Bronco Bulletin

April 2016

Spring is Here!

Hello Bernal parents,

I can't believe it's already spring! I hope everyone had a wonderful, relaxing, and enjoyable spring break. We made it through the month of March with all of the rain. But as we all know the rain is a welcome sight. I, in particular, am glad to see the rain because I love to go boating and camping in the summer, so the more rain we get the more water will be on the lakes this summer! Believe it or not, the school year is already down to the last two months. During the month of April we will be gearing up and preparing for the beginning of the statewide assessment period, which begins in May. We sent home some information in last month's newsletter about the upcoming assessments. If you didn't have a chance to read the newsletter, here is the link for your review:

Here's to wishing you all an enjoyable month of April. Get out and smell all of the flowers in bloom!

-Dr. Splane, Principal

National Park Week 2016

Saturday, April 16th, 8am to Sunday, April 24th, 11pm

California, United States


National Park Week, April 16 to 24, 2016, is America's largest celebration of national heritage. It's about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks! It's all happening in your national parks.

Plan your visit by what you want to do or where you want to go. Here are some highlights during National Park Week:

  • April 16–24: Visit for free!
    Throughout National Park Week in 2016, every national park will give you free admission!
  • April 16: National Junior Ranger Day
    Explore, Learn, Protect! Kids can take part in fun programs and earn a junior ranger badge or become a Centennial Junior Ranger.
  • April 22: Earth Day
    On Earth Day, if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out.
  • April 23: National Park Instameet
    Join an InstaMeet in a park. Gather in a designated place at a specific time to take photos and short videos to post on Instagram (and other social media) with the same hashtag: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100
  • April 24: Park Rx Day
    Parks will host fun recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical and mental well-being. (Looking to host your own event? Download A Guide to Planning Your Own National Park Rx Day Celebration [561KB PDF]).
Don't forget to check out There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you're there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.

Try something new this year. Find your park!

History Day

Tuesday, April 19th, 5pm

6610 San Ignacio Avenue

San Jose, CA

English Proficiency Celebration

Thursday, April 21st, 5:30pm

6610 San Ignacio Avenue

San Jose, CA

Celebration of English Proficiency

5:30-6:00 Reception in the Original Gym

6:00-7:00 Welcome and Introductions (New Gym)

Keynote Speaker

Awards Ceremony


Multicultural Festival Sponsored by HSA

Friday, April 22nd, 4pm

6610 San Ignacio Avenue

San Jose, CA

Band Festival

Saturday, April 30th, 12pm

6150 Snell Avenue

San Jose, CA

*The timing of some events may be subject to change, and will be updated in real time if corrections or updates become available.

Bernal Athletics

Congratulations to Mr. Beaulieu and Eighth-grade boys’ basketball team for winning the County championship- the first championship in the last 25 years!!!! Goooooooo Broncos!

After-school programs

Bernal has an after-school mentoring program in collaboration with the 100 Black Men of the Silicon Valley. The program which runs every other week after school is called the CUBU program (meaning, the goal of the program is to hook mentors up with the student with the intent that the student can see themselves in the mentor, saying to the mentor “I see you, and the way you carry yourself, and I can want to be you”). One of the initiatives of the collaboration is known as the ‘100 Technology Tours’. This program is designed to expose students of color to the tech world and STEM programs. Their first tour was held Thursday, March 24 at LAM research in Fremont. The day was a resounding success. In addition to hands-on experiences in the research facility, students were joined by adult mentors who are professionals in the technology and other fields. Approximately 50 students attended the field trip and had the experience of a lifetime for. Special thanks to Bernal’s community liaison Amelia Hill and the 100 Black Men of the Silicon Valley.

Oak Grove School District ‘Every Student Succeeds’ Award

Please take a moment to recognize Bernal student Faustino Macias. He was awarded the Every Student Succeeds award for Bernal last month at a ceremony at Davis Intermediate School. Way to go Faustino! The selection criteria for the award:

· Accepts responsibility leading to personal accomplishment.

· Successfully and continually demonstrates self-directed learning skills.

· Effectively uses a variety of complex, reasoning strategies and is able to solve problems from multiple points of view

· Effectively contributes to school and society by taking responsibility for behavior and academic requirements, volunteers for classroom, school-wide and community service and participates collaboratively. Assumes constructive leadership roles in the classroom or school.

· Effectively and constantly demonstrates academic excellence in all core curricular areas.

Oak Grove School District Vision Awards

Congratulations goes to Innovative Spirit Award Winner, Matt Polentz, Social Studies Teacher

Mr. Polentz creates dynamic lessons that involve high levels of rigor and relevance into his classroom. As a department lead, he encourages cross-curricular collaboration, resulting in an ambitious multi-department student project this year where the history and English Language Arts departments are planning a cross-curricular History project for their students. Keep pushing the envelope, Mr. Polentz!

Congratulations goes to Community Involvement Award Winner, Amelia Hill, Community Liaison

As the Oak Grove School District prides itself on being known as a district that remains in touch with its community, Amelia Hill's work embodies that philosophy. She goes to great lengths to connect with and utilize her resources in the community to benefit Bernal students; particularly students of color. The only thing that matches her work ethic is the size of her heart. She is driven by her love and dedication to her students and families. Thank you Amelia. You are a gift to the Bernal community!Our Drama club traveled to Sacramento in February for the California Educational Theatre Associations Middle Fest drama competition to compete against over 200 drama students from Northern California. They performed monologues, scenes, and original work. Students who participated include Raychelle Frescas, Clarise Groba, Tiffany Miller, Sarah Haws, Naajiha Fahmida, Sydney Leat, Gabriela Balajadia and Rose Lee. Everyone came back with bronze and silver medals. We are all very proud of these talented kids.

Top 10 skills middle school students need to thrive, and how parents can help

(Excerpt from New York Times, Feb 29)

There is no manual to develop “soft” skills like perseverance and resilience. Just as I did, most kids learn through trial and error. As parents, our quest to protect our children can be at odds with their personal growth. It can feel counter-intuitive, but we mainly need to take a step back. I have come to believe that certain social-emotional skills are particularly useful as kids navigate middle school and beyond. Here are my top 10 skills, and ways parents can help without getting in the way.

Top 10 Social Emotional Skills For Middle School Students

1. Make good friend choices. This typically comes on the heels of making some questionable choices. Kids figure out quickly which friends instill a sense of belonging and which ones make them feel uncomfortable. It can be helpful to ask your children these questions: Do you have fun and laugh with this person? Can you be yourself? Is there trust and empathy? Common interests are a bonus.

2. Work in teams and negotiate conflict. I don’t think many students get through middle school without feeling like they had to carry the load on at least one group project. Maybe they didn’t delegate and divide the work effectively at the onset. Perhaps they chose to take ownership to avoid a poor grade. Help them understand what happened and consider what they might have done differently.

3. Manage a student-teacher mismatch. Unless there is abuse or discrimination, don’t bail them out by asking for a teacher change. Tell them they still can learn from a teacher they don’t like. Let them know it’s a chance to practice working with someone they find difficult. Remind them that if they can manage the situation, they won’t feel powerless or helpless the next time. Focus on concrete barriers to success in the class, not the interpersonal conflict. Is it miscommunication? Study skills?

4. Create organization and homework systems. Make sure they are the architects of this process. Encourage them to come up with solution-oriented plans and tweak them as needed. Do they need to use their planner? Create a checklist? Their motivation will come from ownership. If they say they don’t care, remind them that they don’t have to be invested in a particular outcome in order to change their behavior. People who hate exercise can still choose to lift weights.

5. Monitor and take responsibility for grades. If you care more than they do about their grades, why should they worry? Let them monitor their own grades, and if they don’t do well, don’t step in to advocate for assignment extensions or grade changes. Let them carry the burden and experience the connection between preparation, organization and grades. Conversely, if they are perfectionists, they will learn they can survive and manage the disappointment of a low grade.

6. Learn to self-advocate. By middle school, they should be learning how to ask teachers for help or clarification. This may be in person or through email. When students bond with teachers, they connect more intimately with the material too. Unless there is no other option, try not to reach out on their behalf.

7. Self-regulate emotions. Children often need assistance labeling strong emotions before they can regulate them. Help your kids identify any physical symptoms that accompany their stressors. This may help them know when to take a breath or hit the “pause” button before reacting. In real time, point out when they handle an emotional situation well. Discuss the strategy they implemented—maybe they took a break or listened to music. Also, help them make connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Are they stuck in all-or-nothing thinking? Are they consistently self-critical?

8. Cultivate passions and recognize limitations. When your children are fired up about something, run with it and encourage exploration. Seize the opportunity to help them go deep. Get books, go to museums and be supportive even if the subject does not excite you. In the process, you will help them figure out what drives them. On the other hand, it is okay if they struggle in a specific area. That too is useful information. No one needs to be good at everything.

9. Make responsible, safe and ethical choices. Teach them to respect their bodies, and to make safe and healthy decisions. It is equally important to talk about how to avoid putting others at risk. Have open conversations and discuss plans for different scenarios they may encounter. Try not to be overly reactive if they ask shocking or distressing questions. Keep the lines of communication open.

10. Create and innovate. Our changing world needs imaginative creators and divergent thinkers. It also can build confidence to think independently and outside the box. As your kids do their homework, read required texts and take standardized tests, remind them that these benchmarks are not the only ways to measure success. Encourage them to make connections across material from different classes, and to build, write, invent and experiment.

Phyllis L. Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor and school counselor in Bethesda. She tweets @pfagell.

Advice for Parents, from Professor Jo Boaler

Do you remember how excited your children were about maths* when they were young? How they were excited by patterns in nature? How they rearranged a set of objects and found, with delight, that they had the same number? Before children start school they often talk about maths with curiosity and wonder, but soon after they start school many children decide that maths is confusing and scary and they are not a “math person”.

This is because maths in many schools is all about procedures, memorization and deciding which children can and which cannot. Maths has become a performance subject and students of all ages are more likely to tell you that maths is all about answering questions correctly than tell you about the beauty of the subject or the way it

piques their interest. Given the performance and test-driven culture of our schools, with over-packed curriculum and stressed out students, what can parents do to transform maths for their children? Here are some steps to take:

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Jo Boaler's List of Resources for Parents

Goal Setting, the SMART Way

Have you ever been on a road trip? Imagine you just got in your car and drove---without a map and destination, without your clothes and toiletries and without an idea of where you wanted to go. You might get lucky and end up somewhere nice. But instead, imagine planning your trip with places you are interested in seeing, with how long it will take you to get there, how much time you will need between stops, what food you will eat along the way.

Setting goals is like planning a road trip. When you plan to course of your trip, you achieve your goals each mile you drive. When you don’t plan, you have no direction or place to focus your energy. So why set goals?

  • Goals can improve your academic performance
  • Goals can increase your self-esteem and confidence
  • Goals provide a path to follow
  • Goals push you to do more
  • Goals provide direction and focus

What are some SMART goals in middle school?


Not Specific: I want to have good grades.

SPECIFIC: I want to have A’s and B’s by the end of Term 5, April 20th.


Not Measurable: I want to do a lot of homework.

MEASURABLE: I will do my math and science homework tonight after dinner by 8pm.


Not Attainable: I will do 400 math problems in one hour.

ATTAINABLE: I will do 4 math problems during homework center on Wednesday.


Unrelevant: I will be on social media 20 minutes to do better in class.

RELEVANT: I will read 30 minutes per day to improve my reading in all subject.


No Time: I want to talk to my teacher.

TIME: I will talk to my teacher at lunch on Wednesday, April 13th.