The Walkie Talkie

Joaquin Miller Elementary Newsletter, February 2016

Principal's Message

Dear Joaquin Miller Families,

Every year, teachers, staff members, parents, and fifth graders across Oakland and the rest of California take the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). Our annual participation goal for parents is 35%, however last year 67% of JM parents completed the survey! This survey provides parents with an opportunity to share their opinions of Joaquin Miller School. Your responses are very important to the staff and to me, as they provide us with valuable feedback and insights into how well we are supporting your child(ren) academically and socially.

A paper copy of the survey should have come home with your kiddos, but you can also take the survey online by clicking here. You can complete one survey per child. The survey is completely anonymous, but we need you to notify your child's teacher once you have completed the survey as we need to track survey participation. The paper surveys can be turned in to your child's teacher. All surveys must be completed by the end of February. If you are the parent of a fifth grader, you will need to sign the permission slip that came home with your child for him/her to take the student version of the survey.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to complete the CHKS!

Take care,

Mrs. Green

February Dates to Know

  • February 9-12 - JM Library Book Fair
  • February 15 - Presidents Day - NO SCHOOL & No Kids Club
  • February 24 - Spirit Day, BACKWARDS DAY!
  • February 27 - JM TLC Day 8:00am-2:00pm
  • March 12 -Save the Date, JM Joaq-a-Thon


Tuesday – Friday, February 9th – 12th, 2016 in the JM Library

It’s time for the library’s annual fundraiser, the Scholastic Book Fair!

There are many changes from last year, the most significant being that you must use a credit/debit card or a check for purchases made before and after school, and on Tuesday evening. No cash will be accepted outside of scheduled class visits. All forms of payment will be accepted during school hours, 8:30 to 2:50. The burden of cash management has become too much, making these new procedures necessary. If the new payment options present a burden to your family, please contact Mrs. Green for assistance. Profits from the fair are used for new library books and supplies.

HOURS Students will visit the fair during their regular library period, except for some Friday classes which will visit on other days (keep library books at home this week). Families are welcome during the following fair hours:

Tuesday 2/09: 8:05 am to 8:00 pm

Wednesday 2/10: 8:05 am to 2:00 pm

Thursday 2/11: 8:05 am to 3:30 pm

Friday 2/12: 8:30 am to 12 noon (Note: tear-down begins at noon)

The book fair will not be open to students during any recess periods (adults welcome). Students must be with an adult to shop before and after school.


Our teachers will have an opportunity to create wish lists from which you can select a book to purchase for your child’s classroom. Teacher wish lists are located on the poster board outside the library. The books you give will become a permanent part of the classroom library and will be recognized with a bookplate identifying your family or child as the donor.

Families may also donate to support students who need financial assistance to purchase books. All donations should be given directly to Mrs Gullikson; Mrs Green will allocate funds to the proper students.

App – Download the “Scholastic Book Fairs” app free from the App Store or Google Play. Hold your phone in front of a book cover and get reading levels, summary, etc.

Principal's Reading Challenge

On Monday, February 1, 2016 we kicked off our 2nd annual Principal’s Reading Challenge. Principal Green is challenging our students (and staff!) to read 10,000 books as a school between February 1 and March 22.

Our goal is to enjoy reading and to read a lot! Most types of reading material will count toward our goal of 10,000:

  • Picture books, novels, nonfiction

  • Audiobooks, eBooks

  • Magazines, read cover-to-cover

  • Books read to students (in any grade) by librarian, teacher, family, reading buddies

  • Comic/cartoon books, manga, graphic novels

A paper copy of the reading log for this challenge has been sent home in the backpacks . Students should be using the logs and turning them in with their homework, each Friday for most classes.

Older students working through longer chapter books are welcome to supplement their reading with picture books to build their reading logs.

READING CELEBRATION DAY will be held March 23! We'll have guest readers, assemblies, and reading activities in class.

This is not a contest; we're not tracking students individually or awarding individual prizes. This is an all-school collaboration! Last year students reported making more of an effort to finish books so they could be counted, and many enjoyed seeing progress as their logs built up!

42nd Annual JOAQ-A-THON 3/12/16!

The Event

This is our biggest community event and our second biggest fundraiser, which helps support vital programs for all our children’s education: Library, Computer, PE, and teaching aids. It is a great community day, with music, delicious food sold by the Dad’s Club, kids and families walking and supporting each other, and parents helping cheer the kids along at various checkpoints. You can come for as long or as little as works with your schedule!

Help Your Child Get Sponsors!

On February 5th your child brought home a packet with detailed information about the Joaq-a-thon and a sponsor sheet for each student. Please help encourage your child(ren) to ask for sponsors- no amount is too small. Our goal is to raise $40,000 this year. Please help us reach our goal!

Online Sponsorship is EASY

A great way to get friends and relatives who live far away to sponsor is to send them the link and instructions for how to donate online. To donate online go to: OR the JM homepage: and click the link in the green square that says '42nd Annual Walkathon'. You will be taken directly to online donations. Follow the instructions under "secure payment for the JM walk-a-thon" and make sure to input the student's sponsoree's name and his/her teacher's name. You do not need to have a PayPal account to donate online.

Save the Date!

More details to follow, but please mark March 12th on your calendars. The event goes from 9:30-3:30 (Registration opens at 9:00am). Contact Joaq-a-thon Co-Chairs Jen Belmont and Cathy Carr at with any questions.


Joaquin Miller offers a wonderful variety of community events through out the year to bring our families together in support of our students. Those events would not be possible if it weren't for our dedicated parents & staff. Below are some critical roles that we need to fill with some SUPER volunteers.

2016-17 JMPTA Board Treasurer - SUPER HIGH NEED

  • Serve as a JMPTA Board member (1 board meeting per month, 4 general PTA meetings per year)
  • Manage and maintain records and accounts for the PTA
  • Accounting background is highly desired
  • If interested, contact: JMPTA Board -

2016 Auction Chair (or co-chair) - HIGH NEED

  • Build a team to coordinate all aspects of our biggest and most essential fundraiser at Sequoyah Country Club on November 5, 2016
  • Oversee all areas of the Auction (Gala, Internal Solicitations, External Solicitations, Business Operations)
  • Procure corporate sponsorships
  • Contact: JMPTA Board -

Talent Show Coordinator/s

  • Plan and execute a JM student talent show on April 22, 2016
  • Work with parents, students and staff to create the program and conduct rehearsals
  • If interested, contact: JMPTA Board -

3rd Grade Parent Green Glove Lunchtime Monitors

  • Ms Williams is seeking 3rd grade parents to help monitor 3rd grade students during the lunch period as they sort trash, compost and recyclables.
  • If interested, contact: Ms. Williams -
Nominating Committee Members
  • This committee works to recruit parents to run for 2016-17 JMPTA Board positions with the goal of creating a board that is representative of our fabulously diverse community
  • If interested, contact: Cathy Carr -

PTA Update

PTA Meeting Recap

Thank you to all those parents who were able to attend the PTA General Meeting on January 21st. It was lovely to have such a good group of parents there supporting our 5th grade presenters and seeing first hand all the wonderful things that Ms Moore is doing to enhance their educational experiences through technology.

A Note about Corporate Matching

A grateful note from your PTA Board with a shout-out to all the parents who have been processing matching donations through their employers. THANK YOU!

At this point last year, we had $1,317 in Corporate Matching Income. As of January 15th this year, we have $7,333 in Corporate Matching Income. That's an amazing amount of growth, 5 times as much as on this date last year. Really impressive!

Some of you have been taking advantage of Corporate Matching opportunities for multiple years. Some of you are new to the process. Thank you to those who are new and to those who have been steadily processing matches, year after year. All our kids benefit from your efforts, and we appreciate it very much.

Dad's Club TLC Day - Feb. 27th 8am-2pm

Dad's Club is happy to host our annual TLC Day to spiff up our favorite school. We need your participation to support this effort.

Please hold the date and more details will be communicated over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Vinay Iyer

Oakland Cubs Track Team

Oakland Cubs track team is starting up in February for runners ages 5-13. We are a small team (started by Andrea Johnson, a Joaquin Miller K mom and coach) that focus on personal best, learning the sport, being active, and having fun. Competition is not the main focus, but rather doing your best everyday and being a good teammate. Practices are Wednesdays at Joaquin Miller Park and meets are on Saturdays. We will race in some all comers meets throughout the Bay Area. If you are interested and/or want more information contact Andrea at Sign ups are open at (search Oakland Cubs).

Photos Needed for the JM Yearbook

The JM yearbook team is hard at work and having fun assembling our 2015-16 yearbook on, but we need your help! Please submit memorable photos you've taken during this year's school events and activities -Halloween, field trips, family reading night, classroom candids, MLK. We'll include the entire school year in photos, so remember to bring your camera to Valentine's Day Parties, Joaq-a-thon, Spring Fair, etc.

Here are some options for submitting photos:

1) Send your photos directly to If you have more than 5 place them in a zipped folder.

2) Share them with our yearbook Dropbox account,

3) Bring a labeled flash drive or CD to the computer lab between 8 and 8:30 any day or leave it in the computer lab box in the office.

Questions? Contact me,, or Mrs. Moore,

Volunteer for Other Schools' Auction Nights!

Several schools helped us tremendously with our annual auction last fall by volunteering to help during the auction night, leaving more time for our JM attendees to enjoy the festivities! In return, those schools have their auctions this spring and we would like to reciprocate by sending volunteers to their events to help out. It is a fun activity and greatly appreciated by our partners. Below are sign up links to 3 of the upcoming auctions. If you sign up, please put (JM) after your name so they can identify which school you are affiliated with.

Chabot - March 5th, Greek Ascension Church

Thornhill - March 5th, Scott's Seafood Jack London Square

Montclair - March 19th, Sequoyah Country Club

Thank you for helping our OUSD schools with fundraising! Please email if you have any questions.

Contribute to the Walkie Talkie

The next newsletter will be out in early March! Email content to or contact Caitlin Murphy through Konstella. Thanks!