Posted by Ellen Kraska on 6/10/2018
    As our school year comes to a close, I wanted to thank our students, families and staff for another extraordinary school year. When fourth grader Sanaia  was "Principal for a Day," she asked all students to write down their favorite thing about Laurel. All the notes from the students combined to form a tremendous display revealing what students love about Laurel. The students shared a myriad of "favorite things" including Art class, singing and playing instruments in Music, and exercising in PE. For some students, their favorite thing about Laurel was the "supportive" teachers who believe in them. Other students shared how their favorite thing about Laurel is STEAM Fair or a particular field trip - like Ship Trip. The moving display is testament to how we come together in the Laurel community to create all these enriching, dynamic and meaningful learning experiences for our children. The people at Laurel are my favorite part about the school! I can not thank our parent volunteers, passionate teachers and hardworking staff members enough. It truly takes a village! I wish everyone all the best for the summer break and look forward to seeing everyone in August. And to our students and families moving on to Hillview - we will never forget you! Come back to Laurel and visit!
    Amazing Art Shows! Wow!
    Thank you to all our Art in Action parent volunteers, plus Art teacher Christie Giacomozzi and guest Art teacher Shelley Winters, for this year's incredible Art Shows! The displays demonstrated how much our students are learning about creative, multi-media artistic expression. Wow! Thank you all for the countless volunteer hours and pouring your hearts into this work. Our parents, students and staff are so appreciative!

    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
    Laurel School is on Twitter @LaurelMPCSD
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 6/3/2018




    Friday’s Hispanic and Latino American Festival was so meaningful and special! Everyone was incredibly impressed with the songs and dances to celebrate cultures from Spanish speaking countries. Many thanks to Maestra Ghahramani, all the Immersion teachers and our Amity interns  for planning this extraordinary event!


    As this year comes to a close, we wanted to thank our Amity Interns, Irene and Nuria, for all their contributions to Laurel. Irene and Nuria helped our students develop even better Spanish language skills. They taught them about Spanish culture with fun, interactive activities, presentations, individual learning sessions and more! We wish them the best of luck in their next adventures and we will miss them so much!


    We are looking for host families for our Amity Interns for the 2018 -2019 school year. Are you interested? If so, please contact Liliana Perazich 415-297-0125 or email lilgol@yahoo.com. Click here for more info.


    Nuria Saavedra- Laurel’s Lower Campus

    Meet our Amity intern Nuria Saavedra. Nuria was born in Madrid where she lived with her parents. She also has an older brother who also lives in Madrid and many relatives.

    She loves to spend time with her family and traveling to new places. Nuria’s favorite hobby is listening to music, Prior to coming to California, she studied abroad in Poland and Ireland.


    Irene Adame Flores- Laurel’s Upper Campus

    Meet our Amity intern Irene Adame. Irene was born in Madrid where she lived with her parents and brother. She loves dancing, going out with her  friends, listening to music and travelling. She studied abroad in Sweden last year where she visited many countries and met a lot of international friends to whom now she considers family.

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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 5/27/2018
    Can you believe we only have 14 days left this school year?! It seems that each day leading up to the last day of school has a special event planned. From ABC Countdowns in several classes, to music performances and plays, we are definitely ending the year with fun events and activities. The past few Fridays students loved the lunchtime Bubble Party, Music & Dancing and our recent Superhero Spirit Day too! 

    We are looking forward to having ALL of our Laurel families from both the Lower Campus and our Upper Campus come together to celebrate a fantastic year of learning. Join us on Thursday, May 31st for our Annual Laurel School Spring Picnic. The Art Show in the multi is sure to impress. See you there!

    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
    Laurel School is on Twitter @LaurelMPCSD
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 5/20/2018
    We have had a year filled with adventure, excitement and innovation in Laurel's Upper Campus art room! As I am organizing all the beautiful art work in preparation for our upcoming Upper Campus Art Show, I have been reflecting on the past year and all the incredible learning and art making that has been happening. I am so proud for families and friends to see the display of the truly amazing artwork the children have been working so hard on all year...and what an eventful and jam packed year it has been!
    Here are just a few of the year's highlights:
    • All year, the artwork flowed into our Masterpiece Gallery. The Masterpiece Gallery is a rotating gallery which features artwork made at home by Laurel students. This summer would be a perfect time to encourage our Upper Campus artists to make artwork at home to bring in to start our Gallery off with a bang at the start of school! 
    • Every student made an Artist Trading Card which was sent to schools around the world. Students each then received a card that came from over 20 different states, Italy, Thailand and Australia, making the world feel just a little smaller and more connected.
    • Each student has completed a small Fiber Art heart which will comprise a campus-wide mural titled 'Laurel Has Heart' to honor all the kindness, respect and community service our Laurel students engage in every day.
    • Let's not forget our beautiful ceramic pieces! Cupcake treasure boxes were made by 3rd grade, Bobble Head Pets by 4th grade and Laurel Squirrels by 5th grade. Every student will have their ceramic pieces on display at our Art Show for all to admire.
    • Our 3rd Graders have been busy with Chalk Art, whimsical treehouses, lollipop forests and 3-D paper mache bird sculptures.
    • Our 4th Graders have worked hard on their Trees of Life, Pop-Art self-portraits and polar bear landscapes.
    • Our 5th Graders have illustrated children's books, painted a anthropomorphic self-portrait, made thought-provoking abstract sand art and learned how to mix their own skin tone using nothing but the primary colors and white. The results were then painted onto a beautiful skin tone quilt, titled 'The Colors of Us', which will be on display at the Art Show.

    We could not be more proud or excited for our Lower and Upper Campus families to come admire our students' deeply creative work at our Art Show! Students have put their heart into this work, and I could not be more proud of them.


    We look forward to seeing you all at the Art Show, Open House and Spring Picnic on May 31st!

    Submitted by: Christie Giacomozzi
    Art Teacher, Laurel School Upper Campus
    Laurel School is on Twitter @LaurelMPCSD
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 5/13/2018



    Many Latin American countries celebrate Día de Las Madres. The custom is to honor mothers and motherhood by giving flowers, small gifts or serenading them with songs. Last week, some of our Spanish Immersion classrooms got into the spirit and had a special morning honoring our Laurel matriarchs.

    Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!


    Submitted by: Tami Girsky

    Coordinator of Spanish Immersion and World Language


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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 5/6/2018
    It is bittersweet that two of our beloved teachers, Robin Reding and Bets McKnight, will retire this June. As teachers and reading specialists, they both devoted decades to reaching and teaching students! Please join me in wishing Robin and Bets all the best as they head into retirement!
    Excerpt from Robin's letter to Laurel families (click here to read more):
    This has been a another fantastic year to be a Laurel Squirrel! So it is with a mixture of emotions that I announce my decision to retire in June. I intend to finish strong and continue providing each child with my best teaching...
    Excerpt from Bets' letter to Laurel families (click here to read more):
    In the Book of Life we all write our own chapters. My newest chapter will be "Things to Do in Retirement". It is with great sentiment that I will be leaving Laurel School after 26 years of service and 32 years of teaching...

    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
    Laurel School is on Twitter @LaurelMPCSD
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 4/22/2018
    Dual language immersion teachers have the unique and extraordinary responsibility for teaching students to be bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural. This Friday and Saturday, Laurel hosted over 80 educators as part of a homegrown Dual Language Immersion Mini-Conference and Saturday Reunion. On Friday, a group of 20 educators spent the day at Laurel to see special demonstration lessons and some Spanish Immersion classes in action. On Saturday, educators (some traveling from as far as Oregon) gathered at the Upper Campus for a day filled with inspiration, conversation, and professional learning. A tremendous highlight was the keynote from our very own Laurel parent, Amanda Rentería. Today and everyday, we are grateful for our hardworking World Language and Spanish Immersion team for their dedication to creating globally-minded learning experiences. To learn more about the event, see our DLI website and check out the DLI Twitter feed
    Thank you to the following MPCSD staff and interns for leading workshop sessions: Irene Adame, Emily Chen, Dr. Tami Girsky, Ashley Guilliot, Liliana Gómez, Marisela Ghahramani, Rocío López, Emily Smith, Katherine Strach, Lucia Rocha-Nestler and Núria Saavedra. 
    A special shout out to Lucia Rocha-Nestler, Dr. Tami Girsky and Linda Creighton for organizing this incredible event!
    With gratitude,

    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 4/1/2018
    On Thursday, March 29th, our first graders enjoyed a delightful Globetrotters Day! During this annual event, the first grade teachers transformed their classrooms into interactive museum exhibits featuring countries and/or continents throughout the world. The first grade students traveled from classroom to classroom to learn all about global geography as they "visited" Greece, Africa, India, South America, Canada and Antarctica. Students enjoyed music, stories, activities, games, arts and crafts, and even collected passport stamps from their adventures along the way! A big thank you to our first grade teachers and parent volunteers for another amazing Globetrotters Day! The students were so excited to travel all around the world to learn about new cultures and continents.

    All the best,
    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 3/25/2018
     Bravo to the Beauty and the Beast Jr. Musical Cast and Crew!
    This weekend, 70 Laurel students performed as cast and crew for two sold out Beauty and the Beast Jr. shows. Directed by Mrs. Rachel Bergeron, the students were absolutely inspiring. They showed such dedication to memorizing their parts, collaboration with the choreography and courage in sharing their voices with the community. Bravo to the students and Mrs. Bergeron!

    Our Laurel parents put forth tremendous effort to design and sew costumes, supervise during rehearsals, work sets backstage, sell concessions and more. Many thanks to all our parent volunteers!

    The production was truly a testament to the partnership and collaborative spirit within Menlo Park - with students, staff and parents working together to create amazing performing arts experiences. Our students will have these memories for a lifetime.

    With gratitude,
    Ellen Kraska
    Laurel School Assistant Principal
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    Posted by Ellen Kraska on 3/18/2018




    A drizzly Irish day was the perfect backdrop for a gathering of sister cities, friendship trees, and curious Laurel students as a new tree was planted at the Upper Campus last week. We hosted Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki and Galway, Ireland Mayor Pearce Flannery for a sister city event.

    Menlo Park and Galway, Ireland have been connected as sister cities since the 1960s and a similar planting ceremony with the Menlo Park mayor, Irish dignitaries, and school children took place at this school site in 1963! Our new tree (a Sawleaf Zelkova) is fittingly planted under the canopy of an elm - the gift tree from a Galway school 55 years ago!
    During the ceremony, Galway Mayor Pearce Flannery wore a traditional chain of office and explained that some of the gold in its insignia dates from 1485! A piece of gold has been added for every mayor since then. The students were very impressed! Mayor Flannery visited classrooms at the Upper Campus and invited everyone to travel to our sister city in Galway, Ireland. As a surprise, he invoked an Irish tradition of requesting a no homework night whenever a dignitary visits a school. Luckily, Principal Creighton agreed and all the students cheered as she shared the news! It was a lovely visit and a wonderful celebration of friendship!

    All the best to you and yours,

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