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New Year, MLK, Sunshine, and Pretty Art

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 are going to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. this year by having our third annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest on Friday, February 10, at Community Meeting.

Students are invited to perform (speaking) either their own original piece or one written by someone else. Pieces selected should relate to Martin Luther King Jr. and his powerful messages of hope, change, and standing up for what’s right. Students can perform alone or with a small group. Performances are limited to two minutes and we are encouraging students to memorize their pieces. Participation is optional and it’s open for grades K–5. Some classes may be doing whole-class performances. If we have a lot of performers, we will have to add an additional assembly, possibly the following Friday.

A flyer with more details will come home soon.

Calling all Future Kindergartners and 6th Graders

It’s that time of year! If you have an entering kindergartner, or a child starting middle school, applications and required documentation are due to the admissions office on or before February 3 for participation in the first round of 2016–17 school lottery assignments.

5th grade families, all 3 BUSD middle schools will host information nights in January:

  1. Willard: January 11 at 7:00 pm

  2. Longfellow: January 18 at 7:00 pm

  3. King: January 25 at 7:00 pm

If you know of any prospective kindergarten families, Oxford’s Kindergarten Information Night is Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm.

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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 Email to get started.

Take Note

  1. January 10 – Kindergarten Information Night, cafeteria, 7:00 pm

  2. January 13 – Community Meeting, cafeteria, 8:00 am

  3. January 16 – MLK Day, No School

  4. January 30 – Staff Development Day, No School

Can you attend and help represent Oxford?

Please join us on January 12 at Longfellow Middle School, 6:30 pm for an update from Superintendent Evans on priorities and initiatives for the year, including progress on our Local Control and Accountability Plan. Next, engage with parents, students, educators, staff, and district leaders for workshops and discussion on school leadership and how we can build a future for our schools together. There will be two workshop sessions to choose from among four choices.

Workshops topics include:

  1. Educational Facilities: Planning to Serve Student Needs

  2. School Needs Assessments: Focus on School Climate and Family Engagement

  3. Committee Roundtable: Inclusive, Effective, and Transparent Community Leadership for LCAP

  4. ELAC and PTA: Uniting Goals and Resources for an Effective School Plan.

Any interested community member is welcome to attend the workshops. District and School committees such as School Governance Councils, the LCAP Parent Advisory Committee, the BSEP Planning and Oversight Committee, District and School English Learner Advisory Committee, and PTA’s are asked to send at least four delegates to this evening so each workshop has a representative from a site and/or committee. Childcare is available, y le ofrece interpretación en español.

RSVP to For more information, contact

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Mock Newbery Program

The 2016–17 school year is the Year of the Reader here in Berkeley. Reading is a vital skill that can enrich a child’s life beyond measure. The ability to read, comprehend, interpret, and analyze information is needed more than ever in today’s world.

One program in support of the Year of the Reader is the Mock Newbery program where students read and discuss books from a list of ten titles:

  1. Booked by Kwame Alexander

  2. Full of Beans by Jennifer Holm

  3. The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Regan Barnhill

  4. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

  5. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

  6. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan

  7. Pax by Sara Pennypacker

  8. Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

  9. What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

  10. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Students are to evaluate the books using the same criteria that librarians on the Newbery Committee use: the books need to be written by an American author, published in the current year, and have distinguished plot, characters, setting, themes, and language.

In order to vote for the most distinguished book, students will need to read a minimum of five books from the list of nominees. Some fifth graders have already met in the library to talk about the books they have read. Two more meetings will be held in January. Right now, the meetings are designed for 5th graders, but the January meetings will be open to any students who have read the books.

Since students are selecting from a prescribed list, they will have a chance to read books that they would not normally choose. In other words, their literary horizons can be challenged and expanded.

All of the above titles are located in the Oxford Library, but can also be found at the Berkeley Public Library too.

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