Back to School Letter to Families
Posted on 08/14/2023
welcome back

Dear Pioneer Families,

Welcome back to the 2023-24 school year! The first day of school is Tuesday, August 22nd, with student drop off between 8:10 a.m. – 8:25 a.m. It is a regular full school day, and dismissal bells will ring at 2:35 p.m. for 1st- 3rd graders, and 3:05 p.m. for 4th – 6th graders. AM Kinder families arriving in the Kinder yard by 8:15 a.m. will have AM students dismissed at 11:35 a.m., with PM families arriving in the Kinder yard by 11:50 a.m. and PM students dismissed at 3:10 p.m.

Please note that Wednesday dismissal time has moved from 1:30pm to 1:35pm dismissal in order to have more time for November Teacher conference week.


  • First Day of School - 8/22
  • Back to School Night - 8/29
  • Labor Day (No School) - 9/4
  • Picture Day - 9/22
  • Indigenous Peoples' Day (No School) - 10/9
  • Picture Day Retake - 11/7
  • Teacher Work Day (No School) - 11/9
  • Veteran's Day (No School) - 11/10
  • Conference Week: Minimum Days - 11/13-11/17
  • Thanksgiving Break - 11/20-11/24
  • Winter Break - 12/25-1/7
  • MLK Day (No School) - 1/15
  • Lincoln's Birthday - 2/12
  • President's Day Holiday - 2/29
  • Conference Week - 3/18-3/22
  • Spring Break - 3/25-3/29
  • Open House - 4/17
  • CAASPP Testing - May 2023
  • Memorial Day (No School) - 5/27
  • Last Day of School - 6/6

Teacher Assignments and Community Welcome Events
This year, all elementary parents will have access to their child’s classroom assignment by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, August 18 via their parent portal. As a district we are moving away from “Paperless Parades,” however, our PTA is hosting an lemonade social after school (1:35 p.m.) on Wednesday (23rd) and then, during Back to School Night (Tuesday (29th)), there will be other Pioneer organizations (PTA, garden, Active4Me, etc.) present that night. The PTA welcome packet will come in the next Sunday newsletter.

TK/Kinder parents are invited to come to the mandatory orientation on Thursday, August 17th from 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. on Zoom and our TK/Kinder picnic on August 19th (10am-12pm) at Pioneer Park.

In the absence of “Paperless Parades,” we ask that all families ensure that any medication their child needs to have at school along with the accompanying paperwork, is brought to your school office before August 18. Also, all families must complete annual registration (formerly online re-enrollment) before school begins. If you need assistance with this, please see this website or contact your school office.

Combination Classes
As enrollment fluctuates by grade level and at school sites in DJUSD, we are planning to host a “2nd/3rd grade mixed age/combination” class at Pioneer school this year. We hosted several combination classes in DJUSD this past year. This is a common practice and many of our teachers and staff have experience teaching in this model. Site principals, Elementary Support TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment), and classroom teachers will work collaboratively to ensure that these classrooms run smoothly, providing each child with an enriching learning experience at their grade level. Students in combination classes receive instruction in their grade level with differentiated instruction provided as needed and appropriate.

Student Placement
While we understand that parents (and students) are anxious to learn who their children will have for a teacher, or which classmates will be in their classroom, a formal process was executed and completed in the Spring. The process involved working with our teams of grade-level teachers, specialists and staff who collaborated to build balanced class groupings where a variety of factors are considered to create class lists.

Our policy, as it is for most schools in Davis, is to not accept or promise to honor parent requests for specific teachers or peer pairings. . When placements are announced, your cooperation and support of this process provides the best possible outcome for students and staff.

It has been our experience that nearly all children are able to adjust rapidly to the different teachers or peers they have over the years. This, too, is an important skill to learn—learning to get along with and work with a variety of people.

New Faculty
Each year brings positive change. This includes a few additions/changes to our staff.

  • Josephine Cao – 3rd grade
  • Alma Drabkin- English Learner Paraprofessional
  • Lisa Simmons – 1st Grade
  • Griffin Snyder- Psychologist
  • Juli Chang- 2nd grade
  • Wynn Quesenberry- Psychologist
  • Mollye Fryday- ⅔ combo (part-time)
  • Cambria Hill- Paraprofessional
  • Landon Orsenelli- Rivers- 6th grade
  • Karissa Hein- Paraprofessional
  • Nicole Cardenas- 6th grade AIM
  • Peyton Delaughder- Paraprofessional

Please welcome back:

  • Dave Guerrero (Teacher on Special Assignment)- now will be full time vs. part time
  • Tara Johnson- Reading Specialist
  • Ann Marie Caridi - 3rd grade
  • Ashley Pepper- Jimenez- 5th grade

Daily School Schedule:

TK Schedule

first and second schedule

third schedule

fourth schedule

fifth and sixth schedule

I am looking forward to having a great 23-24 school year for everyone!

Rachana Sidhu
Principal, Pioneer Elementary
5215 Hamel Street, Davis, CA 95618
Telephone: (530) 757-5480