New Dragon Families 2019!

July 28th, 2019

Dear New Dragon Families,

Greetings!  The first day of school (Thursday, August 29th at 8am, sharp!) is approaching fast, which means your magical year of kindergarden is about to begin here at Phoebe Hearst! By June, your child will be reading, writing, and thinking in ways you would not have imagined, and we are so excited to be on this educational journey with you. Between now and then, we’ll ask you to work hard, to give great effort, to be an excellent citizen, and to become a part of this special Phoebe community by participating in our activities and events – there are lots! Here is some important information about upcoming things to do in the next two months:

Kinder and New Family Ice Cream Social – Thursday, August 22nd at 5:30pm

Please join us in the kinder breezeway for our Ice Cream Social! Kick off the year with other kinder families – everyone will receive an orientation packet with crucial information for the year, an overview of afterschool enrichment classes for kinder, a dress code fashion show, and plenty of ice cream!

School Supplies List

Refer to this website for a list of supplies you’ll need for this upcoming school year. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us.

Kinder Meet and Greet

Your kinder teacher will reach out to you to schedule a kinder meet and greet towards the end of the month to get your student feeling comfortable in the classroom and out on the yard. The sessions will last 30 minutes and will get you up to speed on everything you’ll need to know for the first day of school and beyond.

Uniform Gear – Cotton Shoppe/Clothing Swap

Our local clothing partners, the Cotton Shoppe, will have their online store open for ordering on August 1st (there is a link to it on our home page) if you want to pick up some highly fashionable Phoebe logo gear that is uniform compliant! We also offer a PTO Clothing Swap (during the Kinder Ice Cream Social and after school each day during the first week of school) if you’d like gently used uniform gear in great condition for a very low cost!

Phoebe Hearst Email Blast

Sign up for my email blast (linked on our home page as well) to receive a digital copy of our monthly newsletter and regular communications about happenings around the school. Along with evening phone messages and our Facebook page, it’s our primary method for getting the word out!

ScholarShare – Vote for Phoebe!

We have a great fundraising opportunity to benefit the school that doesn’t require any money, just voting, and lots of it! The State of California’s Scholar Dollars Program, brought to us by State Treasurer Fiona Ma and ScholarShare 529, will award more than $300,000 to California’s K-8 public and charter schools in 2019. The ScholarShare 529 Scholar Dollars Program can support extracurricular and enrichment programs, the kinds we prioritize at Phoebe all the time! Help our school earn an award by voting for our school once per day from March 11 to 22 at It’s easy, – the school with the most votes will win, so let’s do this!

Beginning tomorrow, March 11, you can visit: and vote for Phoebe Hearst. Send this link to friends and families, as anyone can do it! If we have the most votes after the competition is over, we’ll win $15,000!

December Newsletter

Dear Phoebe Families,

As we neared Thanksgiving break a few weeks ago, our school days were dampened by unhealthy air that limited our students’ ability to go outside; eventually, we were unable to even attend school. The eerie and unsafe conditions were a grim reminder of the things we can take for granted – our belongings, our homes, and even the air we breathe. This December, the Phoebe community will be doing what it can to support the families of Paradise and surrounding areas who suffered tremendous loss at the hands of the destructive Camp Fire. Each class will be assigned a family to ‘adopt’ this holiday season, and we will use our room parents, teachers, students, and families to collect gift cards, write letters, and offer comfort to those affected. It is my hope that our efforts make an impact, even a small one, on the lives of the families with whom we connect. For our own Dragons, I hope that the process strengthens their pathos and reminds them of the things for which they should thankful. I am proud of our school community for taking this on and I thank PTO President Jennifer Simmons and her team for the wonderful idea.

Attached are our PTO newsletters, flyers, and the menu for the month. Please look for subsequent emails regarding our awesome Robotics team, our undefeated flag football team, and the return of the Spelling Bee!

Mr. McGill


Thank You

Dear Phoebe Families,

Well, we’ve done it again! Just when I thought that last year was the record-breaking year that could never be topped (which I said the year before, and the year before that…), our Phoebe community has come out in full force to support the school’s efforts to bring art, music, and experiential learning to every Dragon. This year, we raised over $94,000, in a little over two weeks.  Ninety-four thousand dollars!  We are equal parts grateful, amazed, and completely moved by the support.  Whether it was securing corporate sponsorships, by going door-to-door in the neighborhood, asking every known relative for help, or donating from their own piggy banks, your little dragons took this challenge on, and crushed it!  As we increase our fundraising efforts and outcomes each year, we will continue to expand the arts program and experiential learning opportunities to enhance your student’s day at Phoebe.  This year, we would love your feedback on how we can improve, so please fill out this Google form with your thoughts (!  We will use the feedback to help inform the decision-making process and we’ll share out the results when complete.

As with anything we do, we look to improve on and grow from previous efforts.  Students around campus have been talking about wanting to run more laps than last year, and I love it!  By the time of the race, we will have already had a final visit from the one-and-only Jog-a-thon Spirit Squad, the 2018 PH Jog-a-thon swag will have made its way to classrooms and into the hands of students, and we will have given out countless prizes, including several grand prizes, in the raffle.  Next week will be full of excitement, celebration, and competition – let’s make it our best one yet.


Mr. McGill


Time Grade Run Time Water and rest
8:30-8:55 K 10 10
9:00-9:25 1 10 10
9:30-9:55 2 15 10
10:00-10:25 3 15 10
10:30-10:55 4 15 10
11:00-11:25 6 15 10
11:30-11:55 5 15 10


The ‘Fastest Sixth Grader’ races will be immediately following the 5th grade race.

September 2018 Newsletter


Dear Phoebe Families,

If it were possible to bottle up all of the excitement and energy that goes into the first few days of school and then sell it, we’d certainly be rich!  As always, thank you for a start to this year that reflects your investment in this community and to our school – it’s clear to me that everyone is ‘all in.’ As you schedule this busy month, please mark on your calendars the first PTO General meeting of the year (9/5 at 6:30pm in the cafeteria), Back to School Night (9/12 at 5:45pm on the blacktop), and Family Movie Night (9/14 at 6:30pm, bring blankets!).  

This year, we are refining the way we look at academic achievement.  Traditionally speaking, academic achievement is presented as a ‘snap shot’ for a particular year – a percentage of students who met or exceeded standards, and a percentage of students who nearly met or did not meet standards. Unfortunately, that data lacks context – How did individual students do?  Where did they start? Are individual students trending up or down? Digging deeper, we can look at our progress over four years using our standardized achievement scores to make the case that we have improved as a school:

  • We have gone from 77% of students meeting ELA standards and 74% of students meeting Math standards in 2015 to 87% of students meeting ELA standards and 81% of students meeting Math standards last year.  
  • More students have mastered and are exceeding their grade level standards (57% of 3rd-6th graders in ELA and 52% of 3rd-6th graders in Math) than ever before.  

However, that information does not tell us enough if we are going to meet the needs of each student and continue to grow.  This year, we are defining achievement in terms of how much an individual student has improved by year’s end, not just their scores in a given year.  Furthermore, we are identifying trends in achievement for students over their time here to better align our resources and interventions.  The work is exciting and our staff enters this year energized to take on the challenge. If you would like more specifics, feel free to send me an email or stop me in the hallway any time!

Finally, I have attached informational pamphlets for our district’s wellness policy that will provide you with updated guidelines for nutrition at school.  Should you need additional information, feel free to contact the office or your student’s teacher. Additionally, all the flyers for afterschool classes are included for you to fill out and return to the front office.

I hope you to see you out at all of the community events in September, have a great month!


Mr. McGill