Thornhill Elementary PFC Newsletter

Volume 25, Issue 5, September 29, 2017

From Principal Daubenspeck...

Dear Thunderbird Families,

I hope you are enjoying this warm weather. As usual, we are trying to stay cool and hydrated when the weather warms up as it did this week. Today is the last day of our Back to School Donation Drive and as of this morning, the amazing Thornhill parent community has raised $141K (of the $165K goal) and is at 43% participation. If you haven't had the chance to donate, every donation helps and we will continue to accept donations beyond today. Thank you SO much for your participation!

I have a few announcements to share with you.

Music Program Update

As some of you may have heard, our TK-3 music teacher, Mr. Andai, has found another opportunity so will no longer be at Thornhill. We want to thank him for all of his hard work as our TK-3 music teacher the past few years and wish him well! We are proud to announce that beginning this week all students in grades TK-2 will receive instruction in African Drumming from Mr. Pope. He has been teaching African Dance with our Thornhill community as an enrichment class for many years and we are thrilled to have his program incorporated into our curriculum.

We are also happy to announce our new 3rd grade violin teacher, Mr. Vincent Tolliver. He has taught music at Skyline High School and the Oakland School of the Arts. He plays the viola and performs regularly.

If you have a violin that is not being used that you would like to donate to our music program we could use it. Please bring any donations to Mr. Daubenspeck or Sally Bonini.

New paint job for Thornhill!

I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to the OUSD painter’s crew that has painted our school recently. Marcu, Richard and Carlos worked all summer to beautify our school. It looks great and it compliments our new mural. Please thank this OUSD painting crew when you see them as they really went above and beyond.


Mr. Daubenspeck

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Konstella Is Here!

Thornhill’s new communication Konstella has officially been launched. If you have not received your invitation via email, here are some tips:

  • Check your spam folder
  • Check alternate email accounts (i.e. yahoo vs. gmail)
  • If you still cannot find your email invitation, your email address could be incorrect in our system. Please send an email to and we'll get it fixed.

Konstella is also available as an app on iOS or Android devices. There's more info and screenshots on our website!


PFC Board Members Greatly Needed

Families - We have several crucial board positions still open and are sincerely hoping YOU can volunteer to help. Please seriously consider hopping on board! Email if you have any questions. The first 3 positions are Executive Committee positions.

Secretary - Take and distribute meeting minutes

Member at Large (3-5) - Represent general PFC community on Executive Board

VP Educational Support - Manage PFC support

Auction Chair - Lead our most amazing event (2 people preferred)

Budget Liaison - Facilitates discussion on the annual budget

Diversity Chair - Coordinate Diversity/Unity team effort

Grants & Solicitations Chair - Grant opportunities from outside sources

Historian - Bulletin Board postings & keeping track of our history

Spirit Wear Chair - Create, produce, and distribute spirit wear

Visual Arts Chair - Classroom art volunteers, student art show

Winter Bazaar Chair - Manage the Winter Bazaar event

Thank you for your support in continuing the PFC mission.


Patricia Polacco Author Visit & Library News

Beloved children’s author Patricia Polacco will visit Thornhill on Thursday, October 5th, from 1:15 - 2:15pm courtesy of OUSD Library Services and Barnes & Noble! Ms. Polacco is a gifted storyteller, and many of her stories take place in Oakland and Berkeley. Her latest title, Remembering Vera, is no exception.

Part of her visit is set aside to sign purchased copies of Remembering Vera. If you would like to purchase her latest title, please complete this pre-order form and have your student bring it to school with cash or check on Thursday, October 5th. Barnes & Noble will have copies for sale during the visit at a discounted price of $15.80 each. Please read the form for important details.

The students and I wish to thank the following for their thoughtful and generous library donations:

Luciana and Giovanni Petraglia and Family: One of Those Days and Lovely
Karydis Johnson and Family: Orphan Island
Luukas and Tuuli Rinta: Dory Dory Black Sheep, The Science Fair is Freaky!, School Freezes Over!, and Ralph Tells a Story.

Keep in mind that the library will also accept used titles in good condition from Thornhill Library Amazon Wish List. Many great copies are available at lower prices!

Happy Reading,
Maura Hennessy


Karma Volunteers

Three volunteers from Joaquin Miller Elementary supported Thornhill's auction last spring and they'd love to have three Thornhill parents help out with theirs on Saturday, November 4th, 5:30-11pm at the Scottish Rite in Oakland. Could you help out for an evening at a friend's school? Sign up with a friend and make a fun evening of it. Your support for a neighboring school is also support for Thornhill.

Sign up here to pick your task and hours. They'd be delighted to have 3 hours per person but whatever you can give is welcome. Please add Thornhill to the notes section of your sign-up. Questions can be directed to Veronica Tril (, JM's volunteer coordinator, or Anne Mawdsley (, Thornhill parent.


Volunteer needed for National Mix It Up Day (Tuesday, October 31)

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Students consistently identify the cafeteria as a place in their school where divisions are clearly—and harshly—drawn. So we ask students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch.

It's a simple event, but we need a parent lead and parent volunteers to help on the day of. The date is always the last Tuesday in October which this year is October 31! Email if you are interested.


Adventure Time Enrollment for Friday, October 13

As a reminder, school will be closed on Friday, October 13. If you have a child already enrolled in Adventure Time and would like your child to spend this day with AT (at Montclair Elementary), sign-ups and further information will be available in the AT portable beginning next week.


Dates To Remember...

If you ever need to find out what's going on at Thornhill, you can always find information by visiting the calendar page of the school website.

In the meantime...Keep in mind these upcoming events in October:

Thursday, October 5: Patricia Polacco visit (1:15-2:15pm)

Friday, October 6: Science Collaboration (minimum day)

Monday, October 9: PFC Meeting (6-7:30pm)

Friday, October 13: Staff Development Day (no school)

Thursday, October 19: Dads Club Meeting at Monaghan's (7pm)

Friday, October 20: Dads Club Movie Night (7-9pm)

Saturday, October 28: Walkathon

  • Monday, October 30: Shoo the Flu! Be sure to download and sign the permission slips, and send those with your children on Oct. 30 if you want to participate.
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    About The PFC Newsletter

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

    Email submissions to our Newsletter Chair, Rex Crum, at by 3 p.m. Wednesday for approval, including Word or Text files, with links and no formatting, and 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.

    THANK YOU to everyone who submits articles and to PFC Board Members, Teachers, VPs of Communications Erin Proudfoot and Pamela Schwartz, PFC Co-Presidents Shauna Fithian and Shanyn Lloyd-Gibson and Principal Steve Daubenspeck. Member of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).