Principal's Friday Email

Posted by Kimberly Carley on 9/16/2019 8:00:00 AM

Good Afternoon Bobcat Families


In this email

  • Don’t Miss This
  • Being Good Neighbors
  • First Bobcat Campout a Success
  • School Site Council Opening
  • No Screens Weed
  • Advice for Screens at Home (attached last week)
  • Message from our PTO

Repeat in this Email

  • PTO Bucks for Bobcats - Thank You
  • Music Teacher Update
  • Helping with Tular History

Upcoming events


Don’t Miss This

  • Wed, Sept 18 @ lunch: Ice Cream Party for No Screens Week participants
  • Fri, Sept 27: PTO’s Fall Festival!


Being Good Neighbors – please do not use driveways

We know that parking and drop-off can be hard with everyone coming to Tular all at once and having such limited parking.  During these times, we want to make sure we are good neighbors to those that live around Tular.  Please make sure when you park around campus that you do not block our neighbors’ mailboxes and please do not use their driveways to turn around.  Thank you for your cooperation with this.


First Bobcat Campout a Success

I want to give a huge shout-out to the PTO Tular Dads for such a fun campout last Friday.  It was a great team effort, and we especially want to thank Neil Smith for all of his organization and stepping up to make this event happen.  We also want to thank the CVCYC for opening the pool for the evening and providing dinner.  Families had a wonderful time swimming, roasting marshmallows, watching a movie, camping out on the lawn, and enjoying a delicious pancake breakfast. 


School Site Council Opening

We have open seats for parents to participate on our School Site Council this year.  The School Site Council is a group comprised of four school staff and four parents that helps set goals for the school related to student achievement, establishes our safety plan, and then monitors those goals from year to year.  There will be five meetings throughout the year.   If you are interested in being part of our School Site Council, please email me at  Our first meeting will be Monday, Sept 23, at 3:15.  This is an open meeting and anyone is welcome even if you just want to check it out.


No Screens Week

I hope you had a great no screens week and that you enjoyed the extra family time.  I also hope that you were able to re-evaluate as a family the role screens play in your lives and made sure you have the right boundaries on them for your family.  The ice cream party will be Wed, Sept 18, at lunch.


Advice for your Screens at Home (this was attached last week)

We have all seen an increase in the time students are spending in front of screens (phones, tablets, TV’s, computers, video games, etc).  We’ve all been in places where we see entire families or groups of friends sitting together looking at their phones/tablets rather than interacting and two-year-olds begging for their parent’s cell phone.  I am guessing we’ve all thought about the question, “How is all of that screen time impacting children, families, and relationships?” 


More and more research is being done regarding the impact screen time has on people. In the article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” from the Atlantic, generational researcher and author, Jean Twenge, found, “There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all non-screen activities are linked to more happiness.”  (While the article is on the longer side, it is worth every minute to read. The link is at the end of this letter).  As a school that has computers in every classroom and individual computers for each student starting in 3rd grade, this is something we have thoughtfully discussed.  We see a lot of value in using technology strategically to enhance a child’s education, but we also want to make sure we use it in a limited fashion.  We want to make sure we are teaching our students to be creators with the technology, not consumers.  It is very important to us that the students not spend too much time on computers at school (or at home), and that screen time does not get in the way of face time.  We hope that your family will engage in the same discussions at home.


Here are a few family rules that I would like to pass along for families to consider as you discuss what you want your family rules to be around screens.  (It is important to remember that smartphones not just phones, but are computers connected to the internet and all that the internet offers.)

  • Put a filter and parental controls on all your devices:  This is just good practice so children are not exposed to inappropriate content and you can monitor their activity.
  • Set a screen time limit:  Whether it’s daily (i.e. 30 minutes a day), weekly (i.e. 5 hours a week), or conditional (i.e. you get screen time after you…) set a limit on screen time and hold everyone to it.
  • No Device Dinner:  Family mealtimes are extremely important.  TV’s, phones, tablets, all get in the way of the conversations families can have during that time.  Nobody, including adults, should be allowed to bring a screen to any meal.
  • No screens in the car:  There are two reasons for this.  First, I always recommend to parents that they volunteer to be the drivers for their child’s, and their friend’s, activities because it is amazing what students will talk about in the back seat of a car.  The children forget an adult is driving.  Overhearing those conversations provides a great window into what goes on in your child’s life.  In the car is also a time where you can have that precious uninterrupted time with your children (or family) to talk about how life is going and connect with each other.  Second, recent brain research is informing us of how important “down time” or “bored time” is to the brain’s development.  It is during those down times when you are staring out the window or waiting in line that the brain builds connections to all of the learning that happened that day.  The car can be a great place for this.  Today many children get in the car and immediately go on their phones.  When they do that, it takes away from time for interactions as well as time for the brain to grow.
  • No screens in the bedroom (or at least require the door to be open):  This one changes as the children get older.  I feel that, at the elementary level, there is never a time where a student should be alone in their room with a screen.  Today, computers and phones are a window to the world and all the world has to offer, both the good and bad.  Obviously, as children get older, this rule will need to be adjusted because of homework demands, but screens behind closed doors is always a bad idea.  Every family situation is different and you will have to make this decision as a family.  No matter where the screen is, however, the screen should always be easily visible to the parent.
  • No phones in the room at night:  In general, people make poorer decisions as the night goes on.  Children struggle with this even more.   If you allow your child to have their phone in their room because it is an alarm clock, get them an alarm clock and take the phone out of the room at night (best is to have it in your room where you can see if anything is happening).  I think this rule should not change no matter what age a child is. 
  • Get a Family Cell Phone Basket:  Having a place where people put their cell phones when they come in the door lets your whole family know that relationships with those present are what is the most important.  This helps keep people from being on their phones rather than engage in relationships with those present.  This also provides a place for your child’s friends to put their cell phones when they visit so that when the children are playing they are doing so together and not just playing side by side on their individual screens.
  • Wait, Wait, Wait on Social Media: No elementary student needs to be on social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.).  There is even a growing body of research questions whether middle schoolers should even be social media.  In addition to the fact that the law requires someone to be 13 to be on social media, studies are beginning to show the numerous negative impacts of social media on children, especially girls, before they are mature enough to handle it.  In elementary school, they are not mature enough and should not be on social media.
  • Sign a family tech use agreement: You can get ones that are already made (see for some great resources), or create your own. These agreements should be signed by everyone in the household, child, and adult, so everyone is held accountable.
  • Wait Until 8th: Resist getting your child a cell phone until as late as possible (thankfully, in response to all of the research, there is a growing movement in the country to wait until at least 8th grade).  If you feel an absolute need to get them a phone before 8th grade or high school (when my children will get their phones), either do not make it a smartphone, or put enough parental controls on it to limit who they can call/text, the apps they can put on their phone, and shut off the internet on the phone altogether (thankfully parental controls are great now so you can have a lot of control over what your child can do on their phone – see  The other option is something like a Gizmopal – a watch that only calls a limited number of people.  Over the years we have found that elementary students are not mature enough to handle a smartphone of their own, the access to the internet and social media, most of the apps and especially texting appropriately.  Students are not missing out on anything by waiting until later to have a phone that does all of that.  At the elementary level, they only need to make a phone call.  Some people argue that children these days need a phone because everyone texts so they need to text their friends.  There is more and more research coming out about the detrimental impacts of children using texts to communicate and how it is impairing their ability to interact.  As parents, we need to start thinking twice about how early we get our children a phone (or give them our old ones) and make the best decisions for our own children, and not give in to what “everyone” in society is doing.


Even if you don’t adopt these recommendations, my hope is that these rules will at least spark a conversation in your family about screen time and help us start challenging the norm.  Setting limits now, when your children are in elementary school, will make setting the limits when they are older much easier, help establish healthy habits as a family along the way, and teach our students about the importance of relationships and face to face time.  We also want to make sure that as our children get older, we can begin handing them more and more responsibility.  If you just give them full reign now, you cannot do this later on.  Children need our limits to not only thrive now, but also feel more responsibility as we give them more freedoms as they get older.  Finally, remember that children look to their parents as examples.  We have to behave as we want our children to behave. 


Like mentioned above, if you are looking for a great online source for setting family rules and expectations for screen time and online behavior,, is a great resource. Enjoy using your screens responsibly to have fun and enhance your relationships, rather than allowing them to get in the way. 


Article link:


If you have any questions or thoughts you want to share, please give me a call.  I am a parent in this with you and appreciate the conversations.


Message from our PTO

Thank you to everyone who came to our first PTO meeting.  We had a great turnout.  We are still in need of help in various roles within PTO including help with putting on our Fall Festival on Sept 27.  If you are interested in helping out in any way please come to our first meeting or contact Heaven Tempalski (PTO President) at  Our next meeting will be Wed, Oct 2, at 6:00 at the Carmel Valley Community Youth Center with free childcare for those attending provided in Bobcat Hall. 


Repeat in this email

PTO Bucks for Bobcats – Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who gave to our Bucks for Bobcats campaign.  We had over 81% participation and raised over $34,000 as a school with 12 classes getting over 80% participation and two classes, Mrs. Southerland and Mrs. Becker, earning a pizza and ice cream party for getting 100% participation.  Thank you again, for supporting our PTO so they can continue to help strengthen our community and support the great learning happening in the classrooms.


Music Teacher Update

I wanted to let everyone know that we have hired a music teacher, Jennifer Kremer, and are very excited for her to join us.  Unfortunately, it will still be a few weeks until she can start teaching at Tular as she is still under contract with MPUSD and cannot be released from her current position until they have hired another music teacher to take her place.  I’ll let you know when she is finally here.  In the meantime, we have Kathy Findley, a retired music teacher, as our long-term sub.  Kathy has been fabulous with the students and we are lucky to have her during this transition.


Helping with Tular History

The Carmel Valley History Museum and I are working on a project together to put together of history of Tularcitos (starting way back when it was a one-room schoolhouse) to put up in our front office.  While we have put together the history, we are in search of photos.  We need photos of the old schoolhouses (there were two) as well as photos of the original school building here on Ford Rd.  If you, or any friends or relatives, have any old photos, please bring them into the office and we will scan them (of feel free to scan and email them to me at Any other historical memorabilia could be great to have scanned as well.  Thanks for your help with this fun project.


Upcoming events

Mon, Sept 16 @ 3:00: Popsicles with Peterson

Wed, Sept 18 @ lunch: Ice Cream Party for No Screens Week participants

Fri, Sept 27, 3:00-6:00: PTO Fall Festival

Wed, Oct 2 @ 6:00: PTO Meeting at CVCYC.  Childcare provided at Bobcat Hall during the meeting

Wed, Oct 9: Picture Makeup Day



Have a great weekend!

Ryan Peterson

Proud Principal, Tularcitos Elementary School

Nurturing Hearts, Expanding Minds, Inspiring Actions, Broadening Horizons.

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Tularcitos Elementary School | 35 Ford Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924 | 831-620-8195