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After School, Spelling and Dancing K!


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

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.

The Spellathon is this Friday, December 2. This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, and we need your support. Our PTA raises funds that pay for classroom aides, our PE teacher, our Art Instructor, supplies for the classrooms, a dance program for kindergarten, and more. We need your help to make these programs a reality!

Thanks for all you do to make Oxford a great place!

~ Principal Beth Rhine

From the Oxford PTA

Coming next to the school near (or not so near) you…

  1. It’s the Spellathon tomorrow! Spellawhat? Kids spell a ton of words and raise money for the school whilst doing so. In other words, they keep up with their spelling skills and help Oxford keep Art, PE, learning materials and much more.

  2. Tomorrow’s our second Pizza & Movie Night of the year. From 6:00–8:30 pm, Oxford students can come an enjoy a pizza dinner and a movie with their school friends. Let us know by noon tomorrow if your child(ren)’ll be coming so we can order the right amount of food. $25/child plus an additional (optional) $10/sibling.

  3. Dine out on December 8 at Pizza Moda (1401 University Ave, Berkeley, 94702). All Oxford dine-ins will generate a 20% donation to the school. Come and bring family or friends, the more the merrier! Delicious food guaranteed, like being in Italy—minus the flight and the jet lag.

Did you know…

The PTA is still looking for volunteers in this amazing community? Please check the school website if you’re interested in giving a hand. Please note we do not mean “give a hand” literally; with the number of responses we’ve got so far we’ve started to wonder if that’s what our community thinks we’re asking for. All PTA positions available require very little effort and in most cases are once a year “events.”

Questions, suggestions, and especially hands-on initiatives to: Betsy & Aïda, pta@oxfordelementary.org.

Volunteer from Home via Computer!

Got 15 minutes at home here and there to help keep Oxford families informed? You could create Oxford events on Facebook—it’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Or, if you know just a little WordPress, you could help update OxfordElementary.org. Email web@oxfordelementary.org to get started.

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All about After School at Oxford

The after school program at Oxford is sometimes called LEARNS or OASIS, and we strive for both to be applicable to what we offer. Our program is a balance of play, enrichment, and academics. It’s a fee-based program, but we offer a sliding scale for payment.

We are fortunate to have a strong staff for our program. In addition to myself, our staff is as follows: Tim Hewitt, Jarrett Sanders, Lindsay Guinan, Sam Johnson, Sequoia Hunt, Sandra Mitchell and Rayaun Lee. (Thandiwe Satterwhite is part of our staff but is currently on leave.) Our staff all bring strengths to the program and enjoy working with the students.

Our day is broken up into Snack Time (2:10–2:30 pm), Enrichment Hour (2:30–3:30 pm), Homework or Academic Hour (3:30–4:30 pm), and then Free Play.

We offer a variety of enrichment classes including Art, Afro-Haitian Dancing, Cooking, Magic Cards, Chess, Debate and more. Enrichment classes are funded by after school fees. During Homework Hour, students are separated by grade level. Each group works with one of the after school staff in a classroom on their homework, reading and occasionally special academic projects. Some of our students have the opportunity to read with a Cal student through the BUILD program during the afternoon. I work with Lauren Morrison, the Literacy Coach, to figure out who would benefit from some extra reading time.

We follow the same school rules—Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful and Be An Ally—as during the school day. It can be a long day for our students, and we want to provide a learning environment but with a slightly different atmosphere, a little more relaxed and low-key.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at aarongrayson@berkeley.net.

~Aaron Grayson III

Psst…

On Friday, December 9th at 8:00am the kindergarten students will present a contemporary dance demonstration. Come join us and observe their growth in the performing arts (it will be adorable, we promise).

Why Attendance is Important

There are many reasons why school attendance is important. First, we want to send the message to the students that school is important and attending every day helps do that. Second, if students are absent, their academics may be affected. For example, the math program moves at a quick pace and when a student misses a lesson, it can be challenging for them to get back on track. And then there is the social aspect of missing school, and for some students, their relationships with peers can be affected and they might feel less connected to the school community. Of course, if a child is sick, it is best that they stay home until they are better and not contagious.

BUSD takes students attendance very seriously. In addition, the school district loses about $40/day for every absence. When possible, plan family vacations during summer vacation and other breaks. Even if you call and let us know that it’s a family trip, it’s considered an unexcused absence and is documented on the attendance record. After three unexcused absences, you will be notified regarding potential truancy issues. If the absences continue, a meeting will be scheduled and we will discuss strategies regarding how to improve attendance.

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