PTA Newsletter - December 17, 2018
Mon, Dec 17 7:16am
Frank Otis Elementary

December 2018
December 17th, Monday
-Coffee Talk with Principal Harris, 8:30-8:45am, Blacktop (round green tables)
-Kindergarten Holiday Music Performance, 9:30am, MPR
December 18th-20th, Tuesday through Thursday
-Gingerbread Shoppe (classroom teachers will schedule date)
December 19th, Wednesday
-Lincoln Middle School Information Night, 6:30-8:00pm, Multi-Use Room (at LMS)
December 21st, Friday
-Spirit Day! "Fancy Friday" theme
December 24th-January 4th
-Winter Break - NO SCHOOL

January 2019
January 7th, Monday
-Back To School!
January 11th, Friday 
-NO SCHOOL - Teacher Work Day 
January 17th, Thursday 
-Incoming Kindergarten Information Night, 6:30-7:30pm, MPR 
January 21st, Monday
-NO SCHOOL - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
-MLK Jr. Shoreline Cleanup, 9:00am-12:00pm (Doolittle & Swan Way, Oakland)
January 22nd, Tuesday 
-Incoming Kinder Tour, 9:00am (adults only)
January 23rd, Wednesday
-Equity & Inclusion Meeting, 5:30pm, Media Center
January 24th, Thursday
-Incoming Kinder Tour, 9:00am (adults only)
-PTA Meeting, 7:00pm, Media Center
January 25th, Friday 
-School Spirit Day - "Comfy Day" theme
-Movie Night, 6:00-8:30pm, MPR
January 29th, Tuesday 
-Incoming Kinder Tour, 9:00am (adults only)
January 31st, Thursday
-Soul Shoppe Parent Workshop, 6:30pm, Media Center

Dear Owl Families,
It is hard to believe that 2019 is just around the corner. I want to take this time to say thank you for supporting Otis. It is through the coordination, volunteering, and financial donations of families and the community that Otis students have so many wonderful opportunities that support both academic and social-emotional development.
The annual Walk-A-Thon, one of our most important fundraisers was a great time for all. I want to appreciate Chris Ernst for really stepping up as chair.  I also want to appreciate those who helped to set up the event, lead warm ups, punch cards, pass out refreshments, and the list goes on. There was much to coordinate this year, including rescheduling of the entire event! Money raised at the Walk-A-Thon supports programs such as intervention groups, Soul Shoppe, the STEAM Lab, and so much more. The deadline to return Walk-A-Thon donation envelopes is this Friday, December 21. Envelopes can be dropped off in the PTA mailbox in the main office. On behalf of the Otis staff and students, thank you for your ongoing support!
It is such a privilege to work at Otis. I look forward to all that is to come.
Happy Holidays,
Tanya Harris


Walk-A-Thon is one of the PTA's biggest fundraisers of the year. Our goal is to raise $53,000. It's an amount we surpassed last year, and we can do it again this year. But we are a long way from our goal. As of today, we have collected only $26,379 - not even 50% of our goal. This is a significant shortfall and could have a major impact on the programs and services the PTA provides for our students and community. 
Otis relies heavily on the generosity of our families to provide the daily activities, experiences, programs, and support that our teachers, students and parents rely on. This year, AUSD is providing only $50,000 in discretionary funds to Otis. That doesn't go very far in a school with over 650 students. In order to support our students and community, Otis staff and teachers rely on the PTA to bridge the gap so they can deliver the quality educational experience parents expect and that our children deserve. PTA pays for:
$45,000 for Small Group Support and Intervention (math, reading & PBIS)
$35,000 for STEAM Lab
$23,000 for Teacher Stipends (classroom supplies/materials)
$22,000 for Media and Technology
$17,000 for Grade Level Enrichment (including field trips) and
$10,000 for Soul Shoppe
But those are just the big ticket items. There are many more things the PTA pays for, like Books for the library and classrooms, Science Supplies, Weekly Readers, Art and Garden Docent Supplies, Assemblies like Alphabet Rockers and Rockets & Robots, Family Game Night, Math & Science Night, Safety Patrol, Health Education, Student Lounge, School Improvements, etc. All of these make Otis unique while supporting our students' learning and growth, and providing them with the best public school elementary education possible. 
It costs the PTA over $275,000 to offer all of these programs at Otis. We need to raise $53,000 through Walk-A-Thon alone to reach our annual fundraising goal so we can keep all the programs PTA supports alive this year and next. If we fall short of our goal, we will have to make cuts, and that's not something anyone wants to see happen!

We are so lucky at Otis to have all of these academic and enrichment opportunities for our students. By supporting Walk-A-Thon, YOU are directly supporting all of our students. Please help and make a donation today. 
We have extended the deadline to return the Walk-A-Thon envelopes to Friday, December 21st. Please return donation envelopes to the PTA mailbox in the Main Office by that date so we can get all donations tallied during winter break. You can still donate online too!  And don't forget that many employers will match donations. 
Thank you for your continued big-heartedness. Your teachers, kids, and community are so grateful and appreciative!  
Jenny Beck
Otis PTA President


Whatever the occasion - holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or just basic holdhold needs - please remember that when you use Amazon Smile to make purchases, a percentage of your purchase will go back to Otis Elementary. Just go to and select Otis Elementary PTA as your charitable organization. Click HERE for more information. Tell your friends and family too! Thank you and happy shopping!

Gingerbread Shoppe is this week!
The Gingerbread Shoppe will be open from December 18-20 and classes will take turns visiting and selecting their gifts. Below is the classroom schedule so you know when your student will be shopping:
Tuesday 12/18 Wednesday 12/19 Thursday 12/20
Hardman Elderts Hernandez
O'Toole Gilbert Ashworth
Goodwin Westlund Carling
Jaeger Galvez Quon
Yoon Myovich Dortch
Goldspring Apel Stricherz
McKenna   McNamara
If you don't see your student's classroom listed above, please contact your teacher for more information.
Please send your student to school with no more than $5 to purchase gifts on their shopping day. No student will go home empty handed. 
There is still time to donate items for students to purchase. Anything small and crafty is appreciated, like small soaps, candles pencil tops, small frames, journals, scarves, barrettes, cookie-making jars, hot chocolate kits, etc.  The families of Otis celebrate many different holidays (and some do not celebrate holidays at all), so we ask that gifts donated to the Shoppe are non-denominational. 
If you can donate items, we ask that you make (or purchase) a quantity of 30. With 650 students, we need LOTS of items so that each student can purchase several gifts.  Please SIGN UP HEREThank you in advance for your generosity!

QUESTIONS? Contact Gingerbread Shoppe Coordinator Zahia Hasen at     



A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who contributed box top$ to our school's Fall contest. We collected 4,974 box tops which equals $497.40 raised for the school!!
The bins will go back in the classrooms after winter break and we will finish our Spring contest after Spring Break. So please keep saving those box top$, and asking your friends and family members for any they may have. Every single one helps us out! We aim to raise $1,000 each year, so we need to collect the about the same number of box top$ again during the Spring.

And for the winners:

For grades K/1 - with 315 box top$ - Ms. McKenna's class (Room 105)
For grades 2/3 - with 370 box top$ - Mrs. Westlund's class (Room 110)

And our overall winner is.....
Ms. Galvez's 5th grade class with 427 box top$!!! Way To Go!

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for collecting Box Top$!!

Claire Legas
Box Top$ Coordinator


The Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families, along with the Alameda Firefighters, Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Red Cross Youth, and other groups have launched the 2018 Alameda Firefighters Toy Program for low-income families in our district.
A collection bin is by the School Office through December 17. Please consider donating a new unwrapped toy, game, or gift card for a child in need! They are especially in need of gifts for older children, like sports balls, craft kits, and games. 


We have started a pen and marker recycling program at Otis. Teachers, students, and parents - please bring in used pens and markers (including sharpies and dry erase markers) and put them in the box inside the office. You'll find the special box on top of the pencil dispenser across from LaShonda's desk. We go through lots of pens and markers - let's keep them out of the landfill!


Terracycle has partnered with Hasbro Toys to recycle used, broken toys! There is a bin for this in front of the main office. The toys DO NOT have to be strictly Hasbro brand, and can include stuffed animals (which we all know cannot be donated), board games, electronic toys & games, metal/plastic/wood toys & games, action figures, dolls, etc. 

Please REMOVE ALL BATTERIES before recycling. Also no carseats, skateboards, bikes, scooters, or things of that nature. This is a pilot program, so take advantage and clear out those broken and unwanted toys before the holidays!


Sports Basement is inviting everyone at Otis to a very special shopping event, where you'll receive 20% off your entire purchase all day long. Mention your Basementeer account at the register, so your purchase supports Frank Otis Elementary School!

Date: December 16 - 19, 2018
Time: All day long!
Location: All 10 Sports Basement stores!
Can't join us at the store? Join the celebration by shopping online! Use the code 2050008418244 at checkout.


To Order a yearbook for the 2018-19 school year, visit:
Enter CODE: 32685M  All orders due by February 1, 2019
WE NEED PICTURES!! Upload your pictures from assemblies, field trips, art docent, STEAM lab by clicking on this link:


If you placed a pre-sale shirt order, please pick your items up from All Good Living, 2332 Alameda Ave, Monday-Saturday between 10am-5pm, (510) 522-6288.
We still have a limited supply of shirts, sweatshirts and water bottles available for purchase here. Get them while supplies last - last chance for the 2018/19 school year!




Is your family planning to do any community service this break? If so, please share photos with us! Email them to

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve!"

MLK Service Day
MLK Day is coming up in January, and many of us celebrate Dr. King's legacy through service! If you are interested in joining other Otis families in service at the MLK Jr. Shoreline from 9-12pm on Monday, January 21st, please let us know! Register your family here. Then email so we know you're coming and can figure out a place to meet up!

Finally, below are a few local donation opportunities:
Hip Hop For Change Warm Winter Clothing Drive
There are 3,000 homeless people in Oakland, and as the weather gets colder, many of those experiencing homelessness are in need of clothing and supplies to stay warm and healthy this winter. Hip Hop For Change in partnership with East Bay Community Space is organizing a clothing drive for both new and lightly used clothing [i.e. scarves, jackets, socks, thermals, gloves, blankets, tarps, shoes, solar lanterns, beanies, bottled water, thermals, tents, feminine products, hygiene items].Items can be dropped off at 5447 Telegraph Ave, Oakland 94609, Monday thru Friday between the hours of 9am and 5 pm. Click HERE for more information.
*If you have items to donate but don't have the capacity to drop them off, please contact Jen Lucky who can collect and drop off donations for Otis families.

Roots Community Clinic in Oakland is facilitating to gather NEW items for local residents experiencing homelessness. It's a really easy way for people to donate and have a direct, local impact - check out the link.

Have a wonderful break!!

Winter/Spring 2019 Alameda Education Foundation Enrichment classes:
Registration for the next season of enrichment classes opens on January 10 at 9:30am.

We have lots of classes to choose from including Mandarin, Chorus, Writing, Spanish, Jewelry making, Marine Science and many more! We are pleased to announce that Otis parent Mandar Wagholikar is teaching two AEF classes at Otis - "Adventures in Color!"during the Winter session, and "Adventures in Clay Sculpting & Modeling" during the Spring session.  Click HERE for the schedule of classes.

To register go to and click on the blue enrichment button.

Questions? Please email

A limited number of scholarships are available for students on the AUSD lunch program. Email to apply.



It's time to start thinking about middle school. If you're interested in exploring options around the island, below are dates for scheduled information sessions for Lincoln, Wood, Junior Jets, AOA, Bay Farm Middle School, and ACLC, or click HERE for more information.
Lincoln Middle School
- Wednesday, 12/19
Each Parent/Guardian Information Night is from 6:30-8:00pm in the multi-use room.
Beginning in January 2019, every Tuesday and Thursday, LMS will be offering tours for you and your student. We have several of the same tours set up with a focus on 6th grade which include a brief overview of the subjects offered to 6th graders led by our Math, Science, CORE, and Elective teachers, along with a brief tour of the school. We have a tour focused on 7th and 8th grade subject areas also led by teachers and a brief student led tour of the school. There are two tours focused on electives and clubs offered at Lincoln in which you will hear from the elective teachers and given a brief tour by our Outdoor Development docents/students. Tour sign-ups will be available on the LMS website in December.
Junior Jets 
- Thursday, 1/10
Each Information Nights will start at 6:30pm in the Junior Jets office. Look for signage directing you (it is on the far right as you are facing the school).
Wood Middle School
- Wednesday, 1/9
Each Information Night is from 6:00-7:00pm in the Media Center.  
- Thursday, 1/17 
- Thursday, 2/7 
Each presentation is from 6:00-7:00pm in the gym. Parents and students are welcome. Click HERE for more information.

- Thursday, 12/13
- Wednesday, 1/9
Each presentation is in the Multi-Purpose Room from 6:30-7:30pm. They are intended for parents and their incoming students. Click HERE for more information.


Click HERE to sign up to receive newsletters and other important information from AUSD. 
  • Next Board of Education Meeting: January 8 at 6:30pm (City Hall).
  • Next High School Consolidation Committee Meeting: January 15 at 6:30pm (Island High School).   
  • Click HERE for the agendas.
AUSD is offering a wide variety of parent enrichment speakers, workshops and events. See below for more information or click HERE
Screenagers Film
Paden Elementary MPR/GYM
February 7, 2019 |7:00- 8:30 p.m.
Event Information | Official Trailer

Parent University at Lincoln Middle School 
Spring Session: 
February 13, 2018 6:00-8:30 p.m.
School Smarts
Sessions begin week of January 15, 2019 at Ruby Bridges, Paden, Earhart and Haight elementary schools. Details coming soon! Schools alternate hosting the program every other year. If your school is not listed, you are still invited to attend your neighboring schools' program.




Winter Animal Camp
Looking for a fun and interesting camp for the winter holiday? The East Bay SPCA offers two sessions of Winter Animal Camp where kids get to learn about and interact with dogs and cats. For more information and to sign up, go to  




OTIS 101
Ever wonder what a room parent does, what "MPR" means, how the money from PTA fundraising events is used, or what's what at Otis?  If so, you will find this guide to be a helpful resource and reference guide.  It's also posted on the school website at for easy reference.  Please take a few minutes to read Otis 101 so you're up to speed!

Questions?  Please contact any member of the PTA Executive Board for more information. 
To contact Otis PTA Outlook, please send an e-mail to, or hit reply to this newsletter. These emails will go directly to the Editor's personal in-box. 

Thank you, 
Outlook Editor