Starting tomorrow: Get some birthday gifts or check off some early holiday shopping items at Mrs. Dalloway's, and 20% of your pre-tax sales will be given back to Peralta! Everything in the store applies to the fundraiser: books, merchandise, gift certificates…..everything! Online purchases also qualify, so forward this to family and friends – the more the merrier!

  • Event Dates: Friday – Sunday, November 11 - 13
  • Where: Mrs. Dalloway’s, located at 2904 College Ave. (Elmwood) or online at
  • What to do: It's easy! Purchase items in store or online during the dates above and save your receipt!

All receipts due Friday, November 18 – Submit:

AuthorSteve Mundro


Stephanie Vollmer's Big, Bouncy Dreams

One person was shocked when Stephanie Vollmer said she wanted to become a teacher — her mom.  “Because she knows I don’t like to read, ” said Ms. Vollmer. 

Ms. Vollmer’s declaration caught me by surprise. A teacher who does not read for pleasure? What a brave thing to admit. 

Later, she clarified, “I do read, if there’s a topic I like. It took me years to get there. Here at Peralta, kids get to choose books that interest them.  They read at their own paces.  That’s great.”  

Turns out that Ms. Vollmer is a mom, with two kids herself, plus a full time job teaching our kids.  So, that spare time to fill with life’s pleasurable pastimes?  Not so much. 

Ms. Vollmer had no trouble recalling a traumatic incident from her 9th grade year.  She has a roundish birthmark on her leg that caught the attention of an older, male student, who asked if it was a coffee stain. Instead of supporting teenage Stephanie and helping her with this fellow student, the teacher — not a paragon of sensitivity — called her “coffee stain” for the rest of the year. Mortifying. 

On the other side of the mortifying scale, the one that tilts more toward funny, she shared The Curious Incident of Ladybugs in the Pocket, from her 4th grade year.  

She and her three best friends were in the same class, at a school with a large grassy field. At recess, they’d go out looking for ladybugs, collecting and storing them in a container (with air holes!) in someone’s pocket, to be released at a later recess or after school.  

One day, the container cracked open releasing a swarm of ladybugs into the 4th grade classroom. Young Stephanie felt terribly guilty that they had brought the ladybugs in, and that one of her friends was going to get in trouble for it. Thinking quickly, she told her teacher that she had a piece of cookie in her pocket that must have attracted all those insects. 

The teacher either bought the cookie story or decided to reward her creativity. She let the incident slide. “I liked to talk to my friends in class, but I was helpful and a hard worker, ” Ms. Vollmer offered, by way of explanation. 

In her own classroom, if money were no object, she’d get rid of all the chairs, putting the kids instead on big bouncy stability balls, to help students move around more within the confines of the classroom. Then she’d knock out walls and replace them with windows, letting natural light illuminate the space.  

“I love working with kids,” she shared. “I felt a calling, even though I liked the idea of other jobs. Every day, when I come home, I’m happy.  It’s very busy, but I need to be busy.” 

That's it, friends. That's all the new teachers. If you missed any (really! how could you!), you can find them in previous issues: Madeleine McGuire (5th), Megan Larranaga (5th), and Natalie Ashby (3rd). Look for the profile of our Edible Garden Manager (with secret hidden contest), below. In the next issue, we'll move smartly along to our new School Secretary. 

I would love to move on to other topics, but I can't

Even More about Middle School

I am duty-bound to share all the information, not just pelt it with witty repartee. And besides, I promised.   

1) Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:30-8pm, Middle School Information Night
Peralta Multipurpose Room 

Parents talk about their children's (and their own) middle school experiences and choices. 
Note: the Peralta calendar incorrectly lists this event on Wednesday Oct. 26th. But hey, stuff happens. Things change. This date is the real deal. 

2) Saturday, Oct 22, 2 - 4:30pm, Claremont Middle School Future Families Open House
Claremont Middle School, 5750 College Avenue

Come see where locals have been sending our offspring to get educated since 1916. While you’re there, hear from students, faculty, and administrators about life at Claremont.

Register here
(You can, of course, show up without registering, but the event's planners would really like to know who's coming in advance)

Cherries to persimmons, and lots in between

Miracle(s) on 63rd Street

Pantaleon Florez, Peralta’s new Edible Garden Manager, tells me that soon, the salad bar at Peralta will be stocked with lettuces that our children have grown themselves, on our own schoolyard. Editor: This is my goal at home, too, but between persistent hungry critters (no, not my child, I mean the wild kind) and the life changing magic of my own short attention span, I have not been able to make it happen.

But wait, there’s more.

When he looks at our school through the magic, money-is-no-object future vision glasses I lent him, he sees a school ringed in fruit-bearing trees, ripening in succession from spring cherries to fall persimmons. But first (magic glasses off), the TB testing and the fingerprinting — the current welcome mats for school workers and volunteers these days.  

‘Edible Garden Manager’ seems like one of those job titles that straightforwardly describes the work at hand, but that’s not necessarily the case.  Pantaleon explains his work as falling into four main sub-groups:
• giving students hands-in-dirt experience with gardening
• educating students about edible and (medicinal) plants and herbs
• leading gardening activities in after-care
• collaborating with teachers on garden research + practice in their classrooms

To wit on this last bullet point, the salad bar lettuce miracle will actually result from a joint research project with both 5th grade classes.  Half the kids will plant lettuce starts indoors/half outdoors.  That way, kids can test the conditions that produce the tastiest and best lettuces and also monitor the potential impact of local critters. 

In a larger context, Pantaleon would feel proud to be known as “someone who contributes to the intersectional liberation of all peoples.” 

Asked to tell me more about ‘intersectional identities,’ he credited the writings of civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. Crenshaw coined the term to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. 

“Intersectional identities cross through all aspects of human identities (gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, and so on.) Intersectional liberation means that every piece of the identity pie will be recognized and allowed to flourish and be free.”

He just returned from a vacation to his childhood home town of Topeka, Kansas, where he spent his time organizing, protesting, and visiting family. Here at his current home, he is continually looking to put in work for the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Given what you now know about Pantaleon, it’s time to play Two Truths and a Lie. Identify which of these three statements is a lie:

• Pantaleon’s second language is German
• Pantaleon works for a community food security project
• His full name is Pantaleon Florez IV

First to correctly guess by sending the correct answer here wins a personalized invitation to the next Garden Work Day, November 5th, 9am-1pm — sponsored by the 4th Grade, those denizens of the portables — and a Peralta bumper sticker.



  • Oct 14: Professional Development for the teachers. No school unprofessional development? — for your kids. And maybe for you, too.
  • Oct 21, 8:15am, Legalized drug-fest at school? Yes, it's time for another Brewing Community. Stick around @ the 63rd Street entrance after drop-off to caffeinate, eat pastries and chat about the Peralta Broadcast, or anything else that might somehow be more interesting. Proceeds benefit the school. Caffeine benefits us all. 
  • Oct 23, 12 noon: Walkathon. Have you ever tried to get your kid to hike or walk more than, say, a mile or two? Fraught with peril. Perhaps, like me, you've even used treats to motivate them. At the Walkathon, they'll all happily walk 4, 6 or 8 miles with their classmates. You get to outsource the bribery, I mean, incentives to the PPTG in the form of small, plastic doodads of little monetary value. Win-win. 


“I will always remember when the stars fell down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge.” 

Which classic children's story opens with this line? First person to send the correct answer to this address wins a personal reply — from me — and... a Peralta mug. 

Previous answer: Mathilda, by Roald Dahl
Winner: Elizabeth Dalia, in 3 minutes flat
Fun fact: Every correct entry accrues "frequent entry points." I have no idea what these will be good for, but they will be good for something. Trust me. 

Next SPECIAL issue should come out next week:  Walkathon edition

It's gonna be that good. Flash interviews with and pictures of a handful of the reasons we are all here, reading this email.

Next regular issue should come out October 25th.

Around 2pm. For those of you who feel really competitive about the Read Me challenges. Stay tuned. Tell your friends. 

The Diversity/Unity Committee wants YOU...
to eat tasty food

Leeks with Olives

Can't you almost taste it? Click here for the full recipe. The Diversity Dinner is coming. November 5th, 5pm. 


Raise your hand (honor system) if you want to spend your time reading a bunch of plugs. Right. Let us agree not to "plug" events. If, however, you have any school or class announcements, or interesting community events you'd like to share with your fellow Peralta-ites, please do email or forward the information to this address. We publish every two weeks or so. Kudos, complaints and scintillating ideas for future posts can go to the same. 

AuthorSteve Mundro

Peralta has been recognized  by Innovate Public Schools in their annual Top Schools report, which is focused on Bay Area schools that have been able to actively close the achievement gap for low-income and minority students, as one of the 41 schools that performed above state standards for all students in English and math. 

Click here to view the entire OUSD press release

AuthorSteve Mundro

Shop at 15% off + Free Shipping and Peralta will receive 15% of all sales!

Here's how it works:

  1. Shop from October 12-19
  2. Enter promo code SDF16PERALTA
  3. High five when we get a check for 15% of all sales (Hooray!)

Tea Collection is a children's clothing company based in San Francisco, California that makes globally inspired clothes for little citizens ages 0-12. Twice a year, Tea designers pack their bags and travel to a new destination, immersing themselves in every authentic experience they can find. Then they come back to design, draw and create beautiful, modern and comfortable clothing. Tea Collection partners with 10 different factories around the world, all of which they have had a long-standing relationship with. Every single Tea purchase gives back to the Global Fund for Children, a Tea partner for 12 years. School Days is Tea's bi-annual fundraiser that focuses on giving back within the U.S.. Each season, Tea partners with over 400 school and non-profit organizations to give back more than $50,000. 

AuthorSteve Mundro

September 27th, 2016


Let's Talk about Ashby

I do not mean the street.

One Crazy Summer.  

Does that describe the past three months for you?  

For Natalie Ashby, Peralta’s new 3rd grade teacher, it’s the title of her most recent read, a book she may use in her classroom at some point.  In it, Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland in 1968 to meet their mother, who they believe had abandoned them. They arrive in California expecting Disneyland, but instead, their mother sends them Black Panther Day Camp. The three girls learn a lot about their family, their country, and themselves during that summer.

Ms. Ashby, fresh from her graduate education, reads widely for pleasure. Currently she's enjoying books at the third grade level, with an eye to her classroom — to wit, The One and Only Ivan, and Flora and Ulysses. But it’s One Crazy Summer, historical fiction, that has really lit her fire. 

“I love the local connection, and I’m passionate about history,” affirmed Ms. Ashby. 

In conjunction with the third grade history curriculum, Ms. Ashby will train her students to look directly at historical artifacts, make observations about them, and then use their observations to hypothesize about historical events. 

It wasn’t a given that Ms. Ashby would find her way to teaching.  She ruefully recalls an unfortunate slowness with Fast Facts (memorizing multiplication tables) as well as fighting the beast known as cursive handwriting. She also started Kindergarten following a stint abroad which left her with a thick British accent. The accent (would she would lose, courtesy of speech therapy) plus her natural shyness discouraged her from speaking much in class — a significant hurdle for a grade school student.

Later in life, the dance world almost claimed her. She worked as a dance and creative movement teacher for many years. She’d like to bring the creativity she drew upon in the dance world into her teaching practice, incorporating  creative movement whenever possible.

In her dream classroom, every student would use an iPad, to help them assess themselves and reflect upon what they have learned.

The pipeline of new teachers coming in to Peralta keeps delivering.  See also previous profiles of Madeleine McGuire (5th), and Megan Larranaga (5th). 

Breaking news

School Secretary Successfully Selected 

If you were at back to school night, you heard Ms. Costello recount how she inadvertently scared off an applicant by explaining a few parameters of the job. Then, she asked him why he wanted a job like that. Turns out, he didn't.

Ms. Costello left him to try some tasks, while she went to handle a few other things. When she returned, he had vanished. 

But now, a worthy candidate has accepted the job. Helio Rodrigues now sits in the hot seat. Secretary Emeritus Jan is working with him
to get him settled.

You could stop by to say hi. Or you could just wait until I get a chance to profile him in my own, gripping, probing way.

And now, the hotly awaited follow up to last issue's breaking news: 

Meet the Bushtits

Bushtits are birds.  They work collectively (awww) to make an elaborate hanging nest of moss and lichen assembled with spider silk and lined with feathers. They're the mixed-media artists of the avian world. 

These resourceful birds have chosen a branch of our pine tree, overhanging the sidewalk on 63rd, for their magnificent dwelling. Says garden worker Susanne Wiesman, "I have only ever found one, on display at a childcare center." 

This picture, though fine, doesn't really do justice to the nest. Susanne would be happy to show it to you and/or your kids personally. Contact her here if you're interested. 

We have determined that the Bushtits will not require TB tests (because they're pretty much going to avoid the kids) or fingerprinting, (mostly because of a distinct lack of fingers). 

“Middle school is kind of like Middle-earth. It’s a magical journey filled with elves, dwarves, hobbits, queens, kings, and a few corrupt wizards.”

Middle School: the Jan Brady of your Child’s Education

Opportunities to explore the exciting, malodorous world of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade are presenting themselves for your review. They're wildly raising their hands, desperate for you to call on them: 

1) Saturday, Oct 22, 2 - 4:30pm, Claremont Middle School Future Families Open House
Claremont Middle School, 5750 College Avenue

You’ve been walking by that light green building for what feels like forever.  Why not come in and see the school yourself? While you’re there, hear from students, faculty, and administrators about life at Claremont. More info to come.

2) Middle School Information Night @ Peralta (with information about many local school options) will be around the same time. Details later, when we have 'em. 

Upcoming Dates


  • Sep 28:  Immortalize that hair on film. Fall picture days for 3rd-5th grade. Last day to turn in picture forms for all grades if you want to avoid paying a $10 late fee. Who doesn't want to avoid that? 
  • Sep 30: Lice Check. Professionals from Nitwits will check your kids' heads for free. They will send a note home letting you (and only you) know if your child needs to be treated for lice. Permission forms for this have gone home.  More available in the office. Sign and return (with a YES or a NO, it's totally up to you).
  • Oct 4: It's free and could not be more convenient. Shoo the Flu day. Free flu shots (alas, no nasal spray this year on account of because it didn't work). Opt-in or out via permission slip which has already gone home. More available in the office. 
  • Oct 5: Walk/Roll to School Day. I know the other calendar says Oct. 4, but that calendar is wrong. Who are you going to trust... me or some faceless calendar interface on a website somewhere?
  • Oct 8:  in perhaps one of our more unusual pairings... Garden Work Day + onsite fingerprinting from LiveScan. Maybe, like me, your head is in the sand, hoping it will go away? It won't. All parent drivers for field trips, and any other unsupervised volunteers, need to be Livescan fingerprinted. Response floweth over — people are lining up to be fingerprinted at our children's school. $45 per person, cash or credit card. If the $ part is hard for you, contact Eleanor (PPTG chair) or Lilly (Oakland Ed Fund Volunteer Coordinator) for a scholarship to cover the cost. 


“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.” 

Which classic children's story opens with those lines? First person to send the correct answer to this address wins a personal reply — from me — and... a Peralta bumper sticker. 

Previous answer: The Snowy Day
Previous winner: Zoe Gladstone, faithful waterer of the garden bed in the Kinder courtyard.
Fun fact: At least one reader-couple competes with each other for the win. I'm not naming them, to protect the sanctity of relationships.

Next issue should come out October 11th.

In case you're keeping track. The next issue is just happy to be able to come out in the Bay Area, where we have a warm, accepting climate. Stay tuned. Tell your friends. 

About Peralta Broadcast

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 this address. We publish every two weeks or so. Kudos, complaints and ideas for future posts can go to the same. 

AuthorSteve Mundro