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PCS Newsletter 12/3/21

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PCS Newsletter
Dear PCS Community,

I hope that you all had a restful and peaceful Thanksgiving Break. My family thoroughly enjoyed several walks through our local redwood forests, and we were grateful to be able to enjoy this beautiful part of the world that we call home. Recently, Petaluma welcomed nine new families from Afghanistan, including 18 young children who will be attending our local schools. Our newest neighbors hold Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) due to their steadfast support of our US troops and diplomats in Afghanistan, often putting their lives at risk to help US citizens in their home country.

In the short term, this growing group of families is being supported by the ULM Family Foundation to meet their basic needs, but there are many ways that we can get involved to welcome our newest neighbors to Petaluma with open arms. If you are interested in learning more, St. John’s Episcopal Church of Petaluma has created the Afghan Allies Project. Check out the Family Friends Program for a great volunteer opportunity. Alternatively, you could reach out to Shir Haidari, Project Director for Afghan SIV Families, at

Fred Rogers famously said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” During this time of many challenges and uncertainties, we can always find opportunities to be there for each other as Petalumans and thereby be the “helpers” our children see.

Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing those of you who signed up to participate in the PCS Family Holiday Run at Shollenberger Park on December 11th.

In partnership,

Matthew Harris
Superintendent, Petaluma City Schools
COVID-19 Updates
As news of the Omicron variant becomes more prevalent every day and threatens to cast a shadow on our excitement for the holiday season ahead, it is important to remember that COVID testing remains one of the most important and effective ways to slow the spread of the virus and protect our families, friends, and community. To make it easier for you to access a test, we offer free PCR COVID tests at our district office every day that school is in session from 7:30 AM to noon. No appointments are necessary.  Additionally, Sonoma County hosts a number of free testing clinics at various locations every day offering free PCR tests. The Petaluma Health Center (PHC) has recently opened a new COVID testing clinic that offers free PCR tests with a schedule that extends into the late afternoon and the weekends, which will hopefully be easier on families. You can find more information on this clinic and others on the County of Sonoma testing page. You can also always find these resources and more in our COVID-19 Hub. As we enter the season of cooler days (and more cold symptoms), with more indoor gatherings happening, please feel free to rely on these local testing resources to keep your mind at ease and our community safe.
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. If you yourself aren't looking, please share this information! We have both full-time and flexible, part-time positions - linked here is a list of our Open Positions.

Check out this week's highlighted jobs below.
Student and Family Engagement
Please join us on Thursday, December 9th from 6:00-7:30 PM via zoom for an Opioid/Fentanyl Parent Informational Night. Dr. Sarah Ferraro Cunningham from Panaptic will be presenting along with a detective from the PPD. You can find more information, including the Zoom link, on the PCS website calendar.

Upcoming Events:
  • Family Holiday Fun Run - December 11th
  • Elementary Kickball League - Spring
  • Film Festival - March
  • Robotics Challenge - April
  • Art Showcase - April/May 
Wellness Corner
Substance-Abuse Support for Teens Update
We are happy to share that Narcotic Anonymous has provided free literature racks and has delivered them to San Antonio High School, Casa Grande High School, Kenilworth Junior High School so far with more to come. PCS continues to work on our partnership with Narcotic Anonymous to provide substance-abuse support for secondary students.

Parent Workshops
If you are looking for support and parenting ideas, there are many free online workshops sponsored by the Child Parent Institute (CPI) in the coming weeks. You can find the Parenting Class Schedule on CPI's website here. CPI offers classes where the language of instruction is English, as well as classes where the language of instruction is Spanish. Please note: These are not school or District events. As such, Petaluma City Schools District does not sponsor, staff, supervise, support or endorse the information, activities, or events posted.

Free Local Food Is One Text Away!
Text FOOD is a text message-based tool that connects you to local information about where to get free food near you. With Text FOOD, Sonoma County residents can use their cellphones to text the word “Food" or "Comida” to 707-353-6333 and get an immediate response with the information they need. Please note: These are not school or District events. As such, Petaluma City Schools District does not sponsor, staff, supervise, support or endorse the information, activities, or events posted.


Free Digital Books and Articles Until January 31, 2022
The California Department of Education (CDE) has partnered with Renaissance to ensure that every California student can access thousands of digital reading resources for free during winter break. You can find these resources by visiting myON and logging in with a single statewide shared login, listed below. Until January 31, 2022, all California students will have 24-hour access to thousands of myON books and articles in English and Spanish. Students can easily browse or search the digital library to find books that match their interests and grade level. To find books in your preferred language, use the search option and select your language by clicking on the "Language" button. There are also options for students to read books online or offline, even in low-bandwidth environments.

Follow these simple steps to log in to myON and start reading:
  • Go to myON and click on “myON login”
  • Sign in using the single statewide shared account credentials
    • School Name: Gift of Literacy
    • Username: myon
    • Password: read
  • Select a book or news article and start reading!


Environmental Education with Amigos Alados
Students at some of our schools are participating in the Amigos Alados program, a non-profit organization that works with schools in the Western US and Mexico to engage in environmental education by learning about the migratory songbirds they share. In addition, students get to participate in a cultural exchange and develop international friendships by writing to pen pals in Mexico who are studying the same birds. Check out the photos in the banner above from the Binocular Bootcamp day at McDowell Elementary where students learned how to use binoculars and how to identify certain birds!


Winter School Events for the Whole Community 12/3 and 12/4
PJHS Community Winter Craft Fair TONIGHT 12/3
Petaluma Junior High School (PJHS) is hosting a community Winter Craft Fair TONIGHT, December 3rd from 4:00 - 6:00 PM. There will be 30 student and local vendors selling all sorts of amazing items. There will even be a kid's craft area where children can make wearable buttons, learn how to create snowflakes, or design their own washi tape greeting cards! You can check it out by going to the PJHS campus (located at 700 Bantam Way, 94952) and heading for the multi. We hope to see you there!

Petaluma High Wildlife Museum Event - Slothmas 12/4
On December 4th from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, the Petaluma Wildlife Museum (PWM) on the Petaluma High campus is hosting their Winter Wildlife event, Slothmas. In this joint collaboration between Classroom Safari and the PWM, participants can get up-close and personal with gators, porcupines, hedgehogs, giant snakes, ancient chickens, and more! There will also be an ugly sweater contest, animal photo opportunities, raffles, games, prizes, and a silent auction. All proceeds from Slothmas will go to the Petaluma Wildlife Museum and Classroom Safari.


Maite Iturri Awarded with Gold Resolution
We are excited to announce that our very own Interim Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Maite Iturri, was awarded with a Gold Resolution by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on December 1st at the Springs Municipal Advisory Council. This resolution recognizes her work in Sonoma Valley and the County including co-founding Food for All / Comida Para Todos and her work advocating for students and families who identify as Latinx. Congratulations, Maite!


Free Cardiac Screenings for Ages 12-25 February 2022
Sonoma County residents ages 12-25 are invited to get a free, non-invasive EKG that can detect cardiac anomalies that do not show up on routine physical exams. 1 in 300 students are at risk due to an undetected cardiac problem. That is why the Petaluma Health Care District, Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma Campus, County of Sonoma, and VIA Heart Project are partnering up to bring this screening event to Sonoma County. Registration is not yet open for this event but you can fill out HealthQuest's Interest Form to get an emailed reminder when registration opens for the event. You can find out more information about the event here.  Please note: These are not school or District events. As such, Petaluma City Schools District does not sponsor, staff, supervise, support or endorse the information, activities, or events posted.