This is the current issue of The Nest, our Starr King newsletter.  Back issues of the Nest can be found here.  

THE NEST -- January 2019

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Starr King Elementary School News
January 2018

Bright Spots from Principal Martin

Hello Everyone! Happy New Year! As I reflect on the past few months I want to thank each of you for being one of the bright spots. The many hours parents spend directing traffic, working at the food bank, organizing  sports, cleaning the grounds, working with students, supporting our teachers, showcasing our school and holding us accountable keep our community moving forward. It also makes me feel proud that we are all - in very different ways - contributing to our school’s success. In the coming months we will begin the work of planning for next year. We will be talking about other bright spots, but also some of our challenges. I look forward to your thoughts on how we maintain one community given our complex environment. Please join us for a meeting, or forward your thoughts, so that we continue to pursue peace and learning,  -D

Here are some updates and reminders:

1) We’ve recommended our student teacher, Ms. Xi Jin, as the new 4th grade Mandarin teacher. She has a BA in English and an MA in Chinese as a Second Language from Beijing Normal University and is completing her MA at State in the Multiple Subject Program. Having worked with both Mr. Li and Ms. Yuan, we know her to be hard working and thoughtful. She also has a good understanding of the curriculum, our school procedures and our students.  You can understand why the committee felt she would be the best for the job. Ms. Jin had a very successful first week in the classroom, and, although she has been approved by HR her paperwork is in process. Ms. Martin remains in the classroom with her through the 18th, when we hope for the final word from HR. Thanks to all the parents who supported our 3rd and 4th grade teachers during the search.

2) Using the rolling drop off area is critical to a smooth morning start. Please be patient with our staff and each other and please show courtesy to our neighbors by not blocking driveways, busses or other cars.

3) Reminder to keep kids healthy! Please don’t send junk food including sodas and chips to school. For birthdays and other celebrations, kids enjoy popcorn, fruit  and activities just as much as sugary foods.

4) Free dress day is the first Friday of every month. If there is no school that Friday then we wait until the next month. There are proposals on the table to change this policy and the SSC will consider them and report back to parents.


The mission of the African American parent advisory Council is to provide a forum to hear the ideas of the Starr King African American parent community, and respond to those ideas by educating and informing parents of district resources policy and programs. It is our goal to empower the lives of all African-American children and families by providing the knowledge and skills necessary to advocate for a high quality educational experience for our children. The AAPAC works to develop resources that allow parents to more actively support the academic instruction their children receive and engage with educators and administrators at Starr King, we aimed to lift every parent voice and help less engaged parents find their voice through us. The next meeting tba.

Contact Monica Jones at monicajones225 at or on Parent Square for any information or questions.

2018 ASK Campaign - WE DID IT!  

Thank you Starr King! We achieved increased participation, AND surpassed our fundraising goal of $225,000! We won’t know the final amount for another month or two as we wait for all of the corporate matching funds to come in.  This year our generous community has outdone itself again, showing overwhelming support to fund the supplemental staff, resources and community-building events that make Starr King an amazing school for our kids. Stay tuned on Parent Square and/or attend the upcoming PTA meeting on Thursday, January 31st to find out about when the ASK “incentives” are going to happen (e.g. the pie-in-the-face celebration, the extra free dress day and more!).

PTA Meeting—“State of School” Address—DINNER AND CHILDCARE PROVIDED

Thursday, January 31, 6:00–7:30 pm


6:00 Welcome
6:10 ASK announcement
6:20 Approval of:

  • Nov. minutes, and Nov. and Dec. financial reports
    budget adjustments
    All materials are available online at

6:30 State of the School Address and overview of school site budget process
7:25 Raffle
7:30 Adjourn

Parent Square (PS) Update  

Starting 2019 , I will be scouring the PS website for  best practices, guidelines and tools to share with PTA members.  This way we can maximize the use of the platform , we need to encourage more positive communication between Parents, Teachers and the  School. After posting the FAQ’s before the break, we will continue to work on how we can achieve better communication by leveraging Parent Square—especially around reaching 100% of our community. Sean, your PS Evangelist can be reached at sean.personal at

Sign Up as a Member of Starr King’s PTA

Everyone is a welcomed member of our PTA. All new families are enrolled [unless you opted out] at the time of your school registration. However, ongoing membership does require annual renewal.  Please help us by:

  • Signing-up and paying dues ($5/family) through the link on the PTA webpage:

  • or email Suzy Chen-Harding at schen.harding at

Here are the PTA meetings for the rest of year and key dates of important voting items:

Jan 31 Presentation of following academic year 2019/2020 Site budget process and
“State of the School” address

Feb 28 Site Budget Contribution for 2019-2020 Academic Year Presentation + Vote

Mar 21 Nominate PTA ExCom for next year

Apr 25 Vote on PTA ExCom for next year

May 30 End of Year celebration and annual GELATO party!


Compiled by Hui Zeng. Send news and announcements via e-mail: to be published in the next monthly edition of The Nest