• Message From the Principal

    (Weekly newsletter items are now found on our homepage under announcements. Scroll down to download flyers.


    Upper body Picture of Principal Shawntanet Jara


    May 24, 2020

    Dear Solana Highlands Families,

    In this week’s edition you will find:

    • Special Thanks You’s
    • Solana Highlands Parent Feedback
    • End of Year Celebrations
    • Last Week of School Planning (week of 6/8)
    • Virtual Coffee with the School Counselors
    • Commitment to SEL

    Special Thanks You’s

    First and foremost, I’d like to thank all of the wonderful parents who have helped and continue to help us build the best memories of school by planning and be a part of making it so special. You all do that and we are so grateful. I’d just like to take a minute to thank the following:

    Thank you to Katie Suël, our Foundation president for the last two years, who has done a phenomenal job spreading the message of the integral part our discovery labs play in enriching the school experience of our students. She is dedication, warmth, and intelligence all wrapped up into one! We will miss you in this role but know that we will continue to benefit from your enduring support.

    I am so excited to welcome Caryn Neugroschl and Robert Reponte as next year’s Co-Foundation Presidents. We will continue to be in good hands as these two lovely parents will take the reign and serve as supportive representatives to our Foundation.

    Thank you to Juliet Torykian, our PTA president, who is just about to finish her first fabulous year in this role. Lucky us, that we still have her for another year leading the PTA pathway. Juliet is passionate about communication, is a   wonderful listener, and a great partner, all the characteristics one would want in a PTA  president. Thank you, Juliet!

    Thank you to Sylvia Shum, who planned all of Teacher Appreciation events, and Lisa Massura andKatie Suël, for leading our Running Club!

    Thank you to all our Room Parents!

    Solana Highlands Parent Feedback

    I am looking for your personal and community perspective on Distance Learning and thoughts/concerns about next year. As I draft the Site Strategic Plan for the 20-21 school year, I will use your feedback to determine additions and changes in the Site Strategic Plan. We do not know yet what the next school year will look like for our students, but being proactive and putting some action steps in place to anticipate new needs is necessary. Thank you for your time. A similar survey was also shared with staff. Solana Highlands' Parent Feedback Survey

    End of Year (EOY) Celebration

    I understand that many are interested in a possible EOY parade. Unfortunately, according to the latest Public Health Recommendations, we will not be able to make this happen. There are specific parameters around social gatherings that a parade would be in direct conflict with.

    We will be looking into alternative EOY activities. These may have to be done on a by-classroom-basis as a school-wide event is proving difficult to plan with conflicting schedules, etc. Keep in mind that staff will be packing student items and prepping their classrooms for the summer so their availability will be extremely limited the week of June 8th

    Last Week of School

    Look for more details soon as we are plan to provide parents with the opportunity to come to school during this week to retrieve student items, return library books, devices, etc. There will be specific guidelines in place so all can adhere to the social distancing and group gathering guidelines. More to come…

    Virtual Coffee with the School Counselors

     “Socialization During the Pandemic”

    Strategies and Supports for Children During School Closure

    to Support Their Socialization

    Thursday, May 28th

    10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    Join Zoom Meeting


    Commitment to SEL

    As we continue with Distance Learning, as a District, we remain committed to providing Social-Emotional supports for students and families.  Our Social and Emotional Learning goals presented in the Fall are still intact in the daily interactions teachers and staff have with students, through live sessions, online platforms, and phone calls

    Being intentional about Social-Emotional Learning in the home can help enhance school learning and also life skills. As we have shared previously, The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), identifies five social-emotional learning competencies; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.  It is critical to emphasize these core competencies to support kids in the home. 

    While we are continually bombarded with information the purpose of this newsletter is to provide some key strategies that may support you and your child as we enter into these last few weeks.  

    Today in this section, I want to share three high leverage strategies that would be beneficial to initiate or revisit to support you and your child during this last phase of Distance Learning.  Research shows it is supportive for parents to model, coach, practice strategies in a supportive environment. These research-based strategies come from a webinar with Jennifer Miller, author of the book, Confident Parents, Confident Kids.

    • Develop a morning routine - co-create with family members and children - this creates a sense of safety
      • Talk about it prior to the morning
      • Develop ritual opportunities for connection - Hugging is an immunity booster!
      • Post the plan
      • Notice the positive
    • Daily feelings check-in (helpful for children and adults)
      • Pay attention to child’s understanding of what is happening
      • Name the feeling 
      • Ask your child about the story behind the emotion
      • Reframe and normalize the emotion
    • Coping Strategies
      • Have a plan to use these strategies.  Practice!
        • Deep Breathing with a calming item
        • Plan for a child’s safe base

    To learn more, I recommend listening to the webinar, CASEL Care - So, now what? Supporting SEL in the home during your next walk or when you have a little down time. I believe you will find it a good use of your time.  It has some great strategies to use at this unique time and throughout the summer as we move into the next school year. We wish you calm over the next few weeks and look forward to the exciting and special year-end events that teachers and staff are working on to make this year special for your children.



    Shawntanet Jara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Solana Highlands Elementary School

    Mrs. Jara’s Twitter: @LeadwLovePower
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PTASolanaHighlands/



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