Thornhill Elementary PFC Newsletter

Volume 27, Issue 1, August 13, 2019

From the Principal

Dear Thornhill families,

We had an amazing first two days of school. It's so exciting to see everyone and hear about your summers, and our staff is so happy to see everyone! Thank you to all of you who organized the coffee get together to welcome everyone back and connect! We also had a visit from the Fire Department to welcome our kids back to school.

Please read through the newsletter below for everything you need to know about what’s going on and coming up at Thornhill. Here's to another great year!


Mr. Daubenspeck


Enrichment Classes

Your PFC (Parent Faculty Club) provides the opportunity for you to register your kid(s) for enrichment classes after school, at an additional cost. Scholarship requests should be sent to Sally Bonini, one of our Enrichment Chairs, at Returning parents will be happy to hear that we are using Homeroom again!

Find all the information you need here, including the new link to view classes, dates, and registration via Homeroom.

Online registration opens on Thursday, August 15 at 7am and closes on Wednesday, August 21 at 5pm—note the time change from the earlier note sent on Konstella. Classes start on Monday, August 26!


Minimum Days - First Two Weeks of School

Please note that the first two weeks of school are all minimum days! The reason is a good one: teachers will be spending those afternoons doing small group assessments to make sure every child is set up for success for the year.


Back to School Night (Adults Only)

This year’s Back to School Night is Wednesday, August 21 from 6-7pm. Meet teachers and other parents, get a preview of the school year's major events, and more.

Note: This is a no-children event, so please arrange for care for your child(ren).


Welcome New Teachers!

You may have heard Ms. Carter has taken on a new role as STIP sub and Mrs. Holman and Mrs. Watson moved on to other states. Also, Mrs. Anderson really retired this time from her STIP position. And moving forward you probably know that Thornhill has the distinction of attracting the best and brightest! Below are our new additions. Please welcome our new teachers!

Kindergarten - Allia Calkins

I am so happy to be joining the Thornhill community! I grew up in Rochester, NY and made my way to Oakland via a stop in Nashville, TN where I studied economics and history at Vanderbilt University. After graduating, I spent two years in San Francisco as a resident teacher at Town School for Boys. I taught second grade and kindergarten and decided that teaching was the job for me! Before coming to Thornhill I received my masters in teaching and CA credential from the UC Berkeley Educators for Excellence and Equity program. On the weekends you can find me walking around Lake Merritt, coaching the Oakland Special Olympics swim team, or making homemade ice cream.

1st Grade - Melina Nobusada

Hi all! My name is Melina Nobusada (Ms. Nobusada or Ms. N), and I am the new first grade teacher here at Thornhill. The last name may look familiar to some in the community, and that is because my great-aunt taught Kindergarten here for many years. She was the one who first introduced me to this wonderful community. I came to visit her class for a week and knew that this was somewhere I wanted to come back to.

For the past two years, I have worked at Thornhill in different capacities. I started out as an instructional aide and then came back mid-year this past school year as a STIP sub. I am so excited to start this upcoming year as a classroom teacher. It has been a dream of mine to have my own classroom. My love of the teaching profession came about because I was fortunate enough to have so many incredible teachers and coaches in my educational career. Once I found my passion, I began volunteering with students as much as I could - volunteering in classrooms K-3, tutoring, working at a preschool, and more.

2nd Grade - Maureen Whalen

My name is Maureen Whalen and I am so excited to be joining the Thornhill community as a 2nd grade teacher! I grew up in the suburbs of the SF Bay Area and graduated with a theater degree from SFSU. Right after college, I spent the next 6 years working in Los Angeles and New York as a Casting Director’s associate. After moving back to San Francisco, I decided it was time to pursue my dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.

I started my teaching career in Oakland Unified in 2008 as a 2nd/3rd combo teacher, but have spent most of my teaching years in upper elementary, with a 3 year “pit stop” as a literacy coach (with a focus on early literacy). Now, in year 12, I am excited to get back to where it all began for me in the primary grades. I love “the littles!”

When I’m not at school, I’m spending time with my husband, Matt and my rising 1st grade daughter, Aria. I love gardening, reading and, most of all, spending time with my family.


Online Meal Application

Every completed Free and Reduced Price Lunch form earns money for our school in LCFF and/or Title I funds and increased district funding for technology through the national e-Rate program!

It’s very important to fill out this form whether you think your student will qualify or not.


Clean & Green!

Check out these new beautiful bins! Three years in the making, Thornhill now has the proper receptacles for all of us to sort our waste the right way! Thornhill is committed to becoming a low-waste school—and we can all make a difference on a daily basis in this effort. Encourage your little ones and big ones to sort their waste and please try to send them to school with reusable containers and little to no single-use trash.

Our Clean & Green team would love new adult and young members! Love gardening? Have awesome sustainable ideas? Want to just connect with folks with similar values? Have an hour a week to dedicate to a key cause?

Looking forward to another awesome school year with all of you!

Your Sustainability PFC Chair,

Elyse Bart,

Mama of Kaia Bart (Kindergarten) & Eli Bart (3rd Grade)

Green Gloves Resources Here


Konstella Is Back and Better Than Ever!

We continue to strive to use Konstella for all school-related items so that it’s super easy for you to check Konstella for everything you need to know. Other great resources are our website and the ability to subscribe to our google calendar.

When possible, we would like to have 2 parent/guardians in Konstella for every child to ensure that information is being received. You can easily invite your partner to Konstella by clicking the “Invite” button right underneath your name in the upper left corner (while on desktop)!

We’ve upgraded our plan, so we have access to additional features to make your lives easier. You can now copy/duplicate past events and sign-ups! We know it was a headache last year to recreate those field trip sign-ups and conference week sign-ups, so we hope this will make everyone’s lives better. Additionally, when in an event, you can choose to sync that event directly to your calendar.

As always, please reach out to if you have any questions whatsoever. We are here to help!


Traffic & Safety 101 - Morning Drop-Off

The morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up can be very busy times at Thornhill. In order to make the drop-off time as safe as possible for everyone in the neighborhood, please adhere to the following options in the morning. Detailed information, including how to park in the St. Johns Episcopal Church lot during school, can be found on the school website. Here are a few helpful guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
Big picture
  • U-turns in front of the school are ILLEGAL. Go 200 yards north on Thornhill to Merriwood Dr. where the road is MUCH wider making it possible for a safe and legal place to make your U-turn.

  • NO double parking in front of the school.

  • NO parking is allowed on the east side of Thornhill Avenue between Alhambra Lane and Gouldin. This is a pedestrian through way and illegal parking here makes for an especially dangerous situation.

  • Do NOT park in front of the apartment buildings on Thornhill Drive. It is private property.

  • The white-painted curb is for student loading and unloading only. By law, the drop-off can take no longer than 3 minutes and the driver must stay with the car.

  • NO parking at a red curb. (Yes, people do this). It blocks the view of cars turning from Gouldin.

  • Always stop for pedestrians at any of the three crosswalks.

  • All TK and K parents need to park and be with their children on the playground until the first bell rings at 8:20am.


And If You Made It This Far...

Congratulations! You’re in the know about everything going on at Thornhill. I’m your newsletter editor, Evie Nagy, returning for my second year at the post. My daughter May McQuade is in second grade, and her little sister Elaine is a new TKer. The newsletter will land in your inbox every Tuesday, and we make every effort to include everything you need to know and not too much more; we all have plenty of other things to do, but please read it every week as it will more than likely answer most questions you have about what’s up at school. Information about how to submit to the newsletter is below, but you can reach out to me at any time at Happy new school year!



The website always has the latest calendar information, and here's what's coming up!

  • Monday, August 12 - Friday, August 23: First 2 weeks of school are minimum days (Bell Schedule: TK/K - 8:20am; 1st-5th - 8:35am)
  • Thursday, August 15 (7am) - Wednesday, August 21 (5pm): Fall PFC Enrichment Classes - Enrollment Period
  • Wednesday, August 21: Back to School Night (6-7pm, adults only)
  • Monday, August 26: Fall PFC Enrichment classes begin
  • Monday, September 2: NO SCHOOL (Labor Day)
  • Thursday, September 5: Dine Out at Pattys & Buns (11:30am-7:30pm)
  • Friday, September 27: NO SCHOOL (Professional Development Day)

Be sure also to download the OUSD District calendar here and subscribe to our Google calendar here.


About the Thornhill Newsletter

The Thornhill Parent-Faculty Club (PFC) eNews team publishes this weekly newsletter each Tuesday in the school year to communicate school, PFC and OUSD news, events and information.

Email submissions to our Newsletter Chair, Evie Nagy, at by 8 p.m. Thursday for approval—nothing sent after this will be included in the following week’s newsletter unless there are extremely compelling extenuating circumstances. It’s fine to include text in the body of the email with links and no formatting, and attach photos preferably as 150 x 150, 72 dpi JPG or GIFs only (not embedded in email or Word file). Submissions may be edited for spelling, grammar, brevity and clarity. Advertising and items not related to Thornhill are not accepted, as we need to keep the newsletter focused on need-to-know info for the community.

THANK YOU to everyone who submits articles and to PFC Board Members, Teachers, VP of Communications Erin Proudfoot, PFC President Rex Crum, and Principal Steve Daubenspeck. Member of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).