The Orion/Mandarin Gazette

January 27-January 31 - Happy Lunar New Year!!

School Calendar

January 2020

Jan 27 8:15-8:30 First School Assembly Grades 3-5 Introduction of Core Value: Kindness

Jan 27 1:30-1:45 School Assembly Grades 1-2

Jan 27 8:30am Coffee with Principal Katherine for parents of students in grades 3-5-Staff Room

Jan 27 8:30am 5th Grade Parents -Meet Principal Nick from McKinley Middle School in room 6

Jan 30 9-10:30am Orion/MI Chinese New Year Celebration for grades k-2

Sign up to help volunteer: https://signup.com/go/yPuFixq

Jan 31 9:00-10:30 Chinese New Year Celebration for grades 3-5

Jan 31 School Spirit "Crazy Hair Day"

Jan 31 1:45-3:00 School Site Council-Review of Annual Safety Plan

February 2020

Feb 1 Lunar New Year Downtown RWC Orion Mandarin Immersion Students perform at 1:00

Feb 4 100 Days of School!!

Feb 5 7:00pm Starship PTO Meeting-Fundraising and Budget planning for 2020-2021

Feb 6 11:45am early dismissal - Super Minimum Day district wide for inservice

Feb 6 8:30-9:30am ELAC Agenda "Reclassification"

Feb 17 President's Day Holiday

Feb 24-28 Book Fair in the library

Board Approves Permanent Name for Our Campus

Our school campus now has the official permanent name of Orion Alternative Elementary School. The Board of Trustees voted on the name this past week at the public School Board meeting, which was held Wednesday, January 22. You may recall that I made you aware in December that this recommendation and vote was coming up. Several of our parents were at the Board meeting and spoke to the School Board.

Orion, which first started on the Kennedy campus many years ago, is named after a constellation, which is why the mascot is a star. The school was most recently located in downtown and the Board voted in November of 2018 to move the school to this facility and close the John Gill English strand. We had started the school year with a temporary name but the Board’s vote now makes the school’s move official.

The district will now be working with parents in our Mandarin Immersion program on a process for an official name for the program. I will provide more information to our MI families once I have details from the district.

The permanent name for the school will now make it easier for us to move forward with building community and school spirit for all students, teachers and staff at Orion Alternative Elementary School.


Speaking of names, Orion has a tradition of addressing adult members of our community by their role and first name, such as Principal Katherine, Librarian Christina, or Teacher Stephanie. Using first names is a way to emphasize that we are a friendly, close community, and using a title that names the person's role reminds us to respect and appreciate the special contributions each adult makes.


Feel free to call me Principal Katherine to honor this tradition. I've asked teachers and other adults to chose what they feel most comfortable with.

Crazy Hair Day

Student council chose Friday January 31 for the next school spirit day, Crazy Hair.

Grade 5 Families Meet Principal Nick from McKinley

Monday, Jan. 27th, 8:30-9am

Room 6 in the main office

5th Grade Families,

Come meet Principal Nick Fanourgiakis from McKinley Middle School. He will present the school philosophy, school programs and parent engagement.

Big picture

The Starship Corner - The Parent Teacher Organization

Starship Corner: Every parent, teacher and staff member is a part of Starship! Questions or ideas: email starship@orionschool.org


  • Starship President, Lilli Milton will co host Monday's principal's coffee on 1/27. Please come to connect with other parents and learn about what's coming up this month.
  • December's See's Candy Fundraiser raised almost $2,000! Thank you for your support and participation
  • A huge thank you to all parents who are helping out with field trips this month!
  • Please sign up if you can help with next week's Lunar New Year Festivities! https://signup.com/go/yPuFixq
  • Next Meeting will February 5th at 7pm. We will be reviewing our budget and fundraising so far.

Community School of Music and Arts-Art4 School Support by Starship PTO

Orion student art work will be shown at the annual student show for Community School of Music and Art from January 31-February 21 at the Mountain View City Hall Rotunda, 500 Castro Street.

The following 5th student artists will be have their work displayed.

Santiago Mina

Jia-Rui Lim

Ya'ceen Sturns

Eliot Young

Zaina Alkhatib

Belen Gonzalez

Samual Murphy-Krause

María Mendoza

Nia Avalo

Alonda Fuentes

Chris Cruz

Jonatan Gonzalez

Vivianna Cortesi

Jaslene Nava

Lansing Chaundhry

Lunar New Year 2020: When it is, who celebrates it and why this is the Year of the Rat?

The annual festival, celebrated by millions of people around the world, is also known by other names, including the Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, Seollal and Tet Nguyen Dan. Regardless of the name, the Lunar New Year is one of the most important festivals for many people of Asian heritage.


Here are some facts, superstitions and commonly asked questions about the Lunar New Year.


Does the date of the Lunar New Year always change?

Yes, the date changes. That’s because this holiday is based on the lunar calendar and not on the solar calendar that most people use. Instead of 29 to 31 days, the lunar calendar’s months have 30 days in odd-numbered months, like January, March and May, and 29 days in even-numbered months, like February, April and June.


The solar calendar is based on the 365 days that it takes for the Earth to rotate around the sun — divided into 12 months — while the lunar calendar is based on the moon’s orbit around the Earth, which occurs once every 27 to 28 days.


Lunar New Year is the generally accepted name of the festival because it’s celebrated by people in a number of different countries. But many people call it the Chinese New Year, and some know it as the Spring Festival — even though it falls in winter in the United States and other parts of the northern hemisphere.