Principal's Newsletter issue #123

lego 4Movie Under the Stars

What an interestingly entertaining evening! While the event was not our typical Movie Under the Stars, in fact it was more of a Movie under the Life Skill Banners, it was still great fun, an opportunity for friends and families to connect and certainly an opportunity to slip out of the house for the evening! Children had a great time and the food was fantastic! 

Know that we began our set up in the yard watching the skies carefully and then... it began drizzling. Really????? Late September??? Each of the two years we presented this event we were enveloped in warm nights and starlit skies:)

I remember quite clearly, three of us staring at one another in disbelief as we considered the options. Food was laid out, film equipment was up, and we even had a few folks with blankets and chairs on the ground. In the end, thousands of dollars of equipment was at stake and we did not want to take a risk. It also would have been mayhem if it did rain during the middle of the film. All that taken into account, we made a last minute decision and it was mine to make (just so you know where to point that finger). Thanks to the countless folks who stuck it out in the newly named, MPRSO, newly titled acronym for Multi Purpose Room Sauna Oven!

Special thanks to parent leader, Jennifer Marks and Barbra Rosenstein, for leading this event and to Thomas Savelli, our film magician, for his services. We are ever grateful and would never pull this off without him!

Thank you to the following people who served in the variety of ways they were able. I know I am leaving a few folks off this list as people showed up and offered to help when they arrived. If I missed your name, misspelled your name, or you see a name I missed please, please, let me know and I will add to the list. Recognition of our volunteers is very important to me!

Eternal thanks to Sue Hickey, Shawna O'Connor, Lisa Hooper, Sharon Kovalsky, Elise Loftin, Theresa Murray, Trudy Verzosa, Reiko Deguci, Avril Wilson, Erik Jorgensen (his excellent Gelato contributions), Nathan Dunn, Cristina Blouin, Joey Marks, Elizabeth Geler, the dynamic and effective super hero duo of Chris Smith and Hank Dagenais (managing the grounds and the new sport, ONS or Outdoor Night Soccer), Ryann Rosenstein - MES student (For her excellent table food placement), Morgan Hickey and Chloe Hailer - MES students (For frighteningly accurate cone placement), Sophia Savelli - student (for always supporting her pop with his film equipment and anything else needed), and to that very special someone who brought in 5-6 bags of bananas.

At the end of the evening, we still had a little extra and well... I really love bananas...anything with bananas really...I love cereal too... my son wakes up Saturday and says "...papa, why do we have all these bananas..." Thank you:)

We are grateful to have folks like them in our community! A true exhibition of life skills in the community!  

Harvest Festival is coming!

OUR NEXT EVENT IS JUST 3 WEEKS AWAY, Friday, October 11th, HARVEST FESTIVAL, and it is always big! For those ready to step in and help support as a volunteer early on, here is the Sign Up Genius link to make it super easy. Haunted House, Music, Cake Walks, Games, etc.! 



"When the bell rings for recess to end..." parent review

Let me take a moment and help clarify our new rule from last year regarding procedures when the bell rings for recess and lunch to end. When the bell rings students freeze, go down to a knee or squat (depending on where they are at any particular moment. We do not want grass stains or wet clothes if they are on the field), and wait for the whistle. When the whistle blows they walk to class. They all know the procedures and have been reviewed at assemblies many times and we talk about it in the yard when I am out there a few times a week. Students know if they do not follow through with this rule that a citation may be issued. There have been very, very few citations as students have done a fantastic job with this program. I am very proud of their efforts!

This has been more than a magnificent change at our school in terms of supporting a relaxed return to class. Nobody is getting hurt any longer, there has been no racing to get to class first, no screaming when the bell rings, etc. Each transition is a very peaceful one with students returning to their learning environments focused and calm. 

School Site Council Meeting

Our initial meeting last week was changed. It has been rescheduled for this Wednesday September 25th, in the library from 4:30-6:00pm. This team is ultimately responsible for helping paint the academic portrait of MES for the 2013-2014 year, manage safety features, review programs and support services that support all children, and pose challenging questions that get us all thinking about how to keep Silveira ahead of the educational curve! If you are interested in being a part of this innovative think tank, we will announce openings in the Spring for the 2014-2015 year!

In the meantime, MES is well represented this year with the following Power Players whom you met at Back to School night:

Starting the year 3Teachers : Darcie Case, Susan Ritscher, Nicole Camarda, Will Anderson, Samantha Palmer, and Kathy Presson.

Parents : Paul Hamel, Sari Markowitz, Mark Brady, Margaret Garvey, Laura Reoch, and Emma Blatcher

  Friday, September 27th

This is a non-student day. Staff are involved in professional development. Enjoy your times with family.


Schoolwide Jobs

Just to keep you updated we are keeping our wonderful jobs program for students but are scaling them back considerably, ensuring that students are rarely pulled from a class to perform duties and that jobs selected are of value to our children. Jobs mostly likely will fall into the hands of grades 3-5. Stay tuned for information regarding changes.

Youth Sports, Sign Ups, Campus and Cultural Activities

Science Discovery Day at Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Great Shake Out

On October 17th at 10:17am we will hold a natural disaster drill on campus. The California Shake Out, a California endeavor to bring awareness to the possibility of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, is an event we consider to be very important. Many schools in California take part in this drill and the Dixie District is one of them. Each of our schools has a carefully selected team of folks with very specific responsibilities when it comes to supporting the safety of students. Every staff member plays a role!

Buddy classes 1

A short synopsis of the event is as follows:

  • Students and teachers ducking and covering and pausing for a few minutes
  • Students quietly and quickly moving to established evacuation lines on the yard and sitting down
  • Teachers taking attendance
  • Teachers noting students or teachers who are missing
  • Teams organized and put into play such as search and rescue, medical triage teams, food and water, etc.
  • Moving all targeted teams into areas around our campus at specified times
  • Staff managing students while teams perform duties
  • Transitioning students to baseball field (nearest to Blackstone) and waiting for parents to gather children at a table (teachers planted here to support this effort)
  • Teams meeting post drill to discuss what worked and what needs additional support and attention

We may ask community folks to take part in this event such as local firemen to help guide the process and share with us what needs additional attention. I implore you to take a peek at this site especially around what to do when you are at home with children: 

Our Community

It was shared with me last week, an unfortunate incident involving one parent who exhibited hostility towards another parent. Not physically, just with general mannerisms. While this is not common, I just want to remind folks that all of us are role models for not only our own children but the children around us. The actions we take when we are under duress are the actions our students see and may mimic as they mature. 

I appreciate those of you who do take that deep breath before reacting and treating one another with kindness and respect. Our children look to us adults  for guidance and what better way than to be thoughtful about how we respond to others. Thanks everyone for your help with this and for watching out for one another.

Talent Show Parent Team is Assembling!

This event does not take place until January 23rd and 24th but that time will be upon us before we know it with all of the holidays between now and then. This event is so different and entertaining that we have two nights to support all of the students interested! If your child has an interest in performing on stage or woudl like to try (with or without experience, it does not matter) either alone or with friends, we encourage you to help get them thinking about this event. It might be singing (no lip-synching though), poetry reading, dancing, magic, acting, etc. We believe this program is more than an opportunity to jump up on stage and perform. This event offers students a chance to utilize just about every Life Skill we teach at Silveira!

If you are interested as a parent in getting involved with this team (it is a small but amazing think tank team) drop me an email. We would love to absorb your talents!

Make up Picture Day

Make up picture day is September 26th.

TiffanyInitial Fire Drill Tuesday

9/24 at 8:30am. This is a great opportunity to take a moment and share with your child the importance of listening very closely to their teachers when we conduct our drill. We are looking for the following: Silence when walking to lines outside, sitting quietly when they arrive and waiting patiently as teachers take roll. Silveira students really do an extraordinary job with this but it is partly due to your support at home as well. Thank you in advance!

ODYSSEY OF THE MIND - 4th and 5th grade

Thank you to the many parents who made it to our informational meeting last Tuesday. We had folks from Miller Creek and Dixie in attendance as well. I hope you walked away with a big picture idea and the value of the program. Here are the highlights and things you should know:

  • Odyssey of the Mind is an wonderful opportunity for 4th and 5th grade students to take part in an enriching program that involves leadership, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving skills and is quite in line with 21st century learningSTEM learning, and our recently adopted Common Core standards
  • Thanks to our curriculum director, Judy Arrow, we are offering this program free of charge this year with the exception of supply fees which is about 10-15 dollars a family.
    • This may be the first year we are involving all four schools in this program. THAT is exciting! 
  • This program involves teams of 7 students working together on a creative solution to a single long term problem they must solve by our March regional competition held in Santa Rosa this year. There are other spontaneous problems as well that are really interesting and fun for students!
  • We do not establish teams for you. We suggest you network with parents and students you are interested in working with and check for interest. We will provide all the support, costs, and direction you need along the way. You just need to design your team. If you do not have a team in mind we canh help with that process by helping to place your child on a team.
  • We will provide a deadline for team generation as the costs are dictated by the number of teams and the selection of problems.
  • Review the OOTM website to gather more information.
  • Time commitment. Once teams are established, they will plan to meet 1-2 times a week (suggested by the OOTM folks) at the home of parents. We would like to offer our premises to work but due to enrollment, we have no space. There may be opportunities from time to time to talk with your child's teacher and check if their room is available.
  • Each parent plays a role in some way or form. This is not a program where you drop your child off and pick them up later. This is a team effort on the parts of parents and students. Students work to determine creative solutions to the problem while parents offer guidelines and support. There is a lot of flexibility around what parents roles are and your team can discuss this when you meet. 


In the next week or so, folks who are interested in this program should be thinking about families and students they want to work with, networking! I will present one more day in the afternoon or early evening for teams to meet in the MPR and or for folks looking for a team to work with.

Junior Giants Day Opportunity!

If your child is interested in voice acting for the 2014 Junior Giants DVD please contact Sunny Solomon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or  856-296-0349. I have included the PDF attachment for you to peruse. The ages 8-12 and it takes place in San Francisco!

Buddy classes 2Gate Open House

Dixie Elementary School, 6:30-7:30, September 23rd.

Volunteers at lunch, thank you!

We appreciate the support so many of you are providing during lunch. If you are someone who has some time here and there, please let me know!

Garden Workday

The morning of October 5th, Saturday! If you have a green thumb and would like to help continue the progress of our amazing 27 tree orchard, please email me! We could use your help and thoughts around the development of this outdoor space! We are very excited about the future of this area! This would only be an early morning venture as we understand the obligations many of you have with sports.

Spelling Bee, 2013-2014

Our 4th and 5th grade students are currently involved in our classroom spelling bees.  Each 4th and 5th grade teacher will send me their two spelling bee winners. On September 30th, our librarian, Mrs. Armstrong and I will hold our site Spelling Bee where we will determine our 3 finalists to represent MES at the Regional Bee held on October 9th at Dixie Elementary school. The site and classroom bees are not open to parents. I will inform everyone of 9/30 results!

The following MCOE site has lots of valuable information regarding the Regional Bee including the word list, rules, directions, etc., 












Contact Us

Mary E. Silveira Elementary School
Dixie School District

375 Blackstone Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 492-3741

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Can Do! funds technology, art, music (K-2), drama, environmental science, physical education and special assemblies at all three elementary schools.

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