Tag Archives: McAuliffe School

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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A friend recently shared this commercial with me. I found it on YouTube and am passing it on. I don’t always agree with mobile carriers, but this is a great message!

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June 28, 2014 · 9:13 pm

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Found this on the Expeditionary Learning recommended reading list. Picked it up tonight to add to my ever growing reading list. Can’t wait to share more as I get through them! (If you click on the photo it should take you to the EL site.)

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June 26, 2014 · 5:24 am

Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network

Hi Everyone,
Two pieces of great news. We were recently invited to join a national network known as Ashoka Changemakers. It was an exciting process of interviews, school tours, a written application, and phone conferences. All of these were fielded by a team of faculty and parents.

We learned earlier this week that we were accepted and we look forward to sharing more about this partnership once we kick off the new year.

After the initial application, members of the Ashoka team, Nancy, Illa, Henry, Jen, and Arnita met for three additional interviews. The last two were on Thursday, the day after school was out. Which is incredible…because they gave up their first day of summer to share their story and convey how important McAuliffe is in the lives of their families!!

We owe each of you a special thanks for your participation in the interviews! You truly spoke from your hearts and did a wonderful job representing our school and community.

Here’s a short video to share some of the things we will be working on together: http://startempathy.org/videos#video-645

I hope you are enjoying summer.

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Post Cards of our summer adventures!

Hi Everyone,

As the office winds down for the year, many of you have already begun a summer full of adventure and wonder.

If you have time, please send us a postcard, we would love to share where our families have been this summer.

McAuliffe School
12211 Titus Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070

Class lists will be posted tomorrow evening at 5pm. For your convenience, we will also send it out electronically at some point after the posting. We post the lists early so that you and your children will have an opportunity to connect with their classmates, have play dates, bbq’s, beach or park days, etc.

During the next few weeks I will also be taking some time to reflect on the year behind us and to recharge. I will be away from technology as much as possible during these weeks and don’t anticipate responding to email until I return to work at the beginning of August. However, once I am back at work, I will be sure to respond to your emails.

We wish all of you the very best, most relaxing summer ever! And we look forward to seeing you back in the fall.



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Summer has nearly arrived!

“Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two and a half days left of school and it is almost… finally time for me to acknowledge that we have reached that time of the year…

I can’t help but resist as Mother’s Day, Ben’s Class play, our Art Show, Gold Country, Father’s Day celebrations, and 8th Grade Exit projects are so fresh in my mind. As I walked around the track this morning for our walk in the  fight against cancer, I couldn’t help but smile. The end of the year is as engaging, fun, and exciting for our students…and parents…and faculty, as the beginning!

We experienced hardship and loss this year. There are times when we all will need help and times when we are able to help those in need. This makes us human and part of a community. Take your time as we move forward and begin the healing process. This is not a race, but a journey and we travel at our own pace in this lifetime.

We also shared tears of joy and laughter. We deepened friendships and have been incredibly real with one another. These are also the marks of a true community.

As you begin the summer vacation, enjoy the days ahead. Take time to read, explore, travel, and have great conversations with your children. Make time for your friends and family. Carve out time to discover something new about the bay area. I would also ask you to take time to reflect on the year we have just completed.

This year, I felt that I wasn’t able to read nearly as much as I’d like. Here’s my reading list for the summer. If you are reading something incredible, please share it with me. I’m always looking for my next adventure!

Have a wonderful summer and yes…it is now time… The end of the year is upon us. Thank you for your time, your energy, and for making this year incredible for the children, families, and faculty at McAuliffe.



Summer Reading List:

The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson
Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin
And for laughs:
Satyricon by Petronious,
La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel, Rabelais
Wife of Bathe by Chaucer

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Just saying or This is Just to Say?

This Is Just to Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
William Carlos Williams c.1934

You may wonder how a topic like this,  eaten plums and a whimsical apology, using irregular meter, would end up a poem of some esteem. And you would be in good company. Many believe it’s famous simply because William Carlos Williams, daytime doctor and nighttime poet, wrote it.
This is Just to Say…or Just saying?
Many of you know that I am curious about the origin of things. Words, phrases, inventions, programs… I am simply fascinated by how they came to be part of the world we now live, and by the people and time periods that created them.
“Just saying” has become a popular phrase in today’s vernacular. And while it is NOT my favorite phrase…(it’s actually much closer to the least favorite end of the spectrum), Scott Simon of NPR’s “Simon Says” describes it as “designed to let us express ourselves sharply, but without conviction.” (Read or listen to his opinion on the phrase at http://n.pr/RFQAdB)
Scott suggests its origins can be found in sitcoms like Seinfeld and Eddie Murphy’s stand up routine. Let’s journey back in time, 80 years into the past, for an earlier rendition by William Carlos William.
How many times have you been on the receiving end of a gesture of this type? How many times have you followed in William’s footsteps?  Did you ever leave a note? Was it sincere, humorous, loving, or snarky?
Just saying.
Have a great weekend.
There is no “They” only Us.
Maker Faire 2014 is here!
Next weekend is the Maker Faire 2014. Here’s a link if you are interested in signing up: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/maker-faire-bay-area-2014-tickets-9098302267

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