan on arriving at 8:15 when our gates open. Teachers will take roll at 8:30. All students who arrive after the 8:30 bell, must get a late pass from the office. Please help your child create good habits of being on time.

Back to School Coffee:

Our PTA is hosting a Parent Coffee in front of the school on the first day at 8:45am. Join us for coffee, treats, meeting new friends, catching up with others, and a couple of announcements. Drop your children off at their gates, and make your way to the front steps! Also coming on Wednesday, August 31st (8:45), is our New Family Coffee. We welcome all new families regardless of grade level.

Hot lunch:

Hot lunch continues to be free this year for all students in California. Our food provider, Chartwells, will be serving lunch from our MPR serving window (new location). Parents will no longer have to order lunches ahead of time. Teachers will take a lunch count each morning. Please be sure your child knows whether or not they will have a school lunch, or be bringing one from home. Students will use their lunch code (provided by the school/teacher) to show that they picked up their lunch.

Back to School Night is Wednesday, September 7th

(This is a change, due to a conflict with BHS from the originally scheduled date.) We are back in person! You will have a chance to hear from the principal (me!), our PTA, and your child/-ren's teachers. This is a parents-only event. We are going back to an old format where teachers will give their presentations twice, to make it easier for parents with children in multiple classrooms to see presentations that may have otherwise occurred at the same time.

6-6:25 All school assembly on black top

6:30-6:50 Teacher presentations #1

6:55-7:15 Teacher presentations #2

Keeping (Covid) Safe at McKinley:

We are returning to our most "normal" year since March of 2020. However there are a few important reminders and new information. Hopefully you read our Superintendent's Message from August 11th.

  • We need all families to test their children prior to returning to school on Thursday. If you need a home Covid test, please see Mrs. Soohoo in the office. We have tests for you!
  • We will not be testing students on campus this year. All testing will be done at home.
  • Our schools are "mask friendly". We strongly recommend those on campus mask, but will respect each individual's decision.
  • Families should report Covid cases to us if your child has been on case while infectious.
  • Students who tested positive, may return to campus if they meet all three of the following criteria: they test negative on Day 5 or after, they do not have a fever and their symptoms are improving. Those who continue to test positive after the mandatory 5-day isolation, must continue isolation until they test negative or 10 days from symptom onset.

Big Five

Burlingame School District takes the safety of our students and staff seriously. In partnership with the 22 other school districts and 20 law enforcement agencies in San Mateo County, VCS staff are trained in Big Five protocols; Shelter in Place; Drop, Cover, and Hold On, Secure Campus, Lockdown/Barricakes, and Evacuation. Here are links to the Big Five Community Packet which will provide information in each of the five areas. (English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese)


McKinley Elementary loves our volunteers! If you were cleared to volunteer last year, you are still cleared this year. If you are a new parent or did not get your volunteer clearance, I recommend you doing so. In order to get cleared you'll need three things:

  1. Either a negative TB test result of a Risk Assessment form signed off by a physician.
  2. Cleared fingerprints (Here is the form) We suggest going to the UPS store between Trousdale and Murchison or--even better--go to MAZE Day tomorrow where LiveScan services will be available (see the MAZE Day flyer above), and...
  3. Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations

You can either submit all three to me to send to Alison Bell, or you can send them to her directly at <>.


Last year we adopted to new curricula (language arts and social studies). This year, we have adopted another two...math and science. We are excited to delve deeper into last year's curricula, as well as learning about and diving into this year's. We believe these will help us increase student engagement and success. Academically, my theme this year is...

Progress over Perfection!

Let's remember that when you learn a new skill or sport, you are not an expert on Day 1. It takes time and practice. I believe that is also true of our students academically. Our teachers will work with our students in large and small groups and each student will make progress this year.

If you've made it this far...thank you! I am so excited to be starting my second year with you. I look forward to all the learning, exciting events, relationships built, and memories made.

See you Thursday!

~Joy Shmueli

Important Dates

August 21, Sunday - Community Day (formerly MAZE Day)

August 25, Thursday - First Day of School - all students attend 8:30am - 12:00pm

Back to School Coffee, 8:45am

August 29-September 2 - Scholastic Book Fair

August 31, Wednesday - New Family Coffee, 8:45am

September 2, Friday - 1:30pm dismissal - gr. 1-5 (Kindergarten dismissal remains 12:00pm)

September 5, Monday - Labor Day Holiday, no school for staff or students

September 7 - Back to School Night, details to follow (a parent-/guardian-only event)

September 8, Thursday - Picture Day!

September 9, Friday - Back to School BBQ

September 15-16 - Parent Conferences - Gr. 4&5 (4th/5th students attend school 8:30am-1:30pm)

September 19-23 - Parent Conferences - Grades K-5 (all students attend school 8:30am-1:30pm)