Oak Knoll School News

September 3, 2017 
 Otter W eekly
In This Issue
Join Our Mailing List
To Do
Checklist  for Parents 
> Donate to the PTO & MPAEF

> Attend Back-to-School Night

> Sign up for fun volunteer opportunities

Scroll down for more details on these & other items. 

This Week 

Tuesday, September 5
  • After School Programs Begin
Thursday, September 7
  • Back to School Night
    • 6-7pm 3rd-5th Grades
    • 7-7:30pm Mrs. Gracia Welcome Back 
    • 7:30-8:30pm K-2nd Grades

Looking Ahead 

Monday, September 11
  • NO SCHOOL - Staff Professional Work Day
Wednesday, September 13
  • Balclutha Field Trip (Becker/Emmert), 11:30am-10:00am (next day)
  • PTO Executive Board Meeting, 8:15am, Teacher's Lounge
Thursday, September 14 & Friday, September 15
  • Picture Days
Tuesday, September 19
  • Speaker Series, Safe Routes: Between Home and School - Why Safe Routes Matter and How to Make Them Happen, 6:30pm, Hillview PAC
Sunday, September 24 
  • MPAEF New Family Social, 3:00-5:00pm
Wednesday, September 25
  • Balclutha Field Trip (Austin), 11:30am-10:00am (next day)
Tuesday, September 26
  • Oak Knoll Parent Book Club, 8:30-9:30am
See the
Oak Knoll calendar for more important dates and events 
Back-to-School Night

Back-to-School Night will be held on  Thursday, September 7 , at the following times/location:
  • 6-7pm 3rd-5th Grades
    • Traditional meet in child's homeroom
    • Austin/Bulkin/Zeiser meet in the GYM
    • Clancy/Bouret/Tom meet in the LIBRARY 
  • 7-7:30pm Mrs. Gracia Welcome Back 
  • 7:30-8:30pm K-2nd Grades
    • Traditional meet in child's homeroom
    • Fujimoto/Lavezzo/Boatrigh meet in the GYM
    • Chan/Poole meet in the LIBRARY
Please plan to attend to meet your child's teacher, learn about the upcoming year in their classroom and grade, and sign up for classroom-specific volunteer opportunities. If you've volunteered in the library in the past, make sure you sign up again to be included in the schedule! A friendly reminder to arrange childcare for Back-to-School Night as this is a parents-only event. Please do not leave your children unsupervised on the playground. 

Oak Knoll Spirit - PTO & MPAEF Fundraising Kick-off
Oak Knoll staff, students, and parents gathered curbside on Wednesday to show their school spirit and kick off the PTO & MPAEF fundraising drive! Ollie was proud of his 
students and faculty, and excited to kick off another year of engaging families and encouraging them to donate to these two essential organizations


Five Facts About the PTO & MPAEF
1.   The Menlo Park City School District is "community-funded". This means approximately 88% of our school funding comes from local sources, including property and parcel taxes, and your support of our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF).
2.   Our PTO is a volunteer non-profit organization.

3.   It funds and organizes important school programs and activities, such as assemblies, field trips, the Science Fair, Science Olympiad & Book Fair, community-building events, communications, staff appreciation events, instructional supplies, and much more.

For more information about the PTO and to donate, please click here.

4.   Th e MPAEF is a parent-led non-profit organization, raising funds to support education in our District schools: Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview.

5.   It funds teachers, and comprehensive education programs in the classroom and in specialized areas such as art, music, drama, library and science.

For more information about the  MPAEF  and  to donate or pledge , please go to  mpaef.org/donate.

Thank you for your support!
Friday High Five
Friday High Five:  a new program to honor our hard working and compassionate students!

This year Mrs. Gracia and Mrs. Kessler will be implementing a program called the Friday High Five! At Oak Knoll we value hard work and compassion. Each week Friday High Five tickets will be collected from staff recognizing students that week who stood out and showed hard work and/or compassion. 

All the tickets will go into a jar in the office then on Friday, like a raffle, five tickets will be pulled out. Those five students will be called to the office and honored by their principals. We might even call their parents to share the highlight and connect! This is a great way to end the week with a big high five and special recognition.

If you are driving your student(s) to/from school, please take a moment to read these safety tips.

  • Drive vigilantly around our neighborhood showing consideration for bikers and pedestrians


  • Park only in designated parking areas
  • There is no parking or stopping on many streets around school during drop off and pick up times. You will be cited by the police
  • Park straddling the gutter to leave room on the right for pedestrians
  • Always check for bikers and pedestrians before opening your car door
  • There are limited visitor parking spaces in the school parking lot. Please do not park in the fire lane, reserved spaces or spaces not designated for parking
  • For more information and maps on parking please click here.
  • To enter the drop-off/pick-up line, you must turn onto Oak Knoll Lane from Oakdell Drive
  • Please be courteous and alternate cars from either side when cars are backed up
  • You may NOT enter the carpool queue from White Oak Avenue, Oak Avenue, or by turning left into the parking lot on Oak Knoll Lane
  • No left turn/no U-turn is allowed during drop-off and pick-up times from White Oak Drive at Oak Knoll Lane. During this time, it is illegal to merge into the carline from this intersection
  • Pull all the way forward in car line for drop-off, allowing cars to pull in behind you
  • Drivers may not leave their cars to assist exiting children. Volunteers or staff will assist your child if needed
  • Do no text while in carline
  • For more information and a diagram on carline procedures please click here.
After School Programs start Tuesday, September 5. Last minute sign-ups are happening now. 

We are excited to offer a  Mandarin Chinese class this fall. This fun and engaging class is open to beginners as well as those who have experience.  There is a minimum enrollment requirement to offer the class, so please consider enrolling today!  Classes are Thursday 1:30pm-3:00pm. 

To learn more about class details please check the ASP webpage.
The Otterwear store is open! G et your Oak Knoll spirit wear with this year's great customizable collections. Get creative and personalize your Otter style today. Mrs. Gracia's new footwear was spotted at school last week!

Free Books Give Away
Hillview Middle School will be giving away for free our obsolete and damaged instructional materials, textbooks and English language novels at their Back to School Night, September 14, 2017 from 6:30 - 8:30, 1100 Elder Avenue, Menlo Park. 
The showing will be located on the Hillview campus facing Santa Cruz Avenue between the Gymnasium and our D building.   Books and materials are free for the taking. Come with your own bags and enjoy our collection of books that are looking for a new home!

Between Home and School - Why Safe Routes Matter and How to Make Them A Reality

A talk and panel discussion including Jen Wolosin, MPCSD parent and Founder and Chair, Parents for Safe Routes; Kirsten Keith, MPCSD parent and Mayor of Menlo Park Mayor; and Bianca Walser, Menlo Park Complete Streets Commission Chair

Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 6:30pm

In 1969, 50% of kids nationwide walked or biked to school and enjoyed the benefits of healthier bodies and minds, increased independence and confidence, and greater community connectedness. In contrast, just 13% of American kids walked or biked to school in 2009. If you're tired of driving your kids less than a mile to school, and/or are worried about traffic and safety on the streets, come learn how your fellow parents are advocating for children in our community to be able to walk and bike to school safely, and be inspired to join the Safe Routes movement. A Q&A period will follow the talk and panel discussion.

To learn more about the Parents for Safe Routes organization and find out how you can help, visit their website at https://www.parents4saferoutes.org/ and read their newsletter
New to Oak Knoll? You're invited to the MPAEF New Family Social!

We look forward to welcoming all new families and those with incoming kindergartners to a casual Welcome Social on Sunday, September 24 from 3-5pm . You will meet our new Superintendent, Erik Burmeister,  for a discussion about our community-funded school district - how through local support our school leaders create comprehensive, innovative and best in class education offerings for all of our children.

Our goal is to make this a fun and educational afternoon for you. You will meet other new/incoming parents/families and hear from district leaders including school principals, school board members and MPAEF & PTO leaders. We will also have Daffy Dave entertaining the younger kids, games for the middle schoolers, and treats for all - please bring the whole family! 

Our goal is to make this a fun and educational afternoon for you to meet other parents and hear about what is happening at Oak Knoll and in our District. We will also have entertainment and treats for kids so please bring the whole family!   Click here to RSVP.
How do we get our kids to think beyond themselves in a world that is becoming more and more a selfie world.   Please join S chool Counselor Nicole Scott and School Psychologist Jenny Ryan this fall in a Parent Book Club with the book Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Dr, Michelle Borba. 

Our goal in reading this book is to help our students shift their focus from I, me and Mine to we, us and ours.   Each week we will   read a different section and then meet to discuss.  The meetings are low pressure and fun.  

We hope you can join us: September 26th, October 3rd, 10th, 17 and 24th 8:30-9:30am. 

Please email Nicole Scott if you are interested in joining.  The Location of the meeting will depend on the number of participants.

Mark your calendars for the Oak Knoll Fall Family Picnic on Friday, October 6, from 5:00-7:00pm in the big playground. Everyone is welcome to join in the community fun at this all-school event. 

More details, and food orders, to follow. In the meantime, for any questions please email  OakKnollFamilyPicnic@gmail.com  
Noteworthy Art 
It's that time of year again! 
Your child's art transformed into beautiful cards, perfect for all occasions. Your artistic children will be drawing their masterpieces at school in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout in  October for order forms. 

Any questions about this program should be directed to:

Susannah Hill, our rockstar MPAEF Director, is retiring and we are searching for a new rockstar to lead our team! We are searching for someone passionate about MPCSD and who believes in the value of providing an excellent public school education. 

The Director is responsible for providing leadership and operational management of the MPAEF to enable the organization to achieve its goals. Please  click here  for the job description and forward resumes to  info@mpaef.org. Feel free to contact Jennifer Dahmus for more information.
MPAEF Events & More
Want to help contribute $1,000's to your kids schools? Become our Volunteer MPAEF Web Master!
The MPAEF Web Master is a fun and easy volunteer job that can be done on your own time. The MPAEF web master will maintain the MPAEF web site, its content management system and the email capabilities on a virtual private server. S/He is also in charge of the  mpaef.org  domain. The time commitment from October to July is 0-1 hour per week. The time commitment for August and September ranges from 2 to 4 hours per week. The web master will:

- Administer virtual private server on site5
- Update web page layout and content for  mpaef.org  and subdomains via Drupal
- Manage email addresses and forwarders for  mpaef.org
Please contact Stacey for more information, we would love to have you join our awesome MPAEF volunteer Board!

Mark Your Calendar!
We have a lot of fun and exciting activities planned for this year. Make sure to add these to your calendar!

Building Community New Families Social - Sept 24, 2017 @ 3-5pm             
Community & Fun Dine Out in Menlo Park - Lunch & Dinner Oct 23, 24, 25, 26, 2017
Community & Fun Wine Walk on Santa Cruz Ave - Dec 2, 2017
FUNdraising Auction and Party - Mar 17, 2018
FUNdraising Online Auction - Mar 18-22, 2018
Building Community Schoolhouse Rocks 5K & Fun Run - May 20, 2018
New ways to catch up with MPCSD! If you're on Twitter, follow @goMPCSD for all the tweets and cute photos from district principals and campuses. And if you tweet, share your school story with  #gompcsd

If you want more details about upcoming initiatives and what's going on behind the scenes, videos of Board meetings are now uploaded to our website  www.mpcsd.org . Find our Twitter and Vimeo channel on the district homepage.  Let's get social.

Community News
To read about events, activities and charitable initiatives in the local community, please click here.

Community News
  • Cub Scout Pack 222 Ice Cream Social
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Ragazzi Boys Chorus Auditions
  • Ragazzi Boys Chorus' Music and Movement class open
  • Ongoing Study on Executive Function
  • Creative Art For Young Children 
Parent Education Series
  • Social Contagion: How to Catch Resilience, Lee Daniel Kravetz and Julie Lythcott-Haims
  • Clearing the Smokescreen: The Evidence on Marijuana,  Tauheed Zaman, M.D.
  • The Well-Balanced Student: Challenge Success, Stanford University
Community Service Opportunities
  • Family Hands-On Volunteering with the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center


Newsletter Details
Please send submissions to newsletter@oakknollschool.org  for Oak Knoll news and events. For the Community News, send submissions to communitynews@mpcsd.org. The deadline for both email addresses is by noon on the Wednesday prior to publication date

To read past Oak Knoll PTO newsletters, please visit our archives on the Get School News page.