Pennekamp Elementary School

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Principals Welcome Letter

Principal's Corner
PK Updates and Congrats on Week 1!!

Dragon Families,

Well done!! Our first week back and what a great start!! I love seeing our PK community come together every morning and starting our day together! I have a few reminders as we head into our second week of school.

Back to School Night is next week! Thursday, September 8th is the day to meet your teacher and hear all the great things in store for this school year! Our general PTA meeting will kick off the night and I will be sharing “State of PK” so come join us. The classrooms times are listed here and don’t forget Thursday, September 8th is a MINIMUM DAY so all classes will be dismissed at 12:45 PM! (Note: PM Kinder will have Wacky Wednesday schedule for two days 9/7 and 9/8)

General PTA meeting in cafeteria 5 – 5:45 PM
Classrooms for grades 1-3 open 5:50 – 6:30 PM
Classroom for grades 4 & 5 open 6:30 – 7:15 PM
*5th grade will begin in the cafeteria at 6:30 PM sharp!

PTA membership drive is going on now! Use this link to join our PK PTA today! If you don’t have your new PK shirt for this school year the Swag Store will be open next week before school so come by and grab your new PK Spirit shirts!!

You’re invited!! Our first PK Spirit Rally is set for Friday, September 9th at 8:30 AM. Join us on the field for our first assembly and hear all the great ways students are creating community and setting expectations as a school! We want to encourage our community to show your PK spirit by wearing your new shirts!!

Picture day is coming!! Friday, September 16th is our date, look for order forms in your Wednesday envelope next week!

After all your hard work this week, I will be giving you Monday off! ;) Enjoy the holiday weekend and the start of college football, let’s hope my Trojans “roll tide” and start off the season 1-0!

Fight on Dragons,
Dr. Brown

Welcome Back Dragons!

Dear Dragon Families,

Welcome back to school!! Summer is quickly winding down and I am hopeful all of you enjoyed the break and ready to return for a fabulous year ahead! Team PK has been hard at work preparing for students to return and we can’t wait to see you Monday!!

I have a few information items to share as we open the 2016-17 school year and help all families start the year off right!

First day Schedule is as follows-

AM Kinder – 8 AM to 11:20 AM

PM Kinder – 11:25 – 2:45 PM

** First day of school Kindergarten parents may stay for the first 30 minutes of the day for teacher meet and greet! J

Grades 1-5

8:15 – 2:15 PM (Grades 1-3)

8:15 – 2:45 PM (Grades 4 & 5)

If you still need school supplies, click here. Once you are on the website you can enter 90266 and choose Aurelia Pennekamp and then your grade level if you still need supplies. It is too late to order supplies from the website but the list is there if you still need supplies.

Drop Off and Pick Up

This year at PK there are TWO drop off zones for students. The west side drop off area on Rowell Ave. is directly in front of the campus. Please note this parking lot is for STAFF only. I ask that parents please park in the neighborhood and use designated crosswalks to enter PK. Please note there will be no drop off zone near the Kindergarten and EDP areas. The east side drop off is on Peck Ave. near the upper playground. We will be bringing Dragon Valet back this year so as of September 6th, you will see our new 5th grade class supporting morning drop off and the flow of traffic in our drop off areas. Please remember the drop off zone is just that, we ask that you never leave your car in this area, running or stopped to support the morning and afternoon traffic.

Please be mindful of the staggered dismissal and know only one gate will be opened on the Peck side at the 2:15 dismissal to maintain quiet zones for our 4th and 5th grade classes that are still in session until 2:45. Please DO NOT sit in the 4th grade quad area or use the Peck playground afterschool. Remember students should not be on campus unsupervised before or afterschool, and should not arrive earlier than 8 AM, unless your student is participating in Run Club. I also ask that no play equipment from home be brought to school.

Run Club

The official start for Run Club will be Tuesday, September 6th from 7:45-8:05 AM. We will be running on the field every Tuesday and Thursday barring any inclement weather days. Your students will earn charms and other prizes as they accrue laps over the years at PK, so join in for a great morning workout and fun incentives!


If your child is planning to buy lunch please plan accordingly with your child by using the calendar of menu choices here. You can also set up our child’s account and add money here if you have not done so already.

Welcome to our New PK Staff!!

You will see new faces this year joining our Dragon family and I want to introduce you to our newest members! Starting in the main office, Ms. Deneane Ratchford is taking over for Mrs. Snook who retired last June. Ms. Ratchford is your new go to contact in the main office and I encourage you to first go to our PK website for information and if you still have questions, please contact her at (link sends e-mail) or by calling the main office. Taking over for Deneane in the Office Specialist spot is Mrs. Carrie Emhof, and we are excited to have a fabulous team in the front office to help with all things PK.

We also want to welcome Ms. Liana Kuklinski to our 3rd grade team. Liana comes to us from Meadows Elementary and is excited to join PK and continue teaching 3rd grade. Ms. Kuklinski is in Room 19 and we are foturnate to have her join our Dragon Family.

Last but not least, PK is now home to the local Deaf & Hard of Hearing (DHH) class and Ms. Alondra Nicholson will be the teacher for this class in Room 18.

Class Placement

Today at 5 PM you will receive an email from me sharing your homeroom placement for the 2016-17 school year. Please note, classroom change requests for teachers and/or placement with friends will not be honored. Thank you in advance for understanding as moving one child impacts other children, as classes are full. Our goal is to eliminate the effects of student movement and maintain equity in our classes.

Communication changes for PK

This year PK is going to continue with our efforts to reduce paper copies. You will receive a first day folder with important PK information. Moving forward, please look for all communication to be received on WEDNESDAYS. The Dragon Flash email updates will be sent as well as once a month envelopes with current PK events. Thank you in advance for your support as we continue our green efforts and make sure you sign up to receive the Dragon Flash!

On behalf of the PK Family, I want to welcome you back to school and cannot wait to get this year underway!

See you Monday,

Dr. Brown


Dragon Families-

I trust you are all enjoying our California summer and I hope relaxing with family and friends. I just wanted to check in and send a few reminders out for our Dragon community to prepare for the upcoming school year!!

-If you or someone you know needs to register for MB schools please send them to MCHS on or after August 1st to see Kathy Poje (310)318-7337.

- Waste Management is again supporting TRASH FREE LUNCHES and will be providing every 1st grader a new reusable lunch box. Help PK stay clean!!

- Save the Date!! PK 101, Pride Day & Pancakes are set for Saturday, August 20 from 8:30-10:30 AM! Join us as we get the PK campus ready for the open of the school year and sign up to support your favorite PK event!!

- Class placement will be emailed to you on Thursday, August 25th after 5 PM.

- The first day of school is Monday, August 29th!!!

- The PTA has made some exciting changes to the upcoming 2016-17 calendar. Take a minute to look at the changes to some of our favorite Dragon traditions!!

- PTA is streamlining communication for the 2016-17 school year. Please look for all Dragon communication to be shared on Wednesdays. This includes the monthly Parent Envelopes with PK Flyers and the weekly Dragon Flash email.

- All GATE testing results were mailed last week. Please contact Charlene Lawrence (link sends e-mail)) for more information.

PK PTA Calendar 2016-17

See you soon, and stay cool!

Dr. Brown :)


Please click on link for power point presentation for Back to school night September


Dragon Families,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying this beautiful weekend! With the school year underway, I wanted to share the schedule for Back to School Night this Thursday, September 10th. The evening will begin at 5 PM in the cafeteria with a General PTA Meeting. Come hear all the exciting news PK has to share and is looking forward to this year!! Classrooms will then be open as follows;

1st Grade    Meet & Greet In Classrooms              6:40 - 6:55 PM
                   Group Presentation In Cafeteria          7 - 7:30 PM

2nd Grade   Meet Your Teacher in Classroom        6 - 6:30 PM

3rd Grade    Meet Your Teacher in Classroom        6:15 - 6:45 PM

4th Grade    Meet Your Teacher in Classroom        6:30 - 7:15 PM

5th Grade   Group Presentation in Cafeteria           6 - 6:45 PM
                   Meet & Greet in Classrooms                6:50 - 7 PM

I look forward to seeing you then!

Dr. Brown

AUGUST 27 2015

Dear Dragon Families,

Welcome back to school and I hope you all had an amazing summer!! I cannot wait to see our Dragon community on Wednesday and I look forward to an amazing school year!! I wanted to take a minute to share some exciting news and information for the upcoming year!

New Faces at PK!!

Please join me in welcoming two new staff to Pennekamp! First, I want to introduce you to Mrs. Lauren Walsh, joining our second grade team in room 17. Mrs. Walsh, a South Bay native, is returning to Manhattan Beach after completing her undergrad at George Washington University, her Master's at Columbia University New York, as well as starting her teaching career. We are fortunate to welcome Mrs. Walsh to Pennekamp as she comes with a wealth of experience and is passionate about creating a classroom environment that is dynamic and interactive to support student achievement. As an avid reader she is excited to share her love for literacy and looking forward to continuing strong pedagogical practices to help instill the desire for all students to become life long learners. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Walsh to the Dragon family!!

This year brought changes in third grade as well and I am excited to welcome Mrs. Amanda Vavao to third grade after 10 years in Kindergarten!! With veteran experience in early literacy reading skills, Mrs. Vavao is now taking her passion for growing as a learner to a new team and grade level. While she is not new to PK, please join me as we welcome her to the other side of campus!!

Also joining the third grade team at Pennekamp is Mrs. Sara Bauer. Mrs. Bauer is originally from the Bay area and attended Boston College before moving to sunny Southern California. Sara has been teaching locally at a private school for the last four years and she is excited to embark on her new journey at Pennekamp with our third grade team. Mrs. Bauer comes to us with extensive background and experience in Reader's and Writer's workshop will be a perfect fit to our team. Her hope is to instill a love of learning in all children that will only promote student success. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Bauer to the Dragon family!!

As a whole the teachers at PK have spent time this summer; examining best practices for instruction, ensuring all students have a viable and guaranteed curriculum, and implementing the Common Core Standards across all content areas. In addition, MindUP curriculum will be a presence in every classroom as well as part of the PK culture. Look for new programming and information to come soon!! This was a summer of refining and reexamining our craft to give students the best possible environment for both academic and social progress. With that said, I look forward to our year ahead and will see you Wednesday morning!!

Welcome Back Dragon Family!

Dr. Brown

August 2015

Dragon Families,

I hope this email finds you well! As you and your family enjoy the last days of

summer, I wanted to reach out to all Pennekamp families with a few reminders

for our upcoming year!! My PK team is very excited to welcome you and your

child back to school and the 2015-16 school year!! Included in this email are a

few reminders to make sure we have a fabulous start to this year.

Important Information about Pennekamp:

1. We strongly encourage that if possible, you walk or bike to school each day,

as traffic and parking can be a concern. Please remember that the drop off

lanes both on Rowell and Peck are for drop off only. As Dragon Valet

volunteers begin to sign up to support continuous traffic movement, please

remember to pull forward as much as possible and PLEASE NEVER LEAVE


school daily please try each Wednesday to support PK’s Walk to School


2. New Dragon Families and Incoming Kindergarten Social - Don’t forget to

come and meet other PK families, get to know our PTA and how you can get

involved!! See you Tuesday, August 25 from 2-3 PM at the Kindergarten

play area!

3. Back to School Night for Kindergarten and TK will be on Tuesday, August

25th from 3:30-4:30 PM. All other grades (1-5) will hold BTSN on Thursday,

September 10 at 5 PM for the general PTA meeting and Classroom visits

beginning at 6 PM.

4. The First Day of School is Wednesday, August 26th. School will be in

session from 8:15 AM to 1:30 PM for GRADES 1-5. Kindergarten will run on

normal schedule for both AM and PM sessions. AM classes will be from 8-

11:20 AM and PM class from 11:25 AM to 2:45 PM.

5. Please make yourself familiar with our Pennekamp website as most questions

can be answered here and be sure you are signed up to receive our school

newsletter the Dragon Flash sent each Tuesday. The link provided can be

used more than once to allow for multiple email address entries to keep PK

families up to date with PTA events and important school updates. Use this

link! If you still have school questions, please use Ms. Snook and Ms.

Ratchford as your first point of contact. Any PTA related questions can go

directly to Bonnie Darrow or Pennie Stepczyk, our PTA Co-Presidents.

6. Please be sure to complete your InfoSnap online registration and if you need

assistance retrieving your code please contact the main office. You will need

to print your registration confirmation page for your child once your online

registration is complete and turn it into your classroom teacher on the first day

of school.

7. Class placement for the upcoming year will be emailed to families Saturday,

August 22nd in the morning.

8. PK IS GOING GREEN! This year we will transition to a more environment

friendly campus by reducing paper exchange via Tuesday envelop this year.

We will fade the use of envelops to once a month beginning January of 2016

and will direct parents to download forms from the PK website or limited hard

copies will be available in the main office. Thank you in advance for

supporting PK’s green effort!

9. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for PK 101 and Pride Day on Saturday,

August 29th to kick off the start of another great year!! Come out and support

campus clean up and various campus tasks for the new year anytime from

8:30 - 11AM. PK 101 will run from 9 -11 AM and is your chance to learn more

about programs for the upcoming year and PTA involvement opportunities

throughout the year! We are still looking for a few more parents to support

longstanding PK traditions so please come out and see how you can help

grow our Dragon Community!!

10. Parents of 1st - 5th grade students, you can purchase school lunches in

advance. You can deposit as much as you like into your child’s lunch account.

To deposit lunch money click here.

Important Upcoming Events at PK - mark your calendar!!

(please use the website for more specific times and locations)

August 25th- New and Incoming PK Dragon Family Social, TK/K Back to School


August 26th- First day of school

August 29th- PK 101 and Pride Day

September 7th - Labor Day (No School)

September 10th- Back to School Night

September 14th- Local Holiday (No School)

September 18th- Dragon Jamboree

I want to welcome all the new Dragon Families and look forward to a fantastic

year! I will see you soon and please contact the main office if you have any



Dr. Brown

September 30, 2014

From the Desk of
Dr. Toni Brown
Pennekamp Principal

Dear Pennekamp Family,

From Dragon to Mustang- Come out to support our team!!

This Friday is our PK Football night at Costa. Pre-sale tickets will be for sale on Wednesday right after school outside the front office. Students must be accompanied by a parent and kids will be admitted for free if you meet us at the softball field at 6:30 (Meadows side of the HS). You are welcome to buy tickets the night of the game. However, you will have to pay for student entrance at the gate. Parents are $7 and students are $3 at the gate the night of the game. We will have our own PK seating section and I hope we can represent and support our Mustangs with our Dragon love!! Wear your Costa or PK gear and let's go COSTA!! Hope to see you there!

Toni Brown, Ed.D

August 26, 2014

From the Desk of
Dr. Toni Brown
Pennekamp Principal

Dear Pennekamp Family,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!! I am so excited to take on the new role of Principal at Pennekamp Elementary. After three amazing years in the district as Assistant Principal at Manhattan Beach Middle School, I have found my new home as a Dragon! I am looking forward to working with the staff and community to continue the success Pennekamp has garnered. Recently named a California Distinguished School, Pennekamp is on the move and I am eager to be a part of this amazing team.

My path to PK started as an elementary teacher in Kindergarten and Fifth grades before moving to the middle school level where I taught for four years in both ABC Unified School District and Tustin Unified School District. After completing my Master's in Counseling at Loyola Marymount University, I left the classroom to become a Middle School Counselor where my passion for creating a school climate that fosters positive student connectedness was born. This experience only ignited my desire to become a change agent in schools and I began the doctorate program in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California. In pursuit of my next professional challenge, I was fortunate to assume the role of Assistant Principal at MBMS. In this role I quickly became a part of the MBUSD family bringing my background and passion for building positive school communities to our students. As principal of Pennekamp, I plan to create and maintain a student-centered campus that fosters social development and academic growth.

It is with great pleasure that I begin my new assignment as a Dragon and I look forward to a fantastic year!


Toni Brown, Ed.D

March 4, 2014

Dear Pennekamp Parents and Guardians,

I am pleased to share that we received notification from the Los Angeles County of Education that our application for California Distinguished School has passed through the first phase of acceptance. Our next step is a school validation visit, which will take place in March. I am very proud of our staff, students, parents, and MBUSD community. We couldn't have applied and progressed to this level of recognition without each one of you!
The California Distinguished School application requires that a school team highlight two distinguished practices; ironically, one of our practices was geared towards improving literacy. Pennekamp celebrates our love for reading and writing by devoting over one month to literacy. This week we are participating in the nationwide Read Across America celebration that takes place each year on or near March 2nd, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. He has published over 60 children's books and his delightful rhythm, language, and imaginative characters are loved all over the world.

Dr. Seuss had an interesting life and because we are all lifelong learners, I want to share a few interesting facts about this infamous American writer and cartoonist;
1. Dr. Seuss is a pen name and his birth name is Theodore Seuss Geisel.
2. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. His grandparents lived on Mulberry Street, the title of his first book.
3. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham because he was challenged to write a book using only 50 words.
4. He was asked to write a children's book that was not "boring" with 250 high frequency words that children would enjoy so they could learn to read. He wrote Cat in the Hat and it has 236 words.
5. The main library on the campus of UC San Diego is named in honor of Audrey and Theodore Seuss Geisel for their generous contributions made to the library and their devotion to literacy. They were life-time resident of La Jolla, near San Diego.
Please continue to uncover Dr. Seuss classics with your child(ren) in support of creating wonderful memories, as well as our Read-A-Thon minutes. I challenge you to enjoy a "screen free" night with your Dragon and then record reading minutes on his/her reading calendar. Happy reading!

With appreciation,

Debbie Mabry


February 11, 2014

Dear Pennekamp Parents and Guardians,

What do you love? Pennekamp Dragons love to read because they are very logical students. They recognize that reading is one of the best ways to develop vocabulary and critical thinking skills, become better writers, and be more successful in school and in life. On February 10th, we launched our third annual "ROAR-ing Dragons"Read-A-Thon and all students should now be logging their at-home reading minutes through March 14th.

The at-home reading minutes count towards the 300-minute goal per student. If your child reads to him/her self, to the dog, or if another person reads to your child, these minutes should be recorded. A Dragon can read site words, a chapter book, or a magazine and he/she may record required classroom reading minutes on the monthly log. Please remind your child to log reading minutes over the February vacation. We want to encourage non-fiction book reading to support the expectations of Common Core, so those reading minutes can be doubled! For example, if your Dragon reads a book about penguins or the history of the Olympics for 15 minutes, thirty minutes should be recorded on the reading calendar.

Please keep the log for the entire 5-week period and return it to school on Monday, March 17th with totaled reading minutes and a parent signature. Thanks in advance for your participation in our school-wide Read-A-Thon! We share a common goal of developing strong literacy in our students.

As a school community, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could bring a smile and a sense of happiness to an individual today and a different person every single day this week? This is "International Random Acts of Kindness" week so you may begin today!

As a parent, your kindness in the home translates to kind students at school...thank you for modeling empathy and respect.

With Dragon PRIDE,
Debbie Mabry

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. "
Leo Buscaglia

January 28, 2014

Dear Pennekamp Parents and Guardians,

The Pennekamp teachers are grateful for the many ways you support and model literacy within your homes. I enjoy hearing stories about daily reading rituals, discussions about poetry, and debates on favorite books. These home experiences make a significant difference for our students at school as your work supports engagement in reading, writing, speaking; these skills are key components of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards place a greater emphasis on reading informational texts (nonfiction) and writing informative, explanatory, and evidence-based pieces across all curriculum areas.

The more opportunities provided for both sustained reading and engagement in conversations about the text, the more your child will increase his/her skills, and be better prepared for the demands of CCSS. We believe that children should read many, many books at their independent or "just right" reading level. If you would like to engage your child with text beyond their independent reading level, try reading aloud or provide audio book experiences, accompanied with text. These experiences are valuable and build comprehension, attention, critical thinking, connections between print elements, and thoughtful reflection.

In the spring, our 3rd/4th/5th grade students will participate in online CCSS field testing in both English Language Arts and mathematics. These assessments are pilot tests; therefore, parents and teachers will not receive score reports. Our students will be able to experience the new online testing system without the pressure of scores counting. This field testing experience will provide important feedback to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium so that adjustments can be made to the test before the official launch next spring.

The Pennekamp teachers are already providing instruction and classroom activities that support Common Core. If you would like to support keyboarding opportunities at home, this would be helpful for our students. All students will participate in CCSS testing in the computer lab or on their iPads. Typing Web is a free online tutorial that you may want to consider Thank you again for your support and commitment to your child's learning. We are very fortunate to have parents that are so purposely and passionately invested in our Dragon community.

With Dragon PRIDE,
Debbie Mabry