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Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

When an ancient Greek philosopher said, "The only constant in life is change," I wonder if he had any idea how applicable it would be in the third decade of the 21st Century? Indeed, there has been so much change in our schools this past year and a half. As we move into next year, I am thrilled that it will be much more “normal” with full in-person learning for full school days for all students. With that said, we are going to have a significant change for many of our schools. Stay with me, please! 

California has a new law (Senate Bill 328) that requires later start times for middle and high schools, which also presented us with an opportunity to determine if it makes sense to alter all our school schedules TK-12. We convened a Late Start Schedule Committee made up of a range of stakeholders to review and discuss the options, challenges and benefits for changing the regular school day start and end times. We also sent a survey to better understand families' feedback. Along the way, there was much consideration into some research regarding the late start bell schedules for older students, which clearly indicates the need for secondary students to get more sleep and have later start times. Another factor that we had to take into account is that it is important that we provide transportation to as many students as possible, and as efficiently as possible.

While the new law does not require middle or high school changes until the start of the 2022-23 school year, we are moving forward with a new schedule TK-12 beginning with the start of the upcoming 2021-22 school year. In all honesty, after a year with so many changes, we felt it makes most sense to take advantage of the timing and transition now and have one less change in the long run. 

Having said all of this, I am pleased to share the updated school schedules for the 2021-22 school year in the tables below. We feel these changes are a balance of having middle and high school students start later; providing as much consistency as possible; and juggling all the parameters and feedback. 



SRCS 2021-22 SCHOOL DAY SCHEDULES
PDF attached and linked here to better view the tables.

School

Start Time

Regular End Time

Weekly Shortened Day

Bahia Vista

8:00 am

2:35 pm

Elementary School Wednesdays: We are in the process of finalizing the end times for the weekly shortened days for Wednesdays for elementary schools and will share details as soon as possible.

Coleman

8:00 am

2:35 pm

Laurel Dell

8:00 am

2:35 pm

San Pedro

8:00 am

2:35 pm

Glenwood

8:45 am

3:20 pm

Sun Valley

8:45 am

3:20 pm

Venetia Valley

9:00 am

3:35 pm

Davidson

9:00 am

3:20 pm

Weekly Thursday End Time - 2:02 pm

 

 

Start Time

Traditional Day End 

“A Day” End Time

“B Day” End Time

San Rafael HS*

8:30 am

3:45 pm

2:50 pm

3:40 pm

Terra Linda HS*

8:30 am

3:45 pm

3:40 pm

2:50 pm

Madrone HS

8:30 am

Mon. End Time - 2:00 pm; Tues.-Fri. End Time - 2:05 pm

*Returning to the pre-pandemic schedule, with one day a week a traditional day and four days the block schedule.



I realize that schedule changes impact our teachers, staff, families and students in different ways, and that some will be happy and others will be upset. We strived to look at the big picture and what is best for students as much as possible. Please also know that we are working with our partners to find solutions for before and after school care to help meet the needs of our families as much as we can. Please watch for more information from the District and school principals!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 6/4/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

As we emerge from the pandemic and return to full in-person learning, addressing the social-emotional well-being of our students is our top priority. The time away from and the transition back to our schools and classrooms have presented challenges for a number of students, which have highlighted the need for additional wellness support. We have also been listening to our community's feedback; recommendations from students, families, teachers, staff and partners, as well as the Joint Budget Advisory Committee and Together 2024 Blueprint planning process, all advocate for expanded mental health programs and services. 

In order to address the growing and ongoing social-emotional needs of our students, I am pleased to share some significant steps we are taking:

Counseling Services

SRCS will be using some of the COVID funding to expand our TK-8 counseling support. Specifically, we will be utilizing this one-time funding to temporarily hire additional school counselors with the intention of having one full-time school counselor at each elementary school; two full-time counselors at Venetia Valley TK-8; and three full-time counselors at Davidson Middle School. We are also planning to hire two bilingual counselors to serve our newcomer population in our high schools. 

Wellness Centers

In addition, we are thrilled to share that SRCS is part of a four-year grant awarded to the Marin County Office of Education to establish wellness centers and programs in our schools TK-12. Thank you to HeadsUp, our SRCS public education foundation, for also supporting this work! 

Through the grant, we will hire Wellness Coordinators for our secondary programs to help build, operate, manage and evaluate Wellness Centers at Terra Linda High School, San Rafael High School and Davidson Middle School. These centers will provide a layer of much-needed targeted support with a focus on prevention, intervention and postvention activities related to student physical health, mental health, reproductive health and substance use/abuse education. At the elementary level, we plan to bring on a Wellness Coordinator to support the school counseling teams, community based organizations and existing support system. Together, the Wellness Coordinator and school teams will build and strengthen each school’s social-emotional learning program for all students. At each level, our hope and goal is that the additional and current staff will establish solid systems and structures that can be sustained over time.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
This exciting expansion of wellness staff provides an opportunity for the District to better address one of our District goals and priorities: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). MTSS is a comprehensive framework that focuses on Common Core State Standards, core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs and the alignment of systems. Its central components promote students’ success through academic interventions and behavioral interventions. This is done using a tiered approach, starting with a strong foundation and access for all students as well as clearly identified intensive supports and interventions for those who struggle the most.

In collaboration with our valuable community-based partners who support our schools with counseling services as well as restorative and trauma informed practices, SRCS strives to maintain a student-centered approach to education while upholding our values of community, equity and joy. We are excited to embrace these new opportunities and look forward to continued partnerships with our teachers, staff, families and community in support of student wellness. 

Sincerely,
Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 5/27/21

Dear SRCS Families,

We are excited to share that SRCS will launch ParentSquare the upcoming 2021-22 school year! Here’s a short video about ParentSquare.

The transition to ParentSquare will continue our District-wide efforts to unify our systems with direct integration with Aeries (our student information system - SIS) and streamline communication platforms for students, staff and families. Additionally, ParentSquare will bring more parent involvement, more robust engagement features and real time data, a mobile app, language translation and more. It will take the place of many of our current communication tools, such as Blackboard and Remind. We’re excited to have this powerful system for our District!

About ParentSquare
ParentSquare is a robust communication platform that offers a whole host of tools which will allow us more effectively communicate with families and students. Some features include:

  • Mass notifications and urgent alerts with two-way communication
  • Site and district newsletters and video update options
  • Easy to use mobile application 
  • Attendance notifications
  • Teacher and classroom communication
  • Direct messaging and chat with two-way translation
  • Forms and permission slips

Upcoming Launch
At the start of the upcoming 2021-22 school year, we will offer a variety of training options for families to ensure a smooth transition to ParentSquare. We’ll also share more information as the launch nears, such as how you’ll access your new ParentSquare account; how you can easily customize your notifications; how to get help and support for any questions you have and more! 

Please stay tuned for more information. Thank you!

San Rafael City Schools
communications@srcs.org 
 

Posted 5/20/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Please read on for some important updates from another busy week!

Return to Full In-Person Learning: This week, I was able to get out to a few of our schools, and it was so heartwarming to be able to see students playing four square, climbing on the play structures, running around with hula hoops, eating lunch together and, most importantly, being in the classrooms for a full school day! The smiles and joy from students and staff was palpable, and it was so refreshing to see more in-person learning happening all day. Several teachers commented that they were actually able to take a breath during the day, and actually had the time to finish all of their key lessons without rushing. I want to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone for putting in the hard work to make this happen! 

On this webpage about our in-person learning phases, you can see just how many shifts we’ve all made as we’ve progressed through this school year. It is great to be able to end the year on a "normal" note and to know we will be starting off next year the same way. For our high school students who are in remote learning, there is still time to join your teachers and classmates for in-person learning! I encourage you to think seriously about this opportunity and contact your school if you would like to switch to wrap up the school year back on our campuses. 

Measures G & H Pass: With more positive news, I am thrilled to share that San Rafael voters recently approved Measure G and Measure H! This continued local funding will help maintain our qualified teachers and core academic programs, and we are extremely grateful to our San Rafael community for their commitment to our schools.

Face Coverings: As you may have heard, this week the CDC updated its guidelines regarding the use of face coverings for individuals fully vaccinated for COVID-19. At this time, state and county health and education officials have not issued any directions or updated guidelines in response to this change by the CDC. Masks will continue to be required in all SRCS settings for all employees, students, and visitors. I do not anticipate our mask guidelines changing before the end of the school year, but I will be sure to communicate with you if they do to ensure that there is no confusion.

Vaccines for Youth: As a reminder, Marin County Public Health is prioritizing access to vaccines for youth age 12 and older now that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use. All vaccine sites are free and insurance is not required. Learn about upcoming options. Additionally, in the next week, there will be on-campus, walk-up vaccinations available at select SRCS schools - San Rafael High School, Madrone High School, Davidson Middle School and Venetia Valley. These schools are sharing more information directly with families. I want to personally encourage everyone who is eligible to get a COVID vaccination, and for families to vaccinate their children age 12 and older as soon as possible. Learn more at GetVaccinatedMarin.org.

New Principals: I’m thrilled to announce that the SRCS Board of Education has appointed two new principals for the 2021-22 school year! Joining SRCS is Emilia El Ammari as the principal of Bahia Vista Elementary School and Victoria Martin as the principal of Madrone High School. We feel very fortunate to have these two new leaders - please join me in congratulating and welcoming them!

School Start Schedules Survey: Lastly, please watch your inbox soon for a survey on shifting our regular school day start and end times to potentially take effect beginning in the coming 2021-22 school year. California has a new law that requires later start times for middle and high schools, and we are using the opportunity to determine if it is a good idea to alter all our school schedules TK-12. 

Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 
 

Posted 5/14/21

Dear Madrone High School Community,

I’m thrilled to announce that the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education appointed Ms. Victoria Martin as the Principal of Madrone High School! Ms. Martin emerged as the clear candidate in the selection process that involved several rounds of interviews with students, teachers, staff and administrators. She rose to the top due to her experience and commitment to building a collective vision involving all stakeholders for the purpose of improving academic outcomes and increasing opportunities for social and emotional growth for all students. 

Here is a special video message from Ms. Martin for the Madrone community as a way to help introduce herself; I know she greatly looks forward to connecting in person with the students, teachers, staff and families when the time comes! I would like to share some of her own words about why she’s looking forward to this opportunity:

“The students and staff on the interview panel demonstrated a strong passion and dedication for Madrone and that energy alone was enough to make me jump at this opportunity. Moving forward, I am excited to build relationships with Madrone's amazing students and committed staff and partner with the Madrone community to make sure that all of our students are supported and successful.”

- Victoria Martin, Incoming Madrone High School Principal

Ms. Martin has been an educator for nearly a decade, serving a variety of diverse communities. She began her career in education as a resource specialist teacher at El Cerrito High School. She's held a number of school administrator roles in San Leandro Unified School District, most recently as a high school assistant principal. She pursued higher education at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received two Master's degrees in education and completed the Principal Leadership Institute.

Ms. Martin is an enthusiastic and dedicated instructional leader who leads with her heart and is guided by what is best for students. She wholly believes in nurturing positive relationships with students, teachers and families, and in building a high functioning and nurturing and welcoming school environment. She is a well-respected team player who works collaboratively with teachers and staff. Furthermore, she has a diverse skill-set that make her an ideal fit for an alternative high school - she is known to be equity focused with a particular passion for advocating for, connecting with and supporting students who struggle academically. 

Ms. Martin will officially join SRCS as Madrone’s principal on July 1, 2021. To ensure there is a smooth transition, she’ll work closely with Kevin Kerr, who has decided to return to teaching at Terra Linda High School after over 20 years as a site and district administrator. We are grateful for Kevin’s many contributions to the Madrone community, and are glad that he will remain in SRCS as a teacher. 

I strongly feel that Ms. Martin is going to be a valuable asset to Madrone High School and the entire District. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming her!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 5/13/21

Dear Bahia Vista Elementary School Community,

I’m thrilled to announce that the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education appointed Ms. Emilia El Ammari as the Principal of Bahia Vista Elementary School! During the extensive and rigorous selection process, it became evident that Ms. El Ammari was the ideal candidate to be Bahia Vista’s next principal -- she is a passionate, resourceful and accomplished educational leader with proven expertise who is relentless in her advocacy and pursuit of equitable outcomes for each and every student.

Here is a special video message from Ms. El Ammari (Spanish video here) for the Bahia Vista community as a way to help introduce herself; I know she greatly looks forward to connecting in person with the students, teachers, staff and families when the time comes! I would like to share some of her own words about why she’s looking forward to this opportunity:

“I am thrilled to join the vibrant Bahia Vista community, whose mission and core values fully align with my own beliefs about how students learn best. I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to work collaboratively with everyone at Bahia Vista to continue to create a positive school climate and culture where all students - and especially those who have suffered from a persistent opportunity gap - can grow academically, socially, and emotionally to reach their fullest potential.”
- Emilia El Ammari, Incoming Bahia Vista Elementary School Principal

Ms. El Ammari comes to SRCS with a strong instructional background, with teaching and school leadership experiences at the elementary level, specializing in working with English learners. For the past 15 years, Ms. El Ammari has served New York City public schools as an English language development teacher, instructional coach and administrator. Most recently, she's played a central role in transforming an elementary school to a thriving, exemplary model that is widely recognized for its success. Ms. El Ammari holds a Master's degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She also has a certificate in bilingual/ESL teacher leadership and an advanced certificate in educational leadership and administration. She is proficient in Spanish, but looks forward to learning from you and with you to continue improving!

Ms. El Ammari is known for her high levels of enthusiasm, commitment and compassion, which in turn help produce dramatic results for schools and students. Her wide range of skills include problem solving, communication, organization, professionalism and many others. Ms. El Ammari demonstrates a genuine love for teaching and learning, while at the same time being responsive to the social emotional needs of the entire school community. She is well-respected among her colleagues, and believes in collaboration and partnership building and in the importance of forming trusting and long-lasting relationships with families. 

Ms. El Ammari is moving with her husband, three children and parents to San Rafael to live near her only brother and his family. She will officially join SRCS on July 1, 2021, when she’ll take the reins from Ms. Cecilia Pérez, who is becoming the District’s new English Learner Director. Both are committed to working together closely to ensure there is a smooth transition. We are confident that Ms. El Ammari is the ideal leader for Bahia Vista. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming her!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 5/12/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Elementary and Middle School Community,

I am thrilled to share that all our SRCS elementary and middle schools (grades TK-8) will move to the final phase of our 2020-21 return to in-person learning plan on Monday, May 10!  

As you may have heard, Marin did not advance to the Yellow Tier this week as part of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan. However, in the interest of students, SRCS and SRTA (our TK-8 certificated educator labor group) worked together to amend our previous agreement and resume full day in-person instruction on May 10 regardless of Marin’s tier designation. 

We are incredibly appreciative to our elementary and middle school teachers for supporting this timeline, and for their flexibility, professionalism and tireless work to benefit our students and families. Especially during Teacher Appreciation Week, we recognize how our educators have kept students engaged and learning, and how committed they are to everyone’s health and wellbeing. Our teachers’ impacts are seen in the classroom and all throughout the SRCS community, and for that, we say thank you! I also continue to be grateful to our students and families given the many hardships they’ve endured throughout this entire school year, as well as all our support staff for their amazing efforts. 

The end of any school year has so much meaning, and I strongly believe that having a more “normal” schedule with safety measures still in place will help us wrap up this very difficult year on a positive note! Please watch for the specific schedule and other details from your schools.

Lastly, there are currently several COVID vaccination opportunities for those age 16 and older, many with same-day, walk-in availability. Learn more at GetVaccinatedMarin.org. I am also excited to share that it is likely that children aged 12-15 will soon be eligible to be vaccinated (possibly as early as next week); we will share information about opportunities from Marin public health as soon as possible. I think we have finally turned the corner on this pandemic and feel so fortunate to be ending the year with a sense of normalcy in our schools- thanks to everyone for your patience, flexibility and understanding.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 5/5/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools High School Community,

Watch a short video about our transition to expanded in-person learning.

I am excited to share that all our SRCS high schools will move to the final phase of our 2020-21 return to in-person learning schedule on Tuesday, May 11. All high school students are invited to return for in-person learning for full days, all periods, four days a week (Tuesday through Friday) starting on Tuesday, May 11. Mondays will remain asynchronous throughout the rest of the school year. 

We are grateful to our high school teachers for supporting this timeline, and for their flexibility, professionalism and extremely hard work to benefit our students and families throughout this pandemic. While Marin is on the verge to moving to the Yellow Tier, our teachers have agreed to start the expanded in-person learning on May 11 regardless, which significantly reduces the uncertainty and allows us to maximize our planning time. I also continue to be so appreciative of our students and families given the many hardships they’ve endured throughout this entire school year, as well as all our support staff for their amazing work. 

Part of our new agreement allows for a minimum of three feet of social distancing among students on campus. When partnered with our other risk mitigation efforts like mandatory face coverings, we are confident that this will continue to allow for safe school environments. I am thrilled that this means that we can greatly expand the number of students on campus, and I invite - and highly encourage - all our students who previously opted for full remote learning to reconsider and join us for in-person learning on May 11. Nothing beats the impact of learning in-person in our classrooms! Our principals will be sharing more information about how students can communicate their interest in switching to in-person learning. There may also be very few exceptions where a small number of teachers will continue to teach remotely, and schools will share information with impacted students. 

I strongly believe that having as many students on campus as soon as possible will help us wrap up this very difficult school year on a positive note, and I look forward to welcoming many students who may not have stepped on campus in over a year!

Lastly, a reminder that there are now many vaccination opportunities. This Saturday, May 1, anyone 16 and older can visit the Marin Center (10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael) to get a vaccination. Walk-ins are welcome (appointments are not necessary). Anyone under 18 will need a parent or guardian to accompany them. Learn more at GetVaccinatedMarin.org.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 4/30/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

As you may have heard, Marin County did not advance to the Yellow Tier this week as part of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan due to a small uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

Before I share what this means for our schools, I want to provide some background and context. In general, for a county to advance to a less restrictive tier during the COVID pandemic, it must (1) have been in the current tier for a minimum of three weeks; and (2) meet criteria for the next less restrictive tier for the prior two consecutive weeks.

According to Marin Health and Human Services, the data in question for this week’s tier status included cases for the week ending April 10, when there was an increase in testing related to spring break travel. While the increase in cases was not a large spike, it was enough to prevent Marin from moving to the Yellow Tier. As a result, we remain in the Orange Tier and the 14-day qualification period started over, meaning the earliest we could move into yellow status is May 4.

Per our agreements with our labor partners, we are able to move to the next phases of our return to in-person learning schedules when Marin enters the Yellow Tier and no sooner than May 1. Given the new information, we have modified our timeline: our schools at every level are planning to be ready for expanded in-person learning to begin as soon as Monday, May 10. We know this continued uncertainty is challenging on many levels, and I will share concrete information as soon as possible. 

The good news is that Marin’s data does appear to have recently improved, and we are optimistic that we’re back on track to move forward in our reentry process. Furthermore, it is also a very big step that COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available for any and all age 16 and older who live or work in Marin, with many sites offering same-day or next-day access. Learn more and schedule an appointment at GetVaccinatedMarin.org.

I continue to be appreciative of everyone’s patience, understanding and compassion as we have moved forward despite tremendous challenges. I am grateful that all our schools are providing in-person learning to students in a safe environment, and I am confident that we will end the school year in positive, meaningful ways. 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 4/23/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Today, a jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd. I believe that the verdict is a significant and meaningful step in bringing awareness and much-needed resolve in addressing racism in our country. That George Floyd’s life was taken is a reminder—among a disturbing number of others - that structural racism continues to disproportionately impact people of color. But this isn’t something that only happens somewhere else. Marginalized families live this reality and carry the trauma in our community every day. 

The trial, and now the verdict, are important topics of conversation worldwide, in our communities, at dinner tables and in our classrooms. For many, the complex racial issues and inequities bring up feelings of hurt, anger and anxiety and can have an impact on students’ learning, relationships and behavior. We encourage all families to talk about how they may be feeling about the verdict and the importance of expressing themselves. Furthermore, it is important to provide safe and respectful spaces for students to process and have productive conversations about civil disagreements. Below are actionable and easy-to-apply resources and tools to support social-emotional well-being and engage students around these challenging topics. 

I am grateful to our teachers and staff for leading these classroom discussions. I also celebrate and thank all those in our SRCS community who are using their voice, privilege and resources to work through difficult conversations to ensure that our school system is doing its part to dismantle structural racism. While we are not there yet, I know that equity, community and joy are more than just what we say our District values are - they represent our collective commitment to providing a more safe and just world for all our students. 

Today's verdict will reverberate far and wide, and we can find hope that justice has prevailed. For our nation, I believe it is a pivotal moment, and a step towards more action and reform on so many fronts. Thank you for partnering with us in this challenging, but critical work. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 4/20/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

This week, we learned that Marin is making great progress in advancing to the Yellow Tier, as part of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan. We are grateful for everyone’s efforts to reduce COVID-19’s spread and keep our community healthy and safe. This also means that the next phases of our return to in-person learning are on the horizon! Our schools at every level are planning to be ready for expanded in-person learning to begin as soon as Monday, May 3. 

  • Our elementary schools and Venetia Valley TK-8 will have in-person learning for full school days, Monday through Friday, very similar to a regular school year schedule (including having Wednesdays as early release days). (Not Connected Classroom students)
  • Davidson Middle School will have expanded in-person learning, Monday through Friday. (Not students who previously opted for full remote learning) 
  • Our high schools will have full in-person school days, four days a week. (Not students who previously opted for full remote learning, though we’re exploring options for interested students to return on a space-available basis - more to come.)

Once Marin officially moves to the Yellow Tier, which is anticipated in the next few weeks if Marin’s data continues to improve, we can confirm this May 3 transition date for our schools. We will keep you updated, and please watch for specific information from your schools. You can also see our progress and plans for our phased-in re-entry here

The end of any school year has so much meaning, and especially after such a challenging year, I believe it is important that we close out the year with a much more “normal” schedule, with safety measures still in place.  And, we are planning to safely hold in-person, outdoor high school graduation ceremonies (details to come). 

Looking even further ahead to the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, I want to emphasize that we are planning for all SRCS elementary, middle and high schools to have their typical schedules - full days, five days a week, in-person for all students. Vaccinations, testing and the precautions we are taking now make this possible. We will continue to follow public health guidelines, and have measures in place to ensure that we are keeping our students, teachers, staff and community safe.

It is my responsibility to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of continuing to follow public health guidelines: wear a mask when outside of your home, keep social distancing, wash your hands frequently and do not gather indoors in large groups. Furthermore, I want to personally encourage everyone who is eligible - which now includes everyone age 16 and older - to get a COVID-19 vaccination. You can learn more and schedule an appointment at GetVaccinatedMarin.org. The light at the end is now brighter than ever - let’s get there together!  

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 

Posted 4/16/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,                        

I am pleased to share some updates about some new District and school leaders! 

Davidson Middle School Principal 
I’m thrilled to announce that the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education appointed Mr. Michael Stachon as the Principal of Davidson Middle School! During the extensive and rigorous selection process, Mr. Stachon rose to the top because of his passion and unwavering commitment to educational equity and excellence for all students and his belief that public education serves as a cornerstone of a healthy society. Furthermore, I am confident that he has the experience, instructional skills and personal qualities that will help enrich the Davidson school community and improve student achievement.

Here is a special video message from Mr. Stachon for the Davidson community as a way to help introduce himself; I know he greatly looks forward to connecting in person with the students, teachers, staff and families! Please stay tuned for information about a “meet and greet!” Also, I would like to share some of his own words about why he’s looking forward to this opportunity:

“With public education experience in communities from downtown San Jose to Mill Valley, I can’t wait to take all I have learned over the past 20 years to lead the Davidson Middle School community. Together we will make Davidson a fun and engaging place to learn, work and grow for all members of the San Rafael community as we prepare our students for high school and the world ahead.” 


- Michael Stachon, Incoming Davidson Middle School Principal

Mr. Stachon comes to SRCS with 22 years of experience as an educator, serving a variety of diverse communities. He began his career as a classroom teacher, first in San Jose Unified School District and then in Mill Valley School District. He’s held middle school assistant principal positions, and most recently, he was the principal at Roosevelt Middle School in San Francisco Unified School District for the past six years. Mr. Stachon holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Organization from the University of San Francisco and recently participated in Stanford University’s Principal Fellows Program. 

Along with his deep understanding of curriculum and instruction and all facets of school leadership, Mr. Stachon is known for leading with a grounded vision. He looks to the data to analyze what’s working for students and to uncover how to better close the opportunity gap and address the needs of the entire student community. At the same time, he is a skilled communicator and genuine collaborator who believes it’s critical to welcome, engage and support all members of the school community in building a positive culture and achieving excellence. Above all, he is a tireless advocate for students and desires nothing more than to help all children reach their full potential. 

Student Services Assistant Director 
I am excited to share that Susan Akram is moving to a District leadership position; she’s been appointed as the Assistant Director of Student Services for the 2021-22 school year. I have been very impressed with her skills in the area of student services as she has served as assistant principal and more recently as the interim principal at Davidson Middle School, and believe she’ll be an asset to the entire District in this new opportunity. 

Prior to SRCS, Ms. Akram was an assistant principal at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco for seven years and a high school teacher in Connecticut for 10 years. Throughout her career, she’s developed a remarkable attention to detail and work ethic - she leads projects from start to finish with grace and expertise. Furthermore, she is skilled at listening to multiple perspectives and has demonstrated the ability to calmly and competently navigate complex and difficult situations. I believe her deep empathy for students and commitment to doing whatever she can to ensure that their interests are met will guide her to success in this new role. Ms. Akram is well prepared and it is exciting to see another school leader grow within our District; many students, families, teachers and staff will benefit from her thoughtful and strategic approach. 

Other Administrative Openings
Lastly, we’re working hard to recruit and select top candidates for key leadership positions across the District.  The Bahia Vista Elementary School Principal and Madrone High School Principal positions both closed recently, and interviews are being scheduled in the near future. The Terra Linda Assistant Principal interviews are underway this week. We will keep you posted as the selection process unfolds!

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Stachon and Ms. Akram!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent 
 

Posted 4/13/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

It’s been another big week for SRCS! On Monday, we were thrilled to start our Modified Day schedule for our TK-5 elementary schools and Venetia Valley K-8, as well as move to the next phase for our hybrid learning for Davidson Middle School. Thank you to everyone for your support as we made these transitions! Thinking back to this time last year, I am so grateful that we now have in-person learning at all our schools, which is a testament to our students, teachers, staff and families’ ongoing diligence and perseverance. We truly have come so far.

It is extremely important for employees and families to enjoy time away from work and school. With that said, we want to provide you with information regarding travel and the upcoming Spring Break. While Marin has reached the Orange Tier, COVID case counts are no longer declining across the region, and in some areas locally and nationally case rates are increasing again. Travel-related infections are threatening further progress in Marin. For those considering or planning travel over Spring Break, it is vital to remember travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID. Also, local public health officials have already seen the impact on non-essential travel among club sports teams. Local teams have traveled to distant parts of California or outside of the state to participate in tournaments. This has resulted in an increase of cases among youth athletes, and exposures to family members. This affects our schools, as cases can require classes or students to quarantine.

Here are some important reminders from Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS):

  • Avoid non-essential travel to any part of California more than 120 miles away, or to other states or countries.
  • If you must travel, take steps to protect yourself and others:
    • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
    • Before you travel, get tested 1-3 days before your trip.
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public. 
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least six feet from anyone who did not travel with you.
  • All persons arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should self-quarantine for 10 days. This means that SRCS students who travel outside of California should not attend school and self-quarantine when they return. This is also described in MHHS Decision Tree for Schools.
    • Quarantine may be shortened to 7 days if all travelers in the household are asymptomatic and test negative with an antigen or molecular viral test on Day 5 or later.
    • Fully vaccinated persons do not need to quarantine unless required by employer.
    • Students who did not travel with their parents / guardians can attend school if returning parents / guardians can quarantine.
  • Those adhering to the advice and staying close to home still need to consider restrictions on in-person gatherings. CDPH recommends holding gatherings outside, where air circulation is better, and to not gather in groups of more than three households.

It is everyone’s responsibility to exercise good judgment. The pandemic is not over, and we must remain diligent so that we can finish the year strong and keep our SRCS community safe and healthy. Have a wonderful, restful break!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 4/2/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

San Rafael City Schools (SRCS) is committed to providing a safe and quality education to all our local students, preparing them for college and 21st-century careers. Since 1989, SRCS has relied upon locally controlled school funding approved by the community. Today, this funding provides almost $7 million each year to help maintain qualified teachers and core academic programs. This funding is set to automatically expire next year. If this local funding expires significant cuts would be required, including reductions in teachers and staff, services and academic programs. 

On January 25, the SRCS Board of Education unanimously placed Measure G and Measure H on the May 4, 2021 ballot. Measure G would renew funding for local high schools, while Measure H would renew funding for elementary and middle schools. If approved, Measure G would add $36 to the current $196 rate per parcel, for a total of $232 per parcel, and the Measure H would add $36 to the current $287 rate per parcel, for a total of $323 per parcel. Both measures include 3% annual adjustments to account for inflation and would automatically expire after eight years. By law, funds from the Measures G & H may only be used for voter approved purposes, including:

  • Enhancing math, science, technology, music and art instruction 
  • Attracting and retaining quality teachers

  • Protecting quality core academic instruction programs like math, science and reading

  • Maintaining small class sizes

  • Preparing students for college and 21st-century careers 


Both Measure G and Measure H require a clear system of fiscal accountability, including Independent citizens’ oversight and mandatory annual audits to ensure funds are spent as promised. All funds will be controlled locally and cannot be taken away by the State. None of the money raised by the measures will be used for administrators’ salaries. Additionally, senior citizen homeowners will continue to be eligible for an exemption.

Below are some resources to learn more about Measures G and H:

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/26/21

SRCS Elementary Schools Will Begin 
Modified Day Schedule with Full Classes on March 29

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community,

Great news! Today, the State announced that Marin County has advanced to the Orange Tier. We’re thrilled that this means that we will start our Modified Day schedule for our elementary schools on Monday, March 29!

As a reminder, the Modified Day schedule calls for 4.5 hours a day of in-person learning, Monday through Friday, with no asynchronous work (not for Connected Classroom students). Please watch for school-specific information from your principal about the details for this coming Monday. While there will be no more asynchronous school work, HeadsUp will continue to offer virtual enrichment with new art and music lessons each week. All current and previous lessons can be accessed from the HeadsUp website.

While we should all be relieved that we are seeing a lower prevalence of COVID in our community, we need to continue to work together so Marin does not experience rising infections that lead to a “third wave.” With more students in our classrooms, it is imperative that we follow our critical safety protocols, including wearing masks when at school and in the public, staying home when sick, washing hands often, avoiding large gatherings and more. Furthermore, with Spring Break coming up, please do not engage in high-risk behavior (including gatherings of more than three households and out-of-state travel). 

Thank you to our entire community for helping us stop the spread of COVID so we can have a healthy community and reach this milestone of having our students in full classes together for even more in-person learning! I am personally so appreciative of our students and families for their patience, flexibility and resilience in managing the hybrid schedule. And, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to our elementary teachers and staff for navigating the many transitions with grace; welcoming our students back to our classrooms with smiles and care; and demonstrating their expertise as educators everyday despite all the challenges. Together, we are safely making learning happen for our students. 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/23/21

Agenda - March 22nd, 2021

Posted 3/19/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a disgraceful surge in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Unfortunately, once again, a specific group of people are being singled out and targeted for hate crimes as frustrations build and people look to blame someone for this devastating pandemic. The media reports of these acts occurring throughout the Bay Area are infuriating and heartbreaking, and the shootings in Atlanta that killed multiple women of Asian descent are horrific. It is imperative that all of us condemn this abhorrent behavior towards the AAPI community and strongly support them

While it seems that each day brings new reports of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders being harassed, assaulted and murdered, it is also the unfortunate reality that this community has been faced with discrimination and hatred long before COVID. From housing discrimination and the Chinese Exclusion Act to atrocities such as the internment of Japanese Americans in Manzanar, the story of discrimination towards the AAPI community is deep seated. Right here in the Bay Area, there have been over 700 reported incidents targeted at Asian Americans since the pandemic.  

It is tragic and sickening to me that these attacks towards people of color in the United States have escalated dramatically in recent years, as hate crimes have increased against the AAPI community as well as African Americans, Latinos, Jewish Americans, immigrants and so many others. Marin, too, has seen its share of racist behavior, including social media postings with Anti-semitic comments with targeted lists of Jewish students in Marin schools; swastikas drawn on school buildings and in classrooms; racist graffiti written towards African American administrators; racist comments directed at Latino workers in the Canal; anti-immigrant sentiment posted online regularly; and more. 

While historically the uptick in racism correlates to periods of social unrest and upheaval, it is up to all of us to combat and confront any type of racism whenever and wherever we see it, especially as it relates to our students and our schools. It is crucial that we educate ourselves and confront the biases and prejudices that we all have, and then to reach out to actively support all groups, especially those who are most vulnerable because of systemic racism. Moreover, it's incumbent upon all of us to reach out to our AAPI friends, neighbors and colleagues to create space for their stories to be heard right now. As a community, we must unlearn the biases we all hold and teach our children to value the diversity we're lucky to have throughout the Bay Area.

Community, along with equity and joy, is one of our core District values, and this means that we all have a responsibility to support and respect each other. Any racist actions that affect some of us in our community impact all of us; and we must all work harder to band together and fight hatred wherever we find it. Please join us in standing in solidarity with all communities of color, including the Asian American Pacific Islander community during this painful time.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/19/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community,

Watch a one-minute video about our transition to our Modified Day Schedule:

Video link: https://vimeo.com/524651129

I am excited to share that Marin is well on its way to meeting the State’s criteria to officially advance to the Orange Tier! If the current trends continue, we anticipate the State will place Marin in the Orange Tier next Tuesday, March 23. As we previously shared, we’re planning to start our Modified Day schedule six days after we reach the Orange Tier, which means Modified Day would start on Monday, March 29. We will follow up with you again next week to confirm this timeline. As a reminder, the Modified Day schedule calls for 4.5 hours a day of in-person learning, Monday through Friday, with no asynchronous work (not for Connected Classroom students).

Thank you to our entire community for helping us stop the spread of COVID so we can have a healthy community and bring back our students for even more in-person learning. Again, we will keep you updated! 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/16/21

One Year Later

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

It’s been almost one year since SRCS announced on March 13 that we would be moving from in-person to remote learning. Since that time, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 29 million COVID cases have been reported in the US and nearly 525,000 people have died as a result. Across the world, at least 117 million people have been infected and 2.6 million have died. In California, we have had over 3.5 million confirmed cases and more than 54,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What these numbers don’t convey is the enormous amount of grief, loss of hope, anxiety and depression that have beset almost all of us at one time or another during this pandemic, nor the human toll that the disease has tragically taken on so many of our family, friends and community members. I recently saw a photo of a friend of mine who is a superintendent and retiring this year, and the look of sadness on his face actually made me cry. Educators in particular have felt the stress of being caught between those that want to come back in-person and those that prefer to stay remote, all while trying to do their best to meet the many, many needs of our students and families.

The isolation and sense of being disconnected from friends that has hit our students is very real, and it will take us a long time to recover from the trauma. It will take years to make up for not only this social emotional impact, but also the academic losses, despite the Herculean efforts of our educators, students and parents to adapt to remote learning and create a sense of community no matter what the medium. Everyone is exhausted and in need of some relief, which fortunately really seems like it’s on the horizon. 

At this point, all SRCS employees have been offered an opportunity to receive the COVID vaccine, which is providing a well-deserved sense of security and safety. We’re grateful to Marin Health and Human Services and the Marin County Office of Education for coordinating “Super Saturday” events for teachers and staff from across the county. These local opportunities, along with employees being eligible to access the vaccine in places like pharmacies and distribution events throughout the Bay Area, have allowed us to reach this important milestone. Personally, I received my first shot last Saturday at the Marin Center, and I feel optimistic and relieved that we are heading in the right direction. I know many throughout our community are also looking forward to their turn. 

I am so appreciative of our teachers and staff for agreeing to come back to school before they received the vaccine; our elementary teachers have been in-person with students since November. Last week and this week, our middle and high school students returned to learn about safety procedures, and it was so heartwarming to see them back on campus and to see the joy in their eyes. For our sixth and ninth graders, most of them had never even been on the school campus before! The middle school hybrid schedule is now underway, and the high school hybrid schedule will start next week. 

Furthermore, Marin is making steady progress on reaching the Orange Tier, which will mean our elementary students will move to the modified day schedule, more than doubling the amount of in-school time each week. Looking ahead even further, we’re planning to transition to much more “normal” schedules for all our schools when Marin is in Yellow Tier and no sooner than May 1. 

Yesterday, Congress passed a COVID relief bill, which was signed by President Biden today, and California will receive another $15 billion for K-12 school re-openings, so more federal help is on the way. California has also recently passed legislation to spur more reopening of schools and to address learning loss and has allocated $4.6 billion to assist schools. This one-time money will help us with summer and after-school programs, technology, professional development, mental health support, facilities issues and so many other needs. We will be using the upcoming Joint Budget Advisory Committee Meeting on March 30 to get input from staff, students and parents on how best to use these funds.

We have a ways to go and we are not out of the woods yet, but we are getting closer and are making great progress. It will take some time to recover. It is my greatest hope that we all use this crisis as an opportunity to reflect on our own lives and the choices we make, both personally and professionally, so that we can be better and do better. Certainly in education there is much we can and must do differently if we are to address the inequities that have been compounded by COVID. But for today, let’s say a word of thanks that we are almost there and go out of our way to be understanding and empathetic to each other - we all deserve a little kindness after all of this!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/11/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

I am pleased to announce that the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education appointed Ms. Cecilia Pérez as the District’s new English Learner Director at their meeting last evening. Ms. Pérez currently serves as the principal at Bahia Vista Elementary School, where she’s been the school leader for nearly seven years. This transition comes at a time when the District is embarking on implementing the recently-approved comprehensive Equity Blueprint Plan, and the EL Director position will play a pivotal role in moving key actions and top priorities forward to directly support our English learners. 

Because Ms. Pérez is such an outstanding, extremely qualified candidate who meets or exceeds all of the position requirements, I made the rare recommendation, which the Board approved, that she be appointed to the role rather than conducting the full, traditional search and interview process. This also allows SRCS to immediately begin the search for the Bahia Vista principal position, putting us in a better place to find a top candidate, who would take the reins as the school leader at the start of the 2021-22 school year.  

Ms. Pérez has a unique combination of skills, talents and experience that make her an excellent fit for this role. She began her teaching career at Bahia Vista, where she taught for 16 years before becoming the literacy coach at Venetia Valley School in 2013. She then returned to Bahia Vista as principal in 2014. Her strong knowledge and understanding of how to implement effective instructional strategies and systems will support our EL students as they progress towards English proficiency. She is a compassionate and inspiring leader who works collaboratively with students, teachers, classified staff and principals to ensure that everyone does their part to make sure our EL students are successful. Furthermore, her strong understanding of how our current District systems and programs work and her existing relationships throughout our SRCS community are invaluable assets that will allow her to “hit the ground running” immediately. 

I would like to share some of her own words about why she’s looking forward to this new opportunity:

“I am excited and humbled to help lead this work in service of our SRCS students. My experiences working in a community school such as Bahia Vista, along with my collaboration with colleagues from across the District and county who are committed to equitable practices, high-quality instruction and strong family and community engagement, are what drew me to this position.

The Equity Blueprint cannot be fully realized in isolation. In order to fulfill our promise to students, it is imperative that we create systems and structures at the District level that foster trust and relationships. We need to be inclusive, draw on everyone's strengths and diverse backgrounds and be willing to question current practices that may not be student-centered. Together, I wholeheartedly believe that we have the potential to better shape the academic trajectory of our English learner students.”          —  Cecilia Pérez

Ms. Pérez will officially become the EL Director on July 1, 2021 and is committed to working closely with the new Bahia Vista principal when hired so there is a smooth transition. We are confident that Ms. Pérez is the ideal leader for this new role. Please join me in congratulating her! 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 3/9/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

I sincerely hope that over Mid-Winter Break you were able to find a way to safely rest and recharge, even as I am sure you also had feelings of anticipation or anxiousness (or even both!) as we make progress in our return to in-person learning. As we have come to expect during this pandemic, it’s been a newsworthy week! Please read on for some updates and reminders, some of which were shared earlier this week with our middle and high school families and our teachers and staff.

Marin Advances to Red Tier
On Tuesday, California announced that Marin County advanced to the “Red Tier” in its Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. This means that the local COVID data is trending in the right direction, and we are seeing a lower prevalence of COVID in our community. After a very difficult winter surge, this is very promising news! 

Elementary Schools Modified Day Timeline
We look forward to moving to the Modified Day schedule in our elementary schools as soon as possible, and we are on our way, considering Marin County advanced to the Red Tier on Feb. 23. As a reminder, the Modified Day schedule calls for 4.5 hours a day of in-person learning, Monday through Friday, with no asynchronous work (not for Connected Classroom students). Per our agreement with SRTA (our TK-8 certificated educator labor group), we are able to start the Modified Day schedule when Marin enters the Orange Tier. According to the State's current guidelines, a county must remain in a tier for a minimum of three weeks before being able to advance to a less restrictive tier. Furthermore, there are several data points that a county must meet before advancing to the Orange Tier. Tier assignments are announced weekly on Tuesdays. Learn more about the tier system. 

For planning purposes, SRCS plans to move to the elementary modified day schedule the Monday after Marin moves into the Orange Tier (six days after the new tier is announced). Given the above information, the soonest Marin could move into the Orange Tier is on Tuesday, March 16; therefore, the soonest we would begin the Modified Day schedule is on Monday, March 22. We will keep you updated. 

Middle and High Schools Re-entry Plans 
As I shared earlier this week, we’ve reached agreements with our labor unions about our reentry plans, which combined with the news Marin’s move to the Red Tier, allow us to officially begin our hybrid re-entry schedule for students in grades 6-12! Read the previous update about the plans. We are eager to see our secondary students safely back on campus in a hybrid model in the coming weeks!

As a reminder, we are holding a Parent and Family Town Hall for middle school and high school families on Tuesday, March 2 at 6 pm in English and 7 pm in Spanish live on SRCS’ Facebook Page to cover important safety information. You do not need a Facebook account to view, and the recording will be available after. Learn more.

Update on High School Athletics
On Jan. 25, the California Department of Public Health announced high school sports can resume under new safety guidelines released by the state. Click here to view a presentation on the updates and what they mean for SRCS, which was presented to our Board on Monday. This will be the most unusual high school sports season I believe we have ever experienced, and we ask everyone for grace, patience and support!

Marin to Begin Offering Vaccine to Educators
Also this week, Marin Health and Human Services announced that Marin County is now offering the COVID-19 vaccine to educators and other essential workers. Read the press release. We are working with public health for specific distribution opportunities in the coming weeks for Marin school employees, and we’re also sharing other opportunities where school employees will be able to access the vaccine. This is an exciting step that I know is much anticipated! Also, while there may be frustrations with the amount of vaccine available and scheduling an appointment, I fully expect that in the next few weeks opportunities for SRCS employees to get the vaccine will improve dramatically. 

Free COVID Testing
A reminder that if you would like a free COVID test, there are free testing sites throughout the county! Click here Marin’s up-to-date listing of testing opportunities and resources that are open to the public.

Please continue to follow the recommendations of health experts and wear a mask when outside of your home, keep social distancing, wash your hands frequently and do not gather in large groups. Together, we ARE making a difference and bringing our students back to in-person learning, while also ensuring the safety of our students, staff and community.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 2/26/21

Middle and High School Families:

Please join us to learn more about important safety information and protocols at our Return to In-Person Learning Town Halls on Tuesday, March 2 at 6 pm in English and 7 pm in Spanish, live on SRCS’ Facebook Page (recording available after).

 

​​​​​​​

Posted 2/25/21

Dear SRCS Middle and High School Community,

Today, California announced that Marin County has advanced to the “Red Tier” in its Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. This means that the local COVID data is trending in the right direction, and we are seeing a lower prevalence in our community. After a very difficult winter surge, this is very promising news! 

I also am thrilled to share that our agreement about our re-entry plans for our high schools was ratified by SRFT (our high school certificated educator labor group) members and approved by our Board of Education. This follows our previous announcement about our approved agreement with SRTA (our TK-8 certificated educator labor group) about the re-entry plans for our middle schools. I continue to be proud of our collaborative partnerships with our labor partners, and thank them for the hard work and time they’ve put into planning for a safe school reentry. 

These crucial agreements, combined with Marin’s move to the Red Tier, allow us to officially begin our hybrid re-entry schedule for students in grades 6-12! Please see an overview of the plans below (for students who opted for in-person learning), and watch for more specific information from your principal.

Davidson Middle School*

Phase 1

Week of March 8

First period in-person on A/B schedule; second and third periods remote learning

Phase 2

Week of March 29

All three periods in-person on A/B schedule

Phase 3

When Marin is in Yellow Tier; no sooner than May 1

Students in person full time Mon-Fri with all students on campus at the same time

 

 


 

Venetia Valley, Grades 6-8*

Phase 1

Week of March 8

AM/PM structure to align with VV TK-5

Phase 2

When Marin is in the Orange Tier; 
no sooner than March 15

“Modified Day” schedule (4.5 hours a day, five days a week; no asynchronous work)

Phase 3

When Marin is in the Yellow Tier; no sooner than May 1

Students in-person full time Mon-Fri with all students on campus at the same time

 

San Rafael and Terra Linda High Schools* 

Phase 1

Monday, March 1 or 8

One Advisory Class in-person to help orient hybrid students to campus and become accustomed to the safety measures and routines

Phase 2

Week of March 16

Hybrid learning with simulcast instruction to in-person “roomers” and remote “zoomers” for two periods a day, four days a week

Phase 3

When Marin is in the Yellow Tier; no sooner than May 1

Students in-person for all periods, four days a week

*for students who opted for in-person learning

Madrone High School also has a similar phased-in hybrid schedule that it will implement in the coming weeks, and more detailed information is being shared with the Madrone community. 

Please join us! We will be holding a Parent and Family Town Hall for middle school and high school families on Tuesday, March 2 at 6 pm in English and 7 pm in Spanish live on SRCS’ Facebook Page (recording available after) to cover important safety information. A flyer will be shared soon with more details.

As we make this transition to bringing students back into our schools and classrooms, I urge you to please continue to do your part by practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings and not gathering in large groups. If we all take collective responsibility, then we will be able to keep lowering the spread of COVID, which will help keep our students learning in-person and create a healthier community for all. We will also continue to underscore the importance of this with our students as they return to campus, and we have trainings and protocols in place so that everyone is aware of the important safety guidelines that must be followed. For instance, students wearing face masks properly and keeping six feet distancing are central to ensuring our schools are safe places at this time.   

I am so appreciative of everyone’s support and am grateful for your patience, understanding and compassion as we have worked to move forward despite tremendous challenges - thank you. I look forward to a safe and joyful reopening of our middle and high schools for in-person learning!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 2/23/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

This communication is coming to you on the heels of a very tragic event. As you know, we lost a member of our Davidson community this week; a loss which has been felt widespread. Hunter’s family and friends remain in our thoughts. 

In light of this heartbreaking loss, I want to discuss the social-emotional well-being of everyone in our SRCS community. We understand that mental health challenges are far reaching; sometimes noticeable and sometimes not, and we are committed to collaborating with the community to support our students, families, teachers and staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered many people’s social-emotional health - the social isolation has had a tremendously negative impact on our ability to connect with others in a healthy, meaningful way. In these uncertain times, we have to band together as a community and support each other. We need to find those moments in life which bring us joy and celebrate and honor them, but also to say that it is OK to not be OK, and you are not alone. 

An unfortunate contributing factor to the ongoing challenges with mental health is the stigma related to it. It’s important that we work together to break down this stigma and support each other in building positive mental health throughout our community, which I know is part of the reason Hunter’s family bravely gave us permission to share that his cause of death was suicide. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it's still an illness. These challenges, however, can be addressed with the right care. There are a myriad of community and school-based resources available to anyone who needs support. We have included some of these resources here. You can also reach out to anyone at your child's school to learn more about what is available. 

As we head into Mid-Winter Break, I plead with all of you to take some time for yourself; turn off screens and spend some time outside; connect with loved ones; and do whatever you can to find a way to safely rest and recharge for the weeks to come.

Grades 6-12 Reentry Plans
Middle Schools: As a reminder, we have an agreement to implement a phased-in approach for our middle schools, which will begin after Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 1. We continue to watch the COVID data closely, and adjust plans as necessary. Our principals are sharing important, timely updates with their school communities, and we are grateful for everyone’s support and understanding. 

High Schools: I am thrilled to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with SRFT, our high school certificated educator labor group, about our re-entry plans for our high schools! The agreement will soon be brought to SRFT members for ratification. 

Under the tentative agreement, students at Terra Linda and San Rafael high schools who opted for in-person learning will attend their Advisory Class in-person on either March 1 or March 8 to help orient themselves to campus and become accustomed to the safety measures and routines. Then, after Marin has been in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 16, all high school students who have opted in for in-person instruction will begin our hybrid schedule. More detailed information will be shared in the coming weeks. I believe this phased-in plan allows for careful oversight as we remain committed to everyone’s safety. 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our teachers and staff. We are proud of our honest and collaborative partnerships with SRFT and CSEA (our classified staff), and thank them for the hard work and time they’ve put into planning for a safe school reentry. It is simply amazing how teachers have delivered high-quality instruction during remote learning, and I am so grateful for their continued dedication and commitment to our students as they transition to the hybrid program. I cannot wait to see our high schoolers back on campus!  

Mid-Winter Break
I am so happy that the local COVID data is trending in the right direction. In order to continue to reopen our schools, we need the numbers to continue to decline, and every one of us plays a role in making this happen. Please make the right decisions over Mid-Winter Break. If you and your family decide to engage in high-risk behavior (including gatherings of more than three households; out-of-state travel), please follow the quarantine guidance.

Thank you for all you are doing, and please, take care of yourself!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 2/12/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

We have a number of important updates this week. Please read on, and thanks for all you continue to do during this pandemic!

Safe Super Bowl Celebrations
I am a big football fan and am looking forward to the big game on Sunday! However, Marin is seeing a steady downward trend in case rates, and now is not the time to put our progress at risk by gathering in groups (especially indoors) to watch the Super Bowl. It's just not worth it! I join our public health officials in urging everyone to play it safe this weekend so we can prevent another surge. Below are important reminders from Marin Health and Human Services (click here to learn more).

Small private gatherings are allowed in Marin again, but only outdoors and with the following restrictions:

  • Masks and physical distancing are required
  • No more than three separate households should attend (including the host’s)
  • Gatherings should be two hours or less
  • Those with COVID-19 symptoms must not attend
  • Those at high risk of severe illness strongly encouraged not to attend
  • Singing, shouting, chanting, or cheering strongly discouraged

Grades 6-12 Reentry Plans
We continue to make progress on the next steps for in-person learning at all grade levels, and we'll focus our re-entry discussion at our upcoming Feb. 8 Board meeting on our secondary schools (grades 6-12). Specifically, we'll review what actions have been taken at schools to ensure safety, as well as discuss the instructional models - how the hybrid learning programs will look and feel for students and teachers. 

As a reminder, we have an agreement to implement a phased-in approach for our middle schools, which will begin after Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 1. We’re also exploring the idea of using a phased-in approach for our high schools, potentially by first having in-person Advisory to help orient students to the campus and become accustomed to the safety measures, and then soon after implementing the hybrid learning schedule. Again, more details will be shared at the Board meeting on Monday. 

We’re making a lot of progress with our plans for the “Modified Day” schedule for grades TK-5, and we’ll provide an update on that work in the near future! 

COVID-19 Dashboard Launches
In an effort to provide transparent and accurate information to the community, we have created a dashboard to track COVID-19 cases for SRCS students and employees. The dashboard includes the number of positive confirmed cases for students and employees who have been on campus within close contact of others for SRCS or school supervised instruction or activities. It reports cases that potentially impact individuals’ health and wellness at our schools or offices. The dashboard will be updated weekly on Fridays by 5 pm. Learn more and view the dashboard at www.srcs.org/COVID-dashboard

Kaiser Vaccine Clinic at TLHS
I am proud to share that the Terra Linda High School gymnasium and a portion of their parking lot will be used for Kaiser Permanente’s vaccine distribution. Kaiser has committed to being a good neighbor and to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to its members and communities as soon as the vaccine supply increases. 

Our agreement with Kaiser does not impact TLHS's reopening plans or timeline. We will be able to re-open TLHS without using the gym, particularly in the first phases of our reentry, so both can happen at the same time if necessary. We see this as one small way that SRCS can contribute to making a difference at such a critical time in this pandemic; I believe that when everyone works together, our greater Marin community will benefit with a brighter, healthier future.

Looking Ahead to 2021-22
As we continue to work towards bringing students back on campus this year, we are also planning ahead for the 2021-22 school year. Marin Health and Human Services anticipates that, while still present, COVID will not impact our schools in the same significant way it has this year. Vaccinations, testing and the precautions we are taking make it possible for the 2021-22 school to look far more like the typical school year than what we have experienced since March 2020. This is our goal.

At this time, we are planning to have all of our students on campus from the beginning of the school year. I do think that we will continue to have significant precautions in place to ensure that we are keeping our students, teachers, staff and community safe, including the continued use of masks and handwashing. We will continue to follow all public health guidance as we move forward.

TK-5 HeadsUp Enrichment Parent Webinar
HeadsUp recently relaunched the virtual TK-5 enrichment program, and they hosted a parent webinar to discuss the changes and improvements. Click here for a recording of the 20-minute session.

Thank you to our entire SRCS community for your support and partnership!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 2/5/21

We are grateful to our HeadsUp for continuing to offer enrichment opportunities for our students. HeadsUp is re-launching the virtual TK-5 enrichment program!

Please join a parent webinar on Monday, Feb. 1 at 6 pm to learn all about the changes and improvements. 

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://srcs-org.zoom.us/j/97383231052?pwd=ZXo4KzJVYWE2Q2lRYmN6cWtYN3p3QT09
Passcode: 669181
Or iPhone one-tap :
    US: +16699009128,,97383231052#,,,,*669181#  or +12532158782,,97383231052#,,,,*669181#
Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 669 900 9128  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799
Webinar ID: 973 8323 1052
Passcode: 669181

Posted 2/1/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

We have a number of important updates this week. Please read on, and thanks for all you continue to do during this pandemic!

Updates from Jan. 25 Board Sessions

Lucia Martel-Dow Appointed to the Board: We are pleased to announce that Lucia Martel-Dow was appointed to the SRCS Board of Education. Trustee Martel-Dow fills the open seat vacated by former Trustee Rachel Kertz for the remainder of the term. In the November 2022 General Election, the seat will be required to be filled by a candidate who resides in Trustee Area 2; Trustee Martel-Dow currently resides in Area 2. Trustee Martel-Dow was born and raised in Venezuela, where she attended law school. Throughout her professional career, she has worked in public, private and nonprofit sectors in Venezuela, Spain and locally in the Bay Area. Lucia joined Canal Alliance in 2015, where she currently oversees the Immigration and Social Services Departments. She is involved in many community organizations, including as a Commissioner with Marin First Five. Trustee Martel-Dow is bilingual in English and Spanish. She lives with her husband and seven-year old daughter in the Marinwood neighborhood in San Rafael. Learn more.

Update on Parcel Tax Funding: Since 1989, SRCS has relied upon locally controlled school funding approved by the community. Today, this funding provides almost $7 million each year to help maintain qualified teachers and core academic programs. This funding is set to automatically expire next year. If this local funding expires significant cuts would be required, including reductions in teachers and staff, services and academic programs. 

On Jan. 25, the SRCS Board unanimously placed two measures on the May 4, 2021 ballot. One measure would renew funding for local high schools, while the other would renew funding for elementary and middle schools. Stay tuned for more information. 

Re-Entry Planning: Grades TK-8: I am happy to share that the plans for elementary and middle school re-entry next steps were approved! A Memorandum of Understanding was ratified by SRTA members (our TK-8 certificated educator labor group) and then approved by the Board. Below is an overview of the immediate next phases; more information is available in the Board presentation

Level Next Phase Timeline
Elementary Schools “Modified Day” schedule (4.5 hours a day, five days a week; no asynchronous work) (not for Connected Classrooms) When Marin is in the Orange Tier; 
no sooner than March 15
Davidson Middle School First period in person on A/B schedule, second and third periods remote learning* After Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks; no sooner than March 1
Venetia Valley 
Gr. 6-8 AM/PM structure to align with VV TK-5* After Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks; no sooner than March 1

*for students who opted for in-person learning

Grades 9-12: We are continuing to partner with our high school groups to finalize the re-entry plans. Specifically, we’re working on the details of what the hybrid learning program will look like for those who opted for in-person learning (a combination of in-person and remote classes depending on the students' schedule). I continue to hope that we’ll be able to begin in-person learning after Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 1.

Black History Month Resolution: The Board approved a resolution in support and recognition of Black History Month. Each February, we celebrate the actions, words and achievements of so many African Americans who have contributed to the success and prosperity of our country. Our District values of community, equity and joy uphold our focus on building inclusive communities and helping individuals understand equity, joyfully celebrate diversity and affirm identity. Additionally, a local chapter of Diversify our Narrative was founded by SRHS and TLHS students with a focus on affirming identities and representing and celebrating multiple perspectives within our classrooms through the inclusion of more racially diverse and anti-racist texts. With the resolution, our Board acknowledges the courageous fight for the rights, liberties and freedoms for all Americans, and encourages educators, students and families to learn about Black History Month and about the heritage and achievements of African Americans. View the resolution. 

International Holocaust Remembrance Day
This past Wednesday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was established by the United Nations to ensure that the world does not forget the genocide, with the goal of preventing it from ever occurring again. From 1941-1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators committed the systematic murder of over six million Jews. In 2005, the United Nations passed resolution 60/7: “The General Assembly...requests the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach on the subject of the “Holocaust and the United Nations” as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.” General Assembly Resolution 60/7, Holocaust Remembrance. 

We encourage students, teachers, staff and families to have conversations about the importance of learning about and remembering the Holocaust and all those who suffered and continue to suffer the effects of this atrocity. Click here for more information and for resources on learning about the Holocaust, to read survivor stories and for information on confronting antisemitism.

TK-5 HeadsUp Enrichment Re-Launch
We are grateful to our District foundation, HeadsUp for continuing to offer enrichment opportunities for our students. HeadsUp will be re-launching the virtual TK-5 enrichment program this coming Monday, Feb. 1. Here's a video from our principals about the exciting updates! Please join a parent webinar on Monday at 6 pm to learn all about the changes and improvements. Watch for the Zoom link on Monday from HeadsUp! 

While we are no longer under a stay-at-home order, it is important to remember that we are still in the Purple Tier, and it will take everyone working together, following health guidelines so we can safely bring our students back for more in-person learning. Thank you to our entire SRCS community for your support and partnership!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 1/29/21

Agenda

Posted 1/29/21

Agenda Online

Posted 1/27/21

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day was established by the United Nations to ensure that the world does not forget this genocide, with the goal of preventing it from ever occurring again. From 1941-1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators committed the systematic murder of over six million Jews. In 2005, the United Nations passed resolution 60/7: “The General Assembly...requests the Secretary-General to establish a programme of outreach on the subject of the “Holocaust and the United Nations” as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.” General Assembly Resolution 60/7, Holocaust Remembrance, A/RES/60/7

To commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, we encourage students, teachers, staff and families to have conversations about the importance of learning about and remembering the Holocaust and all those who suffered and continue to suffer the effects of this atrocity. 

Below please find more information and for resources on learning about the Holocaust, to read survivor stories and for information on confronting antisemitism.

Our thanks to Tamalpais Union High School District for compiling and sharing these resources and information.

Posted 1/27/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

We have a number of important updates and reminders for this week. Please read on, and thank you for all you’re doing during this pandemic!

Provisional Appointment Process to Fill Board Seat
SRCS is in the midst of a provisional appointment process to fill an open Board of Education seat. The application window closed on Jan. 20, and we received nine applications. At an open session on Monday, Jan. 25 beginning at 3 pm, the four current Board members will interview the candidates. At the close of interviews, the Board will deliberate and select the successful candidate. During the Jan. 25 Regular Meeting that immediately follows at 6 pm, the successful candidate will be sworn into office. Learn more. 




Re-Entry Planning at Jan. 25 Board Meeting
At our Jan. 25 Board of Education meeting at 6 pm, staff will continue the discussion on our phased-in approach to TK-12 in-person learning. I am thrilled to announce that SRTA (our TK-8 certificated educator labor group) has ratified a Memorandum of Understanding for our TK-8 re-entry plans! 

Below is a high level overview of the proposed plans for the immediate next phases for re-entry (more information is in last week’s update and will also be discussed on Monday).

Level Proposed Next Phase Proposed Target Timeline
Elementary Schools “Modified Day” schedule (4.5 hours a day, five days a week; no asynchronous work) (not for Connected Classrooms) When Marin is in the Orange Tier; 
no sooner than March 15
Davidson Middle School First period in person on A/B schedule, second and third periods remote learning* After Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks; no sooner than March 1
Venetia Valley 
Gr. 6-8 AM/PM structure to align with VV TK-5* After Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks; no sooner than March 1
High Schools Hybrid learning, with a combination of in-person and remote classes depending on the students' schedule* After Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks; no sooner than March 1

*for students who opted for in-person learning

We’ve launched a “ThoughtExchange” so you can give your input on the re-entry plans. Click here to share your feedback! 

Vaccinations for SRCS Staff
Marin Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Marin County Office of Education and all Marin Superintendents, has developed a process to offer vaccinations to all Marin teachers and staff. For all schools and districts, employees are broken up into four tiers: 

  • Priority I: Employees providing in-person instruction or services in Special Day Class, paraprofessionals/1:1 aides, bus drivers, custodial, and food service; all employees over 65 years of age (updated to align to CDC guidelines)

  • Priority II: All other employees working in-person

  • Priority III: All other employees working remotely/distance learning

  • Priority IV: Trustees and all other ancillary personnel


The vaccine distribution for Priority I staff kicked off on Sunday, Jan. 17. Over 1,200 vaccines in total were administered, and all of our SRCS Priority I employees were offered the opportunity to be vaccinated on Sunday and throughout this week. As the distribution was wrapping up on Sunday, it became apparent that there were about 230 extra doses remaining, and they would spoil if they were not distributed. There were informal county-wide “word-of-mouth” efforts from many who were at the distribution site to recruit school employees from any priority level so the doses would not go to waste. Our District's focus was on informing those in the next priority level - specifically, our PK-5 teachers and staff who are currently working in-person. 

It was recently announced that the Marin vaccine distribution will focus on residents age 75 and older for now. We will continue to work closely with our county partners and share updates about when vaccinations for our educators may resume given the current prioritized focus on the elderly. 

I want to remind each of you that we are all in this together. Our safety is dependent on our behaviors and the behaviors of those around us. Please take care of yourself and those around you.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 1/22/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Watch a short video on our re-entry plans! 

These continue to be very difficult times for everyone - we have all been impacted by COVID-19 for 10 months now. I truly appreciate all of the work everyone is doing so we can safely have students in our classrooms, and the work of our teachers to ensure our students continue to learn even during the worst of this pandemic. Extraordinary efforts are being put forth by everyone, including our teachers, staff, parents and, of course, our students.  

I want to provide an update on our continued planning for bringing our middle and high schoolers back to in-person learning and to extend the in-person learning experience for our elementary school students. There is an immense amount of planning underway so we can make sure all of our safety protocols are in place. We continue to collaborate with our school safety teams (addressing each school’s safety issues), our re-entry teams (schedules, curriculum, use of technology) and our labor unions (SRTA for K-8 and SRFT for 9-12 to develop Memorandums of Understanding). I am thrilled to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with SRTA about our re-entry plans for TK-8 as described below. The agreement will be brought to SRTA members for ratification next week. I am also pleased that we are seeing great progress with the vaccine distribution in Marin; our teachers and staff should start to receive the vaccine in the coming weeks. For planning purposes, our next target date for re-entry is March 1; we believe this will give us time to make sure we are well prepared at each school. Please read on for details for our different schools. 

Before continuing, I have to put in yet another plug for each of you to follow the public health guidelines to wear masks and social distance. Furthermore, we know that one of the primary ways the virus is spreading is by people mixing with those outside their households. We continue to hear stories about groups of extended families and friends mingling together in homes, and the virus spreading as a result. Since we have resumed school for elementary students in November, we have not had one case of transmission in any of our SRCS schools. I, along with our public health partners, believe schools continue to be among the safest places for our students to be because of the safety protocols that are in place and are being followed closely. We do unfortunately have to close cohorts of classes when we have positive cases, but none of these has been shown to be because of in-school transmission. PLEASE DO YOUR PART -- FOLLOW ALL OF THE HEALTH GUIDELINES SO WE CAN BRING DOWN THE POSITIVE CASE NUMBERS IN MARIN! Our ability to bring back our students for more in-person learning is dependent upon the community spread decreasing, and we need everyone’s help to make sure this happens.

At our Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting, staff shared our regular updates on re-entry planning, which are described below in more detail. I apologize for not sharing this information sooner; we will strive to provide as much up-to-date information as we can every Friday. We do want to hear from you! Town Halls, both in English and Spanish, will be coming up in the next few weeks to allow for more detailed information and to answer questions. Additionally, we’ve launched a “ThoughtExchange” so you can give us your input now on what you think about the re-entry plans as described below. Click here to share your feedback! Re-entry will be on the agenda again at our next Board meeting on Jan. 25 at 6 pm - please join us.

Elementary Schools
This past fall, we began our TK-5 phased-in approach to in-person learning by using an “AM / PM schedule” four days a week and mostly asynchronous learning on Mondays. It has been amazing to have students back and our schools have demonstrated the value of having students in our classrooms! This first phase has allowed us to ensure our safety protocols are in place so everyone can learn the routines. The schedule has a reduced amount of time that teachers are working directly with our students, but we felt it was an important initial step. Elementary teachers have continued to do an incredible job adapting to the ever-changing landscape and supporting students in their academic and social-emotional learning. We are so grateful for their continued hard work and dedication during in-person learning.

Now -- with the safety of our students, teachers and staff remaining at the center of our decision-making -- the District is planning for what’s next. We believe the opportunity to safely provide an increased amount of in-person instruction for our youngest learners is critical and we want to be ready to move to the next phase of in-person learning when the time is right. 

The District is proposing that this next phase is a “modified day” schedule (draft proposed schedule). I believe this increased instructional time will support our students with essential academic and social emotional growth. Here are some key points:

  • All students (except those in Connected Classrooms) would be at school for 4.5 hours a day in the morning, Monday - Friday, which would double our current in-person instructional time. 
  • Most would leave at lunch time, and have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities at home; however, no more asynchronous instruction would be required. 
  • During the in-person time, there would be an opportunity for snack and supervised recess. 
  • Following Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS) guidelines, students would be approximately 4 feet socially distanced, with teachers and adults remaining at approximately 6 feet distance.
  • Class sizes this year are generally small, with the average TK-5 class size District wide at 22 students. 
  • We will continue safety procedures including frequent hand-washing, mask wearing, upgraded ventilation systems and the frequent use of outdoor spaces for instruction. 

We are planning to move to the modified day schedule when it is safe, which will not be before March 1 and only after Marin has entered the Orange Tier.

Middle Schools
Davidson Middle School: We’ve made significant progress to bring students back to Davidson’s campus! We now have two updated master schedules to accommodate students who selected in-person learning and those that opted to remain remote. For those who will be coming to school in-person, we have a phased-in approach to maximize safety (described below). For the portions of the class being offered online, teachers will be offering a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous teaching based on the needs of the students and the content being taught each day. 

Phase 1 After Marin in Red Tier for two weeks, no sooner than March 1 First period in person on A/B schedule; second and third periods remote learning. Proposed draft schedule.
Phase 2 Three weeks after Phase 1 begins All three periods in-person on A/B schedule. Proposed draft schedule.
Phase 3 After numerous considerations met when it’s safe, and not before May 1 In person full time Mon-Fri with all students on campus at the same time.


Venetia Valley 6-8: I am excited about the tremendous work that’s gone into bringing our VV middle schoolers back! The plan is to have a phased-in approach, and to start with an AM/PM schedule and to later try to align with the elementary portion when the younger students move to a modified schedule. There will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning, and we are finding ways to support teachers with continued planning time. We anticipate Venetia Valley would implement phase one on March 1.

High Schools 
We appreciate our families completing the Commitment Form to select either in-person learning or full remote learning to help us refine our reentry plans for our high schools. The District is working with our teachers and staff so that classes can be streamed to allow for simultaneous in-person and remote learning via Zoom. Students will be enrolled in their current Spring courses. Please note that we anticipate that a student will be able to move from in-person to remote learning, but it will not be possible for a student who selected full remote learning to move to in-person.

For those students who have opted to learn in-person, we anticipate starting with an “A/B” schedule to reduce the number of students on campus. This will not occur before March 1 and only after Marin County has been in the Red Tier for two weeks. Here is a link to the proposed draft schedule for SRHS and TLHS.

Closing
I completely understand that it is difficult to discuss in-person learning while the state and nation are in the throes of unprecedented COVID case numbers and tragic number of deaths each day. However, the overall number of cases per 100,000 people in Marin is finally starting to decline, and with more vaccines coming soon, I am hopeful that we will soon see the community prevalence decrease. We meet with MHHS every week, and they keep us informed on the latest as well as providing guidelines for our schools. I encourage you to check out the Marin County Schools Dashboard. We are also developing our own SRCS Dashboard to show the number of positive cases in each of our schools - more to come soon!

In order to get through this pandemic, we all need to adhere to the current stay-at-home order and follow health guidelines. I am very grateful to our partners, including Dr. Matt Willis and Dr. Lisa Santora at MHHS; Marin County Superintendent Mary Jane Burke; our Board members; our labor partners; the community organizations that are providing learning hubs; and of course, our teachers, staff, administrators, parents and our amazing students. It really takes a team effort to make learning happen during this crisis, and everyone is stepping up! As a reminder, please share your perspective on these proposed re-entry plans. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we move forward!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 1/15/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community, 

San Rafael City Schools strives to foster a culture that promotes the health, safety and well-being of students, families, teachers and staff. In an effort to continuously support this commitment, I am pleased to share that the District has partnered with Care Solace and their services are now available to you at no cost!

Care Solace is an online resource with live 24/7 concierge to help individuals find local mental health related programs and counseling services. All school staff and families can use the tool to connect with community-based mental healthcare resources and providers. Their proprietary care navigation system taps into a vast database of mental healthcare resources to find carefully-vetted local therapists and programs in minutes. District families and staff can access CareSolace services in two ways: 



  1. Call 888-515-0595 to speak with someone from the Concierge team; representatives are standing by to take your call or email 24/7.

  2. Visit our custom District link: www.caresolace.com/srcs 


You will be asked to answer 10 easy questions to receive an extensive list of referrals to applicable care providers. Care Solace takes into account all types of private insurance including Medi-Cal, Medicaid and Medicare and those that have no insurance. The platform also filters by age, gender, zip code and special request. Care Solace does not require a name, address, phone number or date of birth. All information entered on the Care Solace tool is completely confidential and securely stored.

Please note, this service is an optional resource available by choice and is not mandatory in any way. Care Solace is not an emergency response service or mental health services provider. In the event of a life threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255. 

SRCS is dedicated to prioritizing mental health and wellness, and is excited to bring this new resource to our community. Care Solace will be a useful resource to our mental health staff and will assist with the expansion of our comprehensive mental health and wellness program. If you are interested in using this new tool for counseling-related services, please visit www.caresolace.com/srcs

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 1/8/21

Welcome incoming kindergartners! It's time to register for SRCS Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year!

Online registration is highly recommended at www.srcs.org/enrollment. If you are unable to enroll online or need support, please call 415-492-3236 to make an appointment or to learn more about our in-person events.

Learn more: www.srcs.org/enrollment

Posted 1/7/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community, 

It’s been an extremely difficult day for our country as the US Capitol was breached by protestors who interrupted Congress's process to certify President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college win. To me, it feels like an unprecedented attack on our American democracy; I am shocked and scared to think about the implications. 

I struggled if I should even write to you. Today’s events reflect a nationwide crisis that is so much bigger than us and our schools. Even still, I cannot quiet the urge to use my own privilege and position of leadership to fully condemn the behavior. Just prior to the election, I shared that we are fortunate to live in a country where we can cast our vote for the people and ideas that best represent us, while also appealing to all of us to work together regardless of the outcome of the election. It is very upsetting to now see the disgraceful disruptions to our cherished democratic process. 

As today’s events unfolded, I couldn’t help but wonder how our students might be feeling. The flowing images of the unrest in our nation’s capital are unsettling and may be frightening for some, regardless of where they may lie on the political spectrum. I want our students to know that our schools are a safe space and a place for support and they should feel comfortable asking questions and expressing their thoughts, concerns or fears. I recognize they often turn to our teachers and staff for guidance during these difficult times. With that in mind, I want to specifically speak to our teachers: I know that today’s events add to your anxiety and to your already more-than-full plates. I have been astonished by your versatility and strength over the past year, and today my admiration for all of you has only grown. 

Below are some resources that may be helpful as we all have conversations over the next few days. I also encourage all of us to take a balanced approach to media consumption and to prioritize your own well being - physically and emotionally. 

I believe this is a moment for our students to reflect and learn from what we are experiencing nationwide. The COVID pandemic has exhausted all of us. It’s also tested the way we choose to cope with adversity - a fundamental skill that we try to instill in our students. When we see adults not able to self regulate at the national level, it reinforces for me how important the work we are doing at our schools is to teach empathy, compassion, social emotional competencies, and yes, losing with grace. 

So while wrestling with the chaos of today, I am comforted by our collective work at SRCS. I firmly believe the community we have built together and the values we hold in high regard as a District - community, equity and joy - reflect the best of who we are as a country. There is real strength in that, and together we will continue our shared work of sending our students out into the world where they will lead a more just and inclusive future.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 1/6/21

Marin County has compiled an up-to-date listing of COVID-19 testing information and resources in the County, available at https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/covid-19-testing-information. Included on the webpage is information about new five-day a week community-wide testing via Curative. Demand at many testing sites is high right now; Marin Public Health is encouraging you to call your doctor or healthcare provider for testing if you have insurance.

Posted 12/23/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Middle and High School Community, 

Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate these challenging times together! 

Watch this important video message about the return to in-person learning

https://vimeo.com/490190648

Here are some key points about our reentry plans for students in grades 6-12:

Commitment Form: To support our reentry planning efforts, please complete our Commitment Form to choose either “Full Remote Learning” or “In-Person Learning” for your child for the remainder of the school year. The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 8 am. If a form is not completed for a student, they will automatically be participating in our “In-Person Learning” approach.

Health and Safety: It is important to emphasize that for in-person learning at all levels, health and safety protocols will be required for staff and students (mask-wearing, hand washing, six feet of distancing, etc.). Furthermore, parents and students who participate in in-person learning will be asked to sign the “Health Pledge” found in the Marin Student & Family Handbook (subject to change based on county tier status). Additionally, we continue to collaborate with Marin Health and Human Services and we will not begin in-person learning in grades 6-12 when Marin is in the “purple” (widespread) tier. 

School-Specific Information: While the planning is still in development and all plans are tentative and subject to approval with our labor partners, below is some high-level information about our proposed schools’ plans at this time. 

  • Davidson Middle School: The return to in-person learning will potentially begin to phase-in in early February. It is likely that all students will be remote on Mondays; with in-person students initially coming to campus for advisory and first period, and later for multiple classes a day in an “A/B” model (two days a week). Full remote learning will likely be similar to how it is now, though a small number of classes may be streamed by teachers. It is going to be difficult and likely not possible for a student to switch models. For more information, here is a recording of the Parent Forum in English and a recording of the Parent Forum in Spanish. 
  • High Schools (Madrone, San Rafael and Terra Linda): High schools’ return to in-person learning will likely begin later than middle school, after Mid-Winter Break. Before we can provide more detailed information about our high school program, it is important for us to have the results of the Commitment Form so we can more accurately prepare to support safety on campus, as well as other logistics and staffing needs. A model will be used so there are fewer students at school (current assumption that not more than half of each class would be on campus at one time). Students will be enrolled in their current Spring courses, recognizing that some adjustments may need to be made based upon staffing. Please note that we anticipate that a student will be able to move from in-person to remote learning, but it will likely not be possible for a student who selected full remote learning to move to in-person.

Again, we understand this is a difficult decision and there is still much uncertainty in what the Spring semester will look like, but we appreciate your support as we move forward together.

I’ll end as I have before (I know you may think you’ve heard this enough, but it is more important now than ever): Please follow the recommendations of health experts and wear a mask when outside of your home, keep social distancing, do not gather with people outside your household and wash your hands frequently. Together, we can make a difference and bring our students back to school while also ensuring the safety of our students, staff and community.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 12/12/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Middle and High School Community, 

The safety of our students and staff remain at the center of our decision-making process as we plan when to phase-in bringing back our middle and high school students. We shared an update recently about our general plans to move to in-person learning, and today, we want to provide some more background about how we’re preparing to safely welcome our secondary students to campus when the time is right. 

Health and Safety Measures
Since our schools closed this spring, we have invested a great deal of time, planning and resources to implement effective health and safety measures to help prevent COVID-19 transmission in our schools. Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS) has also provided us guidance and recommendations, and we meet with their leadership weekly to ensure that we are in alignment. 

All our schools have School Site-Specific Protection Plans (SSSPP) that outline our safety procedures and processes; they indicate how we are meeting the guidelines in the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) and MHHS 30-point plan. Each school's plan is a result of collaboration with a number of partners, including public health officials, principals and the school’s Safety Task Force. Furthermore, they align with the recommendations established by the District Reentry Safety Task Force. All SSSPPs were reviewed and approved by MHHS. 

Several of the key measures are highlighted below. We have rolled these out at our elementary schools, which have opened for in-person learning, and we’re making adjustments as necessary for our secondary schools. 

Face Coverings: All staff, students and anyone entering our campuses are required to wear face masks while at SRCS schools and campuses. They may only be removed when actively eating or drinking, which will only take place during a scheduled break outside the classroom. Students may not wear bandanas or neck gaiters.

Physical Distancing: A model will be used so there are fewer students at school (current assumption that not more than half of each class would be on campus at one time). Furthermore, students will remain six feet apart at all times, even when outdoors, and teachers will also be required to remain six feet from students. Classrooms will be set up with desks/tables facing forward with six feet physical distancing, and student collaborative work and teacher one-on-one support will be limited.

Daily Student Health Check: We have a new daily Student Health Check tool so parents will be able to pre-certify that their child is healthy before attending school each day. We have designed our Health Check system to follow the recommendations in the Marin County Student & Family Handbook and Decision Tree for Schools (both documents reflect current Red Tier status and are subject to change). 

COVID-19 Testing: An important aspect of returning to in-person instruction is having frequent, convenient, on-site and free testing available, especially for our teachers and staff. To date, we have offered five on-site testing events for our employees, with a total of 447 tests conducted, and at least four more opportunities are scheduled for the next few months. Additionally, we are sharing testing opportunities as we learn about them and all healthcare facilities in Marin are required to offer testing to essential employees.

For students, we intend to offer widespread testing opportunities prior to the start of in-person learning. More details will be shared in advance. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting: Custodians are following strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout each building, in classrooms, restrooms and offices. They pay special attention to high-touch, high-contact areas, which are cleaned multiple times each day. An electrostatic sprayer is often used. This device uses a specialized solution and an electrode inside the sprayer which causes the cleaning solution to adhere to and coat any surface. For most cleaning, a peroxide based multi-surface cleaner is used on all hard surfaces. This EPA-registered safe product quickly kills germs and viral pathogens, including COVID-19. Any classrooms or spaces that have been occupied by a staff member or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be thoroughly deep-cleaned and disinfected before being used again.

Ventilation: In all classrooms at all schools, our HVAC systems are being set to bring in maximum outside fresh air. The interior intake vents that usually recirculate air within the classroom are being closed off, so that only outside air is filling the classroom and exiting out the windows and doors. Setting our systems to function in this way creates an air exchange rate within the classroom of roughly seven to eight times per hour. In other words, 100% of the air in any classroom is completely replaced every eight minutes. This air exchange, along with mask wearing and physical distancing, provides the safest environment we can achieve with our systems. We are also actively working toward securing high powered hepa-filters to place in classrooms that will augment our current systems.

Positive Cases and Exposure Protocols: MHHS and the MCOE have developed protocols for schools regarding the onset of symptoms, potential exposure to and/or close contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Click here for the protocols, which include actions and communications for the various scenarios. SRCS will follow all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.

Safety Weeks: Prior to beginning in-person learning, we will hold designated Safety Weeks. For teachers and staff, the week will provide dedicated time to review the school safety plans and prepare classrooms for a return to in-person learning. Students and families will be able to learn more about District and school protocols and procedures through Town Halls, videos and more. More information will be shared in advance.

Thank you for your patience and support as we move forward through these challenging times and work to ensure that our schools are safe places to work and learn.
            
Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 12/4/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community, 

The following documents have been updated to reflect Marin's current status in Tier 2 (Red), and are in effect as of today, Nov. 23:

As a reminder, these documents are developed by Marin Health and Human Services in partnership with the Marin School Nurses Organization to support a healthier school environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lastly, a reminder to please follow these recommendations to help us maintain safe and healthy schools:

Thank you for your support and partnership to keep every student, teacher and staff member healthy!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 11/23/20
Dear San Rafael City Schools Middle and High School Community, 

Over the past few weeks, our elementary schools have reopened for in-person learning in a hybrid model. Even though the learning looks very different, the positive energy of the students (and teachers!) can be felt as they’ve adjusted to their new environment. Now, we are focusing even more on our plans to bring our middle and high school students back into our schools. Our path forward for our secondary schools must be one that balances the benefits of having students and teachers in-person while mitigating risk to ensure that returning to school is done as safely as possible.

The Big Picture
While Marin County has moved to Tier 2 (Red– Substantial) as cases of COVID-19 have increased, we are not seeing school-based transmission among students, teachers or staff locally. The Marin County Office of Education, in partnership with Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS), recently released updated data that shows there has been zero suspected in-school transmissions in Marin. I shared more about this in a letter to our elementary school community, and I encourage you to read it as well. We also understand that the secondary school setting in SRCS is different, and more complex, than many other schools in our area. We are keeping all the various logistics and considerations in mind as we plan for a safe reentry. 

Health and Safety Come First
Since our schools closed this spring, we have invested a great deal of time, planning and resources to implement effective health and safety measures to help prevent COVID-19 transmission in our schools. MHHS has also provided us guidance and recommendations. The safety precautions for each school are outlined in our School Site-Specific Protection Plans (SSSPP), which were reviewed and approved by MHHS. Here are some of the steps we’re planning for the secondary level:  
  • Using a hybrid schedule for fewer students in the building
  • Maximizing physical distancing with at least six feet of distance at all times 
  • Requiring everyone to wear face coverings
  • Implementing our daily Student Health Check system
  • Enhancing cleaning and sanitizing procedures
  • Modifying classroom ventilation systems to only bring in 100% outdoor air 
  • Restricting visitors in the schools
Hybrid Learning Program Takes Shape
Schedule: Our Reentry Task Forces, composed of teachers, staff, parents, students and administrators, are meeting regularly and working collaboratively to determine the middle school and high school schedules for hybrid learning. We are working towards the goal of bringing back as many students as possible, as safely as possible, with the current assumption that not more than half of each class would be on campus at one time. We will share more detailed, proposed schedules as soon as possible.

Safety Measures: During the on-campus days, safety protocols would be in place as previously described, and with emphasis on the following points. Students would be required to keep their masks on. Students would remain six feet apart at all times, even when outdoors, and teachers would also be required to remain six feet from students. Classrooms would be set up with desks facing forward with six feet social distancing, and student collaborative work and teacher one-on-one support would be limited. 

Timeline: I am pleased to share that we have established 10 Learning Hubs at our secondary schools, which are providing small groups of targeted students with a consistent, supervised learning environment. Our  efforts are now focused on planning for when we can bring back the bulk of our students for in-person learning. At this time, I have proposed that we begin to bring back students early in the second semester in winter 2021. I envision that it will likely be a phased approach, with middle school students hopefully returning in January and high schoolers in February. 
It is important to emphasize that we remain in constant communication with MHHS every step of the way, and that the safety of our students and staff are the top priority. Much will depend on the number of case counts in the county once the new year begins. Furthermore, we are working closely with our labor partners to make sure we proceed cautiously and carefully. We will provide an update on the timeline as soon as we can. 

Guidance for Holiday Travel and Gatherings
Bay Area public health officers have issued joint recommendations for staying safe during the holidays. You can find the details of the guidance and ideas for safe celebrations here. Relatedly, the California Department of Public Health has a Guide for Private Gatherings and a Travel Advisory and the CDC has guidance on assessing your family’s risk in various activities and factors to consider for holiday celebrations. We urge you to carefully review this local and state information and adhere to the recommendations. The commitment your family makes to following the guidance will help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our community and support our efforts to open our classrooms for learning.

Share Your Feedback
As a reminder, we launched parent and student surveys this week so you can share input about Remote Learning and our possible return to school in-person. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey: parent survey in English; parent survey in Spanish; student survey.

Thank you for your patience and support as we move forward through these challenging times and work to ensure that school will be a safe place to work and learn.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
Posted 11/20/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community, 

Our elementary schools are full of energy and excitement again as students have returned to our classrooms! Last week we welcomed back grades TK-2 and this week students in grades 3-5. It's been wonderful to see everyone and I am grateful to our teachers and staff for the monumental work they’re doing!

Move to the Red Tier
Marin County has moved to Tier 2 (Red – Substantial) as cases of COVID-19 have increased. The move to the red tier does not impact our reentry plans; we will continue to keep our elementary schools open. As we have seen cases surge across the country, it is not surprising that our region would also experience an increase. This may cause some to question why we would continue to bring our students back to school. We know more now than we did last spring about how to best mitigate risks and feel we have procedures in place to safely allow students to learn at school. I want to thank our SRCS community for embracing and abiding by our health and safety protocols and procedures so we can work together to prevent widespread COVID-19 transmission in our schools. 

I recognize that we are only just over a week into it, but I am happy to share that we have had no transmission among students, teachers or staff. The Marin County Office of Education also recently released updated data that shows that no cases of COVID-19 infection have occurred within school settings. A new county-wide online dashboard features an interactive map that indicates school COVID-19 activity and is updated weekly. All this to say, we continue to monitor the data very closely as we move forward in collaboration with Marin Health and Human Services and MCOE. Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin’s Deputy Public Health Officer, also shared the following in their news release yesterday: “It’s important to note that most counties across the state that did not reopen schools are seeing even faster rises in cases, and in people of all ages. We’ve done a lot of work together to make sure that schools can reopen safely, and it’s paying off.”

Guidance for Holiday Travel and Gatherings
As a District, we have taken many precautions to protect our students and staff. But we can't do it alone. As we approach this holiday season, we need you to partner with us to keep every student, teacher and staff member healthy. Bay Area public health officers have issued joint recommendations for staying safe during the holidays. You can find the details of the guidance and ideas for safe celebrations here, which emphasize the following: 



  • Travel and gathering indoors with extended family and friends increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home with members of your immediate family or household is the best way to protect yourself and others. 


  • In-person gatherings should be small, short, stable (no more than three households over an extended period) and outdoors. 


  • Nonessential travel, including holiday travel, is not recommended. Travel outside the Bay Area will increase chances of infection and potentially spread the virus. For those who are traveling, there are tips to help avoid catching COVID-19 or spreading it to fellow travelers. Those traveling outside the Bay Area are strongly recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return if activities while traveling created higher risk of getting COVID-19.


Relatedly, the California Department of Public Health has a Guide for Private Gatherings and a Travel Advisory and the CDC has guidance on assessing your family’s risk in various activities and factors to consider for holiday celebrations. We urge you to carefully review this local and state information and adhere to the recommendations. The commitment your family makes to following the guidance will directly impact our ability to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, to stay healthy and to keep our classrooms open for learning. In addition to the above, here are the key ways you can do your part every day: wear a face covering; practice social distancing; and wash your hands frequently.

Thank you all for your continued support. These are challenges for all of us, but we feel confident about the path forward for SRCS and are excited to have our elementary students back!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 11/17/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Progress as Promised! Many campuses at San Rafael City Schools are modernized thanks to voter support of Measures A and B in 2015. The improvements, both those completed and those underway, provide the best possible facilities to support our students, teachers, staff and community. We're proud to share our success to date and hope the community enjoys seeing the transformation of our local schools.

Please click this link to view the newsletter: https://bit.ly/30bIIpz

Thank you!

The SRCS Bond Program Team

Posted 11/12/20

On Friday, Nov. 6, we were honored that Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor, joined us for a virtual session with classes of our middle and high school students. The presentation was recorded and available to those who were not able to attend, and we are pleased to share it with our greater community as well:

https://vimeo.com/476406191

Learn more here. 

Posted 11/12/20

The November 2020 election brought changes to our San Rafael City Schools Board of Education. In our first election under the Trustee Areas system, Trustee Areas 1, 3 and 5 were up for election. Here are some important updates:

  • Gina Daly was elected to represent Area 1 (filling departing Board Member Greg Knell's seat)
  • Current Board Member Linda M. Jackson ran unopposed to represent Area 3
  • Marina Palma ran unopposed to represent Area 5 (filling departing Board Member Maika Llorens Gulati's seat)
  • Rachel Kertz, who currently represents Area 2, was elected to the San Rafael City Council. This means that her seat on the SRCS Board will be vacant in December. More information about the process to fill that seat will be shared in the near future.  

Since the SRCS Board is a part of the San Rafael City Charter, Gina and Marina will be sworn in at the City Council meeting on Dec. 7; they will also be sworn in at the SRCS Dec. 14 Board meeting, which will be their first meeting. 

Board Member Natu Tuatagaloa currently represents Area 4. Areas 2 and 4 are up for election in 2022 and will be under the new Trustee Area system. More background information here. 
 

Posted 11/5/20

UPATE: The presentation was recorded and available to those who were not able to attend, and we are pleased to share it with our greater community as well: https://vimeo.com/476406191

 

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Last month, I shared a message to our SRCS community about the recent anti-Semitism activity and the efforts to provide more awareness and training in our greater community. Since then, we have been collaborating with students, parents, teachers and community members to discuss steps we can take as a District to confront anti-Semitic behavior and to do a better job educating our students on Jewish culture and the roots of Jewish hate.  

I am excited to share that Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor, will share her story with classes of our SRCS middle and high school students during a Zoom session this coming Friday, November 6 at 9:30 am. Students will be able to submit questions as part of the session. The presentation will be recorded and available to those who are not able to attend. Our parents and community members are invited to listen in as well.

Login information is below:

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://srcs-org.zoom.us/j/98339337662?pwd=bWF0d0dDdkdHcVBqMXpsS2lLcGFvdz09
Passcode: 242444
Or Telephone: US: +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 983 3933 7662
Passcode: 242444

I want to thank our teachers who have done a phenomenal job in preparing resources so they can spend some time prior to the talk providing background context to further educate students and ensure they come to the presentation prepared to listen and learn.

We are very grateful that Dr. Eger will recount her experience at Auschwitz and survival of the Holocaust with our community. I believe it will be an opportunity for our students to better understand the deeply disturbing role any type participation in hate activity can cause, while also learning from Dr. Eger’s positive and optimistic attitude as she has risen above her traumatic life events.

Lastly, as a reminder, through partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Services Holocaust Center and the Anti-Defamation League, there is a series of trainings for students, school staff and parents. More information here. Furthermore, the Anti-Defamation League is hosting a “2020 Never Is Now Summit on Antisemitism and Hate” for high school students, teachers, administrators and parents from Nov. 8-19. Learn more here. I highly encourage you to check out these very important opportunities. 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 11/4/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Today is Election Day! I want to start by acknowledging that this election season has brought up strong emotions and there is a lot of anxiety about the outcomes. With that in mind, I encourage you to take that nervous energy and make your voice heard by voting. Part of what makes Election Day so exciting is that voters are not only making decisions about who should fill our country’s highest office, but also about who will represent you on our very own school board and make decisions that impact you on a local level. 

We are also sharing this important message of civic duty, responsibility and privilege as we speak with our own students as many classes are teaching about the voting and the democratic process. We have a lot to be proud of as a democracy. We are seeing record voter turnout, new candidates who have found the courage to run for office, and young people motivated to raise their voices and fight for social justice.

Your vote makes a difference. Please consider the following information if you are able to vote and have not yet done so:

  • Find a ballot drop off location or find a polling location where you can vote in person.

  • Be prepared for potential long lines if you vote in person. Be patient and be prepared. For more information call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

  • In California, you can register to vote even on Election Day by going to any county voting location where you currently live and registering to vote. You’ll be allowed to cast your conditional ballot at that time and your ballot will be held until your voter registration has been accepted. 


As superintendent, I am incredibly proud to see how our students become equipped with the tools to have a positive impact on their community. An important part of that journey requires that they see and hear adults that model the values we hold in high regard as a District - community, equity and joy. Our country finds itself divided and there is a big focus on our differences and disagreements. However, I’m encouraged by our SRCS community’s commitment to remain united in supporting the academic and social-emotional wellbeing of our students—and no election can change that. 

We value the diversity of ideas and honor the different experiences of all our SRCS students, families and staff. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can cast our vote for the people and ideas that best represent us. I encourage you to use your voice, but also appeal to all of us to be ready to continue to work together regardless of the outcome of the election. No matter what, I can assure you that SRCS will continue to be a welcoming, safe space for all students, families, teachers and staff.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 11/3/20

We are pleased to share a recording of the presentation, "Best Practices to Support You and Your Child During the Re-Entry Process," from our SRCS Elementary School counselors! Watch the recording and check out the materials to learn ways to best help yourself and your child to emotionally prepare for returning to an in-person mode of learning. For many, this raises many emotions- from happy and excited to anxious and nervous. We want to be able to support you through this challenging time and hope you are able to join us!

English

Spanish

Posted 11/2/20

SRCS will be joined by Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin County Deputy Public Health Officer, for TK-5 Parent and Family Town Halls. The session in English is on Oct. 27 and in Spanish on Oct. 28 live on SRCS’ Facebook Page (recording available after). Please submit questions to communications@srcs.org.

Join our Town Halls to learn more about: 

  • The results of the recent SRCS testing and other relevant local data
  • The MHHS Student & Family Handbook and Decision Tree for Schools
  • District and school safety protocols and procedures, including our daily Health Check tool

Click here to learn more.

Posted 10/30/20
 
Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community, 
 
I want to start by sincerely thanking you for your patience and support as we navigate these challenging times together. Please know that we have been asking the hard questions about our plans and evaluating current data to ensure we are not only making the best decisions for our students, teachers and staff, but also the safest ones.       
 
As we’ve shared, part of our decision-making process has been guided by the recent COVID-19 testing we conducted in partnership with Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS). Our goal was to have a large, representative sample of our SRCS elementary school community tested so we could have a better understanding of the virus’ prevalence more locally. We’re grateful to our SRCS community for overwhelmingly responding - more than 1,000 students, family members, teachers and staff were tested! This provided us with valuable and timely data that clearly demonstrates San Rafael has made significant progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19, and there is low community prevalence. This also provided MHHS an opportunity to identify remaining cases across our community, to further drive down case rates as we prepare to reopen schools. 
 
Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer, also shared: “This testing drive is exactly the kind of partnership we’re going to need between public health, schools and the wider community to reopen schools safely. We know we need good data to make good decisions together.”
 
Furthermore, we have high standards in place for preventing transmission within our schools, which are outlined in our School Site-Specific Protection Plans (SSSPP). All our school plans were reviewed and approved by MHHS; they are available on our website. We also know that over the past six months in Marin, with more than 6,000 students learning in-person, there have been no transmission from students-to-adults or adults-to-students (info here). This is powerful knowledge, and demonstrates that with proper safety precautions, we can do our part to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
 
After consulting with MHHS on the comprehensive testing information and making sure that our safety protocols and procedures are in place, we are pleased to share our timeline for moving to hybrid in-person learning for our TK-5 students (for students who selected the phased-in approach, not Connected Classrooms).
 
Timeline for TK-5 Hybrid Learning
(Not for Connected Classroom students)
Week Of Grades Plans
Oct. 26-30 TK-5 Family Safety Week: Learn more about District and school protocols and procedures through Town Halls, videos and more
Nov. 2-6 TK-5 Student Safety Week: Small group orientations and trainings to welcome TK-5 students back to our schools and classrooms and to teach safety protocols and expectations
Nov. 9-13 TK-2 Hybrid learning begins with AM / PM cohorts in-person for TK-2 students 
Nov. 16-20 TK-5 Hybrid learning begins with AM / PM cohorts in-person for 3-5 students; TK-5 in hybrid learning 
 
We partnered with our teachers and created an updated hybrid learning schedule: Mondays are remote learning for all students and Tuesdays-Fridays are hybrid with AM / PM cohorts. In the next few days, principals will follow up with their school communities about important site-specific logistics and details, including start and end times and the AM / PM cohort assignments. 
 
We are grateful for the support and guidance of our public health leaders every step of the way and we’ll remain in constant communication and continue to monitor the data as we move forward. We believe this gradual, phasing-in plan allows for careful oversight as we remain committed to everyone’s safety. While instruction will look different, we are confident our teachers will create rich in-person learning environments that technology cannot replace. 
 
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the willingness of our teachers and classified staff to come back to work in our schools and classrooms. We are proud of our honest and collaborative partnerships with our elementary teachers and classified staff unions, and thank them for the hard work and time they’ve put into planning for a safe school reentry. We are in the midst of our Safety Week for teachers and staff, with dedicated time for them to review the school safety plans and prepare their classrooms for a return to in-person learning. It is simply amazing how our teachers have delivered high-quality instruction during remote learning and planned for their transition back to the classroom.
 
As a reminder, you’re invited to our TK-5 Parent & Family Town Halls, in English on Oct. 27 and in Spanish on Oct. 28, live on SRCS’ Facebook Page at 6 pm. View the flyer. We will be joined by Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin Deputy Public Health Officer, who will review the results of the recent testing and other data as well as the new Student & Family Handbook and Decision Tree for Schools. We’ll also highlight District and school safety protocols and procedures, including our daily Health Check tool. Here’s a one-minute video on this new health-screening tool that parents will use to pre-certify that their child is healthy before attending school. More to come!
 
I know that transitioning back to in-person learning can create a great deal of anxiety for our students, parents and teachers. Even I feel anxious at times about all the important decisions we have to make in order to ensure we are doing everything we can to meet the needs of our learners and to keep our students and staff safe. However, the experience with in-person learning here in Marin since this summer has shown we can do this safely if we partner together, and we know that all of our hard work and preparation will lead to significantly improved learning for our kids. I can’t wait to see the smiles on our student’s faces when we return in November!
 
Sincerely,
 
Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
Posted 10/21/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Thank you all for your patience and flexibility as we make decisions that respond to the learning needs of our students, while also prioritizing the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff and community. Here are some important updates:

Elementary Schools (TK-5) (Not including students in Connected Classrooms)
We partnered with Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS) and local healthcare providers to offer widespread COVID-19 testing over the past two weeks so we could better understand our local data to guide our decisions for when to return to in-person learning. We’re grateful to our SRCS community for overwhelmingly responding - we estimate more than 1,000 students, family members, teachers and staff were tested! Due to such a remarkable turnout, we want to be sure all the results are processed and analyzed by MHHS before we make a final decision about the timeline. I do want to share that the initial information looks very promising. We are hopeful that we can begin hybrid in-person learning for grades TK-2 on Nov. 9, and grades 3-5 the following week, but this is not yet official until the testing results are received and the data is comprehensively reviewed. We anticipate sending a communication on Wednesday, Oct. 21. 

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming virtual Town Halls! We will be joined by MHHS leaders to review the results of the recent testing and other relevant data; learn about the soon-to-be-released MHHS Student & Family Handbook; better understand safety protocols and procedures; and more. Further information about these sessions and additional parent, family and student safety updates and topics will be shared next week.

 

TK-5 Return to In-Person Learning 
Town Halls
For Teachers & Staff
Thursday, Oct. 22, 1 - 2 pm
ZOOM link to be shared prior
For Parents & Families in English
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6 - 7 pm
Live on SRCS’ Facebook Page (recording available after)
For Parents & Families in Spanish
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 6 - 7 pm
Live on SRCS’ Facebook Page (recording available after)


As a reminder, next week is “Safety Week” for elementary teachers and staff, with dedicated time for them to review the school safety plan and prepare their classrooms. Monday, Oct. 19 will remain a non-student day, and Tuesday through Friday will be asynchronous learning after lunch. Student schedule here.

Middle Schools (6-8)
Based on public health guidance and in the best interest of our SRCS community, we will not be moving to the next phase of hybrid in-person learning for all middle school students for the rest of 2020. We are hopeful that with the start of the new semester in January 2021 we will be able to transition to some in-person learning, and we are working hard to make that happen in a safe manner.

While I know this is very disappointing news, I am happy to share that the Middle School Re-Entry Team recently reconvened and came to consensus on a plan for greater student accountability within the existing remote learning schedule. We believe the updates will better meet the needs of the community. Davidson Middle School will be sharing a letter with more detailed information later today. 

Additionally, we are partnering with Bay Area Community Resources (BACR) to establish a DMS Learning Hub, which will serve approximately 30 students with a consistent, supervised learning environment. This in-person program will provide opportunities for us to further clarify our safety protocols in preparation for bringing students back some time in January.

High Schools (9-12)
As a reminder, we announced that we are not moving to the next phase of hybrid in-person learning for all high school students until the start of the new semester in January 2021 at the earliest. However, similarly to middle school, we’re bringing back targeted groups of high schoolers for some small, in-person learning. I am delighted to share that starting Nov. 2, we will have Learning Hubs at all three high schools!

Closing Thoughts
I know that this has been a difficult time, and I also know that working together we can make great things happen for our students. Please remember that we all have a collective responsibility to decrease the spread of COVID by social distancing, washing hands and wearing face coverings.
            
Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Posted 10/16/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Last October, just two months after becoming Superintendent of Schools in San Rafael, I walked onto the SRHS campus and had my mind blown.

HeadsUp’s Carnival was underway, and I was standing among thousands of students, families, teachers, and volunteers—from every one of our elementary, middle, and high schools—together, celebrating with music, food, games, and absolute joy!  On that day, surrounded by bounce houses and candy apples, dancing mascots and marching bands, cake walks and student performers, I learned two things:  1) pupusas are delicious, and 2) our diverse schools community reaches across ages, locations, languages, and lifestyles to form one beautiful SRCS family.

Thank you to HeadsUp for making that day possible, last year and for more than 10 years before that.  I’m sorry that, like so many other things lost this year, we won’t be gathering to celebrate Carnival together.  I’ll miss your smiling faces and the feeling of community they embody.  I’m also sorry HeadsUp won’t have the benefit of this successful fundraiser to help support its programs across our district.  HeadsUp continues to be a vital partner, providing enrichment and equitable opportunities for all our students.  

I hope you’ll consider supporting HeadsUp’s important work for our schools by clicking here And, I look forward to sharing another wonderful Carnival day with you all very soon.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 10/12/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools TK-5 Community,        

The safety of our students and staff remain at the center of our decision-making process as we plan when to bring back our elementary students. As we’ve shared, we are partnering with Marin Health and Human Services and local healthcare providers to offer free, confidential and optional COVID testing so we can better understand our local data to guide our decisions regarding timing for in-person learning. 

Following all safety protocols and procedures is critical to the success of in-person learning. To help ensure protocols and procedures are in place and understood before any in-person learning begins, we now have a “Safety Week” scheduled for elementary teachers and staff for the week of Oct. 19-23. During this week, teachers and staff will have dedicated time to comprehensively review the school safety plan and prepare their classrooms. “Safety Week” will now replace conference week. Grade TK-5 conferences will not take place, except for students in Connected Classrooms. Monday, Oct. 19 will remain a non-student day, and Tuesday through Friday will be asynchronous learning after lunch. Here is the schedule for Tues-Fri.

While we are not able to announce our specific timeline yet, we do want to share with you more information about our slow, measured approach. Please see our tentative plan below, without the specific dates at this time. 

 

Implementation Plan for TK-5 Hybrid Learning
(Not for Connected Classroom students)
Week Of Grades Plans
To be determined (TBD) TK-2 Preview Week: Small group orientations and trainings to welcome TK-2 students and families back to our schools and classrooms and to teach safety protocols and expectations
TBD TK-2 Hybrid learning begins with AM / PM cohorts in-person for TK-2 students 
TBD 3-5 Preview Week: Small group orientations and trainings to welcome 3-5 students and families back to our schools and classrooms and to teach safety protocols and expectations
TBD 3-5 Hybrid learning begins with AM / PM cohorts in-person for 3-5 students; TK-5 in hybrid learning 

 

Thank you for your continued support and we will follow up again with you soon!
            
Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent
 

Posted 10/9/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

I want to provide an update about the recent anti-Semitism activity, as well as the efforts to provide more awareness and training, that is occurring in our greater community.  

As you are likely aware, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic activity in Marin county and the nation in recent months. It has been reported by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that “the total number of antisemitic incidents in 2019 increased 12 percent over the previous year, with a disturbing 56 percent increase in assaults.” Recent anti-Semitic incidents in schools in Marin have also been on the rise, such as within the Redwood High School community where a series of social media posts called for students to target Jewish people.

The education community in Marin has come out strongly in opposition to anti-Semtism. The Tamalpais Union High School District Superintendent, as well as district leaders in San Rafael, Novato and the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE), jointly wrote a Marin Voice article. Additionally, a series of educational events were organized and hosted by MCOE; the first of which, “Confronting Online Semitism,” was held last week and had over 500 participants. You can view a recording hereFuture training opportunities to deepen our understanding on confronting antisemitism and resources can be found here. The superintendents in Marin continue to meet and discuss ways we can help educate our students and the public, and we will continue to work on providing speakers, such as Holocast survivors, to share their stories with our students. MCOE is also coordinating work on an Ethnic Studies curriculum in the county; teachers from all districts are working together to plan this curriculum.

We will continue our outreach and education in SRCS alongside our neighboring districts, and invite your input and suggestions for the future. We value all of our Jewish students and families, along with all other religions, races and ethnicities. We take a strong stand against not only anti-Semtism, but against all forms of hate and racism. I have included a letter below from the Principal of Redwood High School, David Sondheim, as he eloquently wrote about why we are concerned and what is being done to combat anti-Semitism.

Please note that we will be sending this message to our families in English and Spanish today. 

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent

Dear Redwood School Community:

I am writing to update our school community on the deeply disturbing antisemitic social media posts that appeared earlier this month, and to share with you the steps that we are taking to investigate the situation.

As you may know, a series of antisemitic social media posts on Instagram called for students to organize against Jewish people and to join in the creation of a list of Jewish students at the school. Additionally, an image of a person holding a bullet and wearing a helmet with a swastika was shared. These reprehensible messages were, understandably, deeply alarming to many members of our school community. As a Jewish person, I know how seriously this evokes the hatred and fear of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Hateful, hurtful comments and actions, whether targeting an individual’s religion, race, gender or any other expression or characteristic of their existence are unacceptable. Our District is working with law enforcement, the Anti Defamation League (ADL), the Marin County Office of Education and spiritual leaders from Congregation Rodef Sholom and Congregation Kol Shofar to address this issue; we are committed to ensuring that justice is served. We are immensely grateful to Rabbi Stacy Friedman. Her considerable wisdom, guidance and support continue to be invaluable as we navigate this situation.

While we can’t control what someone does on social media platforms, we can educate our students about antisemitism, the history of oppression of and genocide committed against Jewish people and about the harm hate-based ideologies cause us as individuals and our collective society. To that end, we are partnering with the ADL, to implement a series of lessons in our schools that combat bias and hate, specifically how to address antisemitic and racist incidents in our community.

Student Voices – A Measure of Comfort

I want our families to know that this social media activity prompted many students to contact school administration, our district office, law enforcement and Instagram directly, asking for immediate action to have the posts removed and investigated. Our students’ proactive steps to shut down antisemitic behavior are positive indications that the shared efforts between school and home to teach students to stand up and speak out when they see injustices are working.

Engaging Law Enforcement - School and District Action

Please be assured that we are working unrelentingly and closely with law enforcement to investigate this situation, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to conduct a full, forensic IT investigation. Some people have expressed that they feel confident they know the identity of the perpetrator, and they are asking for swift action regarding that particular student. Like many of you who have communicated with me, I want to see proper disciplinary action taken. Our urgency and frustration are justified given the nature of the messages. Please know, however, that action may not be taken based on rumor or speculation. Clearly linking a person to a social media account can be very difficult and while many people feel strongly that they know who is behind these acts, we have an obligation to meet legal standards when disciplining students. Please be assured that law enforcement continues its investigation and if their work determines it was one of our students, we will not hesitate to levy the most severe disciplinary consequences. If you have information that directly links these actions to a particular individual or individuals, please contact us by emailing me, calling our Tip Line at 415-945-3693 or contacting Central Marin Police.

A Community United to Educate and Inform

The internet allows hate speech to move rapidly and trample the boundaries that we seek to create for our homes, schools, and communities, so we must pull together to reaffirm our values and our shared commitment to recognize and call out and stamp out hate. To continue the conversation about what we as a community can do to put an end to antisemitism, we are partnering with the county office of education, ADL, the District Attorney’s office, Marin Jewish faith leaders and tech company representatives to hold a countywide facilitated conversation tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30, from 5:00-6:30 pm. The informational flyer is attached to this email.

I will keep you informed as our investigation continues, and until it is completed, I thank you for addressing your concerns and questions to me at dsondheim@tamdistrict.org or 415-945-3620.

Respectfully,

David Sondheim
 

Posted 10/7/20

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable populations across the country and in Marin, and specifically many families in our SRCS community. We are grateful to the organizations and individuals that are fighting these injustices and providing support and care to those most affected. As a leader of our District, I can say that we have been grappling with our unique challenge of desperately wanting to bring back all our students to all our schools, while also facing the public health crisis at hand. We have spent the past several months analyzing when to implement our hybrid learning plans, with the safety of our students and staff at the center of our decision-making process. We have been collaborating very closely with our partners at Marin Health and Human Services (MHHS), including weekly meetings to share information.