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PCS Newsletter 10/15/21

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PCS Newsletter
Dear PCS Community,

As our Petaluma evenings cool down and our mornings make us want to stay under cozy covers for just a few more minutes, it’s become clear that Sonoma Fall is officially here. I recently came across an article about the Barrón family, who was recognized by Parents Magazine as the “kindest family in America.” The family started a “Kindness Club,” whose mission is to “spread kindness in their daily lives.” Not only was this a compelling and timely read, it made me reflect on how I can lead with kindness in daily interactions. I hope that you enjoy the article as much as I did.

I wanted to share a couple of shout-outs this month. First of all, to the teachers, staff, administration, families, and students past and present at the Petaluma Accelerated Charter School at McKinley (PACS). PACS was just recognized by US News and World Report as the “#1 Ranked Middle School” in the State of California. We are so proud to have this school and this dedicated group of educators in our District. Congratulations, PACS!

I also want to recognize PCS educator Danielle Kennedy, who was recently named as Sonoma County’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Kennedy teaches in our South County Consortium, and we are honored to call her our colleague. Ms. Kennedy’s application has now been submitted for consideration as the California Teacher of the Year. Congratulations, Ms. Kennedy!

I have enjoyed the conversations with staff and families during my first two Superintendent Office Hours at Grant and McDowell. Besides discussing our current District Goals and Objectives, we have discussed what is working well, constructive feedback, and what sort of District and programs we want for our children. You can find a  list of dates and locations for future Superintent office hours on our website  - I hope to see you at your child’s site in the near future.

This month, we are asking to hear from our families with young children to make sure that the programs we offer at the elementary level are in line with what you hope your children will experience in our schools. Please take a moment to respond to this brief PCS Program Interest Survey, as your input will help drive future planning for our schools. To complete the survey in Spanish, select Spanish from the drop-down menu on the top right-hand corner of the survey.

In partnership,

Matthew Harris
Superintendent, Petaluma City Schools
COVID-19 Updates
It has come to our attention that some families have questions about how to report a positive COVID case. Keeping our school community safe is a shared commitment and it is very important that you alert your school site about a positive diagnosis right away so that we can take immediate and important steps to keep the rest of our school community safe.

When you receive positive test results from any COVID test (i.e. PCR, rapid/antigen, or at-home test), please alert your school site immediately. A school nurse will follow up with you to learn more details about your case (e.g. date of test/symptoms onset, etc.) and provide you with specific information from the Public Health Department regarding next steps and quarantine periods. If there are any siblings in the home, each sibling is considered a close contact of a confirmed positive case. Therefore, please do not send unvaccinated siblings to school after you have received a positive test result. The school nurse will provide you with information and instructions for all other members of the household.

As importantly, we understand that a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 can cause emotional, physical, and financial stress, not to mention, a significant disruption for everyone in your household. Please remember that there are free County resources are available to support you and your family. You can find out more about those services on the County of Sonoma website. If you have any difficulty accessing these resources, please do not hesitate to contact the PCS COVID Coordinator, Brian Dufour, at or 707-778-4626.
Complete the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Survey
We are working on developing programs and supports to address students' academic, social-emotional, and mental health needs. Additionally, we want to address the academic impact of lost instructional time and any gaps in students' learning. As such, we would like to gather more input from our community. Please take a few minutes to complete the very brief ESSER III Survey. There is more information about ESSER III in these Google Slides.
Help Your School Receive Funding
We need your help to ensure that schools receive important federal and/or state funding. All you need to do is complete one form and you can potentially provide our schools with an extra $1,700 per student! To complete the form online, go to Titan School Solutions and click “Apply For Meals Today,” find Petaluma City Schools, and complete the form. Once you finish, you're done! All information submitted as part of these forms is confidential and your social security number is not required. You can also find more information about completing the form, including printable versions, on the PCS Food Services Website.
Free Access for Students to Tutoring, Electronic Resources, and More
Every Petaluma City Schools student now has a Student OneCard public library account! Students can use their PCS student ID number as a Sonoma County Library account. With this, students can:
  • Access 50+ electronic resources 24/7
  • Check out up to 10 books at a time from the public library without worrying about fines
  • Get free online tutoring in English and Spanish
  • And more
Find out more about Student OneCards on the Sonoma County Library website.


Make a Difference for Children in our Community: Career Opportunities with PCS
Have you ever thought about working in education and making a difference in the lives of children in our community? Consider a job with us at Petaluma City Schools! We have multiple openings in a variety of jobs throughout the District, including full-time and part-time opportunities. For us to best serve students, we need the community's help in getting fully staffed. Please share this information widely! We have both full-time and flexible, part-time positions available. You can find a list of our open positions on EdJoin.

Check out this week's highlighted jobs below.


Wellness Corner
Substance-Abuse Support for Teens
PCS and our community-based organizations are collaborating to address the current opioid/fentanyl crisis that impacts the youth in our community. To address our students' needs, PCS is partnering with Narcotic Anonymous to start a substance abuse support group at our high schools. Our district is also planning opioid/fentanyl overdose and general drug prevention parent information nights.

Here are some Narcan resources to help prevent fentanyl overdoses in our community. Student Voice Forums
November 16, 2021 at 6:00 PM via Zoom.
Recently, the Sonoma County Office of Education organized a Student Voice Forum in an attempt to understand a variety of perspectives on our schools. In the same vein, PCS is organizing secondary student voice forums to allow students to share their life experiences with our community of learners. The first of these student forums will take place on November 16, 2021 at 6:00 PM and will highlight our Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) students. If you are a student who is interested in sitting on the panel and sharing your thoughts, please contact our District Wellness Coordinator, Jimena Gomez, at


Student and Family Engagement
Parent Nights: Boundary Setting
Come learn about the importance of setting boundaries, independence, types of boundaries, communication, setting limits, and barriers.
Elementary Parent Night (TK-6): Nov. 2nd, 6:00-7:30 PM via Zoom
Secondary Parent Night (7-12): Nov. 3rd, 6:00-7:30 PM via Zoom
Upcoming Events
  • Community Watershed Clean-up: Nov. 13, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM at Penry Park
  • PCS Family Holiday Fun Run 1 mile/5K/10K: Dec. 11 - Shollenberger Park/Ellis Creek - Register here (please complete one per participant) - More details coming soon!


Social Media
In September, the Devious Lick TikTok Challenge emerged with students across the nation engaging in various levels of vandalism at their school campuses. PCS school sites experienced the effects of this vandalism. The “Slap a Teacher” Challenge launched this month and encourages students to slap a teacher or staff member and run away, all while ensuring the action is caught on camera.

As a District, we will never condone acts of violence. Any assault on District staff will carry significant consequences, which will result in home suspension, possible expulsion from the District, and the potential active pursuit of criminal charges with law enforcement involvement. We ask that all families talk to your student(s) about why engaging in these challenges is wrong, and discuss the consequences of participating in them.

More information about these challenges and the dangers associated with them may be found in this safety guide.

For your reference, below is the list of monthly TikTok challenges:
  • October: Smack a staff member
  • November: Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school
  • December: Deck the halls and show your b****
  • January: Jab a breast
  • February: Mess up school signs
  • March: Make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria
  • April: “Grab some eggz” (another stealing challenge)
  • May: Ditch day
  • June: Flip off in the front office
  • July: Spray a neighbor’s fence
We appreciate your partnership as we work to keep our community and schools safe and positive places for learning and personal growth.


Community Corner
Drug Take Back Day - PPD Drive Thru
The Petaluma Police Department (PPD) and the Sonoma County Department of Health Services are hosting an expired prescription drug drop off on October 23rd from 10 AM - 2 PM at the PPD station. With the onset of the pandemic, there has been an increase in calls for services related to drug overdose and addiction, especially related to minors. Studies indicate that a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, so clearing out unused medicine is essential. Please wear a mask and stay in your car during the drive thru.

To learn more about Take Back Day locations in Sonoma County, please visit the DEAs Take Back website, or call 800-882-9539. You can also find information about Year-Round Prescription Disposal Boxes here. For questions about the PPD's Drive thru, contact

Free Opportunities for Students
Click on the links below for information on some free opportunities for students.