Modernization updates at McAuliffe as of 7/23

VCT and tile

VCT and tile


Restroom tiled!

Restroom tiled!

IMG_2142 IMG_2193

More courtyard!

More courtyard!

Courtyards are coming together!

Courtyards are coming together!

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Measure H at work at McAuliffe School

Kinder 2015 Measure H Classroom Measure H 2015 Courtyard 2015 Measure H Courtyard 2015 Measure H Front of School  3 2015 Measure H Front of School 2 2015 Measure H Front of School 2015 Measure H

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Welcome Back!

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back from spring break! It’s hard to believe but we only have less than 7 weeks until we break for the summer. There is much to do and see and experience and learn in the weeks ahead! We have overnights, field trips, an art show, a learning day, middle school conferences, exit projects, and so much more!! Hold on to your hats! It’s going to be a wild ride. 

Amidst the craziness of May, grab a few moments for yourself. Reflect on the year and just how much your child has grown (physically, emotionally, and as an individual finding their way in this world). What is one thing that they did this year that completely surprised you? 

Have a wonderful weekend!



Before the break we announced that with the new kindergarten ratios, Sarah Flanagan’s departure for New York, and our two middle school teachers transitioning to a modified schedule, that we are looking to hire several great people to join our community.

Get the word out!

We are looking for exemplary teachers and Instructional Assistants to support the teaching and learning at McAuliffe. In particular, we are looking for:

One .4 FTE Middle School teacher (part time)

One Kindergarten teacher

Three IA’s (each 15 hours a week)

If you, or someone you, know is interested in any of these positions, please apply at the district office, and email me with the name and position you/they are interested in so I can be sure you/they get an interview.

What does the selection process look like?

In addition to the selective process our district employs, our interviewing process at McAuliffe is very much aligned to our philosophy. Highly collaborative teams comprised of parents, teachers, and the principal ask the candidates questions that are designed specifically to meet the needs of our student population and program.

Where are we so far?

I am happy to announce that the interview teams have selected two outstanding educators. Maria Yoo will join Jackie in one of the middle school positions and Susan Hedgecock will join us to teach 2nd grade. Both candidates impressed the committees with their thoughtful responses and positive energy and we are excited for them to begin at McAuliffe.

Welcome Maria and Sue!!!

Here are messages from them to you:


I am excited to become a part of the McAuliffe community and to team-teach with Jackie next year. I have been teaching in Cupertino for seven years, most recently at Miller. My background is in literature and journalism and my passions are creative writing, reading fantasy books, and training for triathlons. I am a mom of two girls, a kindergartener and a baby. I look forward to sharing my experience and to helping students discover their own passions. 


My name is Susan Hedgecock and this is my seventeenth year as a teacher in the Cupertino Union School District.  I have taught first, second and fifth grade at Eaton Elementary and before that, fifth/sixth grade ELD at De Vargas Elementary. My degrees are from Northwestern University which is located outside of Chicago, where I was born, and Santa Clara University here in Silicon Valley. Outside of school I enjoy gardening, DIY projects, motorcycle rides with my husband, and my first grandchild. Over the years, I’ve done my best to incorporate choice, inquiry and community building in my classroom and I am over the moon to join the McAuliffe School Community to share, learn and grow with you all.

Containers in the parking lot… what’s happened and what’s next?

Thank you!

Thanks to all of the parents who spent time organizing and packing our common spaces prior to the break. Our summer modernization plan is well underway!

Stage One… Check!

The first stage of moving is now complete. During spring break, 12 storage containers were placed in the faculty lot and the boxes from the PAC, UG, and Big Room were placed into storage.

The rest of the containers (8- 10) will be dropped the week before school gets out. The containers will be placed in the faculty lot and on our blacktop. We recognize that this isn’t ideal.  We spent a lot of time looking at options and timelines and determined that this was the best plan of action based on those choices.

Concerns around parking – Check!

One concern about the storage containers was the loss of parking spaces, particularly because we are a commuter school and parent participation is a key element of our program. I’m happy to report that we only lost four parking spots with the temporary addition! The faculty is looking at the current container configuration to see if we can add a few more spaces by parking outside of the lines in the staff lot.

While this modernization is unsightly and a logistical inconvenience, it’s a small price to pay for the exciting upgrades our school will receive this summer!






























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Story Corps goes to TED – The Power of Story

Congratulations Dave! I’ve been a longtime fan of Story Corps!!

I’m excited to try this new app out and hope to capture the stories of our amazing school community.

This will work wonderfully in conjunction with 1SE. I was inspired by the use of 1 Second Everyday app in the film Chef and hope to capture  a snapshot of McAuliffe history using it this year.

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You never know what you’ll run into on campus…Mind Blowing Stuff!

Yesterday, at recess, a 3rd grader stopped me and said, “Hey Rick! You gotta hear this. It will blow your mind.” Of course, I was intrigued so I asked what it was.

Student – “What is the decimal conversion for 1/3?

Rick – “.3 repeating

Student – “Yes. And what is the decimal conversion for 2/3?

Rick – “.6 repeating.

Student – “Yes again. But hold on. Get ready to blow your mind! What is the decimal conversion for 3/3?

Rick – “1

Student – “How do you know that?

Rick – “Because one rule in algebra is that any number divided by itself is one…

Student – “Okay…we can talk about that later, but your logic doesn’t stand because 1/3 = .3 repeating, 2/3 = .6repeating, 3/3 should equal .9 repeating…

Rick – “Whoa! You’re right! What does this mean?? We’ve been tricked!

Student – “I know! Right?!?!?

Rick – “Well I certainly wouldn’t want to use 1/3 or 2/3 in my calculations for building a space ship or submarine because then they might leak and we’d run out of air.

Student – “Not if you had an unlimited air supply.

Rick – “Hmm..good point, I’m not sure an unlimited air supply has been invented yet.

Student – “Still wouldn’t be a problem.

Rick – “Why not?

Student – “Because the atoms of air would be larger than the space the gap creates.

Rick – “How do you know that?

Student – “Because atoms have a molecular size that would be greater than the infinitesimally small gap that might exist if you used 1/3 in your measurements

Rick – “Hmm…Have you ever heard of Zeno’s paradox?

Student – “Sure!

Yard duty – “Hi Rick, You’re wanted in the office.

Rick – “Looks like we’ll have to take this up later.

Student – “Bye! (Runs off to play on the playground)

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The Great Escape…(aka Kinders Teaching Lessons in Yes And!)

In John Sturges’ The Great Escape, Richard Attenbourough tells his team of POW officers, “We’re going to devote our energies to sports and gardening…all the cultural pursuits…and meanwhile…we dig!” Little did John realize that he was setting the backdrop not for a World War II classic, but early morning in Vicki’s kinder class.

That day, my campus walk focused on PG & E’s handiwork. A few weeks earlier they had dug a hole in the sidewalk on Titus that was a hazard for pedestrians and large enough that it also caused a safety concern for the children on the playground. After confirming that PGE patched the hole and that the area was no longer hazardous, I made my way back to the main campus…down Titus and right onto our pathway toward the office.

As I made the turn, I could hear the sound of earth moving and little voices. I couldn’t see them because they were behind the hedgerow, but what I heard next stopped me in my tracks.

(Not being able to see them, I guessed that they were in the dirt/mud box with little shovels and/or sticks)

Kinder 1 – Hey! Good job digging that hole and putting it on the side so we can use it later!

Kinder 2- Thanks! You too! Keep digging!

(Digging sounds slow down)

Kinder 1-  Phew! This is tough work. Hey! If we keep digging we can turn this hole into a tunnel!

Kinder 2- Great idea! We can dig a tunnel right under the wall!!

(Digging sounds speed up)

Kinder 1- Yes!! And then we can dig under the fence and break outta the school!!

Kinder 2-  Okay! Let’s do it!!!

I couldn’t help but smile and wonder at what point two little, dirt covered kiddos would bust through the sod shouting “Freedom!” “We did it!”

There are many lessons I took away from this, such as: the joy of learning and working, the importance of creativity and imagination in life, teamwork, positive affirmations, reaching one’s goal often takes effort and energy, etc.

But the lesson that resonated most with me was “Yes, And…”  “Yes, and…” is a game in Improv that can lead to wonderful results.  Adults so much more frequently say, “Yes, but…”

I immediately connected this conversation with a conference I attended during the winter break. The particular session was on Design Thinking and while I will share more about that later, a key element of this process requires that we build on others’ ideas and they too draw on improv for this type of collaboration. For children this is easy, but as we grow older, accepting ideas from others and building on them becomes increasingly difficult. It’s no wonder that childhood is such an incredible time!

For those of us who lean toward “Yes, but…,” I encourage you to try “Yes, and…” this week.

Tina Fey’s, Bossypants (p84) offers a few guidelines for those of us who need practice in this:

  •   Agree
    • Respect the other person and start with yes.
  •   Say “Yes and…
    • Build on their ideas.
  •   Make Statements
    • Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”
  •   THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only Opportunities.
    • Who knows where this will lead?

Have a great weekend!


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Brain Science Math

Last night Katie shared this video with her kinder parents at their class meeting featuring Jo Boaler, professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University. The video is a part of the “How to Learn Math for Teachers and Parents” series Jo created.

I particularly liked her charge at 3:53 that, “…as teachers, our job is really to disrupt the trajectories of students who haven’t had challenging experiences.” I like the call because it applies to all students and demands that we know where our students are in order to ensure their learning experiences are meaningful, challenging, and continued opportunities for growth. One of the reasons I love working at McAuliffe is that our faculty strive daily to ensure this is happening and continue to seek ways to improve the teaching and learning for children and adults.

Jo’s summary:

1. Every child can excel in mathematics.

2. The potential of the brain is huge.

3. Every new learning experience can change one’s ability.

If you liked this video or are interested in resources on math education, Jo’s Youcubed website: offers a wealth of resources and courses on math.

Thanks Katie for sharing this exciting information and engaging parents in conversation around teaching and learning!!


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