FAQ / New Family Guide
Welcome to the Peralta Community. Here you’ll find a few quick answers to some common questions.
- How do I find out what’s happening at Peralta?
- How do I get my child into Peralta?
- How big is Peralta?
- When does the bell ring?
- How do I find out who my child’s teacher will be?
- Is there before-school and after-school care at Peralta? How do I sign up?
- How can I get to know the Peralta Community?
- How do I join the Peralta Parent Teacher Group (PPTG)?
- You haven’t answered my question. Who can?
How do I get my child into Peralta?
The first priorities for school assignments go to siblings of Peralta students and to children who live in Peralta’s attendance area (check OUSD’s School Finder). If you live outside this area, you will have to go through OUSD’s options process, which begins in December. Tours for prospective families will be held twice weekly during the options period. Click here to learn more.
How big is Peralta?
Peralta is a small school, but with nearly 300 children, we are at maximum capacity for our campus. There are about two classes for each grade level, with a few mixed-grade classes for more flexibility.
When does the bell ring?
School begins at 8:30 a.m. Be on time — tardiness disrupts other students’ lessons! Children can be dropped off at 8:20 for supervised play.
Dismissal is at 2:45 pm except on Minimum Days, when the final bell rings at 1:30 pm. Minimum days are all Wednesdays and a few other days during the weeks close to the holidays and the start and end of school. Check the calendar for the holiday and minimum day schedules.
How do I find out who my child’s teacher will be?
Principal Giselle Hendrie will post class lists by the 63rd Street entrance after 5 p.m. on the evening before school starts. She will listen to parents’ requests before then, but has many factors to consider when assigning classes and will not make changes after posting classes. Luckily, there are no bad assignments at Peralta.
Is there extended care at Peralta? How do I sign up?
Peralta has asliding scale before-school and after-school program designed to serve all families regardless of income or scheduling needs. P.E.A.C.E. (Peralta’s Enriching and Creative Environment) offers care on every school day from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and the end of the school day (minimum or regular) to 6 p.m. after-school. A variety of enrichment classes are offered, along with homework time and unstructured play options. Click here for more details on P.E.A.C.E., as well as class schedules, registration forms and income requirements.
How can I get to know the Peralta Community?
Come to Peralta events! All are welcome at the Walk-a-thon, the Diversity/Unity Dinner, the Peralta Auction, and the Peralta in Bloom Springfest. Check the home page blog for more details as those events approach. Garden Work Days are generally held on the first Saturday of every month from 9am - 1pm. They are a great place to meet people: parents work, and the kids have a big playdate on the yard (occasionally pulling weeds or clipping vines). Parents often bring snacks and we always have coffee on hand. Check the calendar for details.
How do I join the Peralta Parent Teacher Group (PPTG)?
If you are part of a Peralta family, you are already a member! Parents, caregivers, and school staff are all welcome, and no dues are required. Meetings are the first Wednesday of most months. (Check the calendar.) Kid-friendly dinner, often cooked by the children in the after-care program (under adult supervision!) is nearly always offered. Childcare is provided.
You haven’t answered my question. Who can?
For an administrative question, call the School Secretary at: 510-654-7365.
Several other “veteran” parents have offered to answer questions from new or prospective families:
New Family Basics
Welcome new families!
No doubt you have many questions as you enter Peralta for the first time. On this page, we attempt to demystify some of the language/culture/procedures that have baffled others before you. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask someone!
- Common Abbreviations
- First Day of School
- Drop-off and Pick-up
- P.E.A.C.E. After-school program (Peralta’s Enriching And Creative Environment)
- Snacks and Lunches
- Classroom Volunteering and Field Trips
- Meeting with Your Child’s Teacher
- Room Parents
- Visiting Campus
- Official Communications
- Lice and Friends
- Lost and Found
- School Pictures
- Peralta Parent Teacher Group (PPTG)
- School Directory
- Why So Much Volunteering and Fundraising?
- First Grade
- PPTG: Peralta Parent Teacher Group. If you are at Peralta, you are a member!
- PPTG-LC: Peralta Parent Teacher Group Leadership Council. A group of parents/caregivers that meets to set meeting agendas and who are responsible for school-wide rolls. More information…
- P.E.A.C.E: Peralta’s Enrichment and Creative Environment (before and after school program). More information…
- SSC: School Site Council. A group of parents, staff and teachers that meets monthly to review the school site budget. The school district requires every school to have a School Site Council.
- CST: California Standards Tests. Standardized testing begins in 2nd grade.
The two Kindergarten and adjoining courtyard is referred to as the Kindergarten Pod, or K-Pod for short. It is just north of the school office. Each classroom has a sink and drinking fountain. The K-Pod has its own bathroom that the classes share. There is a small playground and garden just for K classes on the back side of the K-Pod. Kindergartners also use the full yard and larger play structures for recess.
Each Kindergarten classroom has a column in the courtyard where important information like snack and volunteer schedules, and field trip sign-ups are posted.
The office has mail slots on the wall to your right as you enter, where you can leave correspondence for teachers and staff, PPTG and P.E.A.C.E.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
School starts at 8:30 AM and lets out at 1:30 PM the first week of school. After that dismissal is at 2:45 PM every day except Wednesdays, when school lets out at 1:30 PM.
- A lunch box or bag (labeled with name) containing lunch and beverage OR tell your child they’ll be eating the cafeteria lunch. For the first week, don’t worry about sending money for lunch. The cafeteria staff will keep track of it and let you know if any amount is due once the free/reduced lunch paperwork is processed.
- A backpack big enough to hold a 9×12-inch Friday Folder.
Prepare your child for the fact that:
- You’ll come into class for just 5-10 minutes the first day. (If you say goodbye at the door the next day it is easier on all the kids.) The kids will hang up their backpacks and put their lunch in the lunch bin before class begins. Some of the coat hooks are pretty high, so you can walk them through the process the first morning.
- You’ll meet them at a certain spot after school; we recommend the courtyard. The courtyard is swarming with K parents that first day, so there is little chance of them slipping through to meet you anywhere else!
Prepare yourself for:
- A tired child, an untouched lunch, and spending an hour that evening going through the big packet of information they bring home so you can return it the next day.
Kids should not come to school before 8:20 AM, when formal yard supervision begins. However, the Peralta bell system may vary a few minutes late or fast. It’s best to aim on the early side to arrive by 8:30 AM.
When the first bell rings, all the kids (and parents too, please) freeze and stop talking. There are welcoming announcements. After that, the teacher on yard duty blows a whistle and the kids walk to their line.
The line numbers are painted on the blacktop outside the library. Teacher and/or teacher’s aid will come to the front of the line to lead kids into class.
Bells ring to indicate the start or end of class, recess or lunch. There is a different schedule for Kindergarten classes, lower and upper grades, so bells ring all day long and don’t always apply to your child’s class. Your child’s teacher will instruct them when it’s time to go to recess or back to class. Kindergarteners aren’t generally on the yard at the same time the upper classes are.
DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP
The entrances to the school are very busy at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. There is a drop-off zone on Dana from 8:20-8:35 every morning; children should only exit your car on the passenger side when a volunteer is present to open the door and help them safely exit the car. Consider walking or cycling; there are bike racks, in an area that the custodian will lock up during the school day, inside the 63rd Street entrance. The North Street entrance is “walk in” only; please do not drive down North Street unless you are a resident. Please drive very slowly near the school and be alert for kids darting into the street. Please do not ever block or park in the crosswalks even momentarily, and try not to make u-turns near the school during drop-off and pick-up.
There is not a security guard or sign-in/sign-out for the standard school day, as some parents are used to from pre-school. If your child becomes ill during the day, they will only be released to a parent or individual authorized by the parent. If your child is not going to the after-school program, you are expected to pick them up promptly at dismissal (or make other arrangements). Lower-grade teachers (K/1) will stay with children for a few minutes after the bell, or escort them to the office, until a caregiver shows up. However, dismissal time can be chaotic, so please be on time or make arrangements with another parent!
If your child is in an after school program, they will be supervised until 6:00 PM. Please check in with the program staff and use the sign-out sheet in Portable Classroom A (closest to Alcatraz Avenue) when taking your child home.
P.E.A.C.E. (Peralta’s Enriching And Creative Environment)
Peralta’s extended care program, P.E.A.C.E., offers enrichment classes and unstructured play time. Popular classes include gardening, origami, cooking and dance. You may submit an application for one to five days each week, morning and/or afternoon care. The P.E.A.C.E coordinator is Sherice Tyler, who may be reached by email or phone at (510) 502-4138.
On the first day, come by after school to show your child where to line up for the after school program, or arrange with another parent to help them find their way. It’s really busy with some kids going home and some staying, parents lingering and the after school programs getting underway.
Visit the P.E.A.C.E page for more information about P.E.A.C.E and enrollment forms.
SNACKS AND LUNCHES
Kindergartners have a snack mid-morning in their classroom. Parents will be assigned a snack day about once a month. Look for your assigned day on the columns in courtyard outside the Kindergarten rooms, or as a handout from your teacher. The teachers appreciate healthy snacks like crackers, fruit, cheese, water or fruit juice. Please prepare the food by cutting it up or portioning it out if necessary, providing plates, bowls and utensils as appropriate. The teacher has to distribute snack very quickly to the whole class, and there’s no time for food prep.
Peralta uses the multipurpose room as a cafeteria. Paying for the school lunches is flexible, often paid a few weeks at a time. Students can get lunch on credit if the family is behind on the payments, as long as they catch up later. Your child is not automatically served a standard lunch. They get to choose what they want from the available offerings that day. The official lunch menu is sent home monthly, but the actual menu may vary. School lunch offerings are moving in the direction of healthier fare (more whole grain bread products, low fat, etc.) The salad bar is available at lunch with offerings such as fruit, cheese, nuts and carrots. The salad bar is staffed by parent volunteers (and it is always hard to get volunteers mid-day, so if you can help, it would be greatly appreciated). You can visit your child at lunchtime to see the dynamic first hand – just sign in at the office first.
In 2016-2017, daily lunch prices were:
- Full-price $2.50 (includes salad bar)
- Reduced $0.40 (includes salad bar)
- Free $0.00 (includes salad bar)
- Milk without meal $0.50
- Salad bar only $1.00
Lunchtime is pretty compressed and is a time to talk to new friends. It’s not uncommon for packed lunches to come home untouched, especially the first week or so. They will be hungry when they get home. Kids in the P.E.A.C.E program will be served a snack (provided by the program).
CLASSROOM VOLUNTEERING and FIELD TRIPS
Before you can volunteer in the classroom or as a field trip driver, you need to meet Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) guidelines, which can be found here. Volunteer clearance can take several weeks. Consider starting now.
Parent volunteering varies a bit from class to class but in general, your child will bring a permission slip home prior to each field trip (anywhere from a couple weeks to the day before). Field trips usually require the kids to wear comfortable shoes for walking and bring lunch in an easily carried disposable container. The permission slip will provide details. Sometimes transportation is provided by bus, and other times by parent volunteers in private cars. If your child is being transported in someone else’s car, bring a car seat / booster if necessary. If you drive on field trips, you’ll be required to carry automobile insurance and have been cleared by OUSD.
MEETING WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER
In late August or early September, there is a “Back to school night” for parents only (no school-aged kids) to visit their child’s class and hear about expectations and schoolwork from the teacher. This is a great opportunity to get to know the teacher. In May, there is an open house for parents and students; at this point you’ll know the teacher, so the focus is on seeing your child’s art and other schoolwork and even checking out the other classrooms to see what environment they’ll be in the following year.
There are parent-teacher conferences in December and March where you will meet with your child’s teacher one on one to get an update on their progress. At these 15-minute conferences you’ll receive a formal progress report. Final progress reports are sent home on the last day of school.
You may want to ask the teacher how your child is doing or raise concerns at other times. You can schedule an appointment at any time during the year. Call your child’s teacher, leave a message in her mail slot (in the office), or arrange an appointment at drop-off / pick-up. Another way to learn what’s going on, in between formal conferences and appointments, is to volunteer in your child’s class from time to time.
Each class needs a few room parents. Room parents gather contact information for families in the class, pass along messages from the teacher (e.g., dates for field trips, information about class parties), take up a collection for teacher appreciation day and year-end gifts, and help coordinate other class events such as the class contribution to the Spring auction. If you like to organize people, this is the job for you! To sign up as a room parent, contact Sheafali Patel or Emma Armstrong.
Sign in at the office when you arrive and sign out when you leave. Don’t interrupt classes and activities or visit the class unless you’ve signed up in advance to help in the classroom. Lunchtime is a good time to make a short visit. You get to know the kids in your child’s class and encourage them to eat. Lunch starts around 12:00.
Official communications and notices will come home about once a month with an update from the Principal and PPTG about upcoming events and news from school.
As mentioned, you’ll receive a folder filled with communications from the school administration and PPTG the first day of school. This is YOUR HOMEWORK! Read through it all, sign off that you’ve received it and put any forms needing to be returned in the folder. Send this to school with your child. Their teacher will collect it from them.
Parents often bring cupcakes/cookies for birthdays and stay to help hand them out. Let the teacher know ahead of time that you’d like to bring treats and find out when the best time is. Inquire about kids with dietary restrictions; if you aren’t sure what to bring for them, check with their parent. Parents of kids with special diets might opt to bring a special treat for their child that day so they don’t feel left out (be sure to give them ample notice). If you bring treats for birthdays, try to make them manageable — easy to distribute to 20+ kids quickly with a minimum of mess. Provide plates, napkins, cups, beverage, utensils, etc.
A word about party invitations: please be cognizant of the hurt feelings that may result if you or your child is handing out invitations and not every child gets one. It’s best to be discreet and hand the invitations to the parents or contact them away from school, unless you’re inviting a whole class.
LICE AND FRIENDS
Speaking of gifts, you will receive notices when a child at school has a case of lice, ringworm, scabies, chicken pox, pinworm, hand/foot/mouth disease, etc. There are several such incidents each year and the notice from the school will tell you what to look for and how to proceed if you suspect your child is also infected. The most common of all is lice. Please check your child’s hair and scalp for lice regularly.
The PPTG also sponsors several free professional lice checks each year. The results of those checks will be discreet and confidential. You'll receive a notice from the school asking you to opt-in to the lice checks. For more information on lice and and current health alerts, click here.
LOST AND FOUND
Write your child’s name on the tags of their jackets, umbrellas, backpacks, lunch boxes and other loved apparel with a permanent marker. Label label label. We could clothe a small nation with the clothes that collect in the lost and found by October. Unclaimed items will be donated once or twice a year. Walk by the “lost and found” rack frequently to look things you didn’t realize you had lost! It can be found in the courtyard outside the library.
Your child will have school pictures in Fall.
To opt out of photos, send a note to your child’s teacher or the school secretary a couple days ahead stating that you’d like to opt out.
Kindergartners take some basic “tests” (e.g., letter recognition and sounds) the first month, one-on-one with the teacher, to use as a baseline for showing their improvement by year end. Kindergartners do not take the California Standards Test (CST); that begins in 2nd grade. The CST is the basis for school rankings, Title 1 Award and Distinguished School Eligibility.
PERALTA PARENT TEACHER GROUP (PPTG)
When the PPTG was formed in 1982, parents decided to become an independent nonprofit, rather than participate in the formal PTA organization. This allows us to maintain our independence and avoid fees and other requirements of the PTA.
Even if you have little time to volunteer or little money to donate, come to PPTG meetings. You belong there! Also, it's one more dinner per month that you won't have to think about or clean up. You are a member by dint of your child going to Peralta. There are no dues. Meetings are open to everyone and attending is a great way to learn about special programs, upcoming events, how PPTG funds are budgeted, district-wide matters and to hear from our Principal, Ms. Hendrie. You also get to meet other parents and put faces with all the new names you see. Dinner and childcare is always provided.
A directory of students and parent contact information is compiled and distributed in late Fall based on information you provide to the PPTG.
WHY SO MUCH VOLUNTEERING AND FUNDRAISING?
The Kindergarten year is a big adjustment for both kids and parents and it can feel overwhelming at times. Parental participation can be very demanding, but it pays off both for the kids and for the social interaction among the parents. Volunteering is fun, lets you meet other families, shows your child that their schooling is important to you, models community activism and much more!
There is a big push with fundraising at the beginning of the year, and people have wondered why there are back-to-back fundraisers right off the bat (The Peralta Fund in September and the Walkathon in October). The primary reason is to secure funds for the upcoming year – payments that need to paid on a monthly basis, even when it’s not a fundraising month.
Once your child is a student at Peralta Elementary, you do not have to re-register them to attend Peralta for subsequent years. You can relax (about that at least) until they go to middle school!