love trumps hate

First Annual Oxford LGBTQI Picnic!

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love rainbowTo all LGBTQI parents and kids at Oxford:

Please join us on Saturday October 7 from 2 to 4 pm at Shorebird Park Playground for our first annual LGBTQI picnic. We will use this time to connect and strengthen our community at Oxford, and brainstorm some ideas for Pride and upcoming school year activities.

If anyone in your family (parents, kids, grandparents) identifies as LGBTQI or identifies as non-binary, please join us! No one will be turned away. Drinks will be provided. Please bring a snack to share.

An listserv has been created for discussion, event planning and connection. To subscribe, please email

See you there!

Hotline: Immigration Rapid Response & Services

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The Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP) has implemented a rapid response network to provide information, verify ICE activities, and support individuals who have been detained.

Please share the information below to all who may need it.

ACILEP es una alianza de various organizaciones en el Condado de Alameda que ha implementado una red de respuesta rápida para proveer información, verificar las actividades de ICE y apoyar a individuos que han sido detenidos.

Por favor comparta la información abajo con todos los que lo necesiten.

In the News: Oxford & Washington Welcome All

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From Berkeleyside:

Parents at schools around Berkeley want to make sure that all students feel welcome. They are making signs and forming greeting committees to drive that message home. Liz Schultz, the VP of the Washington PTA, wrote: “In response to Trump’s executive order, both Oxford and Washington schools have created messages of support for their immigrant families.”

Berkeleyside photo of Oxford parents welcoming all students
photo: Berkeleyside

Mock Newbery, Reading Workshop, MLK Fest +

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oxford newsletter banner

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.

Continue reading “Mock Newbery, Reading Workshop, MLK Fest +” »

New Year, MLK, Sunshine, and Pretty Art

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faces artWelcome 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

Continue reading “New Year, MLK, Sunshine, and Pretty Art” »

BUSD Moves to Protect Undocumented Students

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BUSD mtg on immigration at LongfellowFrom Berkeley Unified School District’s A+ News

BUSD is engaged on several levels in addressing community concerns about the welfare of immigrant students and families in the wake of the Presidential election.

Several schools have provided opportunities for students to voice their concerns within and/or outside of regular classes. Last week, BUSD co-sponsored a forum on immigration rights with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and the East Bay Community Law Center that was held at Longfellow Middle School (photo at right). The forum included a presentation on the constitutional rights of immigrants in the U.S. and access to a free consultation on possible immigration remedies.

The December 7 Board of Education Meeting will include consideration of a new policy for “Protection of Undocumented Students,” which was discussed by the Board’s Policy Subcommittee on Nov. 18. The policy proposal will be available on the school board meeting web page this Friday evening (December 2).

We will continue to inform concerned students and families about outside resources for further assistance, and work with community partners on potential future events, meetings and activities to ensure fairness and equal protection and support to all students.

Longfellow for justice
In case you missed it, you can see here that Longfellow Middle School students and staff have taken a public stand in the name of social justice. Discarded campaign signs were turned inside out and re-used to show staff and student leaders sharing the powerful words of love, justice, peace, Black Lives Matter, and joy, among others.

City-Wide Sunrise Peace Gathering, Fri 7am

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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

human peace sign from above

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.

“A way forward & a channel for worries” + more

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love rainbowMs. 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” »

“Democracy is Never a Final Achievement . . .”

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Dear Berkeley Community,

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First of all, we want to express our gratitude for the overwhelming support of Measure E1, the special tax that funds the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program, which passed with 88.3% of the vote, a record level of support. We are grateful to the legions of volunteers—parents, teachers, students, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors who helped create the measure and get the word out to the voters about this crucial support for our schools. To quote Ty Alper, our Board Vice President, Berkeley voters understand “that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and our schools are the lifeblood of our community.” With the renewal of BSEP funding, Berkeley voters are investing in our children, our community, and the future of our nation.

Even as we celebrate this local success, as well as the passage of Proposition 55 which continues a crucial state source of education funding, these results come in the context of a national election with ramifications for how many of our children and families feel about their safety, well-being and future prospects. We’ve already heard from many in our community that they are experiencing sleepless nights, fearful children and parents, and a range of responses, from numbness to despondence or angry outbursts.

As educators, counselors, and community members, we need to support our children and each other through what may be a traumatic time for many, and in particular those who have felt targeted and marginalized by divisive rhetoric and actions during this election cycle—black families, immigrant families, Muslim families, women, ​the LGBTQ community, the disabled—the list goes on.

Continue reading ““Democracy is Never a Final Achievement . . .”” »