Pennekamp Elementary School

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Principal's Corner » Dr. Gerger's Good News

Dr. Gerger's Good News



Science Lab with Mrs. Holton

In science lab, the second graders tested three different soils to determine which soil retains water the best.  After coming up with their hypothesis, students used graduated cylinders, filter paper, cups with holes, sand, potting soil, pebbles, and water to determine the results.  Not only did the students conduct experiments in science lab, but they related what they learned to real life.  The class discussed which soils would be best for different types of plants such as pine trees, cactus, and orchids.  Learning and experimenting was such fun!  Thank you MBEF for supporting our science lab!


Robotics with Ms. Gabreski

Some students explored the fundamental concepts of coding through the use of Dash and Dot Robots.  They used an iPad and the Blockly App to create block-coding commands to drive the robots around the room. Then, students completed themed puzzles and added in other variables to make the robots respond to obstacles and other conditions. Way to go Dragons!


Mindfulness in our TK Classroom

Our TK students in Mrs. Notaricola’s room practice mindfulness daily.  They are so curious, imaginative, and active throughout the full day of kindergarten.  It is amazing to see these young students stop and focus to practice mindfulness awareness.  They do this through breathing and listening, as well as through mind and body activities.  Awesome job TK students!


A big thank you to everyone who participated or sponsored the Skecher’s Walk this past weekend!  We appreciate your support.




  1. Book Fair and Donuts with Dads:  Join us, November 6th-13th, for our Pennekamp Book Fair.  It will be open every day from 7:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.  Students will come by class at a scheduled time to visit the book fair as well.  This is a great volunteer opportunity: to sign up, click here.  On Thursday morning, we invite dads to come down to spend some time with your kids having donuts and visiting the book fair. Dive into reading and ‘Sea’ what you can explore!
  2. Drop Off Safety on Peck:  Beginning November 6th, we will be closing the drop off circle at 8:15 a.m. on the Peck Street side of school.  Immediately after the school-wide Pledge of Allegiance, the fourth and fifth grade students walk through the drop off area as their pathway to get to their classrooms.  In order to keep our students safe, we will stop traffic through that area to allow students to make it to their classrooms.  If you are dropping off after 8:15 a.m., please use the front of the school.  Thank you for your joint effort to be on time for school and to keep our 4th and 5th graders safe. 
  3. Tardy and Unexcused Absence Letters: Tardy and absence letters will be sent home by the end of next week.  If your student has an excess of unexcused absences or tardies, a letter will automatically be generated and sent home. Please consider the option of independent study if your child is going to be absent for 5 or more consecutive days. 
  4. TedX: On Saturday, November 4th, TedX Manhattan Beach will be held at Mira Costa High School.  The theme this year is “Anything is Possible!” Every year, there are so many great talks and exhibits!  Hope to see you there! 
  5. Kindergarten Reading Assessments: Kindergarten teachers will be conducting reading assessments with Kinder students from November 6th-13th.  These are minimum days with a release time of 11:35 a.m. for kinder students and 11:45 a.m. for TK students.  Please remember that there is no school on Friday, November 10th and that Monday, November 13th is still a minimum day. Campus is closed after school to make sure we keep the campus quiet while assessments are being conducted.  Please make sure that your student has a scheduled time to be assessed. 
  6. Goal Setting Week:  Goal setting conferences for 1st-5th grades are scheduled for November 6th-13th.  These are minimum days with a release time of 12:45 p.m.  Please remember that there is no school on Friday, November 10th and that Monday, November 13th is still a minimum day. Campus is closed after school to make sure we keep the campus quiet during parent/teacher conferences.  Please make sure that you have a conference time scheduled with your child’s teacher. 
  7. Pace Classes: There will be NO Pace classes during our minimum days (Monday, November 6th-Monday, November 13th). 
  8. No Lunch During Minimum Days: Please remember that there is no lunch on minimum days.  If your student attends EDP, pre-ordered lunch orders were due on October 31st.  If you did not order, please plan to bring lunch. 
  9. Green Team Parent: I am still in search of a parent who would like to help me with Grades of Green activities.  Please let me know if you would like to know more about it.  I am happy to meet to provide details. 
  10. Run Club: Please remember that we have Run Club every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:45 a.m. Students come early to run laps.  Students receive a necklace where they earn little feet charms to add as they meet milestones of running.  Students can earn a foot charm after the 10th, 15th, and 25th lap and for every 25th additional lap after that.  Thank you Mr. Newan.  Run, run, run!
  11. Mindfulness at Pennekamp: Mindfulness is growing at Pennekamp.  In addition to our Mindful Morning Wednesdays, we are implementing other mindfulness practices.  Mrs. Barney is leading the charge by creating our Mind Lounge, a safe place for students to come to decompress when needed.  She also shared our PK vision for mindfulness with our teachers and led them in a meditation activity that showcased our theme for November, which is mindful breathing
  12. PK Spirit Assemblies: Our spirit assemblies will begin in December.  They will take place on the second Wednesday of each month running from December through April.  Students will meet in their classrooms to take attendance and lunch count, and then head down to the blacktop for the assembly.  Our first Spirit Assembly is on December 13th.  We will be focusing our assemblies around “Every Dragon ROARS!”  We hope to see you there!
  13. Honor Choir Auditions: Honor choir auditions are scheduled for Saturday, November 4th in room 23.  If interested, please contact our choir teacher, Nona Watson, at
  14. Father Daughter Dance Invitations: The invitation for the father daughter dance will be going home this week.  Keep you eyes out for them!  The dance is scheduled for December 2nd.  Save the date.
  15. MBEF Donation: Thank you to all families who have donated to MBEF.  Please consider making a contribution before the drive ends on January 31st.  There are different ways to make a donation: 1. Make a donation 2. Set up monthly payments 3. Pay using stocks.  Please consider contributing what is most comfortable for you.  MBEF funds many of the programs we have at school, which students love!
  16. Visitor’s On Campus: Thank you to all parents who have been signing in at the front office when visiting campus.  This is for the safety of all students and adults on campus.  We appreciate your continued support of signing in and obtaining a visitor’s badge. 
  17. Lost and Found: As we approach Thanksgiving Break, please stop by the lost and found to collect any lost items.  Any remaining items in the lost and found box will be donated to the Good Will over the break. 
  18. Brownies Troop Collection: We have a Brownies troop that is making Jared Boxes to help kids (elementary and teenagers) stay busy during their hospital stay.  They are looking for new items to fill their boxes: fluffy socks, small crafts, small toys, play-doh, earbuds, magazines, books, etc. They are collecting from November 1st -5th.  Drop off items at the Pennekamp front office. 
  19. LA Food Drive: As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s give back to those less fortunate than us. You can drop off your food donations to the Pennekamp Library or the front office. Our goal is to collect 500 pounds of food!
  20. Collecting Candy for Troops: Operation Gratitude is collecting candy to send to deployed U.S. service members.  In addition to donating candy, they are requesting writing a letter or drawing a picture that can be included in the packages sent to troops.  Please drop off candy, letter or pictures to the Pennekamp front office. 
  21. Halloween Costume Reuse Drive: Pennekamp has partnered with Waste Management to collect used Halloween costumes that will be donated to a local shelter for kids in need next year. Please drop off costumes to the Pennekamp front office.      





November 1, 2017

8:30-9:30 a.m.  

Pennekamp GATE Parent Meeting in Cafeteria

November 1, 2017

4:00-4:45 p.m.

District Make-Up GATE Parent Meeting @ District Office

November 1-8, 2017

Drop off used costumes to front office

Halloween Costume Donation Drive

November 1-8, 2017

Drop off candy to front office

Operation Gratitude: Candy for Troops

November 1-17, 2017

Purchase from any 5th Grader

See’s Candy 5th Grade Fundraiser

November 1-30, 2017

Drop off food donations to PK front office or library

LA Regional Food Bank Give Back

November 4, 2017

Contact Nona Watson

Honor Choir Auditions

November 4, 2017

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.  

TedX Manhattan Beach @ MCHS

November 6, 2017

6:30 p.m.

MBUSD Board Meeting

November 6-13, 2017

7:45 a.m-1:30 p.m.

Book Fair in PK Cafeteria

November 9, 2017

7:15-8:15 a.m. 

Donuts with Dads in PK Cafeteria

November 10, 2017

No School

Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2017

7:30-11:00 p.m.

Parent Party (See Dragon Flash)

November 14, 2017

3:00-7:00 p.m.

Honor Choir Begins

November 16, 2017

8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Hearing and Vision Testing

November 19-25, 2017

No School

Thanksgiving Break

November 28, 2017

11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

Dragon Dinner at CPK