2241 Russell St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
WELCOME BACK to SCHOOL
September 11, 2009
Many things can wait. Children cannot. Today their bones are
Cheryl Wilson – Principal being formed....their senses are being developed. To them we cannot
Jill Wang – PTA President
say “tomorrow.” Their name is TODAY!. –G. Mistral
When I look into the eyes of our children, I’m always
Important dates wondering what they care about, what motivates them, and what we
TUES., SEPT. 15
can do to help them become the person in their dreams. I want every
PTA Meeting seed we plant in their hearts and minds to flourish, and I truly believe
5:45 - Free Dinner, 6:00 - Meeting this can happen with your help. I’m asking you to make a
Cafeteria. Free childcare and commitment to have your child at school every day and on time, to
Spanish translation provided. support your child’s education by reading and discussing books with
MON., SEPT. 21
your child, and to volunteer in the classrooms, on committees, at
English Language Advisory events, or whatever capacity you can to promote the success of all of
Committee (ELAC) meeting our children. I promise to serve you to the best of my ability, to listen
5:00PM,Library and respond to your concerns, and to help monitor your child’s
growth so that s/he excels academically in an inclusive and respectful
FRI., SEPT. 25
Celebrate LeConte Assembly
environment. The best times for me to meet with you are Fridays after
8:15AM, Auditorium 2:45PM. I can be reached by email at
(All parents & guardians, please Cheryl_Wilson@Berkeley.k12.ca.us. I attend principals’ meeting
attend!) every Wednesday morning from 8:30AM to 11:00AM, but I’m
usually at school every day until 7:00PM.
SAT., SEPT. 26
Multicultural Potluck You will receive this newsletter the first Friday of every
and Student Talent Show month. I will try to keep my message brief and focus more on
12:00 noon – 2:30PM, Cafeteria explaining the content: school wide and committee updates, special
TUES., SEPT. 29 events, etc.
School Governance Council (SGC) In this issue find out about:
meeting, 6:15PM, Library
Joining school wide/leadership committees: PTA, ELAC,
MON., OCT. 12 SGC, Coalition of Families for African-American Students
NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
Staff Professional Development School-wide news: New staff members, mission statement,
Day assessment, Mosaic Project fifth grade field trip, etc.
MON., OCT 12 - OCT. 16 Special recognition and events: Drought Resistant Garden,
Mosaic Outdoor School Multicultural Potluck and Talent Show, Students of the
5th Grade, 5-day field trip Month, Caught in the Act, etc.
Photos: previous fundraisers and our new garden
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NOTICES: SCHOOL CLOSED – Mon., October 12
(Staff Professional Development Day)
LECONTE LEADERSHIP COMMITTEES:
All LeConte families are warmly encouraged to participate on these committees.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Our PTA organizes important school events and fundraising programs, supports school-wide communication, and
organizes room parents. This work is crucial to our school because the events provide great ways to celebrate our
children and families, and fundraising activities pay for assemblies, field trips, student incentives, and supplies,
benefiting all our children. We encourage all LeConte families to participate in fundraisers and volunteer to help
whenever you can. You might be surprised to discover how satisfying it is to be involved! The first PTA meeting
is Tuesday, September 15th. A free dinner will be available at 5:45PM and the meeting will be held from 6:00 to
7:30 PM. Free childcare and Spanish translation is provided. Please contact PTA President Jill Wang (510-647-
5012, firstname.lastname@example.org) or any PTA officer if you have any questions. Contact information for the PTA is located
on our school website, LeConteOnline.org.
Coalition of Families for African American Students (CFAAS)
Three years ago, a group of families decided to form a committee focused on increasing the involvement of
African American families, networking, and sharing resources to improve the achievement of low performing
students. The group also coordinated events that honor the heritage of African Americans. The first CFAAS
meeting this year has not yet been scheduled. Please contact Principal Wilson if you would like to get involved.
English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC)
ELAC is an advisory committee that is required at LeConte based on the percentage of our students who are
designated as English language learners. This committee makes recommendations to the School Governance
Council regarding funds used to improve the achievement of English language learners. At LeConte, this group
has also been responsible for instituting cultural events, such as the Day of the Child and our annual celebration of
Latino Heritage held in December. This group meets monthly at 5:00PM. Elections for officers will be held during
the first meeting, Monday, September 21st. Future meeting dates and times will be determined at the first meeting.
School Governance Council (SGC)
This is a state-required leadership committee also known as the School Site Council. The SGC is responsible for
helping to develop our school site plan and making decisions about how we spend our Measure A and state and
federal funds in order to meet the needs of all LeConte students. Committee activities include evaluating the
results of the standardized tests; creating and analyzing annual parent and teacher surveys; and considering great
ideas for serving students at LeConte. This group generally meets once a month at 6:15PM. Elections of the
officers will be held during the first meeting, Tuesday, September 29nd. Future meeting dates and times will be
determined at the first meeting.
Family Advisory Council (FAC)
LeConte’s FAC is a new committee that exists to help answer questions about LeConte, proactively provide
avenues for parent to parent problem-solving, and help provide follow up information to parents about questions
that are raised. If you have a question and aren’t sure whom to ask, please bring it to the FAC by attending a
meeting, contacting a committee member directly, or putting a message in the FAC Suggestion Box located
outside the school office. For more information, please contact FAC co-chair Penny Peak at (510) 849-3202,
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New Staff Members
As a result of retirement, staff changes, and the expansion of our Two Way (Spanish/English) Immersion (TWI)
Program, we are pleased to welcome five new staff members at LeConte this year: Ms. Liliana Aguas, second
grade TWI teacher; Ms. Susan Katz, third grade TWI teacher; Ms. Loraine Woodard, fourth grade TWI teacher;
Ms. Linsay Klim, 4th & 5th grade science teacher; and Mr. Juan Zuniga, Resource Specialist. Principal Wilson
and a team of teachers held several interviews during this past summer to find applicants who were not only highly
qualified but offered expertise and experiences to enhance our school. Ms. Aguas has a background in
environmental science and recently completed a master’s degree in education with a focus on second language
acquisition. Ms. Katz is a children’s author and national board certified teacher. Ms. Woodard recently returned to
the U.S. after having taught for several years in Mexico and publishing lessons for the International Reading
Association. Mr. Zuniga was highly praised for his patience, support, and care of children with physical and
emotional learning differences. Ms. Klim also received superb recommendations for her commitment to teaching
and helping students develop a love for science. Please help us support and welcome our new staff members by
offering resources and volunteering to help in their classrooms.
Every school year begins with assessment, finding out the reading, writing, and mathematics skill and
comprehension level of each student; all BUSD teachers are required to complete these assessments. The results
are used to tailor instruction and make recommendations for intervention, where needed. The 2009 standardized
test scores are also considered when deciding who needs more assistance with learning grade-level standards. If
you receive a notice from your child’s teacher asking to have your child attend after school tutoring sessions,
please authorize attendance. This tutoring can be extremely helpful to students. Unfortunately, all children are
expected to achieve at the same level regardless of their readiness or previous preparation. Additional tutoring
allows students more time to learn, to solve problems with support, and work at their own pace.
Caught in the Act
Students, teachers, and families who demonstrate acts of kindness, respect, support, and compassion are given a
“Caught in the Act” card and may have their picture taken for one of the display boards in our main hallway. This
is our way of acknowledging and appreciating values that reinforce what it means to have a caring and inclusive
The first staff meeting of this year was devoted to developing a mission statement that answers the questions:
What do you want students to learn? How will we know if they have learned it? What will we do if they do not?
And how will we engage/motivate our students? The final mission statement, which will include action steps, will
be completed by the end of the month. It will then be posted throughout our school. The ultimate goal is to have
one clear statement of purpose that we are all accountable for achieving, and to make that statement known to all
students and school community members.
Celebrate LeConte Assemblies: Everyone is invited! - Friday, Sept. 25th, 8:15AM
Celebrate LeConte Assemblies are school-wide spirit assemblies held at 8:15AM on the last Friday of each month.
Please put them on your calendar and plan to attend each one, if your schedule will allow! We will celebrate
successes, sing our school song, and remind students of the three overarching guidelines: Show Respect, Solve
your Own Problems, and Make Good Choices. The purpose is to help build a school culture in a warm and joyous
atmosphere. All LeConte parents and guardians are encouraged and welcome to attend, so that the entire LeConte
community is involved with building our school culture together.
Mosaic Project- Fifth grade students attend October 12-16
We are excited to be continuing the special five-day field trip for fifth graders at the Mosaic Project in Napa. Our
students are scheduled to attend from October 12-16. Participants call this one of the most memorable and
valuable hands-on experiences we offer our children. The students are immersed in a cooperative learning
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environment that helps them reflect about and develop social and conflict resolution skills. The activities, songs,
and role plays incorporated within the program challenge stereotypes and beliefs about physical, economic, and
cultural differences. For more information about the Mosaic Project, please visit its website:
Students of the Month
Every student has talent and is gifted in one or more areas, socially, academically, athletically, etc. Therefore, once
a month, students are selected by their teachers to be the “Students of the Month.” Principal Wilson takes their
photograph and uses the teacher’s words to create a certificate. Copies of the photos and certificates are given to
each participating student. A list of students will be attached to the monthly Lamppost.
School Email Listserves
If you have an email address, please sign up for one of the school listserves. Within a few days, you will be able
to link to both from our website or you can contact one of the moderators for help.
1) LeConte News Listserve: Our School News Listserve will keep you informed of school events and
everything that is in the Lamppost, our school newsletter. There is a link to this listserve on the home page of
our website, www.LeConteOnline.org. Moderator: Sian Shumway (email@example.com).
2) LeConte Discussion + News Listserve: Coming soon! In the next few days, we will be introducing a school
discussion listserve for everyone who would like a deeper connection with other LeConte parents via email,
including parent-to-parent recommendations, advice, etc. This discussion group will automatically receive the
school news info, so you only need to sign up for one listserve - school news OR discussion plus school news.
Moderators: Anya de Montigny (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Penny Peak (email@example.com).
Coming Next Month: “Ask Anna” Column
“Ask Anna” is a new parent-written Lamppost column that will attempt to answer your school-related questions or
concerns. What happens if my child loses a tooth at school? How do I get involved as a volunteer? What is a
quick, healthy dinner my child will like? Submit any questions to the new question box located outside Donna’s
office. We will answer as many questions as space allows. Note, “Anna” is the pen name of a LeConte mom.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION and EVENTS
Drought Resistant Garden
Last year, a group of LeConte parents wrote and received a grant from Lowe’s to create our beautiful new garden
located at the front entrance that could also provide teaching opportunities for our children. The planning, design,
landscaping, purchasing, plumbing/irrigation, donations, and promotion involved the work of numerous people.
Our school is very grateful to everyone listed below for their hard work and/or donations:
The materials for the new garden were funded by a grant from Lowes stores ($5K) and the Le Conte PTA
($2500). The garden was designed by Jim Smith of Kavalski Gardenworks. The total value of the job is
estimated to be approximately $25,000 - $30,000 ($5K Lowes, $2500 PTA)
The labor to install the new garden was donated by Le Conte parents and three private firms: Kavalski
Gardenworks, Brende and Lamb Tree & Shrub; and Scott Parker Landscapes--which are owned by LeConte
parents or families of school district employees. Berkeley Unified School District donated a replacement tree,
the irrigation materials and hauling services, removing more than 10,000 pounds of green waste to be
recycled into compost. The District also helped shape the garden plan and installed a new water outlet for
irrigating the north side of the school grounds. Expert Andy Liu, who lives in the neighborhood and has
created several butterfly nurseries, was included in the planning stages and plant selection. Other
smaller donations were provided by Devil Mountain Wholesale Nursery, Greg Howe, and American
Soil and Stone.
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Multicultural Potluck and Student Talent Show – Saturday, September 26, 12:00 noon-2:30 PM
This annual event is hosted by our PTA and Principal Wilson. It takes place on Saturday, September 26th from
12:00 noon to 2:30PM. This is a time to get to know other families, eat a variety of foods representing different
countries and cultures, and enjoy entertainment provided by our students. Please see the attached flyer for further
details and send in your RSVP to your child’s teacher.
Upcoming Cultural Heritage Celebrations
We are pleased to share some information about three important cultural and religious celebrations being
celebrated this month by some of our families.
Latino (Hispanic) Heritage Month: celebrated September 15 through October 15. This observation started in
1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. September 15 is the first
day of the celebration because five Latin American countries celebrate their independence from Spain on that day
in 1821 (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua). In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize
celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18 and September 21. Source: Wikipedia,
Ramadan or Ramadhan or Ramazan (Arabic: )ناضمرis one of the holy months in the Islamic calendar. The
month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset, which is intended to bring one
closer to Allah and figuratively burn away all sins. Muslims may eat and drink after the sun has set until the next
morning's fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over. Source: Internet
Rosh Hashanah: begins at sundown on Friday, September 18. This is a Jewish holiday also known as Jewish
New Year. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holidays, which are days set aside to think about one’s life and
behavior and make apologies if one has harmed another. Families often eat apples and honey to symbolize a sweet
new year. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews blow the shofar, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. The last day of the High
Holidays, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), which begins at sunset on Sunday, September 27, is the most solemn
and important day of the year. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of non-eating
(fasting) and intensive prayer. Source: Internet
See information attached.
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September 1 – September 30, 2009
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
Kindergarten First Day PTA Welcome PTA Welcome
Welcome of School
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Drought Lamppost sent
Resistant Garden home
Back to School
6:00 – 8:00PM
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
All families PTA Meeting Black Family
Please COMPLETE 5:45PM - Reunion,
LUNCH dinner 10:00AM –
APPLICATION 6:00 - 7:30PM 2:00PM, Rosa
before Sept. 30 meeting Parks School
Cafeteria (510) 883-5222
begins at sunset
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
BUSD English Language School Celebrate LeConte Multicultural
Diversity Advisory Committee Governance Assembly Potluck
Family Picnic (ELAC) meeting Council Parents and & Talent
11:00AM – 5:00PM meeting guardians, please Show
2:00PM, Library postponed to attend! 12:00 – 2:30PM
Aquatic Park following 8:15AM - 8:35AM Cafeteria
27 28 29 30
School Deadline for
Yom Kippur Governance free &
begins at Council (SGC) reduced
sunset meeting lunch
6:15, Library application.
NEXT LAMPPOST: To submit information for the Oct. 2 Lamppost, please email Principal Wilson at Cheryl_Wilson@berkeley.k12.ca.us
or Penny Peak at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: Friday, September 25.
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