Principal's Message

Dear Gopher Families,

This must be the strangest school year ever, but we are equal to the challenge!

First, I would like to acknowledge the disappointment we are all feeling at not being able to come together in person for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Nevertheless, based on what is best for the health of our students, our staff, our families and our community, I support the school district’s decision to begin this new academic year with distance learning.

As your new principal I want you to know that I have been working all summer with the teachers and staff at Mokelumne Hill Elementary School to ensure the best possible educational experience for your children, regardless of the eventual format. Rest assured that our students are the number one priority. I want you to know that:

First, we are prioritizing the physical health of our students and staff. We will be teaching daily classes virtually by computer until further notice, and following all of the health and safety guidelines provided to us by the district office.

Secondly, we are prioritizing the emotional health of our students. This crisis has been a trauma for all of us. We have all experienced, and will continue to experience, varying degrees of anxiety, and loss. As teachers reconnect with students, we want to assess their emotional wellness and support them individually and collectively; and we want to inspire them. Schools need to be places of hope and excitement. To accomplish this, teachers will be meeting with classes virtually on a regular basis. We will also have support staff available to connect online with students individually or in small groups to focus on their overall wellbeing.

And finally, we are prioritizing the educational health of our students. While many have fared well during the period of remote learning, we know that others have struggled for a variety of reasons. Our staff is committed to finding ways to remedy these roadblocks to success. They are also eager to teach a focused curriculum that is both engaging and challenging.

My four grown children all attended MHE, and I am committed to preserving the culture that makes our school unique. Teachers will be continuing to use the Accelerated Reader program, and to reward students based on their accumulation of reading points. Also, students will be expected to continue to represent our school by exhibiting our core ‘Go-pher’ values of personal responsibility, respect, kindness and safety. The staff will be awarding students who show examples of these values, even in the virtual platform, with “Golden Gophers”.

I am so happy to be your principal and I look forward to partnering with you in educating and supporting your child in their success. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. Look for more communications to come as we draw closer to the first day of school which will be on August 17, 2020.


Heather James.

Principal, Mokelumne Hill Elementary School