Principal's Message, August 26, 2019

Dear Bolinas-Stinson School Families and Community,

What a fantastic first week of school! Students were excitedly settling into their new classrooms and getting to know their teachers and classmates. It has been a delight to visit each class and spend time with the students as they become familiar with their new surroundings and get reacquainted with old friends.

New BSUSD Natural History Art Installations

Check out our new Natural History Art installations! Don Jolley worked with several staff members, Bob Demmerle, and his crew to hang the extraordinary skeleton collection that he curated during his lengthy career at the Bolinas Stinson School.  You will find these remarkable skeletons in practically every classroom on both campuses. Throughout the school year, students will learn the history of their classroom skeleton and about the living creature it once was.  Thank you Don for leaving our school with such a unique and special legacy.

Kathy Bustamante also worked with her staff and students during her summer camp to move the gray whale bones from behind the middle school to the side yard of the office.  This beautifully weathered skeleton will continue to decay naturally over time. Thank you to all who helped create this lasting and unique connection to our local environment.

Important Dates - Mark your calendars! I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming special events.  Please don’t hesitate to stop by and check in with me before then.

Welcome Back to School Assembly Grades K-8

  • All School Assembly ~ Wednesday, August 28th, from 8:25-9:00 AM in the Bolinas Campus Quesada

Stinson Campus Back to School Night, Kindergarten & 1st Grade

  • Kindergarten and First Grade ~ Thursday, August 29th, from 6:30-8:00 PM at the Stinson Campus, Childcare provided for 4-7 year olds in Pre-K area. Parents, please meet in Kindergarten Classroom for Principal’s Welcome

Pre-K Back to School Night, Pre-K only

  • Stinson Campus Pre-K classroom, ~ Friday, August 30th, 5:30-6:30 PM - Childcare provided in Pre-K area

Bolinas Campus Back to School Night, Grades 2-8

  • Second-Eighth Grade ~ Thursday, September 5th, from 6:30-8:00 PM at the Bolinas Campus Parents please meet in Quesada for Principal’s Welcome

All School Passport to learning BBQ, Bolinas Campus, Grades Pre-K-8

  • Come take a journey with your child(ren) as you check out our amazing Art shops, PreK-8 classrooms, Learning Center, and Library during this fun family event. Your child will be your tour guide as you grab a bite, meander through the Bolinas campus and pop-up classrooms, and take part in this fun filled evening.

New Dance Class for 7th & 8th Grade

Welcome to Mark Ellis of Salsa Marin! Mark will be leading our 7th and 8th graders as they learn to dance Salsa and other Latin rhythms. Mark and another instructor will be working with students on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Mark is the founder of Salsa Marin and has been a part of the Salsa scene since its inception. He is committed to helping students reach their personal dance goals and is constantly reworking his teaching methods to accommodate the way his students learn best.  His friendly disposition and good-natured humor keep his classes lively and enjoyable!

"For me, life is enjoyed through music and movement and I try to share that joy with my students. I see Salsa as a form of life.  We live to dance and dance to live. Salsa is more than just steps; it is an opportunity for individual expression as well as a way of connecting with the world.  I teach my students to listen to the music, allow it to move them, connect, and become one with the music. My goal is to encourage dancers to "feel" and not just to become step dancers."  (quote from

New vision for the Bolinas-Stinson Music Program

Last year the Board of Trustees approved a new, more dynamic class configuration to improve instruction for all students and to accommodate enrollment fluctuations in each grade.  We happily welcome our three new teachers and have moved classrooms to accommodate this new structure. As part of these changes, the room formerly used for music is now a 5th and 6th grade classroom. 

Rather than limit our music program to only one classroom on the Bolinas Campus, some instruments will be moved to the Stinson Campus to enrich the Pre-K-1 experience. Our library, classrooms, and the Quesada on the Bolinas Campus will provide multiple shared spaces for students to participate in a new performing arts program.

Anny Densmore has asked for a temporary leave of absence to pursue her passion and work on her master's project. Anny has composed an amazing opera entitled, Bach's Daughter.  If you have not had an opportunity to hear Anny's beautiful music, you can listen to it by clicking the link above. We all wish Anny the best and support her as she takes time to pursue her dream.  

In the interim, I have been working with Molly Maguire to coordinate local musicians and artists to create a rich and diverse performing arts program for our school.  We have an exceptional number of very talented musicians and performing artists in our community. I hope to capture the expertise of local artists to work with our students to perform live music, plays, songs and more.  Each grade level has signed up for a Wednesday assembly and a board meeting this year and will showcase a performance for the whole school, families, and the community. More information will be coming soon!

Arts Instruction PreK-8

Our very own resident Art Specialists have been hard at work coordinating innovative and engaging Arts instruction for our students. Nuria Lee, Janis Yerington, Kathy Bustamante and Ron Brown are excited to start the new year and will be collaborating with homeroom teachers to enrich key curricular areas through Arts instruction. They look forward to providing outstanding artistic opportunities for our students.

The Art Department staff met last June and created inspiring Art History presentations focused on the four main themes below to kick-off this year’s first Art Rotation.

  • K - 2nd  Grade:“Animals in Art” Nuria will present a slide show. Specialists will teach about Ancient art, Native American art and Aboriginal art including realism and various artists.

  • 3rd and 4th Grade: “Portraits in art” Focusing on Renaissance, Art of the Americas and mask making. Art History presentation by Janis.

  • 5th and 6th Grade: “Myths and Symbols in Art” Focusing on Land art, Egyptian art, Art of India, Impressionism. Art History presentation by Janis.

  • 7th and 8th Grade: “Street art and activism in Art” Focusing on Banksy, Pop art, Digital art. Art Installations in Public spaces. Art History presentation by Nuria.

New Schedules for the Stinson Campus

  • Kindergarten & 1st grade ~ Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday AM: In an effort to maximize instructional minutes, align instruction, and provide a more efficient bus schedule, our K-1 students start their school day together at 8:40 AM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday on the Stinson Campus. 

  • Kindergarten & 1st grade ~ Wednesday AM: We look forward to welcoming our Kindergarten and first grade students to the Bolinas Campus on Wednesday Mornings at 8:25 AM.  Students will be participating in Art shop rotations, buddy time with 5th and 6th graders, and library time. Every other week, students will participate in our All School Assembly.  I hope you can join us for our Welcome Back to School Assembly this Wednesday, August 28th in the Quesada at 8:25.

  • Pre-K Wednesday PM Schedule: Our Pre-K program will be dismissing students at 1:45 on Wednesdays to better align with our K-8 schedule and to improve cross-grade level collaboration/articulation.

  • Kindergarten and 1st grade Arts instruction on the Stinson Campus: In addition to students receiving Arts Instruction on the Bolinas Campus on Wednesdays, our Art Specialists will be visiting K-1 classrooms and integrating arts instruction into the K-1 curriculum on Monday afternoons. Students will receive vibrant Art instruction that enriches the K-1 curriculum.

Get the Bolinas-Stinson School App today!

If you haven't already done so, please download the Bolinas-Stinson School App. The official app for the Bolinas-Stinson School allows users direct access to the most recent news, announcements and calendar events.  Customize the app to display information relevant to a specific campus and to receive important notifications from the district. Users may also access the directory of district faculty and staff, view dining menus, find the location and time of district events, contact campuses and departments, follow updates, and much more!

Cell Phone/Electronic Device Policy

Please help us and your child to follow our BSUSD Electronic Device policy. All personal electronic devices including cell phones and wrist devices are to be powered off and remain in backpacks from the time students arrive on campus until they leave campus after school or, if taking the bus, after exiting the bus. Staff will confiscate student electronics, and notify parents/guardians if their device is not powered off and in their backpack during the school day. Devices will be returned to students after school hours. If a student has a device confiscated a second time a parent/guardian may be asked to pick up the device from the office.

In support of this policy, all staff will keep their phones out of sight and silenced during classroom time and model "unplugging" for our students.

In an effort to increase awareness about technology use and best practices, we will be hosting several Parent Discussion/Ed Nights this year.  More information coming soon!

Looking forward to seeing you at our Back to School Nights!


Michelle Stephens

Bolinas-Stinson School Principal