Peralta School News

Megan Larranaga Re-ups

Portable D's triple threat: teaches, gardens and can make a tiny functional vehicle out of a butternut squash

Student teaching with Susan Killebrew last year whetted Megan Larranaga’s appetite for life at Peralta. Now Ms. Larranaga is back for more, as one of two new teachers heading up one of Peralta’s fifth grade. 

In her dream classroom scenario, she’d actually transform Portable D into three separate classrooms:  one with desks arranged for small group work, one outdoors (right in tune with her co-worker, Ms. McGuire), and one with all desks individually facing forward so everyone could see the board.  She likes to have students work with peers, but also recognizes that small group work isn’t helpful for all students.  


Getting kids outdoors appeals to her because she feels that we spend too much time indoors. “One of my values is to spend more time interacting with the natural world,” she stated.  Before coming to Peralta, Ms. Larranaga taught gardening at Harding Elementary, in El Cerrito. 

When I asked if she was going to get involved with our beloved gardens at Peralta, she laughed and said, “I’m definitely planning to, as soon as I get some projects organized.”

Ms. Larranaga vividly recalls the Vegetable Derby from her own 5th grade year in South Pasadena, CA. The assignment: to make a moving vehicle uniquely from vegetable parts (and bamboo skewers, because axels).  Her group hewed the body from the larger part of a butternut squash. It actually worked, she learned a lot, and was a lot of fun.  

If she could invite anyone in to her classroom for a day, she’d love to bring in Michael Pollan.  “He’s brilliant and very personable.  He has things to share that are important for kids to hear about the environment, our food, and our own individual impact on the world. But he’s not preachy. He might be my ‘celebrity crush’,” she confided with a grin.

In the long run, Ms. Larranaga would like to be thought of by her former students as someone who believed in them, who knew them as individuals. She appears to be off to a strong start. Let me tell you, Peralta community, the fifth grade is in good hands.  See also last issue's profile of Ms. Larranaga's co-worker, Madeleine McGuire

We are the 50% (well, on Monday, Sep. 12, we were)

Cloudy with a Chance of Ice Cream

Oh, the weather outside is frightening, but still, the idea of having AN ICE CREAM PARTY IN SCHOOL sends our kids to the moon with little bursts of childlike joy. As a card-carrying adult, I feel somewhat removed from just how much this prospect thrills them. But it does. 

50% of the families in our school have contributed to the Peralta Fund. Thank you, first 161 students and their families, for leading the way to funding all the stuff that the state should be paying for but can't because we shot ourselves in the foot with Prop. 13. Oops, there I go, foisting my personal belief rant on you. I meant, thanks for paying for the art, PE, classroom mentors, library, gardens, and field trips that help make our school special (above and beyond first class teachers and staff). 

Shout out:  Ms. Ashby's 3rd grade class is just ONE donor-family away from hitting the magical 80% goal. Way to make one of our new teachers look good, 3rd grade parents.  

Best thing about the Peralta Fund: gross = net.

Every other fundraiser Peralta runs will take money off the top of what is raised to cover costs. I'm just sayin'.   We need 80% of each class to contribute within the next two weeks in order to earn that ice cream party (with donated supplies) that is looming so large in the eyes of your kid. 

If you can, please contribute.  Any amount counts and helps. Really and truly anything at all.  Here's the link to donate online. You can also contribute by cash or check (take them to the Peralta office) if the whole online thing doesn't work for you. 

Heads up: nipping at the heels of the Peralta Fund is... the Walk-a-Thon. Sunday, October 23, 12-3pm, @ Peralta.  

Breaking news

Bushtits at Peralta

Jury still out on how much it will cost to fingerprint and perform TB tests on these very special visitors. Peralta Broadcast will bring you the full story in about ten days or two weeks or whenever we have enough content that's fit to print, liberally defined. 

Get Fit

Come get fit, support the PPTG and meet other Peralta parents at a new group fitness studio in Emeryville. Core Society Fitness is offering a free class to all Peralta Parents (use the code "PERALTA") and will donate 50% of classes purchased by parents to the PPTG in the month of September.

The fitness classes are a 45 minute, music-driven workout designed to build strength, endurance, flexibility, and mental strength.  All the exercises are instructor-led and performed on a megaformer machine to promote controlled movements. The space is as welcoming as possible to help facility the community we'd like to build. Many parents already attend and it's only a 10 minute bike or drive from Peralta.

Core Society is offering free board game-focused child care to Peralta parents during any class you take on Saturday, September 24th. Come escape and sweat with us. Schedule your class here.

Will & Emily, parents of Isaac Roscoe (2nd grader)

Upcoming Dates


  • Sep 16: 8:15, how do you spell community? C-O-F-F-E-E. Stick around @ the 63rd Street entrance after drop-off to scarf coffee + treats and chat about the upcoming Lice Check, Pinworms or other appetizing topics, with other parents & guardians. All proceeds benefit the school.
  • Sep 26 & 28: are you going to wear THAT? Fall picture days. I am hoping my 1st grader loses her front tooth by then because that will look awesome. 
  • Sep 20: PSYCH! This is not the Lice Check. Never mind what the flyer said. See Sep 30, below
  • Sep 20-23: your kids will beg you for money to spend at the Fall Book Fair. In the library at lunch time and after school.
  • Sep 30: Lice Check. Professionals from Nitwits (plus parent volunteers) 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 will be going home soon. Sign and return (with a YES or a NO, it's totally up to you).

Read Me

    "One winter morning Peter woke up and looked out the window." 

    Which classic children's story opens with that line? In honor of Friday's Brewing Community caffeine-fest, the first person to send the correct answer to this address wins a Peralta coffee mug. 

    Previous answer: Charlotte's Web
    Previous winner: Elise Freytag, Peralta class of 2016
    Time elapsed between sending of Broadcast and receipt of correct answer: 5 minutes.

    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. Kudos, complaints and ideas for future posts can go to the same.