Berkeley Community Art Team event on Friday!

Hi Jefferson Parents!

I’d like to let you know about a great organization that works to provide great culture experiences for every kid in Berkeley public schools.  The Berkeley Community Art Team is having a kickoff event this Friday at Crowden School right next door – please stop by and let’s talk about what kind of creative world we can open for our kids!
Kim Bennett
(Russell, 2nd grade)

Access to the arts is an issue of equity for every child in Berkeley schools.

The Berkeley Community Arts Team invites parents, students, educators, school administrators, and community members to this free special event. Learn about the current arts landscape in Berkeley schools and what we can be doing collectively to improve it for all children.

Friday, September 26

4:30-6:30 pm

Crowden Music Center

To RSVP, and for more information, go to our Eventbrite page:

Event Schedule:

4:30 pm - Arts Organization Resource Fair

5:00 pm - Reception with light refreshments

5:30-6:30 pm - Event

Please share this invitation with others who care about the arts in Berkeley schools!

The Berkeley Community Arts Team is an alliance of representatives from the Berkeley Unified School District, local arts organizations, the City of Berkeley and members of the Berkeley community. Our mission is to ensure that all Berkeley students consistently engage in authentic, high-quality arts learning experiences that will inspire them to be confident, creative life-long learners. Find us on Facebook:


Berkeley Half Marathon & Jefferson School

Hello amazing Jefferson families~
Now’s the time to get excited about the Berkeley Half Marathon.  If you’re thinking about registering, & I really think you should, please do & consider joining our team.   I did this run last year & it was a blast.  If that’s not enough reason to run, did you know it is also a fundraiser for Jefferson Elementary School.  How cool is that?  We can run together & raise money for various school programs & field trips.  If you’re interested in running in this year’s event register here: Home – Berkeley Half Marathon

Home – Berkeley Half Marathon

A point-to-point race highlighting Berkeley: the city center to UC Berkeley and the beautiful waterfront. Choose from the 1/2 marathon, 10 mile, or 10K.
Preview by Yahoo

You can enter the 13.1mile or the 5k.  Worry not, you have plenty of time to train.  The event is Sunday November 9th.

Check out our team…there’s room for more.

Jefferson Elementary/Schools Fund | Berkeley Public Scho…

Joining the Jefferson Elementary/Schools Fund 2014 team allows 50% of your fundraising money to go directly to Jefferson. The other 50% will be donated to the Sch…
Preview by Yahoo

Hope to see you on the course,
Sean Keller
4th Grade Teacher

After School Classes registration deadline reminder

The final deadline for registering for the PTA after school program is this Friday, September 12th at 2:30p.m. Please put your forms in the green PTA mailbox in the school office. We will register students on a first come first serve basis.

Registration packets can be found online

and in the school office.


The following classes are closed:

Math Games (K)

Circus Moves (K)

Circus Moves (1-5)


The following classes are almost full:

Constructing Art (1-5) on Mondays

Mad Science

Act Up!

Constructing Art (K) Thursdays

Constructing Art (1-5) Thursdays

Photography (Thursdays)


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


Jana Vourgourakis


after-school classes: lottery results

The lottery for oversubscribed PTA After School Enrichment Classes was held last night and the following classes are now closed:

Math Games (K)
Circus Moves (K)
Circus Moves (1-5)
Junkyard Challenge with Legos (1-5)

If your child did not make it into these classes, you will be receiving an email shortly. If you do not receive an email it means that your child is in the class. (Class rosters will be posted on the PTA bulletin board next week)

The following classes are almost full:

Mad Science
Act Up!
Constructing Art (1-5) THURSDAY
Photography (3-5) THURSDAY

Registration continues this week on a first come first serve basis. The deadline for registration is this Friday September 12 at 2:30p.m. Please put your forms and checks into the green PTA mailbox in the school office.


K to College School Supply Give Away

The non-profit K to College will be giving away free school supplies and oral hygience kits to Berkeley Unified students eligible for the free/ reduced price lunch program.
The supplies will be given out Saturday, September 13, 2014, 11:00-3:00 PM at the Francis Albrier Community Center at San Pablo Park.

If you have any questions, please contact, Charity DaMarto at (510) 644-8991.
La Organización no lucrativa K to College estará regalando útiles escolares y productos para la higiene dental a los estudiantes del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Berkeley que son elegibles para el programa de almuerzo gratuito o a precio reducido.
Los útiles y los productos se van a entregar el sábado 13 de septiembre de 11:00-3:00 PM en el Francis Albrier Community Center en San Pablo Park.

Si usted tiene preguntas por favor comuníquese con Charity DaMarto al  (510) 644-8991.


Box Tops for Jefferson – start clipping!

Hello Jefferson Families -
Welcome back and for new parents – welcome! This year our school will be participating in the Box Tops for Education program. My name is Shauna Rabinowitz and I’m happy to serve as the coordinator of this program for Jefferson Elementary. Clipping Box Tops is an easy way for your family to help our school buy what it needs. Box Tops are each worth 10 cents and they can quickly add up to real cash for our school. This school year, our school’s earnings goal is $2000.00. I believe we can make this goal if we all pitch in and participate.
To help our school, just look for pink Box Tops on products, clip them and send them in to school – we have a collection bowl in the office now. For more information on the Box Tops for Education program and participating products and vendors (Safeway in one), and our school’s earnings progress, visit While you’re there please consider becoming a member and you’ll receive information on additional ways for our school to earn with Box Tops.
I hope you’re excited to help our school this year with Box Tops! It’s a way that all of us can give. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at I’m here to make our school’s BTFE program a success this year.
Thank you for your help!
Shauna Rabinowitz
Jefferson Parent

Lottery Deadline this Friday for PTA after school classes

Just a reminder that the Lottery Deadline for oversubscribed PTA After School Enrichment Classes is this Friday, September 5th, at 2:30 p.m. 

Please get your registration forms in by then if you want to be eligible for the lottery. After this Friday, all classes will be registered on a first come first serve basis. Final deadline for registration is September 12th.
Registration forms are available online and extra forms are also available in the office while supplies last.

1st PTA meeting DATE CHANGE & childcare info for back to school night

Hello Jefferson families!
Our first PTA meeting has been re-scheduled to Tuesday, September 23rd. The time and place remain the same: 6:30-8pm in the school library. We will have Spanish translation and childcare available.
Also a reminder, that there will be limited childcare available for Back to School Night, on Thursday, September 4th.
If you plan to bring your kids, please check them into childcare upon arrival as the classroom visits with your teacher(s) are designed for parents and guardians only. Also, the after school staff is also not able to accommodate very young children and you may want to seek out your own babysitter if you have infants, toddlers or children under the age of 4.
Thank you!
Andrea DeJarlais
PTA co-chair

PTA After School Program Registration

Registration packets for the PTA After School Enrichment Program were sent home yesterday in your child’s blue communication folder. Classes this fall will run from September 22nd – December 19th.

The registration packet can also be found on the PTA website:

The deadline to register your child for PTA after school classes is Friday, September 12th  at 2:30p.m. Please return the signed and completed form along with payment to the locked green PTA box in the school office.

Due to the popularity of some of our classes, we will also hold a lottery for oversubscribed classes. The deadline for this lottery is Friday September 5th at 2:30 p.m. Please see the registration packet for more details.

As always, PTA-sponsored financial scholarships are available for those in need. All Jefferson students are given the opportunity to participate in our program. See the registration packet for details.

A note to New Kindergarten families: please wait until your child is assigned a permanent classroom teacher before registering– we need this info on the registration form. Transition Kindergarteners are not eligible for the PTA After School Enrichment Program.

We have three new coordinators running the PTA After School Enrichment Program this year: Prashant Jawalikar, Erik Wiener, and Jana Vourgourakis. After many years of tireless work running the program, Shui Wong is passing the baton on to us. A big thanks to Shui for all of her hard work!


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program.

Jana Vourgourakis


Class Lists and Early Release


School starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 27th at 8:12 a.m.

Teachers will meet their students on the playground.

The class lists will be posted today at 4 o’clock. Please do not call or come to the school before 4 o’clock to check on the class lists. The District is still sending students to Jefferson at the last minute and we are working very hard to create balanced classes. Thank you.

Please note, the Ada Street entrance is closed. You may enter the school from the Rose Street gates or on Acton Street.

Also, Wednesday is an early release day. All classes are dismissed at 1:30 p.m.

And the school is closed on Monday, September 4th for Labor Day.



Jefferson After-school Zone Program Registration

Dear Jefferson Families,

Late registration for the JAZ Program will be held this upcoming Tuesday, August 26th, in the Cafeteria from 8am-1pm. Enrollment space is limited, we will be accepting applications on a first come first serve basis.  Attached to this email is the 2014-2015 registration form, as well as the Parent/Guardian Handbook. For any questions or concerns please email Rochelle Arucan at:
-Rochelle A.
Rochelle A. Arucan
Site Coordinator
Jefferson Elementary J.A.Z
(Jefferson Afterschool Zone)
1400 Ada Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510)644-8763  (phone)
(510)644-6984  (fax)
(510)292-6210 (Cell)

“The BACR mission is to promote the healthy development of individuals, families, and communities.”

2014-2015 JAZ Registration



Come Meet Your School

Kindergarten & First Grade Play Date

When: Saturday, August 23, 2014

Where: Jefferson Playground

What Time: 10:00 – 12:00


Welcome New Kindergarteners and Parents
to Jefferson School!

Come to the playdate to:

  • Meet other parents and incoming kindergarteners
  • Talk with parents of 1st graders
  • Find out what to expect the first day of school
  • Get info on after-school care, PTA classes, and other school programs
  • Get answers to any questions you may have!!!!

This is a fun and relaxing event and we encourage all incoming kindergarten and first grade parents, guardians, students, and siblings to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!

Download Jefferson Helpful Hints 2013. This handout contains common questions—and their answers!—that parents of incoming students have had.


Jefferson School Rocks with BoxTops for Education

Dear Jefferson Families and Supporters:

We are now participating in and collecting “Box Tops for Education.” Please help us by sending in the Box Tops from various products that you purchase for your home. We all shop for groceries. Now turn those shopping trips into easy cash for our school, and encourage friends to do the same! Just look for the Box Tops logo on hundreds of products in almost every aisle of the store. All you need to do is clip and send them to the school — each one is worth 10¢ for our school. One box top can make a difference! For a list of products that have Box Tops on them visit:

And since we’re going into the summer, save them up in an envelope in your kitchen or office and you can submit them when school starts up again. We will have a collection box in the office.Together, we can all make a difference.

Thank you!



Jefferson Welcomes Incoming Principal, Sonya Martin.

From Maggie Riddle:

“Hello Jefferson Families,

I am happy to announce that Sonya Martin will join Jefferson’s staff as school Principal for the 2014-2015 school year. I’ve worked with Sonya throughout the years in BUSD and am delighted that she will become our school Principal. Below is a message from our Public Information Officer Mark Coplan introducing Sonya. I hope you will all join me in welcoming her to our great school community!


Principal Maggie”


Sonya Martin, Principal, Jefferson

For the past three years, Sonya has served as Vice-Principal at Willard. She most recently served as interim principal at Malcolm X. Prior to that, she was a teacher on special assignment in our Evaluation and Assessment Department, a teacher at Willard and Longfellow, and summer school principal. She began her teaching career in Oakland Unified School District where she worked from 1992 to 2002 as a full inclusion teacher.

One of Sonya’s colleagues describes her as, “intelligent, hardworking, dedicated, professional and committed to issues of equity in education.”



PTA Board Meeting May 29, 2014, with Mary Butler, BUSD Director of Personnel

PTA Board Meeting

May 29, 2014

Open Meeting with Mary Butler, BUSD Director of Personnel

Topic: Jefferson Principal Replacement

Discussion of principals hiring process for Jefferson.

Multiple principals in district have been promoted. Opportunity to paper screen on Friday, May 30th.

Public Agency. Every applicant must answer the same questions. Monday June 2, 2014 Interview panel. Writing sample submitted as part of the application. Panel includes 3 teachers (Angela Reed, Wendy Fong, Mary Kasden), classified representative, other site principals, 3 Jefferson community members.

Final Interview with Superintendent on Wednesday June 4th. Superintendent, assistant superintendent, board member, facilitator, union member.

Supervisor of the new principal will be Maggie Riddle.

If unanimous panel, they will be forwarded to the Board. If not a unanimous panel, they will go back out and re-announce the position.

Open Discussion of: What qualities do you want in your new principal? Characteristics of principal needed at Jefferson

Official date of hire is July 1. Officially back to work 2nd Thursday in August. Principals typically start earlier.

Jefferson Parent Group Representatives


  • Miriam Velasquez
  • Jamaica Moon
  • Patricia Mok
  • Valerie Kratzer
  • Erin Branagan
  • Peter Ross


3 individuals will be chosen. If second round of interviews is required, additional members will participate.

Meeting switched to PTA Business.

Motion: Motion to reinsert funding for teacher retreat of $2000 into budget for 2014/15 year.

Discussion: This will dip us below the $30k reserve in our budget. Plan is to include in the 2014/2015 fall meeting discussion about rules/plans for use of the reserve so as to have long term guidance for when we can dip into the reserve. Members felt use of the funds for this purpose was essential to support transition of a new principal.

Passed Unanimous.


Additional Discussion: How can we provide support to the new Principal?

1)     Meet with them over summer and explain programs in place (eg. JefferSons and daughters)

2)     Back to school bbq

3)     Connect principal with kindergarten playdate

4)     Share action plan from community meeting with new principal (SGC report) and talk through the content with the SGC.

5)     PTA budget for teacher retreat; revise the PTA budget for that

6)     Ask principal to do drop in hours weekly (parents can sign up)


Meeting Adjourned at 8PM.



The Search For A New Principal

With the news of Maggie Riddle’s promotion to Director of Schools, BUSD has reached out to the Jefferson PTA to have a meeting to get the Jefferson community’s input on what questions they want asked in the interviews for the new principal.  The meeting has been set for May 29, at 6:30 pm in the school library.  Mary Buttler, Director of Personnel Services, will be in attendance to collect comments and questions at that time. There is no guarantee, but BUSD has said that the plan is to have a new principal by the end of school.

There will also be three parent/guardian representatives attending the interviews for the new principal.  We are currently looking at procedures to select the parent representatives and to find a group that represents the diverse community we belong to.  As soon as the process is decided, we will communicate that with you.
As new information becomes available, we will try to communicate it to the community in a timely manner.
Valerie Kratzer & Andrea DeJarlais
PTA Co-Chairs

Principal Maggie Riddle to Leave Jefferson

Today we should have all received the following letter from Principal Maggie Riddle.

“Dear Jefferson School Community,

I am writing to you to let you know that after 17 fantastic years as a teacher and principal at Jefferson School, I will be joining Superintendent Evans’ district team as BUSD’s Director of Pre-K to 8th Grade Schools at the end of the 2013-14 school year. I proudly share Dr. Evans’ and our school district’s goal to build World Class Schools where all of our children are engaged in and inspired by excellent teaching and learning and a supportive community of families.

We have worked very hard together over the years to build a model school where all students have the opportunity to succeed. We’ve joined together to create a school community that celebrates our tremendous diversity and comes together to ensure that our school is a place where our children are supported, inspired and educated to their true potential. I have been motivated and energized by our students, our community, and our staff.

In this new capacity, I intend to use my skills to have a greater impact on students and their families in Berkeley Unified. I will have the opportunity to impact education and equity for all students from our youngest children in our preschools to our middle school students, just as we have done together at Jefferson School. . I am honored to continue to work for the education of Berkeley students and will remain very involved with Jefferson.


The past 17 years have been some of the most rewarding years of my life. Our recent Community Meeting was a true highlight of our work together. We came together on a wonderful Saturday morning to engage in dialogue about the most important thing that we all share- our children. We talked about our lives, learned from each other and helped to shape our school’s goals for the future. Your SGC will continue this work and will prepare a report that we will publish in June that outlines and guides our next steps.  There will be many opportunities for you to get involved next year.

I salute Jefferson’s staff for their dedication and the “We can do it!” attitude that they bring to the school every day. In my career in education, they are the finest group of colleagues I have had the honor to work with.  I only have the fondest memories of my years here at our school.

In the weeks ahead, my focus will be to work with staff to prepare for the new school year and facilitate the transition to new leadership at our school. There is still a lot to do, especially as we grow in size and add on new students and staff.

I want to thank you for all of the wonderful years of working together, of friendship and of community. I love this school and will always remain connected to Jefferson.


In the meantime, I’ll see you on the yard, around the school and at Open House on Thursday, May 22!”



Maggie Riddle

Principal Maggie Riddle





Albany Family Bowl Day, May 25th from 10 am – 12 pm

The Black Families Group next scheduled event is just around the corner and I wanted to remind everyone of the “Albany Family Bowl Day” on Sunday, May 25th from 10 am – 12 pm at Albany Bowl.

This event is a fundraiser event that will focus on bring families together to have a good time. Half the money will be donated back to the school,  so please come out and Bowl for Jefferson! Tell your family, friends, and any one interested to come join this super fun fundraiser for our school.

Show up from 10 am-12 pm and let them know that you are there for the Jefferson School Fundraiser. It’s $12.00 per person to bowl , including shoes.  Please arrive between 9:30 am – 9:50 am to pay, get shoes, and bowl for Jefferson.

540 San Pablo Ave.
Albany, CA. 94706

If you haven’t been to Family Bowl at Albany Bowl, here’s a link with more information.



SGC meeting Wednesday, May 14, 6:30 pm

Dear Jefferson community,

The School Governance Council will be holding our next meeting this Wednesday, May 14, at 6:30 pm in the new library. Below is the agenda:

1) Approve minutes of May 5 meeting
2) Identify major themes from community meeting comments regarding school environment and school/parent partnerships
3) Decide on next steps to address main issues (parent meetings, info sessions, etc.)
4) Other business

All are welcome to attend. We hope to see you Wednesday night!

Erin Branagan
Jefferson School Governance Council


Family Bowl Day – A Fundraiser Event hosted by the Black Families Group

The Black Families Group next scheduled event is just around the corner and I wanted to remind everyone of it the “Albany Family Bowl Day” on Sunday, May 25th from 10 am – 12 pm at Albany Bowl, in Albany.

The address is below:
540 San Pablo Ave.
Albany, CA. 94706

All you have to do is show up from 10 am-12 pm and let them know that you are there for the Jefferson School Fundraiser, and just pay the fee to bowl the fee is $12.00 to bowl, including the shoes per person. Please arrive between 9:30 am – 9:50 am to pay, get shoes, and bowl for Jefferson.

****This event is a fundraiser event that will focus on bring families together to have a good time, raise money for more cultural events at Jefferson, and remember half the money will be donated back to the school. So, please come out and Bowl for Jefferson school and tell your family, friends, co-workers, and any one interested that this is a fundraiser for the school.

I hope to see you all there.


Tameka Young-Diaby
(Black Families Group Member)