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)


Thank you from the PTA for a wonderful Mayfair

Thank you Jefferson families for turning out on Saturday, May 3rd for a wonderful Mayfair! The kids spent the sunny day sliding down the bouncy slides, enjoying snow cones, crepes and carnival games. Kids and adults alike poured over the fabulous plant, book and bake sales. This year’s Mayfair made $20,500 and was a great time for all!  Many thanks to all who volunteered their time to make it such a successful FUNdraiser!!


Jefferson Giving Campaign – Matching gifts!

We all love Jefferson. We know you do, because we saw so many of you at the community meeting and Mayfair, and because of all the things you do to make Jefferson great: helping out in your child’s classroom, volunteering with the PTA, on the yard, in the garden, helping plan one of our many school events, and being involved with your child’s education.
            We need your help now to keep Jefferson great. As you probably know, Jefferson will welcome more than 80 new students in the fall. Unfortunately, we still don’t know how much money the school will have for next year! This is why we are asking for your help now with the Giving Campaign, to make sure that the Jefferson PTA has the funds we need for next school year.
            Without PTA funding, we could lose many valuable programs,including P.E. classes for our incoming kindergarteners: there would be no organized P.E. classes or supervised playground activities, which are critical to keeping kids safe and active as the school grows. We could also lose many of the support services for students and families, including parent workshops, the literacy coach, field trips, and counseling. We are hoping to offer parent workshops on the Common Core and our new math curriculum which so many of you asked for at the community meeting.Without your help, we can’t do that.
            The PTA raises more than $100,000 each year, almost of third of which comes from the Giving Campaign.  Your support is especially important now.
            A group of Jefferson families have stepped forward to double every dollar raised between now and May 31st, up to $12,000! Just think: your gift of $10 becomes $20, $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200, and $1,000 becomes $2,000. And that $12,000 becomes $24,000 for our students.
            Giving is easy! Just drop your check in the locked PTA mailbox in the office or donate online at www.jefferson.berkeleypta.orgYour donation goes directly toward resources for students and teachers, and other services for the coming school year.
Thank you for making Jefferson great!
Phil Polishuk (Will 2nd and Scott incoming K) and Magali Barbieri (Juliette 2nd)
Giving Campaign Co-Chairs
ps: Donations are 100% tax deductible!

Mayfair- Passport to Fun!

Mayfair is Saturday, May 3rd from 11 AM – 3 PM. 

Passports- new this year! We will have a passport making station (Sean Keller’s classroom). Take your passport around to at least 6 different food/game booths (excluding the main food one) and collect ‘passport’ stamps. Take your passport with at least 6 stamps to the book booth and redeem for a free book!
Raffle Tickets! 4 reasons to sell lots of raffle tickets:
1. Top ticket sellers win prizes
2. Great way to support Jefferson
3. Top class wins a pizza party
4. The more tickets you sell, the more Jefferson bucks you earn (good for carnival games, etc.)
If you have sold all your raffle tickets, more are available in the office, with your teacher or contact
Volunteer- this is a large event and we need a lot of help but only for a short amount of time. Go to volunteer spot to sign up for something the day of or to sell raffle tickets prior.

We’re using VolunteerSpot (the leading online signup and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming activity.

Please sign up for Mayfair 2014 – here’s how it works in 3 easy steps: 

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.



Passport to Mayfair coming this May 3

Dear Jefferson Community,

Mayfair is just around the corner on May 3!  Our VolunteerSpot page is set up, and ready for volunteer sign-ups.  If you follow the directions below you can see our spreadsheet of volunteer shifts.
Some activities are run by a classroom, and others are available to the whole community.  It’s time to start browsing to see what might work for you.
–Sign up for a shift in your child’s classroom activity
–Sign up for a set-up or clean-up shift
–Bake a cake for the cake walk
There is something for everyone.  If you know someone who wants to sign up, but doesn’t do email, they can contact me directly, (Ellen Rigsby, with children in Mrs. Wong’s and Ms. Angela Reed’s classrooms).

We’re using VolunteerSpot (the leading online signup and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming activity.

Please sign up for Mayfair 2014 – here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

Looking forward to our Passport to Mayfair,


Help sell raffle tickets

Hello Jefferson families!

The Mayfair is just around the corner.  I’m sure you’ve heard it’s one of our big FUNdraisers.  We raise the majority of our money through raffle ticket sales.  Thank you to those of you who are already selling the books of tickets that came home with your child.
We also sell tickets three other places and would love your help!  We sell:
Thursday evenings at the Cheeseboard
Saturdays at Monterey Market
Sunday evenings at Off the Grid food trucks at North Berkeley Bart
It’s great fun and even more fun to do with friends. So get a group together and sign up!  You can contact Mara or Magali and we can sign you up for a shift (60-90 minutes) or sign up easily at Volunteer Spot. 
 1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.
If you have any questions please let us know.  If you need more tickets contact Mara, Magali ( or see Tiana in the office.
Thanks so much for your help!
Mara, Magali & Margaret

Main Office building opening

Hello Jefferson Families,

The new office and library building are finally ready! As of Monday the main office will be in the new building on Acton St.  You can enter from the new office door by room 101. You can now enter the campus by the stairway and walkway on Acton Street. The stairs are temporary with the permanent stairs being finished in the summer.
The library is completed  but won’t open until the furniture comes in and all of the books are shelved.
Peek in the windows! The new building is beautiful!
As of Monday remodeling will begin in the old office area. There is a temporary wall on the first floor, by the old office, that creates a separation between the hallway and the areas under construction.
The best way to drop off and pick up your children is on Rose Street, not on Ada St. In the near future we will close the Ada St. entrance. I will give you advance notice about the closing of this entrance.
In the near future we will plan the grand opening of the library!
See you at school,
Principal Maggie


A huge thank you to all of those who made this Saturday’s Pancake Breakfast and CommUNITY meeting so successful! We had more than 140 parents and guardians there for honest and valuable discussions. This would not have been possible without the help of everyone involved: our amazing teachers, who not only stayed late on Friday to prepare their classrooms, but dedicated several hours of their Saturday to be a part of the event; the discussion facilitators who volunteered their time, the Cal BUILD volunteers, JAZ staff, and the many parents and family members who donated cooking equipment and helped us set up and clean up.
But most of all, this event would not have been possible without YOU, the parents and family members of Jefferson students who came willing to meet and talk with other community members about your child’s education, your hopes and concerns, and to build the relationships that make this such a wonderful community. Thank you.
So what happens next? The School Governance Council (SGC) will take all of the notes from the meeting, type and compile them, and write a report which we will share with the entire community; the ideas that came out of Saturday’s meeting will guide plans for next year and the coming years. Keep an eye out for that summary in the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to talk to Principal Maggie or me.
Erin Branagan
Jefferson School Governance Council

Reminder – Math & Science Night this Fri (3/14) @ 6:30 pm

Save the date! Jefferson’s annual Math & Science Night will be on Friday, March 14 from 6:30-8:00 pm in the cafeteria. Come and have fun with family math & science games and activities. This year, you and your kids will be able to:

–Build a crazy and complicated “Rube Goldberg” machine with 4th grade teacher Sean Keller.
–Look at the ordinary and extraordinary through a microscope.
–Graph your wingspan and compare it to that of other Jefferson kids & adults — and birds of prey.
–Build a bridge out of spaghetti with engineering students from Cal.
–Design an urban landscape with a mix of roads, buildings, gardens and parks — and then see if it floods when there’s a rainstorm.
–Learn about classroom pets.
–In celebration of Pi Day, discover how the circumference and diameter of a circle are related.
–And more!

For more information, please contact Mas Handa at