Mock Newbery, Reading Workshop, MLK Fest +

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Throughout the winter, we have school tours for prospective Oxford families. We have great tour guides who lead the families around the school, sharing information and answering questions. At the end of each tour, I meet with the prospective parents/guardians to have an informal Q&A. It’s always interesting because I’m asked things like “How is Oxford different than other BUSD schools?”  Or “What are some of the great things happening here?” And also, “What are some of the challenges?” Every year it makes me reflect on what we are doing at Oxford, where we want to go, and what else we need to do to continue to meet the needs of our students.

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How do you spell “Spellathon”?

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spelling treeWe are excited to announce the beginning of Spellathon season! Each year, Oxford raises about $20,000 and helps students improve their spelling through the annual Spellathon.

What does this mean for your family? This Thursday, all Oxford students will receive a manila envelope with a grade-appropriate spelling list to study in advance of a test in class on Friday December 2. (Note: instead of a spelling list, kindergartners get 20 basic questions about their lives.) Between now and the big day, students ask family, neighbors, etc. to pledge in support of their participation in the Oxford Spellathon, based either on a dollar amount per correctly spelled word or just a flat donation. After getting their spelling test results, students collect the pledged donations. The last day of school before winter break will be the deadline for delivering donations to school. This way, Oxford can go into the new calendar year with more resources to support P.E., art, technology and so many other important programs at the school!

If you have any questions or want to help with tasks, such as grading tests on December 2, please email (Kiran’s mom) or (Sammy’s mom). We will also be at community meeting on November 4 to announce the launch and answer questions. Thanks in advance for your participation!

Book Fair’s Goal Unmet: Donate by 10/29

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Our Teachers’ Book Fair Requests Were Not Fulfilled This Year!

Book Fair 2016This year only 5 books were donated to the library at the book fair, and some of our wonderful teachers only received 3 books! There are an additional 130 books needed to fulfill the donation goal of one book per child per class.

For some of our families, buying books is not financially possible, and so it is up to those who can to do a bit more.

Donate now to buy more books for Oxford at our Pay It 2 pageThe deadline is October 29 at midnight. And remember, Oxford gets 15% of the sales back as a donation too, so your money is working extra hard.

The books that we are donating will go home with our kids to be read. This is the most direct way to encourage reading in our school. The quality of the reading material has a direct effect on the interest level of our kids. If they have no new books in their classes and libraries, or none that speak to their interests, then they will not be as enthusiastic about reading.

Every child goes to the school library every week and is searching for their “just right” reading level and content. Your gift will bring needed books to our classrooms and library!

The Week+ in Shop & Give, Bake Sales

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Three quick notes for this week and next:

1) Offer valid till Wednesday October 19: Earn money whilst dressing our kids/grandkids/nephews and nieces with (use the code SDF16OXFORD to get 15% off Tea brand clothing and another 15% donation to our school). You can also shop at Kid Dynamo at 2108 Vine Street. You must mention Oxford before paying; see the Shop & Give page for full details.

2) P1070380Please bring your favorite baked goods to sell at the Harvest Fair on Sunday October 23. Room 10 will set up a stall in the upper yard and they need a lot of of sweet (and savoury, if you like!) stuff to sell. Cookies, muffins, cupcakes, tarts, madeleines, éclairs, meringues, panellets, cannoli, truffles, biscuits, mini pies, brownies, flapjacks, churros… whatever you fancy, bring it! And if you’ve got no time to bake, no worries, feel free to stop by at the supermarket and get a tray of Halloween treats. All sales go to the PTA fund (i.e. our kids).

3) Dine out and earn for Oxford! On October 24, next Monday evening between 5:00 and 9:00 pm, Farm Burger Berkeley (1313 Ninth Street) will donate a percentage of all sales to Oxford (no special code to mention). Feel free to spread the word to friends beyond Oxford!

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Toolbox, Harvest/Book Fair, new counselor . . .

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Join us for the Harvest Fair 10/23On 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

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Room parents, candy and lice–oh my!

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Teachers posterboard including Obama!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 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

Dear Oxfordians,

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.

medical symbolWe 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?

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Donate NOW: $2,000 Challenge Grant thru Thurs

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We just got word of a $2,000 Challenge Grant for the Campaign for Oxford!

For every dollar (up to $2,000) received by Back to School Night this Thursday, your dollars will be MATCHED by an anonymous donor group.

Please help us make sure we can receive every dollar of this challenge grant so we can continue to provide the great programs we have at Oxford. Donations received by check, Paypal, or on the Campaign for Oxford site are all eligible. As of today, we are about 25% of the way to our goal of $25,000.  We have had 110 shares on Facebook – let’s make this 150 by the end of this week!


A veteran Oxford parent recently told us she donates an amount equal to “One more month” of preschool every year as she remembers how lucky she is for the “free” education her kids receive at Oxford. We hope more families will consider doing the same!


The details are below so please give what you can, post to Facebook, forward this email to anyone who loves your child or believes in public education.

Maximize your impact:

Share the campaign on your Facebook page or with friends, family & neighbors by visiting this link.

Three ways to give:

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Here it is. The inaugural issue of the . . .

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…Oxford Elementary Newsletter, MailChimp edition!

Back to School Night is Sept 8Dear Oxford Community,

Welcome back to school!

I hope everyone had a nice summer break and ready to start the 2016–2017 school year. We have been busy the past few weeks, getting ready for school and staff participated in various professional development opportunities. I want to thank the PTA for organizing our Back-to-School Picnic last Sunday and our New Families/Kinder Lemonade. Both events were well attended and it was great to see so many of you before school began!

Back-to-School Night is next week, Thursday, September 8th. This is an adult-only event. Teachers will meet with parents/guardians in the classroom to review curriculum, rules and expectations, special projects and other classroom-related information. This is the time to make a connection with the teacher and to hear what will be happening this year.

The schedule for Back-to-School Night is as follows:

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Help sell Chinook Books in Sept & Oct

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Chinook BookThank you to all the people who brought baked goods and fruit to this morning’s Back-to-School Coffee. Remember that there’ll be another Coffee tomorrow morning, same place, same time. And whilst we’re at it, we’d like to ask you for your help selling Chinook Books to our community. What is the Chinook Book? It’s a book of coupons from local stores. (You may have seen it at your local supermarket.)

Every year, Oxford partners with the Chinook Book company to raise money for our school. The Chinook Book, together with the app, costs $20, half of which goes to Oxford. The coupons in this year’s book and app expire on September 30, 2017—so you’ve got a whole year to make the most of a wide range of excellent discounts.

In a nutshell, we’ve got the books and the app. Now we need you. Can you help us sell them at school?

This is a short-term volunteer opportunity. We’ve got 8 weeks to sell as many chinook books and apps as possible. Help us start now and we can add to our fundraising goal. You could start tomorrow or Thursday morning at the Back-to-School Coffee. Or you choose the times.

Contact us at if you’re interested (or meet us at Thursday’s Back-to-School Coffee).

Thank you,
Betsy Maisel & Aïda Garcia Pons
(2015-17 PTA co-presidents)