Tag Archives: Education

Welcome to McAuliffe School for the 2016-17 year!

“A minute goes by so fearfully quick.  You might as well try to stop a Bandersnatch!
– Lewis Carrol”

Hi Everyone!

I hope your summer was full of goodness and joy! Tomorrow is our first day of school. Welcome back to all our returning families. We’ve missed you! Welcome to families newly joining us! We look forward to getting to know you better! To all of you, we can’t wait to hear your stories of summer vacation and adventure!

I am intrigued by the road we will travel as parents this year. And I am equally excited for what lays ahead for our children. Who knows what the year will bring? What wonder and joy and learning? The start of a new year is always exhilarating!!

This morning as I woke my daughter, I was amazed at how much she has grown. It seems like just yesterday that I was taking her to the Los Gatos Parent Nursery School for the first time. Her eyes were wide with wonder at this new place and joy at meeting new people and new friends. Back then she wasn’t yet able to ride a bike, but she could dance and sing and laugh and explore like nobody’s business.

Her kindergarten experience brings similar memories to mind…eyes wide, excited, laughing. I remember the day she came home in tears because her teacher had a substitute and didn’t know what that meant and how happy she was to learn that the teacher would be back the next day.  That year she learned to ride a bicycle, to tie-dye, to play soccer and Rally Ball, and she remembers “eating banana peels as part of learning about the five senses” (her words not mine!). Yum?

Flash forward ten years…days away from starting her sophomore year of high school. She is a typical teen in so many ways, not the least of which is staying up and sleeping in, yet she spent the last week waking up at the crack of dawn for field hockey try-outs. She’s taller, more poised, and still as curious and insistent on exploring and trying new things as ever. These days she talks less about riding her bicycle than driving my Jeep…which while a bit unnerving for me that she’s growing up, promises to be a fun experience for both of us. West Valley parking lot here we come…! So many good things are in store for all of us this year and I am grateful to be both a parent and your child’s principal.

In the spirit of progressive education and exploratory learning, our faculty has decided to try something new this year. We will begin, as an entire school, by studying “Community”. It may look and feel wildly different from grade level to grade level and yet; there will be common threads among our learning experiences and yes, you will have a role in this, because you too are part of our community.

As we support our children’s learning, let’s spend the year asking questions and embracing the opportunities for us, as adults, to learn and grow as well. Give yourself permission to try new things and make mistakes. Allow yourself to step back from your children as they explore the world around them. At times they need a guiding hand and they also need the freedom to experience things on their own. If you are unsure, ask your child’s teacher, IA (instructional assistant), CC (class coordinator), or another veteran parent. We’re here to help one another.

For all of our students – Did you have fun this summer? We’re so glad your back!! Did you notice that our blacktop has been redone?  The climbing wall is up and our entire school is ready for action and for you!!  Errr… one small exception: the lower grade girl’s bathroom which needs a few finishing touches and won’t be ready until next week. We’re also putting in a new track sometime in October or November!! Most importantly, your teacher is energized and can’t wait to see you!

PARENTS – We strongly encourage you to come a bit early tomorrow to avoid the stress of rushing, traffic and to find a parking space.

Here’s to a wonderful new year for all of us! See you tomorrow!



Rick Yee
McAuliffe School
Saratoga, CA

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Okay…now I have two TakePart posts back to back. This is a documentary focused on EDUCATION AND it’s on mainstream television!

We are at an exciting time in our country, where education is in transition. Certainly the Common Core State Standards has popularized this, but as a country, we’re looking at how children learn and how we can meet their needs. It’s been many years since we’ve had this conversation at this level.

Some of the questions asked in this documentary:

“What is a teacher? And what do they do?

“What do you do when a student doesn’t get it?

“Are we making a better America?

“If you really want to talk about what it means to be successful, you have to talk about the individual child.”

This just makes sense. Sure. We have high expectations for all of our students as they enter and then leave a grade level, but what is truly important is how each child fares as they grow and that they thrive. Are we helping them reach their potential or standing in the way of their progress?

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you saw this show.

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September 7, 2013 · 5:13 am

Goodbye, API: Get ready for rough transition to better system of measuring schools

This is an interesting article (Click on the title) by John Fensterwald about the transition we are making from the current standardized assessment to the Common Core State standardized assessment.

It’s a bit lengthy, but if you have the time, there is some good information and interesting questions in it.



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August 30, 2013 · 9:26 pm

Interesting video on what tends to work and what hasn’t shown sustained results in education.

Michael Fullan has been active in the world of education for the past two decades. His description of the “Best [education] systems in the world” sounds very familiar…

1. Focus on a small number of core goals.
Deep literacy. Deep numeracy. Students learning throughout.
2. They focus on the teaching profession by devoting time and energy into attracting quality teachers and continuing to develop them once they are at the site .
3. Focus on leadership so they can learn and lead well.
4. Focus on teamwork – Learning working conditions for teachers to learn from one another and modeling this for our students.
5. Use data in a nonjudgmental way to encourage risk-taking and collaboration. (Transparent practice)

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August 14, 2013 · 7:00 am

the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

I saw this first on Upworthy. I love the creativity of the human mind and the ability to create music out of anything! This takes recycling to a whole new level. Check it out!

In my next post, I’ll share my thoughts on Mark Frauenfelder’s work, “Made By Hand”. His story is an engaging and interesting one. I have a lot to learn about self-reliance. I suppose many people do… except perhaps the people in this video. Enjoy!


July 20, 2013 · 12:24 am

McAuliffe Students Share About Their Learning Experience at the Board Meeting

“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” – Mark Twain

This evening several of Fran’s (5th) and Nancy’s  (1st) students made a presentation to the Cupertino school board members. Community, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity…it was all in there both in their words and the way they presented. Our students were eloquent and poised and excited.  They developed the presentation in a way that was meaningful to them and WOW! What a hit!! The timing from one student’s part to the next was fluid and what they shared was as powerful as they way they shared it, as a community supporting one another.

Another piece of the presentation was the powerpoint that we have shared with many families on our tour and information nights. It’s certainly an older one but it was masterfully done and captures in pictures so many of the amazing aspects of our school community and the learning opportunities our students are afforded.

We are in the process of updating our video and powerpoint presentations. We’d love to hear your ideas of the key elements that capture our community: events, learning opportunities, field trips, creative X/Electives, etc.  Please let us know and we’ll work to include them in the our newest production. If you have ideas, please send them to me, Wendy, or drop them off in the office.

Thank you again to the students who presented tonight, their parents, Fran and Nancy, for such an engaging and fun presentation!


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Emperor’s New Clothes

This afternoon (Thursday) many of our students were able to enjoy a fabulous production of the Emperor’s New Clothes hosted by our middle school drama club. I loved that our students were so comfortable on stage. They were able to take us to another world and another time. Our backstage crew had to endure numerous set and scene changes and pulled off each one without a hitch. I’ve spent quite a bit of time around CMTSJ and  PYT over the past decade. This production was on par with those companies and our thespians could easily find a place among them. In addition to enjoying their very solid performance, I also learned a few things about our audience. I’ll share those ideas in an upcoming post. For now I want to thank again the actors/actresses, the back stage, sound, and video crews and the many adults who supported them in creating a wonderful production!   Bravo! Bravo!! Bravo!!!


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