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Otter News - September 8, 2023

September 8th, 2023

Oxford Elementary School

Go Otters!

Upcoming Dates/Events

  • Tuesday, September 12 - Pajama Day - Bring your Stuffy! See Below!

  • Tuesday, September 12 - PTA Meeting, 6 PM via Zoom. Here’s the link!

  • Wednesday, September 13 - Committee Nominations (SSC & ELAC) are due.

    • See below for more information on how to get involved!

  • Friday, September 15 - Community Meeting 8:15 am - 8:45 am

    • Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff!

Dear Families,

As we are settling into school, I am shifting a few routines that I would like to highlight. First of all, I will be sending the newsletters out once every two weeks from now on. I want to strike the right balance between keeping you informed and causing everyone to put the letter into the SPAM folder! Thus, the next newsletter will be on Sept. 22nd. Additionally, our students are past the back to school review and diving into content. As they do, I will highlight a variety of classes throughout the year to give you a vision of what is taking place as well as an answer to why we do it that way. Finally, our nominations for the SSC are due on Wednesday. We still need parents! HELP! Please consider joining us and having a direct voice on how programs at Oxford are funded! If you are interested and have any questions, please let me know! Nomination sign ups are further down in the newsletter.

I hope to see you all at the PTA meeting on Tuesday and the Community Meeting on Friday morning. When you come by, please check the lost and found which is located by the yellow gate. If you can identify items through this picture, we are also willing to reconnect them with your child.

Elizabeth Cornwell (she / her)

Principal - Oxford Elementary

1222 University Ave | Berkeley, CA 94702

T: 510.644.6300

Principal for the Day!

Abraham Allison and Solomon Clark Rudolfi surprised students by taking over as Principal of the Day! Abraham won the opportunity to spend the day as Principal during the Otterpalooza raffle last spring. He elected Solomon to join him as Vice Principal and had a wonderful day visiting classrooms and ensuring that the school ran smoothly. At the end of the day, he made a declaration that next Tuesday, students can wear PJ and bring their favorite stuffy (1) to school!

Community Meeting - Join us!

Caretakers are welcome to attend our Community Meetings! On September 15th, we will be gathering together to kick off Latinx Heritage Month. If you choose to attend, you can simply stay at drop off. When the students go to their classrooms to put their bags away, adults can enter the auditorium. We ask that caretakers sit in the back as students will be seated with their classes. FYI - 5th Graders who identify as Latino have the opportunity to opt in and share about themselves and their heritage. Kindergarteners will be performing “Que Bonita Bandera.”

Classroom Highlight: Jaime Vines - Math Workshop

In an effort to help families see what students do each day, I will highlight a different classroom in each newsletter. In Ms. Vine's 2nd grade class, the students were engaging in Math Workshop. Math Workshop is a class framework that allows students to practice mathematical concepts in multiple ways. The students are asked to demonstrate the math concept physically, visually, numerically and in written language. Seeing the students actually internalize the math by both using manipulatives and explaining their varied strategies to their classmates was amazing. Students who had a strategy immediately were challenged to break down their thinking and put it into comprehensible words. By really understanding the concept enough to put it into words, the students will be at a huge advantage in higher mathematics when memorizing facts is simply not an option. In other words, these Otters are going to rock algebra in 8th grade! Students who took longer to grasp the mathematical concept were given multiple opportunities to hear the process from fellow students and then try out a strategy on their own. I think parents would be surprised to know how many different ways you can solve 15 + 9!

School Site Council, SSC

You can have a direct impact on your child’s education. Join the dynamic group of parents, teachers & staff on the School Site Council, working to meet the learning needs of ALL students, improve school climate, and forge a strong Home-School Connection. The SSC helps write our annual School Site Plan and determines funding priorities for Oxford Elementary.

Please nominate yourself here to be on the Oxford SSC ballot. It's a two-year term and three parents/guardians are needed. We will meet via Zoom, at 4pm (day of week to be determined). The deadline for nominations is Thursday, September 15. Contact Elizabeth Cornwell if you have questions. The first official meeting with the 2022-2023 Committee will be on October 19th.

Oxford Representation Needed

It’s very important to have someone from Oxford representing our school on the following district committee. No expertise is required - just an interest in supporting the development of our BUSD schools. (The job can also be shared.)

We need a P & O Representative (Planning and Oversight) Committee. This District-wide committee, with representatives from every BUSD school, reviews and weighs in on the annual expenditures of two local taxes supporting education (BSEP &

BERRA). BSEP and BERRA provide about 25% of the BUSD budget. BSEP funds smaller class size, school libraries, music, site program funds, technology, and much

more. BERRA supports teacher recruitment and retention. Contact or email

PTA News

Thank you to all the community members who stepped up to be Classroom Coordinators. This is a vital role in our community, serving as a bridge for communication between PTA, Staff, and Families as well as fostering a sense of community within the grade levels.

Next week, Tuesday, September 12 at 6pm is our first general PTA meeting. At the meeting we will: meet the PTA exec team, officially vote on the budget, vote on our calendar of events, share volunteer needs, hear updates from the Principal, and offer time for Q&A from the community.

The Campaign for Oxford is underway! September is our direct ask month. Did you know we need to raise $140,000 to cover the programs and costs we love at Oxford? Only you know what would be comfortable for your family. A helpful guide post is an extra month of what you paid for preschool or a month of summer camp. You can also schedule a recurring payment - for example $46 a month for 12 months equals the goal per child. You can donate online at or by check made out to Oxford Elementary PTA - drop off in the blue PTA box in the front desk or mail to 1222 University Ave Berkeley CA 94702.

We will also host other fundraisers throughout the year such as the Read-A-thon and Giving Tuesday later this fall and our Auction and Raffle (if needed) in Spring in order to meet our goal.

Save the dates and get involved with these fun community building events!

  • October 4th - Walk N Roll to School - a national campaign to get to school by biking, rolling, and walking. Email Matt Hirsch at <> if you want to help organize this fun event.

  • October 4th - Math Game Night K-2 - the smash sensation is back! Grab some pizza and get ready to play while you learn. Email Mr Pistrang at <> if you want to help volunteer at this event.

  • October 22 - Harvest Fair - the return of the GOAT. Oxford’s beloved event is coming back. Guess the weight of the pumpkins, carnival booths, BBQ, and MORE! We need your help to bring it back. Email <> if you want to join the joyful crew.

Oxford Directory - The PTA has compiled an Oxford Directory which can be found on the website - - same password as class lists for both the page and the directory PDF. The directory is meant to help connect families within Oxford. It is an OPT IN only service. It will be updated monthly. If you submitted information last year or the year before, it was automatically moved to the grade and class your child/ren is in now. There is no option to share an address, only phone numbers and emails. Share only what you feel comfortable sharing. The directory is only accessible on this website on this password protected page. In an effort to be green, we will not be printing the directory. We kindly ask that you do not share this information outside of the Oxford community. If you have not submitted information, please do so at this form Oxford Elementary Directory. If you have more than one child, please submit a separate entry for each child. If you would like to make edits, including removing any information, please email the PTA at

Last few days to raise money while shopping at Sports Basement. Select Oxford as your charity of choice when you’re a Basementeer.

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