The Nest, October 2017

Mark Your Calendars

Date/Time Event
10/31 Tuesday, 1:30pm Halloween Celebration
11/03 Friday Free Dress Day
11/09 Thursday, 6:00pm NEW DATE - Movie Night at Starr King!
11/10 Friday HOLIDAY - Veterans’ Day
12/07 Thursday, 6:00pm PTA Meeting (no November PTA Meeting)

Important reminders!
All meal forms are due by Friday. The new form is for meals and other scholarships such as after school programs. If you have not turned in a meal form, please do so now. Our funding depends on getting forms in. Right now we are missing 70 forms. You do not need to request free or reduced lunch, simply put in child’s name and check “Not needed”. You can complete online at

A Note from Principal Martin
One of the questions I get most often from students is why don’t we serve chocolate milk? I usually tell students about how much sugar is in one carton, but don’t have time for a longer discussion. As we enter this holiday season (Halloween to Winter Break!) I think it bears reminding students and parents that obesity is on the rise. And with it comes diabetes and a host of other diseases. It’s important that students learn about healthy eating when they are young so they have the chance to make the most of their teen and adult lives. Please follow SFUSD healthy food guidelines when providing snacks for classroom parties and events.

Notes from Starr King PTA
Notes from our October PTA meeting are in our google drive here.
Other documents from our meetings are also in the PTA public Google Drive, Including our 2017-2018 approved program plan and budget.

We’d like to hear from you! The PTA SUGGESTION BOX located in the front office is awaiting your suggestions, questions, concerns, ideas! And every PTA meeting, we’ll make time for Community Initiated Topics!

We do not have a PTA meeting in November. Instead, come out for our Movie Night on Thursday, November 9!

Our next PTA meeting is Thursday, December 7th, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Childcare and dinner provided!

2017 ASK Campaign Kicking Off
ASK Campaign continues! Our fall fundraising campaign continues through Friday, December 2! If you haven’t yet, please make a contribution today. It doesn't matter how much you give—every dollar gets us closer to our fundraising goal and 100% participation.

The ASK funds so many programs that make a difference every day at our school, such as our on-site healthy play program run by Mr. Kenny, our science program with Ms. Sam, our outdoor education program with Mr. George, our StageWrite writing enrichment, and much much more. Please give to support them! See the SK website for more info about how to donate:

SSC Report
The School Site Council (SSC) held elections for the open parent positions on the SSC. The newly elected parents are Amy Salfen (kinder MI), Katrina Grant (3rd grade GE), Rita Hao (2nd grade MI), and Bart Balocki (3rd grade MI, who served a prior term on the SSC including as SSC Chair). Alternates are Anna Hennessey, Eric Fong and Sol Granados (ASP, Community Member). Stacey Leyton (4th grade MI) will continue on SSC in the second year of her term, along with 2nd grade MI teacher Cheryl Liu, 1st grade GE teacher Jessica Erickson, K-2 special day teacher Cathy Bellin, and school staff representative Christina Quiroz. Principal Darlene Martin is a permanent member of the council.

SSC meetings are generally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the school. Agendas will be posted outside the office prior to the meeting, and we always open with an opportunity for public comment by community members. Due to the upcoming holidays, the upcoming meetings will be Tuesday, November 14 and Tuesday, December 19, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

At our October meeting, the SSC elected Bart Balocki as chair and Rita Hao as secretary. The SSC approved amended bylaws and discussed upcoming topics for the year, including ELD Power Hour (the first hour of the school day), support for teachers, social emotional learning programs, presentation of sensitive topics in class, planning for upper grades in future years, use of the library, homework policies, morning assembly, traffic safety, and early release day management.

The SSC also received a report from Darlene Martin about the results and status of English Learner reclassification tests, English reading tests and Mandarin tests.

Halloween Parade
The Halloween parade will start at 1:30pm on Tuesday, October 31st. Classes may begin outfitting students at 1pm and can begin arriving on the yard at 1:15pm. We will listen to music and march together then students will return to their classes for fun and spooky activities. Please remember that costumes must meet school dress code requirements. We do not allow bloody costumes, weapons or full-face scary masks (we have a lot of wee ones!)

Movie Night - Thursday, November 9th
We’re showing Sing and serving pizza and popcorn! Showtime is 6:00pm in the Starr King cafeteria. Come early for dinner, get cozy [bring a beach chair and/or a blanket] and get popcorn—fun for the whole family!

Parent Teacher Conference
Parent-teacher conferences occur the week after Thanksgiving break from Nov. 27- Dec. 1. Teachers will contact parents with their available schedule. School will be dismissed 1 hour early during conference week and busses will arrive one hour early as well.

Starr King On-Site After School Program
Check out what’s new or find out how to apply at Please contact Sol Granados at if you have any additional questions.

Compiled by Grace Kao -- Send news and announcements via e-mail: to be published in The Nest next month, as the newsletter is distributed monthly.

PTA Meeting Minutes are published on their own page.

The Nest, September 2017

Mark Your Calendars

Date/Time Event
10/5 Thursday PTA Meeting
10/6 Friday Free Dress Day! (First Friday of every month). ASP closed for staff training. Please pick up kids at 2:40PM when school ends.
10/9 Monday HOLIDAY - Indigenous People’s Day
10/13 Friday Latino Heritage Event
10/31 Tuesday Halloween Celebration
11/9 Thursday NEW DATE - Movie Night at Starr King!
11/10 Friday HOLIDAY - Veterans’ Day

Important reminders!

  • Food Bank is every Tuesday morning in the Starr King yard behind the cafeteria starting September 12, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. (or when food runs out). Volunteers needed for both Food Bank and Snack Distribution. Please contact Nurse Nancy, if interested.
  • Stop Kiss and Roll is under way for morning drop off! Thanks to our 5th grade Safety Patrol and parent volunteers! Driving families, please follow the cones and help us keep the line moving; it saves time for you and for everyone else.

A Note from Principal Martin

To me, the beauty of Starr King is that there are so many people in the community working together to meet the needs of every child. This year we’ve added high school tutors and are hosting student teachers so that we have additional support for students. Our English learners also receive tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays after school. Still, it’s a daunting task and we are constantly monitoring our progress. Your voice is important to making sure we fully understand if we are meeting our goals. We invite all families to participate in our regular PTA, ELAC and SSC meetings. We are also starting two new meetings: an informal coffee conversation directly after the food bank and a monthly workshop to share information on important topics such as literacy and bullying. Thanks in advance for your participation in creating a community of peace and learning, -D .

Notes from Starr King PTA

Thank you for coming to the the first PTA meeting and approving our budget and program plan! You can find the notes attached in this newsletter. And the link to 2017-2018 approved program plan is . Other documents from the meeting are in the PTA public Google Drive:

We’d like to hear from you! The PTA BOX located in the front office is awaiting your suggestions, questions, concerns, ideas! And every PTA meeting, we’ll have time for Community Initiated Topics informed by whatever we find in the BOX!

Our next PTA meeting is Thursday, October 5, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Childcare and dinner provided! Our agenda:

6:00 pm SK ASP updates/announcements
6:05 pm Hsu Laoshi Summer Taiwan Trip Presentation
6:20 pm ASK!
6:25 pm Treasurer’s Report
6:30 pm SSC [School Site Council] updates/announcements
6:45 pm Community Initiated Topics
7:00 pm Committee Meetings

We will also be doing a Halloween costume swap at the next PTA meeting! Feel free to bring old costumes or swing by if you are looking for a costume.

2017 ASK Campaign Kicking Off

This year’s fall “ASK Campaign” will be kicking off in a few weeks in October. Starr King’s ASK Campaign and Spring Fling party are the two primary PTA fundraisers that fund supplemental staff, programs and enrichments that were described at the last PTA meeting when we voted on this year’s PTA budget (or “Program Plan”). This year’s ASK is scheduled to begin in early October and end the last week of November. Details about the ASK Campaign and how you can donate will be coming home with students in their Wednesday folder in a few weeks! If you have any questions, please reach out to Alisa Shen (PTA Fundraising Committee Chair -

Sign Up as a Member of Starr King’s PTA

To join the Starr King PTA:

  • Complete the PTA form included with this newsletter and return it in the folder or to the PTA mailbox in the office -- or --
  • Email that you want to be a member

Volunteers Needed

Many thanks to parents who signed up for committees. We are looking for parents who are interested in volunteering for the planning of the following events:
Chinese New Year and Spring Celebration. If you are interested, please call/text Sandy Wan (Events Chair) at (415) 827-1488 or email

Rising Starrs On-Site After-School Program

OCT 6th: ASP is closed for our semesterly mandatory staff training. Please plan on having your child picked up at 2:40 pm after school ends.

Still openings! ASP still has 6 spots left for kindergartners and first graders. The ASP teachers are excellent and the kids are happy to be spending time with their SK friends, engaging in free play, some structured activities, as well as a few enrichment programs. This year, the enrichment programs for K-1 students include Mandarin, chess, swimming ( Chinatown YMCA), and music. You can sign your kids up for 2, 3, or 5 days, and the program is quite flexible with the days you choose, or if you need to shift days on occasion. For more info, you can contact Sol Granados, the program director at .

You can also check out their website for extra information and applications.

PTA Fund for Classroom Supplies

We know that there are some questions around the classroom fund line item in our PTA program budget. PTA has given teachers summer prep hour reimbursement and $500 each year to help with class supplies. In addition, the school has a budget for classroom supplies. However, parents traditionally provide food and snacks directly, and the PTA cannot give our teachers cash gifts. So snacks throughout the year, Holiday and End of Year gift collection from your cohort will be up to room parents to collect, though not required but greatly appreciated and a great way to say THANK YOU to our teachers. Hope this clears up what school is providing, what PTA is funding and what you can do. Please direct all classroom supplies needs to Lin Ong at .

Compiled by Grace Kao -- Send news and announcements via e-mail: to be published in The Nest the next month, as the newsletter is distributed monthly.

THE NEST, August, 2017

Mark Your Calendars

Date/Time Event
9/1 Friday Free Dress Day! First Friday of every month
9/4 Monday HOLIDAY - Labor Day - no school!
9/6 Wednesday, 5-7PM Back to School Night
9/7 Thursday 1:40PM Early Dismissal Begins!
9/7 Thursday 5:30PM Mandatory ASP Meeting
9/14 Thursday, 6-7:30PM 1st PTA Meeting
10/6 Friday Free Dress Day! First Friday of every month
10/6 Friday ASP closed for staff training. Please pick up kids at 2:40p when school ends.
10/9 Monday HOLIDAY - Indigenous People’s Day
10/13 Friday Latino Heritage Event
10/31 Tuesday Halloween Celebration

Important reminders!

  • Return your school lunch forms!  Even if you don’t want or qualify for free or reduced lunch, mark “do not want” and return the form to help Starr King get more funding from the district!
  • Return your emergency cards!  It’s important for Starr King to have current phone numbers for every student.
  • Shots!  If you haven’t provided proof of immunizations for your incoming student, please bring that into the office ASAP.
  • Handbook!  This year, the PTA and administration have created a Starr King Parent Handbook to spell out the basics of life at Starr King.  Find it online at
  • Food Bank is every Tuesday morning in the Starr King yard behind the cafeteria starting September 12, 8 a.m.-9 (or when food runs out). Volunteers needed for both Food Bank and Snack Distribution. Please contact Nurse Nancy, if interested.
  • Sign up for Starr King email announcements at

The Nest newsletter will be monthly.  Let’s save paper!  

A Note from Principal Martin

Greetings Starr King! I am happy to be returning as your principal and extremely proud of all I have seen during this first week of the school year.  Our returning teachers worked together with new teachers to get classrooms prepared for students and parents were ready to assist where needed. You will also notice our gardens have been replanted and are growing beautifully. As we move into this year there will be more changes. We anticipate having an early release day on Thursdays starting after Labor Day. This will allow us to conduct professional development with teachers and also leave time for their lesson planning. In order to make this work, we’ve changed the lunch schedule a little bit and continue to test some small changes to make sure it works for both students and staff. Thanks for bearing with us during this process. And, thanks for bringing your students to Starr King. We are honored for the opportunity and look forward to getting to know each one of them. Here’s to a great year, and to Peace and Learning!

Back to School Night – Wednesday, September 6th, 5-7 p.m. This is your chance to meet your child’s teacher, visit the classroom, and hear more about what is coming this year.  What’s up with all that homework?  When will my child be tested?  What will my child learn this year?  Get answers to these questions and more.  We are working on translation for our Chinese- and Spanish-speaking families!

Notes from Starr King PTA - Starr King! The first day of school embodied the learning, wonder, and community we aspire to all year long! In addition to continuing our work of advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising—SKPTA is renewing our commitment to communication and inclusivity in our community building efforts! Join SKPTA and help us better serve our community of students, teachers, and families!

Our first PTA meeting of the year is Thursday, September 14 at 6 p.m. in the Starr King cafeteria—with dinner and student activities provided! Our agenda: we’ll kick off with an introduction to our ExCom Chairs and Committees; continue with a presentation of our 2017-2018 Budget and Program Plan; and wrap up with our volunteer roundhouse! Come and meet other parents, learn about and volunteer for projects/initiatives/events throughout the year, and exercise your vote for the 2017-18 budget and program plan (votes must be in person, not by proxy).

Want to view the proposed budget before you vote on it? We will link to the budget from the Starr King website,, by Monday, September 4.  

Want more information about the proposed budget?  PTA officers will hold office hours to answer your questions [budget related or otherwise] during the food bank on Tuesday, September 12 from 8am to 9am.

A quick preview — the PTA hopes to raise $265,000 this year, primarily through our two main fundraisers, our annual appeal—the ASK campaign—in October and November 2017 and our annual auction and party— Spring Fling—on April 7, 2018.  Our Budget and Program Plan allocates the funds through six primary “buckets” of programming:

  1. direct academic support— improving student experiences and outcomes through hands-on science with our new science para [welcome back Ms. Sam!] and classroom!
  2. enrichment programs—supplementing classroom instruction (including Education Outside and StageWrite—Building Literacy Through Theater)

  3. social-emotional support— staff and resources to promote emotional growth, healthy play, and conflict resolution

  4. teacher and staff support—from summer stipends to classroom supplies as part of our teacher recruitment and retention efforts

  5. school environment—from classroom fans to facilities improvements

  6. community events—from our back to school potluck to movie night, from skate day to welcoming incoming families!


Rising Starrs On-Site After-School Program – Mandatory Meetings – Is your child enrolled in Starr King’s on-site after-school program … or wants to join??  If so, please attend one of the MANDATORY 30-minute parent/guardian orientations in the SK cafeteria on Thursday, September 7 at 5:30 pm.  Contact ASP coordinator Sol Granados 415-730-9061 ( for more information. Please note, there is currently a wait list for all grade levels, but turn in applications ASAP for future openings. OCT 6th: ASP is closed for our semesterly mandatory staff training. Please plan on having your child picked up at 2:40 pm after school ends.


Compiled by Grace Kao -- Send news and announcements via e-mail: to be published in The Nest the next month, as the newsletter is distributed monthly.

The Nest, May 10th, 2017

Mark Your Calendars

5/12/17 Friday Field Day - parent volunteers needed!
5/12/17 Friday 8:40am Pies in the Face! An ASK celebration!
5/11-12 Thursday/Friday, 6:30pm Stagewrite Performance at Brava Theater
5/13/17 Saturday, 9-11:30am SKATE DAY at Church of Eight Wheels
5/16/17 Tuesday, 10am-2pm Potrero Hill Rec Park-Fifth Grade Picnic
5/17/17 Wednesday, 10am Peace Rally-Potrero Hill Rec Center
5/18/17 Thursday, 8:30-9:15am SK Achievement Breakfast-invitation only
5/19/17 Friday, 2:00pm Pacific Islander Celebration- Multipurpose Room
5/24/17 Wednesday, 10:00am Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony
5/25/17 Thursday 10:00am 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony
5/26/17 Friday Last day of school!

Stagewrite Performances at Brava Theater(located on 24th St/York St)- ‘Mirrors, Smoke,& Getting Woke’-Short plays by Short People - Come see original plays written by Starr King 5th graders, inspired by works of visual art at the de Young Museum, and performed as stage readings by professional actors with music by The Write-Ons. Included in the evening’s performance, will be a SK Girls’ Group work and an Tickets may be purchased online from either Brava Theater or Stagewrite, and in-person from the SK office. Parents will also be selling in the morning before school starts. Let’s support our 11th year with Stagewrite!

Volunteer for Field Day - Friday, May 12 - Our PE teacher, Mr. Williams, is running a field day on Friday, May 12.  K-2 will participate in the morning from 9:30 to 11:30 and grades 3-5 will get their turn from 1 to 2:30.  We need parent volunteers!  If you can help run an event for all or part of these time slots, please contact Mr. Williams at

Coming on Friday, May 12th at 8:40am…what you’ve all been waiting for!  For reaching our $175,000 fundraising goal of the Fall ASK Campaign, Principal Martin, Assistant Principal Fitzsimmons and a mystery member of the Starr King staff have graciously agreed to submit to getting PIEs in the face by three lucky students!!  Stop by and get a picture!

Skate Day is Coming!  May 13!  Our first roller-skating party is happening on Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Church of Eight Wheels (554 Fillmore Street).  Admission is free for the whole Starr King community!  There will be a bus leaving from Starr King at 9 a.m. that morning, returning at noon (or you can get there on your own).  Look for bus RSVP forms in your Wednesday folder in the next few weeks.  Questions?  Applause?  Email 1st grade parent Willem Vroegh at

Starr King’s YMCA Summer Camp Registration is Available! Our on-site After School Program, run by the Y, has their summer registrations available (link: ). The Y has fun for everyone, and they plan to continue the “Best Summer Ever” theme this summer with weeks planned to be a “Summer of Discovery”. Summer Camp will be located at Cesar Chavez ES from June 5th to July 21st, with weekly enrollment available. A bus from SK to CC is available. Questions, please email Maybelle,

Alphabet soup: SSC and ELAC news!  On April 18, the School Site Council (SSC) and English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) met together.  Principal Martin presented an update on the school's budget.  With the combination of District support, the site budget, and generous PTA support, we should be able to fund the school's most critical needs (including a full-time Assistant Principal, social worker, and Instructional Reform Facilitator), but our budget will be very tight.  Principal Martin is still working on identifying resources for needed mental health services and teacher release.

Principal Martin also reported that she has been conducting interviews with all Starr King students, classroom by classroom, to discuss how they feel about school and about their individual goals for the remainder of the year.  The results were mostly very positive in that the kids are enjoying school and have great aspirations, and the interviews helped her to identify some social-emotional issues in one classroom that needed to be addressed.

The SSC and ELAC members also discussed the use of the 30 minutes at the beginning of the day that is designed for additional instruction for English Learners at Starr King.  On the agenda of Starr King's leadership is ensuring that this time period can better meet the needs of all students in a differentiated manner.

SSC and ELAC also discussed Starr King’s uniform policy after some parents raised questions.  The historic reasons for the uniform policy were discussed, including the need to avoid differentiation of students based on resources and clothing.  The SSC and ELAC members all expressed support for keeping the uniform policy as is (blue pants, blue or white collared shirt or Starr King shirt), and renewing efforts to enforce the policy consistently.

Please donate any “gently used” or new uniforms to the office. We especially need small sizes for incoming kinder students, and large sizes for upper grade students. Thank you!

Keep collecting box tops to raise money for Starr King!  We are a month away from end of school, so keep bringing those box tops in to your teachers so we can continue to earn for Starr King!  We have a box tops collection contest from now until Friday, May 19th and the class with the most box tops will earn a pizza party!  Ms. Liu's 2nd grade class won in the fall.  Who will win this time?!? We received a check for $142.00 last month-Thanks!

Social and emotional skills toolbox series from Seneca - Our tenth Toolbox Skill is the “Apology and Forgiveness Tool.” The Apology and Forgiveness tool requires us to put many of our other Tools to work.  The act of a sincere apology takes self-reflection, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence.  Personal power if found when a child can make a mistake without feeling a loss of self-worth.  Making an apology is a sign of maturity, and asking for and granting forgiveness requires the child to let go of anger and hurt.

At home you can:

  • Be open when you feel badly about how you have treated your child and offer a sincere apology.
  • Let your children know that you forgive them when they have apologized.  
  • Help your children think about how they feel when they have been mean to someone, and consider whether they are ready to apologize.

Our eleventh Toolbox Skill  is the “Patience Tool”.  The dictionary says patience includes serenity.  To gain serenity, we must release our expectations and accept circumstances beyond our will.  Modeling this behavior for children will help them understand and learn it.  The opposite is also true- if we are impatient, our children will learn to be demanding and impulsive.  Here are 5 important ideas to keep in mind:

  • Being able to hold the frustration of not having what we want when we want it is no small task.  Knowing we are strong enough to wait makes a big difference.
  • Patience helps us to tolerate and accept situations beyond our control.
  • The Breathing Tool is the most helpful Tool with Patience.  Breathing deeply and slowly helps us to wait.  We need to practice this skill to be able to do it well.
  • We can use the Quiet/Safe Place Tool and the Taking Time Tool to help us have patience.
  • Finally, having patience with your child can sometimes by trying and takes practice, but there are two pay-offs:
    • Your child will learn patience from your example.
    • You will feel the benefit of increased patience in this world of ever-increasing stress and high pressure.

Newsletter compiled by Christine Van Aken - please send announcements to