Bronco Bulletin

January 2017

Principal's Message

Dear Bernal Families:

I thought I would start this month’s newsletter with a new year’s quote:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes; because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Neil Gaiman

That quote keeps with the positive growth mindset we have at Bernal. Certainly we want to be wise about thoughtful about the mistakes we allow ourselves to make, but I’m sure the message hits home: keep striving to better yourself!

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with reflection, family, friends and lots of laugher. The new year is upon us and our instructional goals for Bernal students continue. Our second round of Math and Literacy benchmark testing is here. As they had in the Fall, students will take their iReady English Language Arts (ELA) and Math benchmark tests in their Language Arts and Math classes. If you would like additional information about the benchmarks be sure to contact your child’s ELA or math teacher.

A final reminder, end of the semester is January 13th. Be sure your students are checking their grades on school loop so there will be no surprises at the end of the term. Have a great month of January!

Jamal Splane, Principal

Missed the Previous Newsletters?

Common Student Dress

As you may remember earlier this year (at new student orientation and back to school night) I announced that Bernal would be evaluating the effectiveness of our common student dress. One of the ways we planned to do this was through a community survey to get your input as to whether or not we wanted to continue common student dress after this year. As it turns out, this year's relaxed common student dress guidelines has resulted in less referrals to the office for dress code violations and more student time in class for instruction. Because of that we have decided not to address the community input this year and evaluate our need to revisit this on a yearly basis. Thank you for your patience, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me at Thank you.

Super Saturdays! Offered by Oak Grove School District

Oak Grove School District has implemented a wonderful program for our students called Super Saturday! Our program provides enrichment and academic opportunities for all students, while allowing our students to make-up missed days of attendance. Attending one Saturday session will recover one full day absence. Super Saturday allows your child to participate in engaging programs such as academic work habits, career technical education, sports, visual and performing arts, and much more. If your student has one or more absences for the 16-17 school year, your student will be receiving a Saturday Academy application this week.

The Super Saturday program will be held on scheduled Saturdays listed below, from 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m at Herman Intermediate. Students should arrive on time and are expected to cooperate and follow all regular school rules including dress code. A lunch will be offered to students, but feel free to send a meal with your child.

Transportation will not be provided. Please make sure your child arrives on time and make arrangements to pick up your child no later than 12:30 p.m.

We look forward to seeing your child at the above session date, and I thank you in advance for your continued support and cooperation in making your child’s academic career a priority!

Future Session Dates: 1/21, 1/28, 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11. 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, 5/27

Space is limited, only 100 spots available!!!

Please turn in your application to the office by January 18th!

Open Study Hours After School for All Bernal Students

The Bernal Library is open to all students Monday-Friday after school from 2:30P.M.-3:20P.M. for students to work on homework, projects, and collaborate with one another.

For students that take the bus:

  • A late bus is offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 3:30P.M.

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Oak Grove Parent Information Nights

Parent Information Night-Education Choice Faire and College: Making it Happen

The next OGSD Parent Information Night is on January 10th at Herman Intermediate. From 6:30-7:00pm parents will have the opportunity to browse Oak Grove’s educational choice programs. From 7:00-8:00pm, our friends from Oak Grove High School will present information on the importance of early academic and financial planning in order for middle and elementary school students to have choices after high school graduation.

Choice Programs

• Oak Grove Preschool

• Before and After School Enrichment (BASE)

• Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

• Independent Study Program (ISP)

• Indigo at Frost

• AdVenture at Herman

• K-3 Bilingual Waiver

• State Preschools at Christopher & Stipe

• K-1 TWBI at Anderson

• Christopher STEMS Leadership Academy

• The Academy

Future Parent Information Night Topics/Dates

March 21, 2017 – Davis Intermediate, 6:30-8:00pm

Textbooks to Chromebooks: How has the classroom changed?

Presented by our very own EdTech group, Sergio Rizzi, Bruce Neff, and Steve Harmon, parents will have opportunities to experience using some of the tools our students use every day.

April 25, 2017-Herman Intermediate, 6:30-8:00pm

Science Education in the 21st Century

Presented by the Science Coordinators from SCCOE, Jennifer Janzen and Sandi Yellenberg, this hands-on night immerses parents in the new NGSS standards and the shifts in how science is taught.

Bernal’s Annual Big Band Bash Returns on Friday, January 20th!

Come kick off the new year at Bernal’s annual music party – the Big Band Bash. Enjoy the unique opportunity to hear a professional band share our neighborhood stage with Bernal's jazz bands and combos.

This year’s featured professional band is Full Spectrum Jazz. The highly acclaimed Full Spectrum Jazz has delighted audiences with traditional and modern jazz since 1996. Performance styles range from laid-back Count Basie swing to poly-rhythmic modern Latin. Full Spectrum Jazz has a diverse catalog of exceptional music, including original compositions and venerable jazz standards. Full Spectrum is a full 18-piece big band and features vocalist Rocío Guitard.

Multiple student groups will be featured throughout the evening with Full Spectrum Jazz closing the night with their high energy music. Come hungry - food and beverages will be sold to support instrumental music education at Bernal.

The Big Band Bash takes place Friday, January 20th from 6:30 – 9:00pm. Ticket sales support the band programs at Bernal - $5 in advance, $6 at the door.

Oak Grove's Cultural Arts Expo

We are happy to announce that the annual Oak Grove School District Cultural Arts Expo is just around the corner. Be sure to mark Friday, February 3rd, 4:00-7:00 pm on your calendar. It will take place at the Edenvale Community Center, 330 Branham Lane East, San Jose CA 95111. We are excited to see what our talented artists from Oak Grove School District have created this year. There will be a display of visual and performing arts including singing, dancing, and musical performances by Oak Grove students. Food trucks will be present for you to enjoy! The event is free, but a $5 donation per family to support the arts will be greatly appreciated. Please be sure to attend!

Parent Volunteers Needed!

We would like the parent community to support the District in putting together this fantastic show. Please give us 2 hours of your time between 10 am and 4 pm on Thursday, February 2nd. We need help with mounting art work on to the display boards before the show and take down after the show on Friday, February 3rd. Please contact Raji Musinipally at or call (408) 227-8300, ext. 100263 to help.

Parent Tips of the Month: Conversation Starters


  • Try to talk with your child about his feelings regularly. It may be hard at this age to engage your child in a long discussion about emotions, but taking a couple of minutes a day to ask: "What made you feel good today?" or "Did anything upset you today?" is a great way to show you care.
  • Be careful not to tell your child how he/she feels. For example, you may want to say, "It looks like you are feeling conflicted about going to that party, because you are not acting as excited as you usually do," or "You say you are not nervous about the test, but you are active very fidgety when you are trying to sit down and study" instead of "I can’t believe you aren’t nervous about that test."
  • Share personal stories to build your child’s self-awareness. You can say, "I just want to let you know that I’m here for you, and I’ve gone through similar experiences when I was in middle school, so I understand what you are going through. If you ever need to talk about anything, I will be here."


  • Remind your middle-schooler that there are consequences to his/her actions. When your child has calmed down from an outburst, you may want to say, "Slamming doors, yelling, or acting out against family members or friends is not proper behavior. When you yell, you’re scaring your little brother, and when you talk back to me, it hurts my feelings. Can you please talk to me and tell me what’s bothering you?"
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries for your child and stick to them. When enforcing a rule about homework, you can say, "I would like it if you could try to finish your homework before you play any video games, talk on the phone or text with friends. These are the rules, and if you don’t follow them, there will be consequences and you will lose some privileges. What do you think about this?"

Social Awareness

  • Nurture your teen’s empathy. If your middle schooler is nervous about making friends,you can say, "I remember when I went to middle school, my best friend from elementary school started hanging out with new friends, and I felt left out. Don’t worry, many of your classmates are going through the same challenges. Why don’t you try talking to someone new, or join a club to meet new friends?"
  • You can talk to your teen about the importance of kindness by saying, "Have you ever heard about karma? You get good karma by doing good things for others and treating them how you would like to be treated. Have you done something kind and helpful for others lately? How did that make you feel?

Relationship Skills

  • Talk to your teen regularly about his/her friends by asking questions like, "Have you made any new friends in school? I know it may be hard to transition to a new school, but there are a lot more people you can be friends with. Why don’t you try to talk to that new exchange student in your class?"
  • Teach your teen about first impressions. "How do you see yourself?", "How do you think others to see you?" and "How do you want others to see you?
  • How to talk about bullying: Work together with your child on what he/she can say to stop the harassment and allow him/her to remain respectful of him/herself and others. Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying, "Stop, you know you’re wrong," with some assertion. Or he/she can say "You know you are out of line," if the bully is harassing another person, and then he/she can leave the area and tell an adult who can help the victim.
  • To help resolve conflicts between you and your teen as peacefully as possible, you try saying, "I know you want to spend more time with your friends, but you haven’t been meeting your responsibilities at home. If you do your chores this week, I will let you extend your curfew by 30 minute so you can hang out with your friends more. How does that sound?"

Responsible Decision-Making

  • Talk through problems, logical consequences, and resolutions with your child. For example, if your child is falling behind on his/her homework, you can say, "Why don’t you set aside time after dinner to continue working instead of hanging out at your friend’s house tonight?"
  • Support your middle schooler even when he/she makes decisions you don’t agree with. For example, instead of saying "I told you it was a bad idea to skip studying for that test," say "Do you think you’ll skip studying next time? What would have been a better choice?"

Ms. McFarren Nominated for the California League of Middle Schools' Teacher of the Year!

Tiffany McFarren exemplifies the District's Core Values in everything she does both in and out of the classroom. As a member of Bernal's math department, she prides herself in doing her part as a teacher to keep the tradition of high quality performance in Bernal's math department. She is well-respected among her colleagues, is humble, has a great sense of humor, and first and foremost keeps family and 1-year-old son a priority. When you walk into her classroom, you will quickly notice how her lessons reflect focused planning and true understanding of her students. Students are engaged, receive plenty of individual attention, are having fun and truly find a safe place to be in Tiffany's classes. Spirit days at Bernal never go by without Tiffany arriving to work dressed in neon, or in her 80's theme, or donned in the spirit theme of the day. She takes her Bronco pride very seriously. Congratulations Ms. McFarren for your nomination for the California League of Middle Schools' Educator of the year!

Boys Basketball Games (all games start @ 3:45pm)

12/12 @ Bridges

12/13 Jamborees 7th @ Britton 8th @ South Valley

1/3 Herman @ Bernal

1/5 Russell @ Bernal

1/10 @ Brownell

1/11 South Valley @ Bernal

1/12 @ Valley Christian

1/19 @ Murphy

1/24 @Britton

1/26 Solorsano @ Bernal

1/31 Davis @ Bernal

2/7,8,9 Boys Playoff Dates @ TBA

Boys B Basketball Games

1/10 Bernal @ Davis

1/12 Herman @ Bernal

1/17 Bernal @ Herman

1/18 Davis @ Bernal

1/24 Christopher @ Bernal (Not confirmed yet)

Youth Coding Classes at Santa Clara Libraries

Youth Coding Classes are now being offered at SCCLD Libraries! As the Chair of the Santa Clara County Library District, I wanted to make coding more accessible to kids, especially to our under-served youth. An educated workforce serves everyone’s interests: better paying jobs when kids finish school and more local hiring. The earlier that a girl or boy can learn to code, the more ingrained these skills will be. We wouldn’t expect future doctors to take their first biology classes in college; why should tech workers wait to learn these fundamental skills until much later in their studies? They shouldn’t!

I am excited to announce that we are launching a robust offering of coding classes and events including Hour of Code, CodeF1rst, Girls Who Code, Introduction to Arduinos, Teen Hackathon/CU Hacks, Middle School Intro to Programming using Javascript, Miss CEO, Steam Robotics Classes, Java Coding Class, CoderDojo Coding Club and more.

Cupertino Library:
  • Girls Who Code: meets weekly. Requires pre-registration. Every Thursday evening through February 2017
  • Introduction to Arduinos: Presented by the Cupertinker Space on February 5, 2017 and February 12, 2017 in the Library Story Room from 2-5 p.m.
  • Teen Hackathon/CU Hacks (once a year): Cupertino Library’s FREE hack-a-thon event for teenagers ages 14 – 19. A collaborative community event fostering STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) learning skills while providing teen coders first-hand experience in joining together in an engaging, interactive environment as they create beneficial applications. Coming Summer 2017.

Gilroy Library:
  • Middle School Intro to Programming using Javascript: 6 week class, beginning January 11th at 4 p.m. Kids develop their own games, apps and website, learning coding experientially.
  • Miss CEO: Learn essential skills like networking, effective communication, negotiation and much more! The Miss CEO Gilroy Club is affiliated with Miss CEO, an international organization dedicated to empowering young women with the ultimate leadership toolkit, mentorship, and career exploration opportunities.
  • Steam Robotics classes: check Gilroy Library Events Calendar for dates.

Los Altos Library:
  • PYTHON in January 2017: January 14, 21, 28 at 4 p.m.: (Python, an open-source general-purpose interpreted programming language available for a broad range of operating systems.)
  • JAVA in March 2017: (a general-purpose computer programming language): – March 4, 11, 18, and 25 at 4 p.m.

Morgan Hill Library:
  • More Coding Classes TBA. Contact library staff for details.

Saratoga Library:
  • CoderDojo Coding Club: an open learning environment featuring a different coding language at each table: Teens collaborate with others interested in the coding language they are interested in. They bring a project or start something new and help each other with projects. Adult mentors are available for assistance. Students 11 - 17 years of age/Teens bring their own laptop or borrow one from the library. Seating is limited, registration is required. Meets monthly on the third Sunday, but is currently on break for the holidays and will resume in January 2017.
  • Teen Hackathon - High school students sign up in groups of 3-5 on the library website. They put their programming skills to the test in an all-day hacking event and present their work to a panel of judges in the afternoon: The three best teams win a prize! This is a semi-annual event, planned again for March 2017.

For additional information on SCCLD Coding Classes or Computer Science related events, visit

January Spirit Days!

Friday, Jan. 6th: PAJAMA DAY!

Friday, Jan. 13th: TWIN DAY!

Friday, Jan. 20th: Vans vs. Converse DAY!

Friday, Jan. 27th: Childhood DAY! (dress like a picture from your childhood!)

Important Upcoming Dates:

Monday, January 16th - Martin Luther King Jr. Day (NO School)

Tuesday, January 17th - Teacher Work Day - NO School for students

Monday, January 30th - Teacher Professional Development Day - NO School for students