Principal's Message

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Dear New and Returning Lead Elementary School Families-            

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year at Lead Elementary! Our community welcomes all the new and returning families to our beautiful school as we prepare for distance learning on Monday, August 17. We are especially excited to have a new group of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten students joining us this year! I am extremely honored to continue as your principal at Lead, a school for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in this ever-changing world. I would like to introduce myself and also highlight important information for the beginning of school. I also want to acknowledge that we may not have all the answers yet and appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together to best support you and your child in their school experience. This email is slightly long but important so please read thoroughly. 

I have been a teacher and principal for over 17 years, and this will be my second year as our principal at Lead. My educational philosophy is rooted in my firmly held belief that all children can – and will – learn. Schools should empower children to reach their fullest potential by providing an environment that is safe, loving, orderly, culturally responsive, and communicates high academic and behavioral expectations. I prioritize building strong relationships with parents, guardians, staff, and students. This is the only way that we can truly collaborate with one another to do what is best for our children. Spending time with students is meaningful and rewarding, and is the true reason why I love working in schools.

We know this is a very difficult time as we all learn and adapt to new ways of learning and living together as our communities stay safe to overcome the tragedies of COVID-19. Our entire school district will be in Full Time Distance Learning until at least our October intercession (October 10-18). Please stay updated with information being emailed to you from our school district and from our school. I thank you tremendously for supporting your child throughout this learning journey. 

We look forward to greeting you online on the first day of school on Monday, August 17 with instructional minutes starting online after 8:00am for all grades. Your child’s teacher will be in touch via email with exact start and end times for instruction online with your child. Our overall school day ending times are as follows: TK at 12:20pm, Kindergarten at 12:10pm (through October intercession with full day beginning October 19 which is 8:00am-2:10pm), Grades 1-3 at 2:20pm and Grades 4 and 5 at 2:45pm. Every Wednesday is a MINIMUM day with ending time as follows: TK, Grades 1, 2, and 3 at 12:20pm, Kindergarten at 12:10pm, and Grades 4 and 5 at 12:30pm. 

YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION: Please make sure you are receiving both district and school emails and phone calls. If you need your information updated you can directly access the Aeries Parent Portal or call our Lead Main Office at (650) 312-7550.

OFFICE HOURS are 7:40am-3:30pm beginning Monday, August 10. We encourage you calling us at (650) 312-7550 or emailing us at the following:

Chad Slife, Principal, at
Denora Smith, Administrative Assistant, at
Erika Hoole, School Office Assistant and Community Worker, at
Renee Skinner, Community Services Specialist for families, at

PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION: Our wonderful PTA Board, including our PTA President Nicola Cadenas, will be available throughout our family meetings online and we hope you become an official member of our Lead PTA! More information can be found at

NEWSLETTERS: Weekly Lead Principal Newsletters will be emailed to you every Thursday in addition to occasional email updates when necessary.


NEW 2020-2021 District Calendar: First day of student instruction is Monday, August 17 for all students.

Lead 2020-2021 Event Calendar: Our Lead plans and events throughout the school year. *Subject to change in response to Distance Learning guidelines.

Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application: Apply now for free and reduced-price meals. This is VERY IMPORTANT. See also the attached Meal Flyer.

Assistance for Families–San Mateo County Relief Fund: San Mateo County Immigrant Relief Fund information (English and Spanish). 

Please read the full update from Superintendent Rosas: English | Español

FAMILY SUPPORT - TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER MATERIALS: As we work to acquire additional Chromebooks for our students, we have learned that they are both in high demand and short supply due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have an order placed which is expected to arrive in the fall. We will continue distribution of District Chromebooks and hotspots that we have in stock to students over the coming weeks, prioritizing our most vulnerable students. The Technology Team will communicate directly with these families and manage the distribution. Some families have asked what technology their children should have to connect with teachers during Distance Learning. We suggest the following considerations:

A device with a webcam and microphone, preferably some type of laptop where they are built-in, but not necessarily. Desktops with that equipment will suffice.
Memory: Chromebooks should have a minimum 4 gigabytes of RAM, while a Windows device or Mac would require 8 or more.
Caution: Be cautious of Chromebook equipment and its expiration date and ask sellers to confirm dates. Seek out Chromebooks that expire in 2024 or later. Reference Auto Update policy - Google Chrome Enterprise Help.
Tablets: From our experience with a wide variety of tablets during Distance Learning last spring, we have learned that while they may work, they are not a preferred device. 

Our Technology Team is working with school sites to establish a support system to help staff, students and families with the use of their devices. Additionally, we realize that students may need textbooks and materials to start the year. We are assembling those materials and you will hear from me as to when and how to pick them up. Remember that we still must follow physical distancing protocols that limit gathering on campus at this time. We ask families to call our school office with questions.

In spite of all these changes, we plan to reach our goals this year with continued family engagement and community building. We strive to meet all students where they are with high expectations and growth mindsets. We appreciate your continued support and presence as we make this journey and care for our students. Please feel free to email or call me with any questions or clarifications. Welcome and HOOT with Excellence, LEAD Owls!

Be well,

Mr. Slife