The Walkie Talkie

Joaquin Miller Elementary Newsletter, December 2015

Principal's Message

Dear Joaquin Miller families,

I hope this message finds you rejuvenated and relaxed after a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation with your families. I was able to visit my sister and her family in Southern California and actually take a few days off!

As we enter the holiday season, my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation for all of the love and support I have received from our Joaquin Miller community as I have transitioned into this new administrative role. I am honored to be a part of such a warm and giving community of parents, students, teachers, and staff that share a common desire to make our school the best it can be.

I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the incredibly dedicated teachers and staff of Joaquin Miller. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such a talented, collaborative, and supportive group of professionals who are devoted to providing a well-rounded educational experience for ALL of our students.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the parent volunteers who support our students and teachers on a regular basis. Whether you drive on a field trip, read with students, help out in the office, or help on the playground, your assistance is invaluable. THANK YOU!

A very special shout-out goes to the chair of this year’s auction, Suzette Mohun. Suzette devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy into making the auction the incredible success it was! Thanks to her efforts and the efforts of ALL of the auction volunteers, Joaquin Miller students and teachers will have continued access to high-quality programs, teacher’s aides, academic tutors, living history events, and so much more! With the funds raised from this year’s “Raise your Paddle” event, we will be able to purchase new projectors, printers, computer speakers, Lexia licenses for new readers, outdoor umbrellas, and much-needed improvements to our big yard.

Last, but certainly not least, I must appreciate our AMAZING students! Every single day I come to work I observe students exhibiting the Wolverine Way, demonstrating kindness and empathy toward others, collaborating with peers, and striving for academic success. Keep up the AWESOME work!

With love and gratitude,

Mrs. Green

December Dates to Know

  • December 3: Diversity & Inclusion Committee meeting 6-8pm, JM library - RSVP via Konstella
  • December 5: Montera Middle School craft fair 10am-4pm
  • December 7: JM student raffle ends - turn in your tickets!
  • December 7-11: Parent/teacher conferences, minimum day schedule
  • December 10: Info night for prospective parents
  • December 13: Kids Club online enrichment program registration, 10am
  • December 15: Kids Club Enrichment Fair, 5:30-7pm
  • December 18: Spirit Day - wear your PJs to school!
  • December 21-January 3: Winter Recess, NO SCHOOL

JM Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest

Mark your calendars for the annual JM Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest to be held Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 10:15 am in the MPR. This district-wide event is open to all students, K-5. Students may write and present an original piece or select a poem, speech, or essay written by someone else. The recited piece should reflect the values of Martin Luther King, Jr. including: social justice, equality, non-violence, peace, service to others, leadership, faith in oneself, courage, hope and love, taking a stand, making a difference. The speech does not have to be about Dr. King, but it can be, and it must be memorized. Students may perform solo, with a partner, or a group. The JM Library has many books of poetry and speeches as well as a growing binder of inspirational material. Registration forms will go home in homework folders soon. Rehearsals begin right after Winter Break. Contact Cindy Gullikson, JM Librarian and 2016 JM Oratorical Fest Coordinator for more information at

Holiday Thank you Gifts for JM Staff

Each year the parent community at JM says thank you to our staff with holiday gifts. It's a great way to show our appreciation for those who work behind the scenes keeping our children safe, healthy, and cared for throughout their days at JM - including our custodians, librarian, computer teacher, front office staff, occupational and speech therapists, lunch supervisors, and many more. Please consider donating any amount you can towards the staff gifts. To donate, drop funds into the envelope in the main office in Holly Kambeitz's box labeled "Hospitality" or in the Staff Gifts box on the counter near the computer monitor. Watch for communications from your classroom parent regarding how to contribute to teacher gifts.

Kid's Club Update - Registration, Enrichment Fair & School's Out Programming!

Registration for Enrichment (online): December 13th @ 10am

Kids Club Fall Enrichment Fair: December 15th 5:30-7pm. Don't miss this special showcase of what your kids have been working on at KC enrichment classes! 5:30-6 pizza potluck, booths of student work from sessions, vendors, 6:10-7pm performances by the Ninja Circus, Strings class, and "Choices" play written by Kids Club students.

School's Out Programming: December 21st-23rd, & 28th-30th. Kids Club winter recess childcare is open to all JM Students as well as other Oakland Elementary school students. There will be an on-site bouncy house and vendors such as Cooking Around the World, Spanish Conexiones and Circus Arts. Contact Abbie at for details.

JM Student Raffle - Ending 12/7!

The JM student raffle runs until December 7th and the final drawing will be held at the student assembly on December 18th. Any student who sells more than 40 tickets will be entered in a drawing to win 4 TICKETS TO SEA WORLD, SAN DIEGO! If you would like more tickets, let one of the raffle fairies know OR see Mrs. Sims in the office! Don't forget to turn in those ticket sales!

PTA Update

Before we flip the calendar to 2016, we wanted to thank you all for the great start we've had to our school year. Let's continue the momentum into the new year. Please mark your calendars for our second PTA general meeting of the school year - Thursday, January 21st at 6:30pm (community dinner at 6pm). We hope you can make it and be a part of some important decision making and future planning. There are only four official meetings this year and it would be awesome to see PTA members at as many as possible. Have a wonderful holiday and we'll see you all back in January for more fun community events and a few exciting new programs!

-JMPTA Board

Dad's Club Update

The famous Dad's Club Movie Minimum Day is Dec 8th! - This is a JM Auction item, but there is still space available. Cost is $25 and the movie is from 1-4 pm. Contact Shane Dezilwa via Konstella for more information.

The equally famous Dad's Club Take Home Dinners will be distributed on Dec 17th! Why cook the night before Winter Break? Let the Dad's club prepare your dinner instead! Choice of chicken, portobello mushroom, or tri-tip dinners for family of 4. Look for info via flyers in kids' backpacks and on Konstella. Contact Cody Strub or Eric Runge via Konstella for more information.

JM Auction Results & Thank Yous

We’re so proud and excited to announce that all those generous bids added up and we exceeded our revenue goal! This year’s auction raised…$198,608.48!!!

The Raise Your Paddle efforts for “Mrs. Green’s Wish List” garnered $27,700 alone! Also, on top of being a financial success, it was a lovely evening - full of good times with friends and great moments of gratitude for our teachers, fellow parents and awesome JM Community.

THANK YOU for the Wine!

Thank you to all JM families who donated wine to this year’s auction. We are still tallying the final numbers, but we know that we raised more funds in this year’s wine auction than in any previous year! We want to say a special thank you to Back Room Wines in Napa, which made it easy for our community to order wines online, gave a generous discount on wine ordered for the auction, and provided the sparkling wine served at our event at a very amazing price. If you are in Napa, make sure to stop by their shop (corner of 1st & Main) to say hello and thank you!

2016-17 Prospective Student Info Night & Tours

If you have friends or neighbors with a child entering kindergarten next year who might be interested in JM, encourage them to come to our open house for prospective parents on Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 7 pm in the MPR. It is a great opportunity to learn more about our school from Mrs. Green, our PTA Board and other parents.

We are also offering tours of the school and have space in our January 6th 10:30 am tour. Interested parents should email to make a reservation.

Oakland Girls Softball League

The Oakland Girls Softball League spring season registration is now open! Practices begin in February. Teams practice once per week and play a game every Saturday. Games run from March through early June for most age groups. For more information or to sign up, go to: Contact Cindy Murphy with questions at:

Clothing Donations Needed!

The JM office needs donations of new kids underwear and clean, used boys and girls (little kids) jeans and socks for the spare box. When kids have an accident, they don't always have a change in their backpacks. Please bring all donations to Mrs. Sims in the office. Thank you!

Contribute to the Walkie Talkie

The next newsletter will be out in early January! Email with any content or contact Caitlin Murphy through Konstella. Thanks!