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Pencil drawing of snail, with parts labeled.
Superintendent's Update - December 2019
Dear San Mateo-Foster City Community,
Joan Rosas ImageThe California Department of Education (CDE) recently released the 2019 California School Dashboard, a reporting system that provides educators, parents and the public with information about the performance of local schools and districts. The results provide the San Mateo-Foster City School District with important information on how students are progressing toward our vision of educated, inspired and empowered youth, who live, lead and learn with integrity and joy. 

Academically, the District has experienced modest increases in English Language Arts and Mathematics performance on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Noteworthy is the fact that several of our historically lower performing student groups achieved “Increased” performance: Homeless Youth (+4 Math), Students with Disabilities (+11.9 ELA, +10 Math), African American Students (+4.1 ELA, +10.1 Math) and Filipino Students (+4.7 ELA, +10.6 Math). New curriculum, staff development, intervention programs and high quality instruction contributed to these positive results.

One key area of focus for the District has been to improve the performance of English Learners, and we received a status of “Medium Progress” (54.1%) on the new English Learner Progress Indicator. However, when examined school-by-school, 50% of SMFCSD school sites earned a “High” or “Very High” (55% to 65%+) English Learner Progress status, while an additional 40% of school sites have a “Medium” (45%-54%) status.

The District is also pleased to be exiting Differentiated Assistance for Foster Youth, having demonstrated improvement in key measures. We recognize that there is always work to do to more fully engage all of our students, and we expect that our added counselors and social-emotional supports will continue to have positive impacts. For more information on the 2019 California School Dashboard, please visit

As many of you are aware, vaping is on the rise with youth nationally. While our incidents of vaping usage are well below national statistics, the welfare of every one of our students is our concern.

As you spend time with your children during this winter, you may want to engage them in an open dialogue about vaping. Your willingness to listen to your children, as well as helping them understand the health risks of these substances on developing brains, is key to combating this growing and concerning trend. Please see "Talk with Your Teen about Vaping" below for additional information and prevention resources.

A Celebration of Art
As you prepare for winter break and holidays with family and friends, we hope you will take a few moments to enjoy the beauty of the student artwork in this issue. From the scientifically-labeled pencil drawing in the Newsletter banner above, to the Chinese landscape drawings that were on display at the Marina Library last month, we delight in sharing the ways our students are flexing their creative muscles.

Thank you to the art teachers, the generous PTAs and parent volunteers who fund and lead Art in Action classes, and the countless SMFCSD community members dedicating their time, energy and resources to beautification projects across our campuses. Through your creativity and generosity, you enrich the experience of our students every day.

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season,

Joan Rosas, Ed.D.
SMFCSD New Student Registration Process
Registration for new students in the San Mateo-Foster City School District for the 2020-2021 school year begins in January 2020! Priority new student registration is January 13-31, 2020.

The steps to register are:
  • Visit the District website at and navigate to the Registration & Enrollment webpage.
  • Using the School Assignments link on the Registration & Enrollment webpage, determine your child’s school of assignment based on your address of residence.
  • Complete the Aeries online new student pre-registration form. The form becomes available on Monday, January 6, 2020, at 12 noon.
  • Collect all required registration documents.
  • Bring required registration documents to your school of assignment to complete registration in person. It's important that you check the website of your student's school of assignment for their scheduled document verification dates and times.
Please visit us at for more information about the 2020-2021 new student registration process.
Your're Invited: SMFC PTA Council's
Parent Education Evening

Positive Psychology Parent Seminar
Thursday, February 20, 2020
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Bayside Performing Arts Center
2025 Kehoe Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403
Parents in classroom at a seminar.

Parents play a crucial role in raising a teen but often lack the tools and know-how to best support their child's growth. This Positive Psychology seminar taught by Village Coaches is designed to give parents an overview of seminal research as well as best practices they can use at home to help their child thrive.

Join parents across the District for this inspiring event. Admission is free, but registration using this Eventbrite link is requested.

Spanish translation will be available.
Additional Important Dates
Thu, Dec 19
School Board Regular Meeting
6:30 pm
District Office

Mon, Dec 23 - Fri, Jan 3
Winter BreakNo School

Mon, Jan 6Tue, Jan 7
Staff Professional Development and Work Days
No School

Mon, Jan 6

Aeries Online Pre-registration Form Opens
12 noonAERIES System Online

Mon, Jan 13
SMFC Education Foundation Meeting
7:00 pm
District Office

Mon, Jan 13 
Fri, Jan 31
New Student Priority Registration

Tue, Jan 14
Special Education Advisory Committee (SEDAC) Meeting
7:00 pm
District Office

Thu, Jan 16
School Board Regular Meeting
6:30 pm
District Office

Mon, Jan 20
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
No School

Tue, Jan 21
Equity Task Force Meeting
7:00 pm
District Office

Mon, Jan 27
SMFC Education Foundation Readathon Begins

Thurs, Feb 20
SMFC PTA Council Parent Education Night
7:00 pm
Bayside Performing Arts Center
The 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 SMFCSD calendars are available on the SMFCSD website.
School Board Meeting Highlights
school board logo
December 19, 2019 Board Agenda
6:30 pm – Regular Meeting
  • Board Reorganization
  • Recognition of Probationary Staff Moving to Permanent Status
  • Nomination for CSBA Delegate Assembly
  • Dashboard Presentation
  • Special Education Update
  • First Interim – Budget  
All Board Meetings are open to the public and held at the San Mateo-Foster City School District Office, 1170 Chess Drive, Foster City at 6:30 pm.  Community members are encouraged to attend.

To review board presentations, upcoming agendas, and previous meeting minutes, go to the 
Board Agenda & Summaries on the SMFCSD website.
Talk with Your Teen about Vaping

Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit Logo
The rise in use of e-cigarettes is alarming. In the San Mateo-Foster City School District, age-appropriate tobacco and drug prevention education and resources are shared with students from an early age. Students learn about resiliency skills in fourth grade through the Too Good for Drugs curriculum. Eighth graders learn about tobacco/drug prevention through their health science curriculum through Project Alert and the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit. Our middle schools also provide additional tobacco/drug prevention in sixth and seventh grades through school assemblies and student wellness fairs.

We must work together to keep children healthy and learning. Your ongoing conversations with your child(ren) have a significant impact on them.

To learn more about vaping, please refer to the websites below:

NPR: How to Talk to Teens about Vaping
CDC: Outbreak of Lung Injury Associate with Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products
Stanford Medicine: Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
Stanford Medicine: Cannabis Prevention Toolkit
Borel Students Double Food Donations
to Samaritan House
Last month, Borel students collected 4,020 points worth of money and canned goods which were donated to Samaritan House's food pantry. According to Margo Kannenberg, Project Wee Care Coordinator, the students' efforts "not only filled 16 barrels with food, but also filled one entire truck!"
Computer Science Week
Hour of Code - Students on computers with adult support.

Millions of students around the world participated in Hour of Code 2019 during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15. Students at Borel worked on “Make a Hero Meme with Vidcode” challenge while others worked on Pixar in a Box or JavaScript Drawing.

One student recapped the challenge, “I learned how to code a simple amount of javascript… [and] to move a graphic and how to make a meme. I enjoyed making the meme, but if one error was in the code, it wouldn’t work.”

Not Just Another Gym!
Abbott ASB Tests the Construction Team

Four student wearing hardhats on construction site.
Inspector John Riewerts Highlights Key Building Considerations

With the steel frame of the new gym at Abbott Middle School rising around them, Abbott’s ASB met with the project’s Architect Monique Wood, Inspector John Riewerts and Contractor Johnny Chiem this month for an inside look. At the kickoff meeting, students presented their own Venn diagram of the roles and responsibilities of each construction job, and peppered the team with questions. After explanations were given and questions answered, students studied floor plans, then put on hardhats and visited several locations on the site. They saw the steel- and wood-framed locker rooms, ducts, ventilation, etc. 

Construction Project Manager Mark Sherrill appreciated having the opportunity to educate the students and had a great time. “They were well prepared, asked great questions and made the most of the time together. Our team can feel the excitement growing on campus.”

ASB President, Kaitlin G. said she "liked the lobby and liked how it is going to be used for a classroom.” Fellow ASB Treasurer Elliott R. said he was excited to “tell everyone that the locker room is super nice!"

Principal Jeremy Packman was overflowing in his appreciation of all involved. “What impressed me the most were the students’ questions -- their research really showed. And Mark did such a great job in preparation and planning. I couldn’t tell who enjoyed it more, the adults or the kids!”

Four student with architect reviewing plans.
Architect Monique Wood Reviews Plans with Students

San Mateo-Foster City Education Foundation News
SMFC Education Foundation Readathon Logo

As 2019 draws to a close, we would like to express our gratitude for an amazing year of growth. Our supporters this year include our families, District teachers and staff, San Mateo County, corporate partners, foundations and local businesses. Together we continue to create opportunities for all of our students. To learn more about our year, please visit

Reading Together
Readathon 2020 is coming soon! The event will run from January 25 through February 7 with a goal to raise $100,000 for SMFCSD elementary music programs, including Music for Minors and other enrichment opportunities. Our theme of "Reading Together" will be extra fun this year as we post bedtime stories from community readers on our Facebook and Instagram pages and encourage viewers to list their favorite books for all to see! Be on the lookout for details about our January 25 kick-off events at both the Foster City Public Library and the San Mateo Main Library.
Have a Need?
This year the Education Foundation is matching SMETA’s teacher grants with $5,000 in additional funding. If you have a specific project to fund at your school, please contact us at and let us know how we can help. 
Interested in Education Foundation Efforts? Come to a Meeting!
The next SMFC Education Foundation meeting is Monday, January 13, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, at the SMFCSD District Office. We hope to see you there.

Have a wonderful winter break and a Happy New Year!

SMFCEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, donations are tax-deductible. Tax ID 94-3110731

'Tis the Season... For ART!
Across the district, students are quietly developing their artistic points of view, learning techniques and practicing skills as they design, draw, paint and much more. Below is a sampling of the great work happening. We hope to delight you.

We have many more beautiful images to share than we have space for here, so we will post them to the SMFCSD Facebook page over the coming weeks—something for you to enjoy during the winter break!

Fiesta Gardens Elementary School

Watercolor of 3 mice, red, yellow, blue, by a first grader.

Watercolor of blue bird by 5th grader.

Kindergarten & Fifth Grade Students Explore Color Mixing

Parkside Elementary School

Student tree drawings (black and white) on display at public library.
Close up of Student tree drawings (black and white) on display at public library.
Parkside Students' Chinese Landscape-Inspired Drawings on Display at the Marina Library

Parkside Parent Frances Isola has been the school's Art in Action Coordinator for the last few years. During that time, she's developed relationships with various locations that display student creations. This recent exhibit of tree drawings was a culmination of the students' study of value, expressing light and dark, inspired by the work of Li Tang. It was a challenging technique: students painted with twigs as their brushes and learned the value of persistence.

In addition to the beauty a display creates, the value of art exhibits such as this is the sense of completion and fulfillment it gives to students. Henry S., Parkside second grader said, "Because they put our art up in the public library, I feel like Parkside Elementary School really cares about us and has faith in us." Classmate Tyler W. added, "It makes me feel happy and excited because people get to see my artwork."

Bowditch Middle School

Five girls showing their wrists in a circle, displaying woven bracelets.

Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Students Wove Kumihimo Bracelets

Color pencil sketch of butterfly with parts labeled.
They Learned Science Through Scientifically-Labeled Insect Pencil Drawings

Laurel Elementary School

Winter scene of ice skater in motion by first grader.
Elise N., First Grader, was inspired by Pieter Bruegel's "Winter Scene."

Watercolor by fourth grader of unicorn on landscape
Fourth Grader Liana M.'s masterpiece was inspired by works of the famous modern artist Richard Diebenkorn. It shows how water colors create a unique landscape.

Please visit the SMFCSD Facebook page for more student artwork!
Copyright © 2019 San Mateo-Foster City School District, All rights reserved.
As a member of the SMFCSD community, you are automatically subscribed to receive our district newsletter. If you would like to opt-out, please follow the unsubscribe directions listed on the bottom of this newsletter. We look forward to keeping you informed of the great things happening in our district!

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San Mateo-Foster City School District
1170 Chess Drive
Foster City, CA 94404
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San Mateo-Foster City School District · 1170 Chess Drive · Foster City, CA 94404 · USA