Oak Knoll School

October 13 , 2017  
Message from 
Principal Gracia

Dear Oak Knoll Parents,

The news and recent events of hurricanes, earthquakes and fires have been quite overwhelming and, in many cases, devastating. While we prepare at our school for what we hope will never happen, our hearts go out to those affected by these disasters. 

First and foremost, we are prepared to respond in the event of an emergency. Our school emergency preparedness plan is anchored in the San Mateo County Big Five protocols. The entire staff has received training on emergency protocols, including responsibilities related to their designated roles, and we have monthly drills with students. Additionally, we feel fortunate to work in close partnership with the local police and fire departments as part of this effort.

We are also prepared to support our students when unfortunate events and natural disasters occur. Our teachers are trained to take their cues from the kids and help as they navigate the information they hear and questions they have. Children can feel a sense of insecurity and be fearful during these times; it is our job as parents and teachers to reassure them and anchor our conversations around preparedness. 

Yesterday morning, on our Oak Knoll daily broadcast of KNOL, I shared some advice with our students that comes from Mr. Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (a TV show many of us watched as children). His mother used to tell him to "look for all the helpers" as there are so many caring people in our world offering a helping hand. Keeping the focus on people being compassionate, reassuring them that we adults are here for them, and letting them know that "we've got this," is really important and just what our kids need to hear right now. Here is a resource, Talking to Children About Natural Disasters , that you might find helpful.

We too want to help and are prepared to do it in a way that engages and empowers our students. One of the best ways to help is to donate money, allowing organizations on the ground to deploy the most necessary supplies and food. We have come up with a way for our students to contribute their time and effort, resulting in donations. We would like to introduce Chores for Change to benefit the Red Cross. During the week of 10/23-10/27, we will be encouraging our students to do chores at home and earn money to donate to the drive. Students should bring the money to school as they earn it and add it to the jar in their classroom. The final day to cash out on those chores and donate is October 30th.

As always, I feel honored to be your child's principal and to work in partnership with you and our staff. I look forward to the Oak Knoll Book Fair (next week) and the Oak Knoll Lane Halloween Parade (more info coming home soon), two great opportunities to connect as a community.

With gratitude,

Kristen Gracia
Oak Knoll School Principal