Welcome Back To School, 2016-2017

Mary E. Silveira Elementary School “STARS”

Principal’s Welcome Back Letter

August, 2016

Dear Mary E. Silveira Parents,

As principal of Mary Silveira Elementary School, it is my absolute pleasure to extend a warm welcome to both our new and returning families for what promises to be another exciting year of creative learning, investigation, and exploration! In about 1 week, we will have roughly 430 “Silveira Stars” filling our classrooms and hallways with that refreshing energy, laughter, and enthusiasm for learning that only they can bring! The first few days are certainly one of my favorite times of the year.

In preparation, our site and district maintenance teams have worked diligently over the summer to prepare our school grounds and classrooms. In addition, our multipurpose room is currently undergoing significant modifications and as such, assemblies are on hold until completion of the project in the Spring.

While this will be my 6th year as principal for the Stars, the 2016-2017 year marks the 20th I have been in the field of education. Prior to Dixie District, I was both a middle school and elementary administrator as well as a classroom teacher in grades 3-8 in Daly City’s Jefferson School District and San Francisco Unified. An important educational tenet of mine has always been to provide a safe, supportive, and challenging learning environment for each child and to ensure that every decision made, in one way or another, adds value to the lives of our children. Our partnership is a critical vehicle for achieving this goal.

A common question that tends to emerge at the start of each year is What can I do to help my child be successful?” Here are my thoughts:

  1. Maintain a consistent attendance record including arriving to school on time

  2. Develop a partnership with your child’s teacher

  3. Establish relationships with fellow Silveira families

  4. Help us teach and reinforce our monthly Life Skills

  5. Volunteer when you can through our Mary Silveira Home and School Association (MESHSA)

  6. Contribute to our Can Do! Family Giving Campaign

  7. Make a habit each night asking your child how their day went and drill down for specifics

  8. Provide consistent and predictable times for homework

Finally, school begins Thursday, August 18th for all students. Below is the schedule for the year.

  • Grades 1-5: First 2 days of school. 8/18-8/19 are early dismissal days 8:14-1:25.

  • Kindergarten: First 12 days of school, 8/18-9/2, are early release days,  8:14-11:50.

  • Regular daily schedule in grades 1-5 is 8:14-2:35 (1:25 on Wednesdays) and for Kindergarten, 8:14am-1:25pm every day. There will be no New Parent Orientation on August 17th due to construction of our MPR. Classroom assignments have been included in this mailing. Our school office hours are 7:30am-4:00pm Monday-Friday.



NEW: No New Parent Orientation this year: Our Multi Purpose Room is under construction so our New Parent Orientation will not take place as advertised. Rather, everything you need to know will be shared electronically. I will stop by Marinwood Park on August 17th for the K picnic (See below).


NEW: Parent Handbook: Please review this handbook    (link on website under school resources)


NEW: Monthly Principal/Parent coffee gatherings: I am hosting several monthly “Community Chats” that include coffee, tea and snacks! They will take place on a Friday morning in front of the school. Look for times and dates in the parent weekly letter. Great time to ask questions, share thoughts and ideas, or simply to just get together to learn more about one another.


NEW: Crossing Guard on Blackstone and Las Gallinas: As many of you know, last year was our last year to have a crossing guard due to to funding. However, with the support of Dixie Superintendent Dr. Lohwasser, San Rafael City Mayor Gary Phillips, and Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly, and the support of our community, we may have an answer. More to come on this one as it is pending. Our goal is to provide a safe route to school for all of our students. Stay tuned in the weekly letter for more information on this one.


NEW: Use caution on Windstone: Over the last few years, Windstone Drive has seen its share of drivers who make their way up and down the hill at unsafe speeds as well as passing through stop signs.To keep our students safe, I will be notifying our local law enforcement folks to stop by and keep an eye out from time to time. Please do your part if you are a resident in that area to slow down and be ever watchful of our little ones who enter Silveira through the back gate.


NEW: Bond Dollars at work update: Our Multipurpose room has been under construction since the start of summer and we are excited about the progress! The plan is to build out towards Blackstone, install new athletic flooring, add a new stage, improve acoustics, create a new lunch serving area, pour new concrete for walkway entry, and much more. In addition, the staff lounge will move to the back of the MPR affording our school and extra much needed classroom. Our two primary goals are to create additional space and create a place for parents to join us during assemblies and gatherings.


As a result, a few changes have been made to support continuity at MES. First, our 4th and 5th grade Band class will now practice in room 23 in the afternoons. Our Opportunity Time class will now work out of room 11. Art classes will be taught in classrooms and then shift to the current staff room once the MPR is completed. Assemblies are hold until the work is completed.


NEW: Can Do!: We are once again excited to provide yearlong Art, PE, Garden, Assemblies, Technology, and K-2 Music for our students! Thanks to your Family Giving contributions, $600 per child, we are able to incorporate these important educational programs to extend your child’s learning opportunities. Please take the time at the start of the year to make your contribution to our school’s most important programs.


NEW: Specialists: I would like to take a moment and thank Megan Young and Rachel Knopf, Physical education teachers, Julia James, Art, and Elina Coulter, K-2 Music, for their work with us. They have been wonderful contributors to our programs but are leaving our school to peruse other exciting endeavors. Please help me welcome Gisele Clark, our new Art specialist! We are currently in the process of interviewing K-2 music and PE instructors. You will meet all of them at our Ice Cream Social.


NEW: New Picnic Tables: Over the summer, Shimmick Construction, donated their time and resources to construct 10 sturdy wooden picnic tables for our children! Wow!!! Beautiful and practical! We are eternally grateful to Tyler Belair, current MES parent, and his team, Casey Gaughan, Vincent Eberle, Ricardo Cornejo and Felipe Delgado. Additional thanks to Tyler’s wife Jennifer Belair who sits on our Site Council for helping kick this project off


ONGOING: Campus Hours:

  • MES campus opens at 8:05 am every day. Wait for bell before entering campus

  • MES campus is closed and in session from 8:30-2:30 M/T/Th./F and 8:30-1:20 Wednesdays.

  • MES Campus is closed and in session until 11:45 for kindergarten families until 9/2.

  • MES campus must be cleared by 2:45 with the exception of our after school program. (1:40 on Wednesdays).

  • The closed campus during instructional hours has been created to ensure students safety while providing sound instructional start and end times.

  • If you arrive early, you may wait on the front parking lot sidewalk as well the lower field area in the back of campus. The black top, hallways, kindergarten yard, courtyard, classrooms, are closed during the above noted times.


ONGOING: Visitors: All campus visitors must sign in at the school front office and obtain a blue or yellow lanyard.


ONGOING: Class Assignments: Enclosed is your child’s teacher assignment. Your child has been placed with care using collaborative input from your child’s previous teacher, specialists and support staff. We have attempted to provide the best educational setting possible for all children. Classes have been balanced with regard to boy/girl ratio, learning styles and abilities, academic and social needs, and equitable class size. It is our goal to ensure that each class contains a student mosaic of varying interests, needs, strengths, cultural backgrounds, and languages. Thank you in advance for helping your child understand that it is not to place all students with a preferred best friend or teacher. Our staff works hard to create a school that is positive for all. Sometimes it it can take a few weeks for a child to acclimate to a new grade, peer group, and teacher. Here are a few sites to check out that may help: Preparing, 10 tips, and Gearing up!


Please do not call, email, or drop by the office for an appointment regarding classroom assignments until after Friday, September 16th. No class changes are expected during the initial weeks of school as students become familiar with class programs, teachers, and peers.


ONGOING: Communication: I’d like to invite you to visit our school’s website, This will serve as an important resource tool for all upcoming events, student/parent handbook, family letters, calendars, photos, Twitter, and Facebook to name a few. My goal is to keep my weekly letter succinct as I know how busy all of us are. That letter will make its way to you at the end of each week and will ALWAYS be on the website. NOTE: Many of our teachers manage websites while others use weekly/monthly email or letters as their primary form of communication. Check in at Back to School Night.


ONGOING: School pride: This school year we encourage our entire Mary Silveira community to demonstrate our “STARS” pride by wearing our school colors, blue, white, and pink, every Friday! We will incorporate a variety of spirit days into our calendar through our student leadership team.


ONGOING: Dog free campus: Help keep our students safe and our campus clean. There are no dogs allowed on our campus during school hours as we have students who are both allergic and nervous around them. Unfortunately we have had incidents of dogs biting or barking at students. If you plan to tie them up to fences, please do so away from opening of school grounds so students have easy access to and from school.


ONGOING: Lunch Information: Our vendor for hot/cold lunch is Choice Lunch. A variety of entrees are offered each day. Parents log on to the website to pre-order, cancel or change orders. Each meal includes an entrée, snack, beverage and fruit/vegetable. We can always use help with passing out lunches. If you are interested please stop by the front office and speak to our secretary, Mrs. Devine.


Kindergarten      11:10—11:30 (playing) 11:30—11:50 (eating)

Grades 1–2                 11:55—12:13 (playing) 12:13—12:40 (eating)

Grade 3 11:55-12:13 (eating) 12:13-12:40 (playing)

Grades 4–5                 12:00—12:13 (eating) 12:13—12:40  (playing)


ONGOING: Absences: If your child is tardy or absent from school, the school must be notified so we can verify the absence and record it properly. The State of California now requires the school to report all students whose absence or tardy is unverified, as truant. Please call the school office by 8:30 a.m. (492.3741) to explain your student’s absence. You can also leave a message on our answering machine at any time. If your child is absent because of religious beliefs you must inform the school prior to the day they are observing the religious holiday.


ONGOING: Code of Conduct/Life Skills/Bullying: Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible. A citation will be given as a warning and reminder to follow our rules carefully.  Bullying plays a major role in student self-worth/success for both victim and bully. Please review our policies in the Parent Handbook.


ONGOING: Independent Study Contracts: School districts in California only receive credit for Independent Study Contracts if they are written for five or more days. You can request a contract from your child’s teacher in advance when you know you will be out of town for at least 5 days. We encourage your family to take vacations during scheduled vacation times.


ONGOING: Silveira traffic: No cars are permitted to enter or park in front of the curved bus lane, which passes directly in front of school. A drop off lane is available for parents who do not wish to park on the street. Do not leave your car unattended. If you want to walk your child to the classroom door, you will need to park on the street. Please do not park in driveways. Tickets are given by police for leaving cars unattended during posted times.Only staff cars are allowed in staff parking lot during school hours.


ONGOING: We continue our commitment to Green practices: If your child brings a lunch from home we ask parents and students to pack a waste-free lunch. Here are some tips: Use a cloth lunch bag or lunchbox, skip the plastic wrap and foil, bring reusable containers for sandwiches, put drinks in a thermos or recyclable container, use cloth instead of paper napkins, use silverware instead of plastic. Make sure to put names on all personal items. Please help us reduce, reuse and recycle!  Please remember to include a healthy morning snack for your child even if your child buys lunch.

ONGOING: Life Skills: Our Life-Skills program emphasizes the various listed skill sets each month. They are reviewed in class, in morning announcements, and during our assemblies once they begin.

Contact Us

Mary E. Silveira Elementary School
Dixie School District

375 Blackstone Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 492-3741

silveira stars

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Can Do!

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

2013-14 MESHSA & Can Do! Flyer 



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