St. Felicitas Has the Blues PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2015 17:59



The students at St. Felicitas normally wear their school uniforms, but last week they were able to wear their jeans as part of a fundraiser. The seventh grade class paid for the privilege of wearing jeans as a fundraiser to send the class to Caritas Creek, an educational camp.

Raiders, California Dairy Families Fuel Up SLUSD to Play 60 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2015 14:39


Over 200 students from San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School are shown with Raiders, Raiderettes and Raider Rusher during the recent “Fuel up to Play 60” event at the school.

102215sch2By Auguste DeRose-Jones • Special to the Times

While some teams utilize their bye weeks to rest up for the remainder of a long and strenuous NFL season, the Oakland Raiders had other plans. Earlier this month, the Raiders teamed up with the California Dairy Families and Fuel Up to Play 60 for a visit to San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School. Players and participants shared in the effort to promote the ideal of a healthier and more active life style.

To support this effort, the Raiders and California Dairy Families awarded the San Leandro Unified School District a $10,000 “Hometown” Grant.

The “Hometown” Grants are part of a larger initiative between both the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 to supply a $10,000 grant to a deserving school district in each of the 32 NFL markets. The grants complement current fitness and wellness initiatives and make a difference in the overall health and wellness of students across the country.

“Today’s event is about the kids and making an effort towards healthy eating and physical activity," said Alyssa McClelland, School Outreach Manager for Fuel Up to Play 60. "The Oakland Raiders do a great job of reaching out into their community and surrounding schools to support healthy eating and today was a perfect example of how they are out in their back yard looking forward to helping the next generation of children.”

In a surprise announcement, Superintendent of SLUSD Mike McLaughlin stated that the district was going to match the $10,000 dollars to help push the Play 60 initiative to other parts of the district.

The enormity of this combined donation had all in attendance overjoyed and excited to be a part of such a district-defining day.

Also present at the event were Oakland Raiders players Lorenzo Alexander, Neiron Ball, Matt McCants and Max Valles.

102215sch3“I was very excited to see the players at my school today” said Christian Martienez, a fifth-grade student at McKinley Elementary School. “ I think that (the Raiders) coming to our school to talk to us is good because it helps children stay fit and play longer every day.”

The excitement of the kids was contagious throughout the event and made the day special for everyone involved, players included. “It's awesome and a blessing to be able to come back and give back to my home," said Lorenzo Alexander, who grew up in the Bay Area and attended St. Mary’s College High School and Cal in Berkeley. "My passion in life is to serve, but anytime you can do it within the community that raised you and helped me get to where I am at today is always much more fulfilling.”

CAPTION 2: San Leandro’s McKinley Elementary School students dodge the tackling dummy held by Raiders offensive lineman Matt McCants during the recent “Fuel up to Play 60” event.

CAPTION 3: Oakland Raiders players Lorenzo Alexander, Neiron Ball, Matt McCants and Max Valles greet McKinley Elementary School students at the “Fuel up to Play 60” event.


Happy Birthday to the Principal PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 15 October 2015 17:07

101515schThe second graders at St. Felicitas School recently celebrated their principal’s birthday with a special visit. The kids invited principal Meghan Jorgensen to their classroom and recited the Irish Blessing before presenting her with an apple-themed card that read” If principals were apples, we’d pick you.” Pictured above during the celebration are principal Jorgensen, vice-principal Katie Cronin, and teaching assistant Bethany Van Der Haeghen, along with second graders Aston Crow, Dominic Kabiling, Dylan Valentine, Grace Burrell, Janelle Um and Ikenna Amah.


Cool Fundraiser on a Hot Day at St. Felicitas School PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 2015 14:45

100115n6The students at St. Felicitas School recently celebrated the last few official days of summer and the continuing warm weather by selling popsicles as a fundraiser. The proceeds went to the student council and it was a big success, as the lines were long to grab a cold treat.


Tame the Stress of the Back-to-School Blues PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 09:06

081315sch1Do you or your child have the back-to-school blues? If so, you’re not the only ones.

Saying goodbye to slower summer days can be difficult. For almost three months, you have felt free from the structure of the classroom and the accompanying homework. When the upcoming school year rolls around, it’s common to feel some sadness.

For children who suffer from anxiety, this stress may be harder to handle, and it may stem from more than just pop quizzes and earlier bedtimes.

These children need extra attention as the new school year draws near. The best thing you can do to prepare your child is to give the gift of your time and attention.

Instead of dwelling on things like tests and homework, talk about how to make the transition into the exciting new school year the best it can be.

Lauren Zimet is director of the Early Insights Healthy Foundations Program and a mother. She has pinpointed the top back-to-school tips that will make the transition easier and help to reduce the stress and tension felt by you and your child, not only for the first weeks of school (the hardest time to adjust) but throughout the year as well.

Connected communication: Engage in a conversation with your child and ask what he or she is excited and concerned about for the upcoming school year. Give your child the freedom to speak openly and avoid asking too many questions at once.

You’ll know you are connecting when he starts volunteering information. When you listen to your child, and he can see the genuine interest and attention in your eyes and through your body language, he will feel more comfortable discussing the upcoming year.

Creative calendars: Planning ahead makes adults feel prepared, which is a huge de-stressor. The same goes for your child. Younger children only need a day or two to look forward to their big day.

Older children may benefit from discussing the year weeks before the first day, especially if those conversations include working on things like organization, planning, prioritizing, and sequencing (those important executive functions of the brain).

Visualize the goal: Get specific and help your child visualize the first day of school. Have your child tell you or draw out the sequence of the day, from waking up in the morning, to dressing in an outfit chosen the night before, to what she’ll be enjoying as her brain-boosting energy breakfast.

The more your child can visualize her routine(s), the more she will be at ease when the big day finally arrives.

Load up on brain food. Breakfast is coined “the most important meal of the day,” and rightly so! Food is the fuel for the brain and body, and the quality of the fuel matters. Whatever you choose to give your body and brain each morning will enable you to do a certain level of thinking.

American breakfasts are often unbalanced, heavily favoring carbs, which are only a tiny part of the good-breakfast equation. Encourage your child to pick a protein each morning, as well as fruit, veggie, and healthy fat and carb options.

Employing any of these suggestions will help your child start feeling more excited about the new school year with each passing day.

— BrandPoint

CAPTION: The Philips Lifeline GoSafe system allows you to communicate directly through a pendent device with a response center, who could then dispatch help as needed.

Organize A Path To Your Success PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 09:03

081315sch2When the school year begins, students need to quickly get back into the swing of things. Staying organized from day one can ease the transition.

While every individual needs to tweak his or her routine to best suit personality quirks and study habits, here are a few tried-and-true organization tricks that will work for most anyone:

Get Scheduled: While the word “bedtime” may have no meaning on summer vacation, during the school year, it’s vital. A regular sleep schedule can mean better quality sleep and higher alertness at school. Likewise, a morning routine can help students focus and prep for the day.

Family members should share their schedules with each other to ensure everyone gets to practice, club meetings and other activities on time. Install a household calendar or bulletin board in a central location to ensure everyone stays in the know.

Stomp out Clutter: Lockers and backpacks need to stay organized. Whether notebooks, binders and textbooks are arranged by sequence of the day, subject or color isn’t important so long as the system works for you. To create more storage space in your locker, add durable, stackable locker shelving.

For on-the-go book hauling, look for a backpack that features two expanding compartments providing additional space, along with protected storage for laptops.

Personal Organization: Students need to be able to keep more belongings than ever with them throughout the day — traditional school supplies, paperwork, flash drives, calculators and other electronics. A binder that can contain it all will give students a chance to make sure their lives are in order, not just a class at a time.

At home, it’s easy to get distracted from important tasks like studying and homework. Create a dedicated work space away from televisions and other distractions. Make sure the area is comfortable, well-lit and conducive to work.

More study tools and tips can be found at


CAPTION: The right tools and habits can empower students for a successful and organized school year.

The 5 Golden Rules for Kids and Tech Devices PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 08:59

081315sch3The next generation of smartphone users is getting a head start on device destruction. Children are breaking more smartphones, tablets and laptops than ever before, say experts.

Their tech-forward parents have so far shelled out more than $11 billion to repair or replace such devices, according to a recent report from SquareTrade, a protection plan for mobile devices and other consumer electronics.

“Teaching tech etiquette alongside the ABCs and 123s is a smart idea for sanity at home. And for the 89 percent of households whose kids have damaged devices, it makes great financial sense,” says Jessica Hoffman of SquareTrade. “Kids as young as toddlers are getting significant doses of screen time and, as a result, accident rates are climbing.”

The report also found that 70 percent of elementary school kids own tablets and a whopping 55 percent of accidents happen from children accidentally dropping their devices. Not surprisingly, 20 percent of kids blame someone or something else for the mishap.

“Kids and technology are as popular a pairing these days as peanut butter and jelly,” says Hoffman. “As smartphones, tablets and laptops replace dolls and toy cars as children’s most prized possessions, we recommend that parents do their homework on how best to deal with at-home tech habits, or risk having their child on the device dishonor roll.”

Hoffman suggests the following five golden rules to keep in mind before letting kids use electronic devices:

• Don’t pack devices into overstuffed, heavy backpacks without proper protective gear. Tablets cannot handle the wear and tear that a book can absorb.

• On rainy days or when you will be around water, use a zip lock bag for your smartphone or tablet.

• No eating or drinking while using devices. Sticky liquids are the most dangerous.

• Limit screen time in the car. Siblings fighting can lead to devices flying out of windows.

• No matter what precautions you take, accidents can still happen. Repairing a broken device can often cost as much as buying a new one. A good protection plan can cost just a few dollars a month and can buy priceless peace of mind for parents worried about everyday accidents and other “uh-ohs.” So even if your child breaks a device, there’s no need to stress: you’re covered.

For information on equipment protection plans, visit

— StatePoint

CAPTION: Don’t wait until it’s too late. Tweak habits at home, school and on-the-go to prevent technology breakage.

Make Smart School Lunches, Think Like a Kid PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 08:29

081315sch4Making school lunch can feel like a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be a major chore. Here are some ways to make school lunches successful, not stressful:

Don’t Over-Pack

Does your child come home with untouched food? For a distracted youngster, lunchtime flies by in an instant. By the time the bell rings, little Suzie has barely peeled the top off her yogurt. Keep portions kid-sized and don’t include more than four or five items in the lunchbox.

Think Food Groups

Think of the lunchbox as a four-piece puzzle. The basic components are protein, grain, fruit/vegetable and dairy.

Try making lunch kebobs with cold cut slices and chunks of cheese (your dairy and protein groups), add a handful of grapes (fruit) and a bagful of popcorn (grain). Or pack hummus, carrots and wheat pita (protein, grain and veggie), along with applesauce (fruit) and a cheese stick (dairy). Olives or pickles add extra flavor without too much extra fat or calories.

Let Them Assemble

Pack individual ingredients kids can assemble, which makes them feel like they’re more in control of what they eat. For example, include a half bagel with a container of shredded mozzarella, tomato sauce and some sliced olives or pepperoni slices so they can make their own pizza. Add a piece of fruit to round out the meal.

Pick Portable Foods

Whenever possible, opt for dry foods and tight lids. Pack trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars or snacks in single-serve cups. Such foods usually have the added advantage of not spoiling, which means they can be saved for afternoon snacking.

Keep Snacks in the Car

Kids always seem to want an afterschool snack. If home is a bit of a drive, keep snacks on hand. Nuts, trail mix, single-serve olive cups and fruit are better options for a ravenous child. Keep in mind, hungry kids are more likely to try novel foods they might otherwise be reluctant to try.

Get Input

If your child is not eating enough, find out why. Ask your child to create a list of foods every few weeks, as tastes change and broaden. Add favorites to the rotation. Remember, just because your child eats a certain food at dinnertime doesn’t mean it will be a popular lunch item.

And, a simple post-it note with a smiley face or “love you” will go a long way to brightening your child’s day.

— StatePoint

Get Children to Work with You Instead of Against You PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 08:28

Every parent has been there — one of those days when you feel like your child’s only goal is to directly defy you. When your child won’t brush their teeth, comb their hair or put on their socks, it makes you think a larger plan could be afoot.

Whether it’s all part of a larger plan or it’s just a spur-of-the-moment tantrum, things would be much easier if your children would work with you and not against you. To that end, here are four ways you can get your kids playing on your team — without the hysterics.

Challenge them. Children appreciate a challenge at any age, and older children can find satisfaction in a job well done. Explain to children the result of accomplishing their challenge.

Develop good habits. When it comes to bedtime, meal time or free time, kids need stability in their lives. To the same end, they’ll also be more willing to accept tasks and work with you when the requests become routine.

Take time to listen. Children, especially small children, often have little control over their lives. They are constantly being taken to one location or the next, told what to wear, when to sleep, what to eat and when they can and cannot watch television.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that they act out in protest from time to time. Take a moment to listen to your children and explain to them why it’s necessary to behave in a certain way.In today’s busy world, you hardly have time for a child who chants “no, no, no” to everything you say. By employing these tips above, you can turn your largest critic into an advocate and create a collaborative effort that benefits you both.

— BrandPoint

Teen Driver Safety PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:31

042315sch1Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for those between the ages of 16 and 24. Motor vehicle crashes are also the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in all age groups. Being aware of the risk factors and improving driving skills may help reduce this risk — especially for young drivers.

Tips for Safe Driving:

• Give driving your full attention. Driving is a privilege.

• Always wear a seat belt.

• If transporting younger passengers, properly restrain children under age 12 in the backseat, and place children in age-, height- and weight-appropriate safety or booster seats.

• Avoid distractions unrelated to driving. Distractions include texting or reading, talking on the phone — including using a headset, earpiece or speakerphone — eating, fatigue, arguing, an animal that is loose in the car, disruptive passengers, alcohol or other drugs, and loud music.

• Always have a safety zone or safety hole: a space to your left or right to drive into during an emergency.


Get Prepared for the New SAT PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:35

The SAT — widely considered to be one of the most important exams a student will take in his or her academic life — is changing drastically.

When students sit down for the test in March 2016, they’ll encounter a completely redesigned format that places significant emphasis on college and career readiness and skills such as reasoning, data analysis and critical thinking.

The SAT, which impacts high school students’ college admissions success, scholarship dollars and futures, will affect nearly 2 million students. In order to tackle the test with the right amount of knowledge and confidence, students (and their parents) must approach how they prepare for the exam in an entirely different way.

To prepare properly for the exam and achieve the desired result, here are tips for both parents and students:

1. Understand the changes: The exam has been overhauled with changes to both format and content. Test length, timing and score components for the redesigned SAT will be different than its predecessor.

For example, students will no longer be penalized for answering a question incorrectly. With regard to content, students will be expected to master concepts that address college and career readiness, and key skills such as analysis and reasoning. For instance, all reading content will be passage-based and will place strong emphasis on students’ ability to understand vocabulary in context, focusing on more commonly used words, rather than simply demonstrating reading comprehension.

2. Know the dates: The first administration of the redesigned SAT is scheduled for March 2016. The class of 2017 and 2018 are most affected by the change, but the class of 2016 still has an opportunity to take the current SAT in January 2016, which is likely the safest bet.

Regardless of the format, it is never too early to start preparing for these exams, as it is the best way to ensure success and avoid last-minute, ineffective cramming. Some students begin preparing a few months in advance; for others, it’s several months or longer.

3. Be aware that tips and tricks won’t work: The redesigned SAT requires a mastery of core academic concepts and an ability to apply these concepts in real-world scenarios. For example, in the Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing section, reading questions will feature charts and graphs similar to ones students will most likely encounter in science and social science majors as well as their careers. Math questions will also test more complex skills, and questions will build on one another.

4. Know your options: As the SAT will see significant changes, which could cause uncertainty, the ACT is another viable college-entrance exam option. The ACT, which focuses on core high school curriculum and what a student has learned, is accepted at all four-year U.S. colleges and has overtaken the SAT in popularity.


Find Some Fun Reads for the Summer PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:29

042315sch2With summer vacation on the horizon, restocking the home book collection just makes sense for children who will be out of school, but still looking for great reads.”

Here are some titles that are just for fun for the summer:

• Super Heroes: Discover a thrilling, action-packed world with “Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Amazing Battles!,” which features the bravest of heroes as they foil yet another evil villain’s scheme. Dynamic images and scenes will appeal to reluctant readers.

Super hero fans may also love “Ultimate Factivity Collection: Marvel Avengers,” which combines facts about the Earth’s mightiest super heroes — the Avengers — with fun activities and interesting puzzles.

• Pop-Out Surprises: Using flaps, touch-and-feel textures and pop-out surprises, “Pop-Up Peekaboo Farm,” introduces young minds to sheepdogs, tractors, cows, horses and more.

• Creepy Crawlies: “Eyewitness Explorer: Bug Hunter” includes more than 30 hands-on learning activities and step-by-step project instructions. Enter the kingdom of creepy crawlies and learn everything there is to know about beetles, bees, spiders and more. Experiments that can be done at home include raising a caterpillar.

• Little Chefs: Encourage your budding chef’s aspirations with creative recipes that are safe for children. The “Mommy & Me Bake” cookbook is designed to offer parents and children the opportunity to work together as a team while teaching basic baking skills. From simple kneading and mixing to creating whimsical and tasty treats, the book empowers kids to experiment in the kitchen.

• “Frozen”: For fans of the mega hit film, fill up some gift bags with a great crop of new picks, including “Frozen: The Essential Guide,” a fact-filled reference book about the characters, locations and themes of Disney’s beloved princess tale.

• ABC’s: Children around the world have fallen in love with Sophie, the popular giraffe teether toy from France. In the “Sophie la girafe” book series, Sophie and her friends teach new concepts, such as colors and basic vocabulary. “Peekaboo ABC” features every letter of the alphabet illustrated by familiar objects found in Sophie’s world.

More kids’ book ideas for summer can be found at

— StatePoint