Broncos Bulletin

May 2020 - Bernal Intermediate

Principal's Message

Dr Splane's Principal's Message May Newsletter

Assistant Principal's Message

Hello Bernal Community,

As I look out my window, I realized how fast these past several weeks has been. I think we are all now adjusted to the shelter in place order, social distancing, and making sure we all have enough paper products. What is important, now more than ever, is to remain a community. Bernal's foundation is built by a community of caring teachers, caring parents, and caring students. As we move to implement our Distance Learning plan, it is important to still have a sense of community while working from home.

Our Bernal staff is working extremely hard to maintain a learning community online. Our teachers have spent an unbelievable amount of time to create new lessons and new ways to engage students online. Teachers are using every tool at their disposal to increase connection with their students. Google meet, Google chat, CNN10, and NewsEla are all being used at the highest capacity. I have observed teachers facilitate high achieving debates, student journalism, and great questions being asked in the chat room. Learning is still occurring and interaction is at the uppermost levels.

Caitlan Krause from Edtopia submitted an article, “How to forge a strong community in an online classroom.” Although this article is geared towards teachers, I felt that this could be useful to our parents who are now also helping us maintain a strong learning community from home.


I’ve seen many articles that put self-care at the end of a long list of tips and considerations for educators. I’m putting it first because it’s that essential. Learning is, after all, an experience where quality matters. Your personal practices in self-care have a lasting effect, whether they take the form of a mindfulness meditation, a few moments to stretch, a reflective practice, or a few deep breaths in the middle of a challenging day. Don’t wait for the time to do this to emerge. Defend it as the first priority for your health and well-being, and your virtual learning space will also notice your greater capacity for responding to the uncertainty that’s systemic right now.


Your emphasis at this stage should be about connection over the content. It’s all about relational trust and establishing a virtual community that is like a tree: deeply rooted, with a sense of groundedness, and also flexible in its branches, so that you’re adapting to changing conditions. I use this tree metaphor all the time and also refer to it as gravity (grounded and going deeper, like roots) and levity (lifting, stretching, playful, curious, moving, like branches). Intentionally begin each synchronous session online with a connection exercise: doing a physical stretch together, playing music, taking a collective three breaths. There are many grounding connection exercises you can do. Then, use an icebreaker that is a storytelling exercise you build in as a connection check-in. This primes the group for quality sharing.


In my virtual teaching, each student had access to content asynchronously. They each had online “journal spaces” to collect their thoughts and reflect and to share and build maps of ideas, collaborating in a way that reduced the need for live meetings. You can keep a flow without everyone working at the same time by setting up groups in which everyone has a role of authority. My students changed jobs at times so they could explore the different roles. Some preferred to play the “lexicon builder,” collecting new terms we encountered and finding out the etymology, definition, and connotations. Others were “reference archivists,” collecting useful related websites, readings, and sources. Others chose to be “curators” who researched the sites and evaluated their validity and sources, further placing them in the context of the learning focus. Some preferred to create mind maps of related terms and links to increase their relevance or artistic models and creations inspired by responses to the learning. You send a message when you set up learning this way: Everyone matters and everyone can contribute to creating and developing the learning space.


The questions are often more important and revealing than the answers. Have an online space design that encourages open wondering, questioning, and going through processes of inquiry, research, and documentation of discovery. Meaningful learning isn’t structured around static knowns and regurgitation of expected answers. Students will get excited about being on an investigative journey with you, and while you, the mentor, certainly play a role in illuminating considerations and resources, students will be much more enthusiastic if they are creating combined knowledge that is richer for its complexity. This type of interaction builds social and emotional learning skills and trust, which are complementary to this type of interactive, insightful learning. Document the journey and encourage risk-taking and daring along the way—show that you value each member’s curiosity-driven contribution.


As a teacher, I knew that I could speak to the room, but could I listen to what the room was communicating? And how could I do this in an online space? I found the answer in active listening, which is being intentionally open and receptive to what is emerging in the present moment. It is a mindfulness activity, increasing our awareness and focus on the speaker and their purpose, instead of thinking about what we are about to say next.

Miles Garner

Assistant Principal

Mrs. Bejar's Updates - Bernal School Counselor (A-L)

Hi Everyone,

School Counselors role is to support teachers, students, parents and our surrounding community.

Since the nation shelter in place, Mrs. Bejar has been facilitating Mental Health Check-ins sessions every other week to also support teachers Mental Health. A number of teachers have taken advantage of such great support.

Happy Teachers = Happy Students!

Just a friendly reminder, with these unexpected circumstances, please note that counseling services are still available to your student. I am here to support students’ social-emotional & academic needs. Please note that I have set up a virtual Counseling Request (A-L) form to further support during these times. If students are in need of support or if they would like to check in, please feel free to have them fill out a counseling request.

In addition, please have your student go to to join a google classroom that I have set up for them. Please remember that your student will need to sign into their school google account to gain access.

Furthermore, please feel free to follow me on Twitter for additional resources @Mrs_Bejar.

Stay Safe & Healthy!

Mrs. Bejar

School Counselor (A-L)

Ms. Reed's Message - Bernal School Counselor (M-Z)

Hi Bernal Families,

Some of you may be enjoying this time at home while others may be wishing things could just go back to “normal” or the way it was. No matter which is true for you, the bottom line is that we are all faced with circumstances that are new and beyond our control. It is crucial to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual self and encourage your teens and small children to do that same.

For my own self-care during this time, I have enjoyed going back to jogging and meditating, something I did for many years. I also started a new exercise regimen of kettlebell flows and lifts for workouts in the garage, which is so different from my weekly self-defense and kickboxing classes. To balance home life and working from home, I make sure I take time out of my day for me and spend it with my 5 year old son, cooking, taking family walks and connecting with friends on virtual meet ups.

Please remember that we are in this together and as Bronco’s, we always RISE.

If you or your student are struggling during this time, please reach out to me. I am available to you any time and can answer your and/or your teens questions. I am also here for resources, support, available district 1:1 counseling, or just to say hi.

Please contact me at the info below to set up a phone or virtual meeting
PHONE: 408-785-1172 (text or call)

Tara Reed, Counselor (M-Z)

Below are some ways to get connected to information being shared out.

Bernal Website -
School Loop Website -
Facebook -
Instagram -
Twitter -
OGSD Resources for Parents Link -
OGSD Wesbite -

If your family is in need of emergency resources, please access the below support numbers:






Text RENEW to 741741

Call 1-855-278-4204

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Resources from the Santa Clara County Office of Education:

Helpful & Fun Resources for you and your family during Shelter in Place

The Psychological Wellness Center has provided some helpful and fun resources for you and your family to stay mindful during this Shelter in Place.

Click on their link for the following resources -

  • How to Belly Breathe
  • Benefits of Deep Breathing
  • Using Senses Mindfully
  • Mindful at home: Scavenger Hunt
  • Finding Mindful Moments Outside
  • Acts of Kindness Bingo!
  • Gratitude Practice: A Guide for Families
  • Family Moments
  • Create a Family Crest
  • Toss and Talk Ball: Family Edition
  • Create Your 2020 Family Time Capsule
  • TIPS for Improving Focus in Children
  • Is it ANXIETY?
  • Family game for Practicing Gratitude: Fortunately/Unfortunately
  • What Can I do if I Feel…
  • What is Sleep so Important?
  • How to Get Better Zzzz

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Updates for the Washington D.C. Trip (Current 8th Graders)

Original email sent on 4/29 to D.C. Parents

Dear Families,

We want to thank you for your tremendous patience as we’ve navigated this situation with our partners at WorldStrides. We have come to the conclusion that visiting Washington, D.C. and New York this summer will not be possible. However, we are still interested in getting some feedback from you about possible next steps.

That leaves us with two options that we're considering:
Option 1: Postpone the trip until NEXT JUNE (after students' Freshman year).*
Option 2: Cancel the trip completely.

Please let us know what choice you would like for your child by contacting us at

If you chose to cancel your child's trip:

YOU MUST CONTACT WORLDSTRIDES to cancel the trip. We can no longer do it for you. Because of the high volume of cancellations, Worldstrides is requesting that you send an email to or call them at 800-468-5899. State that you wish to cancel your child's trip. You will need to reference our Trip ID 174938, and include your student's name and account number. Your refund will be credited to your original form of payment. WorldStrides is estimating 6-8 weeks as they are doing it in order of cancellation. Please notify us via email at after you have contacted WorldStrides to cancel, and let us know what method you prefer for your refund for the $55 luggage fee. We can do it through Venmo or Zelle (we need your account information), or send you a check (we need the payee and address you'd like the check mailed to).

If interested in travelling in 2021 please read below:

If you have indicated that you would like to explore the idea of travel in 2021, we are going to roll the accounts over to a new trip ID. After that, cancellations and questions will need the new trip ID which will be assigned at the time of the rollover. You will be notified. If you did not purchase the Full Refund Program, you may add it by calling Customer Service (800)468-5899 until October 1st. If you did purchase the FRP, it will apply to the new trip.

As some have asked, yes, Mrs. Phelps will be leading the new trip.

Thank you for your patience. We are doing the best we can with the ever-changing situation.

Kathy Phelps and Allison Crawford

Virtual Parent Information Meeting for the 2021 Washington, D.C. Trip (Current 7th Graders)

Original message was sent on ParentSquare 4/28/20

Dear 7th Grade Parents,

We’re excited to announce we’ll be having our official virtual parent information meeting on Thursday, May 7th at 5:30P.M for the 2021 Bernal Washington, D.C. and New York City trip. Prior to the meeting, please watch the videos below to learn more about this incredible educational opportunity for your child!

Video: WorldStrides Washington DC / New York WorldStrides Parent Presentation

Video: Washington, D.C. and New York City Trip Highlight Video

Here’s some additional information:
  • Our Trip ID is 188569. Use this to sign up at or by phone at 800-468-5899.
  • When you sign up now, you can save $150 off the trip price and pay only a $49 deposit. Plus, you’ll have more time to spread out payments before your trip.
  • There’s also FLAG financial assistance that may be available along with flexible payment options. You can call 800-468-5899 for more information.

Prior to the virtual meeting, please complete the following survey so we can plan our meeting accordingly.

ZOOM Meeting Info:
Please ensure you have Zoom installed prior to the start of the meeting and limit your family to one device/login as there is a capacity of 100 people in the meeting. If we reach capacity and you are unable to login, please email us directly at with any questions. We’ll contact you as soon as possible.

We can’t wait to see you and your 7th grade student at our virtual parent information meeting on Thursday, May 7th at 5:30P.M.

All the best,

Kathy Phelps and Allison Crawford

Sports for Learning - Resources and Videos

Bellarmine Summer Days

Bellarmine’s summer programs will be offering distance learning for grades six through eight in all levels of math and English from June 9th through July 16th. Bellarmine is refocusing their summer academics towards helping students fill in the gaps and continue to have a scheduled time for learning. If you would like to know more, sign up for their mailing list here:

Summer Reading & Writing Skills Program

Please see the attached flyer below for Summer Reading and Writing Skills Programs available in San Jose and Milpitas.

For more information or to register, call 1-800-903-0162

Five Star Pizza Fundraiser EVERY THURSDAY!

Five Star Pizza has generously offered to do a WEEKLY fundraiser for Bernal on Thursdays! They will give Bernal 10% of ALL proceeds earned on Thursdays by Bernal supporters! This includes Dine in, Carry out, and even Delivery! Show the flyer below!