Community Matters Newsletter

Spring 2024

Dear MPCSD Community,

What a year it has been! Just back from Spring Break, we are now mere weeks from the end of the school year. There is still much work to do, and I am pleased to share more information about our priorities here.

You may have been following the conversation about MPCSD's facilities needs. I invite you to join our School Board Meeting tomorrow evening to hear my latest update to the Board and public about our critical needs across all campuses. This meeting is a chance to provide the Board with your input, and listen as the Board engages in necessary conversation regarding our needs and the necessary funding to make these improvements our reality - including the consideration of a bond on the November 2024 ballot. You can conveniently join the Board meeting via Zoom on Thursday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m.

I also look forward to seeing you at our upcoming "Sup & Sandwich" event on May 2. This is not just a "parent" event! I hope to meet all our community members who want to learn more about our award-winning schools and the visioning, priorities, and facilities investments we have planned. This is a great way to engage with the public schools that make our community so special.


Superintendent Kristen Gracia

Dates to Note

Please see our website 72 hours in advance of each Board meeting for the agenda and attendance details. Open Session begins at 6:00 p.m.

April 18 - School Board Meeting

April 21 - Visit us at the Menlo Park Farmers Market

May 2 - Sup & Sandwich Community Conversation, 12-1 p.m. at Arrillaga Family Rec Center in Menlo Park

May 9 - School Board Meeting

May 11 - Vaccine Clinic with Safeway Pharmacy at Hillview Middle School,

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

May 19 - MPAEF Schoolhouse Rocks 5k, Fun Run & Festival presented by Parkline

June 6  - School Board Meeting

June 13  - School Board Meeting

June 14 - Last Day of School

Sup & Sandwich:

You're Invited!

Join Superintendent Kristen Gracia for a Community Conversation with a light lunch provided.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

12-1 p.m.

Arrillaga Family Rec Center

Menlo Park

Read more at our Sup & Sandwich Event webpage. No RSVP necessary.

MPCSD Facilities Planning and Financing Conversation

On Thursday, April 18, Superintendent Gracia will present the updated facilities needs plan and corresponding discussion covering financial considerations and community input. Since the public conversation began in November the needs have been prioritized to save over $35 million, primarily by focusing on buildings greater than twenty years old. The district's needs fall into four categories with a throughline of quality schools that are SAFE and SECURE for all students:

Secure Campuses

The district needs access control, intrusion detection, and fire alarm upgrades to mitigate risk and increase our safety posture. Current safety measures are decades old and no longer best practice when considering the safety risks we must plan and prepare for.

Seismic Safety

Built in 1959, the classroom pod buildings at Laurel's Lower Campus need rebuilding to modern standards, and other schools need current upgrades. In California, schools must be earthquake ready.

Climate Resilience

Climate change means more hot and smoky days than ever before. Pandemics are also something we must continue to consider. We need better indoor air quality and up to date electric HVAC systems. Over 150 units are more than 16 years old with the majority being greater than 20 years old. Constantly repairing old units is expensive and problematic.

Modern Technology

The AV systems in most classrooms are more than 20 years old. New interactive presentation panels with sound that reaches all staff and students will bring us up to modern standards and improve safety, emergency communications, connectivity, and learning in the digital age.

Learn more and lend your voice to the ongoing conversation by attending Board Meetings, stopping by the district's Farmers Market table in downtown Menlo Park on April 21, and having lunch with us May 2 at Sup & Sandwich.

Need Vaccines? We've Got Them


May 11, 2024

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Hillview Middle School PAC

1100 Elder Ave, Menlo Park

Safeway will be offering the following immunizations to eligible community members 3 years and older:

  • 2023-24 XBB COVID (Pfizer and Moderna)
  • Tdap (required for 7th grade)
  • HPV (Gardasil - given for ages 9-45)
  • Meningococcal ACYW
  • Men B
  • Hepatitis B

 Vaccine Information Statement | Current VISs | CDC


Safeway will bill your health plan; bring your medical and prescription card with you. Safeway does not accept Medi-Cal for those under 18 or Kaiser. Those not covered will have to pay out of pocket; check and credit card accepted.

Musical Season in MPCSD

If it's spring, it's musical time across MPCSD! Every 4th-8th grader has the opportunity to perform in an impressively staged, fully costumed show and this year it is all about life under the sea with Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Musical youth edition. Thanks to the Hillview PAC, built as part of Measure U passed by the community in 2006, we have an excellent performance space that is home to our own slice of broadway each year. If you've have the good fortune to attend Hillview's or Laurel's productions (Oak Knoll and Encinal shows are coming up), you know what it means to live in a community that supports the arts for all ages. Thank you to the district's music teachers, MPAEF, Parent Teacher Organizations, and the hundreds of volunteers who make this possible in MPCSD!

Spotlight on Traffic Safety

The recent bicycle accident involving a Hillview student underscores everyone's role in commute safety, especially for our young students. MPCSD schools and the district offer bike and pedestrian safety lessons, bike rodeos, participate in Safe Routes to School, and collaborate with the City of Menlo Park to continually improve our local street safety. Next week, members of the Hillview Administration Team will partner with Menlo Park's Transportation Team in a UC Berkeley-led traffic study specifically looking at Santa Cruz Avenue at University Drive and at Hillview School during student commute hours.

You can help keep our streets safe for students by reminding your children of safety rules and practices and as a driver by slowing down and being mindful of the many children who ride and walk to school every day.

Image accessed from the City of Menlo Park Bicyclist-friendly driving tips webpage April 17, 2024.

Support our Schools With Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation

The Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) has been raising critical funds for our excellent schools for over forty years. We are grateful for their and the community's commitment. You can join us for their popular Schoolhouse Rocks fundraiser!

Join 1,500+ parents, kids, teachers, students, neighbors, runners, and non-runners for the Schoolhouse Rocks 5k Run or 1 mile Fun Run. At 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2024, our community will come for fun and exercise, all in support of the MPCSD schools! After the race, enjoy the Festival featuring bouncy houses, games, music, food trucks, and tons of FUN! Event is rain or shine.

Click to register for Schoolhouse Rocks today!

Not a runner? Two awesome ways to join the fun on May 19:  

  1. Volunteer! The success of the Schoolhouse Rocks Run & Festival hinges on having a large number of volunteers to ensure that all parts of the event run smoothly. If you would like to cheer on our runners or help with the post-race festival, email to sign-up to be a Run & Festival volunteer.     
  2. Come enjoy the FREE post-race festival! It starts at 9:45 a.m. race day - at Hillview Middle School - where your family can enjoy bouncy houses, a climbing wall, outdoor games, food trucks, DJ, and more! Register to attend the Run Festival - it’s free!
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