Lucille M. Nixon School

from the principal

October 2, 2020

Dear Nixon Families,

I read an article this past week titled, “Your Surge Capacity is Depleted - It’s why You Feel Awful” by Tara Haelle (science journalist and public speaker). Our ability to respond to crisis situations (surge capacity) can thankfully carry us through some pretty challenging events in our lives. Unfortunately, the particular crisis we are is continuing much longer than most crises and uncertainty persists. Among the suggestions offered for building up our “resilience bank account” is strengthening relationships. We are working hard on this at Nixon. We intend to continue strengthening relationships with our families who will be coming in person to school as well as those who need to continue to learn from home.

Update on Reopening Plans

Our PAUSD Board of Trustees approved the plan to allow students to return to in-person learning at their Board meeting on Tuesday evening. Our kinder and first grade families have responded to the PAUSD request to choose between hybrid return to school and continuing full time distance learning. I am very happy to report that the days at home for hybrid students in first through 5th grades will no longer be largely asynchronous. Many parents across the district expressed their concern about this aspect of the plan and it has been revised. Each day will begin with the entire class - those in school and those at home meeting together. More detail will be shared by teachers to families choosing hybrid regarding the synchronous aspects of the days when the cohort is not in school. Nixon teachers are very pleased.

All PAUSD elementary principals met together yesterday to arrange kinder and first grade classes based on parent preferences for hybrid or distance learning. Superintendent Austin clarified for all that the highest priority would be given to keeping students in their home schools and with their teachers where possible. It has worked out that all Nixon kindergartners and first graders, whether they chose hybrid or distance, will remain within Nixon and be taught by a Nixon teacher. These families will be notified on Monday, Oct. 5, before 5:00 pm of class placement and cohort (A/B) assignments (hybrid students). I remain hopeful that we will be able to achieve this for our 2nd through 5th grade families.

Thanks to all, including our Nixon PTA, who shared their strong desire to remain together as a school community. This does not mean that all kinder and 1st grade students will be remaining with their present teacher. We must group those choosing distance learning together with one teacher. I will be working out the details over the weekend with our teachers. Nothing is settled at this moment except that all students in kinder and 1st grade will be at Nixon. Let us enjoy this. Where possible, students will stay with their present teacher. Our grade level teams of teachers have been working together very closely since school began, so I believe any transitions among teachers will be fine.

Parents of 2nd and 3rd graders

Parents of 2nd and 3rd grade students should be watching for the official PAUSD email requesting your choice for hybrid or distance learning for your children. Please make a choice that best meets the needs of your family. The survey will come out soon from PAUSD. It is possible that our superintendent will include information about this in his Friday update today.

Preparing our Youngest Learners for Returning to School

We are welcoming some of our special needs children back to campus on Monday. This will give us the opportunity to try out our systems with a small group of children and then make adjustments before the next group returns on October 12.

I encourage parents whose children will be returning to in-person instruction at school on October 12 to begin preparing the children.

· Find masks that are reasonably comfortable for your child. We will also provide a cloth mask to each child and have spare disposable masks on hand if a child forgets to wear one to school.

· Have your child practice wearing a mask for longer periods of time as they will need to wear the mask all day at school (except while eating and drinking).

· Parents will not be allowed to enter school grounds in the morning with their children (SCC Health Dept. guidelines) so make sure your child knows this well before the first day back. We are asking all families with kindergartners and first graders to enter the school grounds from Tolman Avenue. Kindergarten teachers will meet children at this gate until the children can manage this on their own. We will be patient.

· Have a refillable water bottle for your child. Drinking fountains will not be in use, but we do have some stations for refilling water bottles.

· For first graders, please help your child understand that school this year will be different than it was last year before the pandemic began. They will be in a small group of children while in school and they will learn, play and eat with just this same group of children. This is how we will help each other stay safe.

· Plan for a few extra minutes in your morning routine. Parents will need to complete a health screening survey for your child every day before coming to school. Instructions for how to access and complete the form will be coming soon.

· Teachers will provide more specific directions next week as we continue to plan for children’s arrival on Monday, October 12.

Playing Together is Good for Us!

I had lots of fun last Saturday evening at the S’mores Sing-a-long! Thanks go to our PTA for organizing this event, to music teacher, Robin Smith, for leading us in singing and to kinder teachers Susie Foster and Stephanie Han for leading some games.

Have you decided to join in the next Nixon fun family event? PTA and the 5th grade families are sponsoring a virtual Superhero Fun Run. I am in a Nixon office team with Becky and Mrs. Taylor. You can sign up here. Please don’t hesitate to join if cost is an issue. Reach out to Nixon secretary Becky Brewer ( because scholarships are available.

Take care,

Mary Pat