From The Oxford News
Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy, healthy, safe holiday break. It was so good to have some time for rest and relaxation. I’m looking forward to the second half of the school year and 2017.
The upcoming presidential Inauguration may be a challenging event for many. I encourage us all to be sensitive and respectful of everyone’s beliefs as the new president begins his term. I want to remind all of us how strong the Oxford community is and how we need to embrace and welcome our differences; it’s part of what makes Oxford a strong community for our students!
Here’s to a great 2017!
~ Principal Beth Rhine
Announcing Oxford’s Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest
We had a wonderful performance by our kindergarten students last Friday, led by dance instructor (and Oxford parent), Kimberly Lloyd. The students did a dance warm up, responding to ballet vocabulary, practicing balancing skills, using left/right movements, as well as counting. They then had a choreographed dance with each child having an opportunity for a solo. Students added their own touch to the choreography, with one class “dabbing” in their performance. I want to thank the PTA and the Oxford families for supporting the kindergarten dance performance.
We have our final Community Meeting for 2016 tomorrow, Friday, December 16. One of the 5th grade classes is doing a presentation about the holidays, and we will be singing some holiday songs with students from Room 10. Stop on by for a little fun.
If you’re wondering what you can have your child do over winter break, I recommend having your child read daily, and write letters to relatives and friends. If you have computer access, there are links to educational activities and games on the Oxford library web portal and on our STEM Resources page.
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break. December is going to be a busy time, just three weeks of school, and we have prospective family tours, the Spellathon, an assembly with the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble on 12/15, a Movie Night tomorrow, our ELAC Meeting on 12/6, an SGC Meeting on 12/7, and last, a Community Meeting on Friday 12/16. If you want to know what is happening at Oxford, be sure to check out the school website and there, you will find the calendar at oxfordelementary.org/resources/calendar.
Make Up Picture Day is tomorrow, Friday, December 2. If your child missed the first Picture Day, this is the time to get their picture taken. If you want your child to retake their picture, this is the time! Class pictures will be sent home later, after we have Make Up Picture Day.
Alexandra Ballard, one of our Oxford parents, is coordinating the holiday gift card drive. A flyer with the information was sent out before Thanksgiving break. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. It’s a great time to help out those close to home, some of our own here at Oxford.
Ms. Anna, Oxford’s art teacher, told me that in today’s art class in Room 26 that she and Ms. Foster “asked the class to make symbols that could show a way forward and give an outlet for all their worries.”
I want to share the pictures with you here. And acknowledge the talented teachers and staff we have at Oxford. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
~ Annie Burke, newsletter editor, Oxford Facebook photo post maker, and mom to Alex and Benny
From the Principal
We had a great Halloween last week, with lots of exciting costumes and a fun parade. It was great to see so many families at the parade, too. I think it’s one of my favorite school events because so many parents/guardians come to Oxford to help with the celebration!
Speaking of visiting the school, the purpose of the shortened school days was to provide time for teachers to meet with parents/guardians. If you weren’t able to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, I encourage you to set up that appointment. The home-school connection is critical for your child’s academic growth.
And finally, at this time of year, flu and sickness begin to impact our community. If your child is sick, please keep them home until they are feeling better. The general guidelines are 24 hours of no vomiting and no fever for 24 hours before returning to school. Please keep in mind that we have medically-fragile students at Oxford and a flu or cold can hit them hard. Encourage your child to wash their hands regularly, as well as to not touch their face (eyes, nose, mouth). If your child is absent, it’s best if you call and leave a message the day of the absence, as early as possible. Continue reading ““A way forward & a channel for worries” + more” »
On Saturday, October 22, Oxford parent Kristen Burmester organized and supervised a group of Cal students as they did some projects around the school. Check out the new stairs with a railing for the cafeteria stage! And they cleaned out and organized the emergency bin, another major endeavor. They did painting and posting student work, too. I am so excited about the stairs, I can’t get over it!
And then on Sunday, October 23, we had the Annual Harvest Fair. Gaby Raymond organized the Fair and Jos Burns and Kendra Dodsworth organized the Book Fair. It was really nice, people hanging out while the kids ran around and had fun. There was lots of good food and games to enjoy. It was a great day. A big thanks to Kristen, Gaby, Jos, Kendra, all the room parents, and the volunteers!
Report cards are coming soon. They will be given to parents/guardians during conferences with teachers in the beginning of November. It might seems like school hasn’t been in session long enough for report cards but BUSD has a shorter first trimester in order for families to be notified of their child’s progress early in the year. This way, if additional support is needed, we can intervene early. And for those who are working at or above grade level, challenge opportunities can be created. If you haven’t already set up your teacher/parent conference, teachers will be in touch soon.
On Monday, October 10, all staff participated in professional development sessions. In the morning, the classroom teachers participated in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) with a focus on writing. We looked at writing samples, discussed student progress and planned for next steps. After that, teachers participated in various literacy workshops. Our staff also participated in learning sessions, including team building, Mandated Reporter Training and more. Overall, it was a productive day!
Wondering what the “Breathing Tool” is, or maybe the “Personal Space Tool?” All BUSD schools use the Toolbox Program, a social emotional program emphasizing using our “tools.” We discuss how these tools are inside us and when we can use them at Community Meetings; teachers also do some Toolbox work in their classrooms.If you want to know more about the program, check out the new Toolbox Curriculum page on the Oxford website.
And, please mark your calendars for the upcoming shortened school days the first week of November. The purpose of the shortened days is to give teachers time to have parent/guardian conferences. Shortened days are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4, and again on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 8 and 9.
Early release times are as follows:
- Kindergarten release time: 12:20 pm
- 1st–3rd grades release time: 12:55 pm
- 4th–5th grade release time: 1:00 pm
We are now sending out the school newsletters every other week. Our hope is to save paper and not have information repeated too often. If there is timely information during the off-week, I will send out a message via the Oxford email list and/or do a robo-call. School events are also listed on the Oxford Facebook page and the school website, oxfordelementary.org. Be sure to check out the website, it’s really amazing. Hillary Brooks, an Oxford parent, has been doing an outstanding job putting up-to-date information and links to different resources on the school website.
Speaking of communication, if you need to talk to your child’s teacher, please send them an email, a note, or leave a message in the office. Sometimes you can catch the teacher on the playground after school. The conversations on the playground or in the hallways before school keep students from entering the classrooms in a timely fashion. We want to support everyone getting started learning as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation.
There is no school on Monday, October 10th for students. The staff will be participating in district-wide professional development and we will not be at school. Be sure to mark your calendar so no one shows up at school that day!
The first two weeks of school have gone very well. Routines are in place, we’ve been reviewing school expectations, classrooms are busy, and we have already practiced using our “tools” from the Toolbox program. We are off to a great start! I want to thank those who were able to make it out for Back-to-School Night last week. We had a pretty good turnout, and hopefully it was informative for everyone. If you weren’t able to be there, reach out to your child’s teacher (if you haven’t already heard from them) and check in. The home-school connection is critical for student success at school.
After this week, the Oxford News school bulletin will be sent out every other week. If there is timely information to share, we will use the Oxford email list, a robo-call, or send out a special edition of the newsletter. Be sure to check out the Oxford website for information, and if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to get this newsletter via email and for the email list! (Links are on the website’s sidebar.)
If you haven’t already, please turn in the forms that were sent home in the Thursday folder. They have information that is important for us to have on file at school. And in case you missed my many messages about the school lunch form, please make sure to turn that one in, too, or you can do it on-line at ezmealapp.com. If you do it online, no need to submit the paper form too.
Thanks for all your support!
~ Beth Rhine
From the PTA Co-Presidents
We hope you enjoyed Back-to-School Night last week and meeting your child’s teacher and all the other parents in your group. It’s important for one (or more—the responsibility can be shared, of course!) person(s) to volunteer as this year’s room parent(s), to be a bridge between your class and your teacher, the PTA and the rest of the community. The room parent’s tasks are simple and straightforward and do not involve much time. Feel free to ask us or any returning parents questions about this job.
We have heard of lice cases at other BUSD elementary schools, and we would like to ask you to check your kid’s hair regularly in the hope we can avoid an infestation at Oxford. Last year we also used Lice Control on Shattuck Avenue to have all the pupils checked after a successful lice invasion at school (successful for the lice’s part—for the parents it was a nightmare, and for the PTA, an unexpected expense). Yes, it is hard to find the little creatures hiding in the hair; one has to sit down, make the child cooperate (easier said than done) and spend time going through their hair. No, it is not a joyful task, but by checking regularly we can identify the invaders at an early stage and save our budget for the things that matter. Local pharmacies and drugstores have preventive shampoos and lice-treatment kits. And if in dire need, Lice Control also offers lice removal services. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this.
Feeling itchy yet?
Last week we had a school assembly to introduce all the staff to the students. The purpose of that is to help the students to recognize the adults on campus and to know whom they can go to for help. We also reviewed/introduced the school rules and in order to emphasize the way to “be,” I did a little dress up. If you want to help emphasize the school rules, they are:
- Be Respectful
- Be Responsible
- Be Safe
- Be an Ally
I also introduced two of our “tools” from the Toolbox program at this first assembly. The Toolbox program is a social emotional curriculum taught in every classroom and in community meetings about using our “tools” to help us throughout life. We discussed our Listening Tool, using our eyes, ears, brains and hearts when we listen. Ask your child if they remember what the signal is for that tool. We also discussed our Breathing Tool, using the tool to “calm ourselves and check in.” The gesture for that is a measuring tape, pulling out as we exhale and as the “tape” rolls in, we exhale. When asking students when we could use our breathing tool, one wise child said, “When we are stuck in traffic!” Great advice.
We have our first school community meeting on Friday, September 9 at 8:00 am. Everyone is welcome to join us as we meet, review the expectations, learn more about our “tools,” and watch a video about being an ally made by Oxford students last year.