Welcome to the November 20, 2015 edition of the Peralta Broadcast!
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A Purposeful Hustle, Ms. Ana By Bryce Breslin
On a recent clear and warm afternoon, after the bell sounded across the playground to end another school day, Ms. Ana, Peralta's beloved 4^th grade teacher in Portable C, said her goodbyes and gently shooed a handful of lingering students out of the room. Their reluctance to go was evident – her room is imprinted with her own personal warmth, and teems with interesting tech, gear, and hands-on displays – but Ms. Ana had agreed to an interview with the Peralta Broadcast before she'd need to hustle to catch her ride-share home.
Hustle – busy, dogged, purposeful hustle – seems to be an every-day component of Ms. Ana's work. Over the course of our ten-minute interview, Ms. Ana received two work calls, one parent drop in, and one student visit, all after the final bell. "It does stay pretty busy," she said. This seemed to be an understatement.
Ms. Ana began teaching in the early 1990's in a bilingual school in Oakland (she's a Spanish speaker, having been taught mostly by her father, and she spent time in Panama in her youth). Teaching has deep roots in her family. Asked when she knew she wanted to be a teacher, Ms. Ana responds with amusement: "I didn't know I wanted to be a teacher, because my mom, dad, stepmother, and stepfather were all teachers and told me not to teach." But teaching found her.
Her own deeply held convictions are manifest in her teaching, and were woven into her vision of teaching from the outset. "I really felt that people of color, in particular, need to know a lot more about their histories, so that they can be powerful in society and feel strong and happy about where they come from… No matter what I was going to be, I felt strongly about doing that work in society. And I definitely think that together – the community, my students, and I – we have explored deep and meaningful history every year."
A broad smile spread over Ms. Ana's face when she was asked how she imagines her students might see her as a teacher. "I think that they see me as a complicated person who cares about the world. Sometimes I'm teaching them with an old-school technique, in an old-school way. And then other times we're on a boat together with wind blowing through our hair, all the way into outdoor education. So I think they see me as complicated because of that. They definitely know that I don't take any stuff," she added in a teacherly tone – stern but kind – that many parents will recall from their own 4^th-grade days. "I have a rep for that. A lot of students say, 'Yeah at first I thought she was really, really strict, but once I got to know her I started to understand what it was all about."
In her 12-year tenure at Peralta one of the largest changes that Ms. Ana has seen is in the area of fundraising. Recently, Ms. Ana secured a big grant from donorschoose.org, which, among other things, she'll use to provide tablets for her students. These will enable Ms. Ana's students to blend digital literacy with the Words Their Way curriculum, to carry out research, and, she says, "the best is that the science lab has been totally boosted up! It's now nicknamed The Mother Ship." Among other new tools she's secured for her students, Ms. A showed me hand-held microscopes that interface with classroom PC's ("we're on our fourth batch of brine shrimp"), a stereo microscope ("literally making our curriculum more accessible…the microscopic world is a theme we're going to continue with"), dedicated stations for observing the nitrogen cycle ("we watch together what's happening, it's exciting!"), a state-of-the-art sound system with conference mics for students ("the sound quality of this system has made a big difference already!"). All of this, and more that is being sent to Ms. Ana now, was secured through her grant-writing and fundraising efforts.
As we were wrapping up our interview, another call came from the office: a package had arrived for Ms. Ana's class, and could she come get it? Wading through the throngs of After Care students, she returned hellos with a dozen or so students and gave out two hugs. The package, it turned out, was another shipment of learning tools for her students, secured through her recent grant. The excitement on her face was easy to see.
Any final thoughts for the Peralta community? "I would just say keep doing what you're doing, and that we're so thankful for the support! It's just really powerful to be in such a situation... It's a special, a magical campus that we have here. The biggest part of that is the community. Thank you for helping us thrive.
Hunger In a Wealthy Land, Alameda County
Peralta Elementary is just one of countless schools participating in food drives to stock the shelves of local Food Banks. Every Fall, food drives implore people to give thanks and share the bounty - here in Rockridge that message carries special meaning. Despite being in the heart of one of the wealthiest regions of the country, one in five Alameda County residents will turn to the Food Bank at some point this year – far outpacing the national ratio of one in seven.
"With one of the highest costs of living in the world, a family of four in Alameda County needs to earn more than $86,000, just to meet basic expenses it’s nearly impossible for low- and moderate-income households to get by. That’s where the Food Bank comes in," said Michael Altfest with Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Altfest spoke with the Peralta Broadcast this week to discuss why food drives at schools are critical. "Children make up by far the biggest group of people we serve and our clients come from everywhere in the community, including Rockridge."
Food drives at schools are important to help gather a good variety of quality foods. It is also a way for kids to understand hunger, get involved, and be a part of the solution.
The Food Bank’s current strategic plan is to provide 90 million meals annually—ensuring every food insecure person in Alameda County has at least one healthy meal per day—by 2018.
Update on UNICEF Halloween Efforts By Desi Evans and Jaylonnie Idelson
You guys are not going to believe that we raised $500.64. This means that we can get a water pump for a school or village so that they can have clean drinking water and sink water. If there is $5 left we can get a soccer ball for a child that has nothing to play with. We raised money from this doing Halloween trick or treat for UNICEF.
Note: The Peralta Broadcast welcomes and encourages news submissions from students. Please email us at PeraltaBroadcast@PeraltaSchool.org
Rockridge in the Snow - November 28th
We haven't much rain but what is to stop us of dreaming of a White Christmas? Saturday, November 28th from 3-6pm merchants on College Ave will host "Rockridge in the Snow" to celebrate the holiday season. Snow will be trucked in to the BART parking lot and Santa will make a visit to hear wishes and check his naughty list. Pony rides and live music will also be featured, along with a Warm Coat and Toys for Tots donation drive.
The Drive to Claremont Claremont MIX and MINGLE II Fri, Dec 4, 2015 5:45-8pm, 5506 Taft, home of Chabot/Claremont parents Maxi Lilley and Eric Faurot There will be another chance for families still exploring their middle school options to get an inside look at what life is like at Claremont and for the families of students who are definitely headed for Claremont to get serious about joining and building the Claremont community. Mr. Mayer will attend to describe his progress and vision for the school and to take questions. Light fare will be provided. This event is for adults only.
School Tours at Claremont December 8 & 15 8:45-10:15 am at Claremont
A chance for parents and families of prospective students to take a guided look at Claremont during the school day. Sign up at http://peraltaschool.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7c1e8ec8a4cc5f87a6964cac9&id=4ea857bf71&e=453c95996e or for more information, please contact Lyn Hikida at firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) or M’noa Moore Lawrence at mm2010L@gmail.com (mailto:mm2010L@gmail.com) .
December Events at the Rockridge Branch Library
- Regular story times on Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:30 am for children ages 0 to 7 years.
- Make a holiday gift for backyard wildlife on the first Saturday in December, 12/5, at 2:00 pm; biodegradable, all natural bird feeders. All ages welcome.
- Unusual jewelry making for teens afterschool on Wednesday, 12/9 at 2:00.
- Play Well Lego Party on Tuesday, 12/8 at 6:00 pm.
- Finding something good to read - everyday
The Peralta Broadcast attempts to go out weekly during the school year. If you have any school or class announcements, or interesting community events you'd like to share with the Peralta family, please email or forward the information to Kena Hudson at this address (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Peralta%20Broadcast) .
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