This message originally came from the Berkeley PTA Council and has been approved for sending to the entire community by Principal Beth Rhine. If you plan to attend, please also be mindful about getting your student to school on time!
Together We Rise
Sunrise Gathering and Human Peace Sign
Before work or school this Friday, November 18, from 7:00–8:00 am, please join in a community celebration of Berkeley’s shared values in Civic Center Park at 2100 M.L. King Jr. Way, to watch the sun rise and stand together. Breakfast provided; wear your best tie-dye!
Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín and other community leaders will address the crowd on the topics of unity, positive action and Berkeley’s hallowed tradition of counterculture. Let’s let all of our precious children, students and community members know that in Berkeley, we rededicate ourselves to a fair, progressive, inclusive and sustainable world.
This is a celebration! In the wake of the national election, let’s join to reaffirm our deeply held values of inclusiveness, diversity, human rights, equity, environmental action, peace and love. Take part in the creation of a giant human peace sign by standing together in the park as the sun rises.
We invite all neighborhood organizations, faith communities, schools, organizations, and businesses to join in—all of Berkeley. Let’s show the rest of the country that we will forward our values with renewed energy, urgency and unity.
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
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.
Mr. Paul Jones, “Hutch,” a wonderful Instructional Specialist in the Special Education program, passed away July 4, losing his battle with cancer. He was an integral part of the school community since 2007, as a presence in the classroom as well as in the after school program, in music concerts and in all areas of school life. Adults and students all loved and respected Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones was a true professional, always respectful, kind and cool, a model for everyone. He was one of those people who always greeted you in the hallway with a smile and a nod. Hutch was a “rock” at Oxford, providing the stability and calm needed at a school. We will miss him.
Besides being a father, grandfather, and husband, Hutch Jones was also an amazing jazz musician. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music, he played with legends like Sun Ra, John Gilmore and Philly Joe Jones. He toured nationally and internationally, worked as a studio musician on the East and West coasts and recorded widely, on Sun Ra albums, on the Philly sounds of Instant Funk and as a leader of his own groups. The Oxford community was fortunate to have him play at school events—always a treat. We are sure he is somewhere new, playing his saxophone, making music, as he always loved to do.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, July 9 at 2:00 pm at Harris Funeral Home, 1331 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Mr. Jones’s music will be played throughout the service. Read his full obituary and learn further details about the service and sending condolences, go to Mr. Jones’s pages on Harris Funeral Home’s website.
Also, please spread the word of an informal gathering to honor the life of Mr. Jones on Sunday, July 10 at 1:00 pm in Cesar Chavez Park in the Marina, near the benches at the parking roundabout. (This is where is his CD photos were shot.) Feel free to bring some small snacks to share and blankets to sit on.
If you are a fan of Annie Barrows, author of the famed Ivy and Bean series, you are in for a big treat at Ms. Dalloway’s bookstore on College Avenue. On Saturday, October 18 at 10:30 am, Annie Barrows will present her newest project, Ivy and Bean and Me, an interactive journal that invites readers to draw and create their own adventure. We know our first graders are budding authors themselves and would enjoy spending the morning listening and talking to a local author. And the Ivy and Bean series are great books to launch their reading too!
Annie Barrows presents Ivy + Bean + Me: A Fill-in-the-Blank Book
– Nica Uk, 1st grade teacher
The best way to become a better reader is to read.
The North Branch at Berkeley Public Library has a “Paws to Read” program where children can read out loud to a trained therapy dog. This can be a great opportunity to practice reading to Man’s (and Woman’s!) Best Friend.
This special program will be happening on Tuesday afternoons from 3:30-4:30 between 9/23–10/28/2014, and 11/18–12/16/2014 at the North Branch, 1170 The Alameda (at Hopkins). You may sign up ahead, or drop in. There are two sessions, one at 3:30 pm and the other at 4:00 pm. Bring a book with you, or choose one here.
Call 510-981-6250 for more information or to make a reservation to read to a furry friend! Wheelchair accessible. To request a sign language interpreter, real-time captioning, materials in large print or Braille, or other accommodations, please call 510-981-6195 or 510-5448-1240 TTY three days before the program.
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend.” —Groucho Marx
– Karen Sasamoto, Oxford Librarian