PTA Newsletter 9-3-2019
Tue, Sep 3 9:27pm
 Apologies for the duplicate post - there were some formatting issues! 
September 2019
September 5th, Thursday
-Last day to turn in Summer Scholars work, summer scholar box in Owl Room
September 6th, Friday
-The Butterfly Effect: Butterfly Making Event, blacktop 7:45-8:10 am 
-Art docent supply room orientation, Art Docent Room 8:25-8:45 am
September 9th, Monday
-Monday Community Circle (assembly), blacktop 8:20
September 11th, Wednesday
-Picture Day
September 12th, Thursday
-Bike repair day, blacktop, 12-4 pm
September 13th, Friday
-Otis Movie Night, MPR, 6-8:30 pm
September 20th, Friday
-Summer Scholars Lunch, K & 1st 11-11:30, 2nd & 3rd 11:30-12, 4th & 5th 12-12:30
-Family Celebration Picnic, Krusi Park for potluck and picnic 6-7 pm, MPR for performances 7-8 pm
September 26th, Thursday
-PTA Social Night, Alameda Island Brewing Co. 6-7 pm
September 27th, Friday
-Teacher Collaboration Early Dismissal, Kinder released at 11:40 am, 1st -5th released at 12:30 pm
October 2nd, Wednesday
-Walk & Roll to School Day, blacktop 8-8:20 am
October 7th, Thursday
-Dine & Donate at Chipotle
Become a PTA Member and Make a Direct Donation

Make a Direct Donation - Thanks to those families who have donated so far. We are off to a good start but have a long way to go. Your Direct Donation supports invaluable programs for all Otis children. These include classroom technologies, library books, reading specialists, music, art and garden docent lessons, motor fitness, educational assemblies, field trips, and more! Our goal is to raise at least $50,000 by October 1st, with donations of $250-500 per child or whatever amount you can comfortably give. Don't forget to check with your company for corporate matching as well! 
Join the PTA - Anyone can join - parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors! Your voice is important to us and membership costs only $10 per person per year.
To join and donate - Please see this flyer for details or click here to make your donation and join the PTA. If you are making a direct donation and purchasing one or more PTA memberships at the same time, be sure to add them separately to your cart before checking out. Please contact Liz Sparber with questions.
Join Us For Our First PTA Social Night
We're trying something a little different this year - Please join us for our first PTA Social Night between 6pm-7pm at Alameda Island Brewing Company on Thursday, September 26th. Come and talk with Principal Tanya Harris and other members of the PTA Board to learn what new & exciting things are happening at Otis this year! This meeting will be an informal discussion (no presentations) and a great place to ask questions. Food available to order at Monkey King.  This will be a kid friendly event.
Picture Day is coming up on 09/11/2019!
Order online here
If your bikes need maintenance or some repairs, come to the blacktop on September 12th from 12-4pm. The Safe Routes to Schools BikeMobile will provide free tune ups for all parents, students and teachers at our school! BikeMobile staff can help fix bikes during recess and lunch and after school.

The BikeMobile can fix flat tires, adjust brakes and gears, and even replace broken or worn out parts like chains, seats, and tires. Bike or no bike, everyone is welcome to attend to learn about maintenance, safety, and more! This is a first come, first serve event. BikeMobile volunteers can only guarantee to fix the first 20 bikes that come, so plan accordingly! 

For more information, contact Alyx Brun at


WHEN:  Friday, September 13, 2019
TIME:    Doors open at 6:00pm; Movie starts at 6:30pm. 
 Pick up promptly at 8:30pm. Plenty of time for dinner out or a few           errands.
WHO:    Otis students only (grades K-5). Sorry, no younger or older siblings.
COST:   $20 per child (grades K-5 only). Ticket price includes pizza, fruit, drink, dessert and popcorn!

  • You may register up to two students online. 
  • Submit additional forms to register additional students. 
  • Links for online payment are contained in the registration form. Be sure to pay and then submit the form (there are two steps)
Paper forms are available in the main office for those who wish to pay in cash (exact change only, please; no checks). Please do not use the online registration form if paying in cash. 

Questions?  Please contact Neveen Acero ( or Emilly Nurthen (
The Summer Scholars Pizza & Ice Cream Party is set for Friday September 20! 
The party times will be as follows:
K & 1st grades: 11-11:30am
2nd & 3rd grades: 11:30-12pm
4th & 5th grades: 12-12:30pm
The Summer Scholar students will be called out from class (or recess) to attend the party at their designated time and they will not need to pack a lunch that day (unless you would like to supplement their pizza party lunch).
If there are students who missed the cut-off date to turn in their work and would still like to do so, please have them submit their work directly to the summer scholar box in the Owl Room (next to the office) by Thursday Sept. 5.
We will need 8-10 parent volunteers to assist at the party on 9/20 (a couple prep positions are needed prior to the party). Please sign up on Konstella. 
For any questions or to let me know about any specific food allergies/needs please email: (There will be a couple gluten-free pizzas)
Congratulations to the all the Summer Scholars!
Come enjoy a potluck picnic outside at Krusi Park from 6-7 pm, followed by live music and dance performances by students, parents, and community members from 7-8 pm in the MPR to celebrate our diversity!  Everyone is invited. Your family is included.  Keep an eye out for more details on what to bring and how to help.  
Otis parent Emi Johnston will also be onsite during this event from 6-7 pm to conduct livescan fingerprinting. Sign up here for a timeslot. The PTA offers financial assistance with the fingerprinting fee for those who need it. Please email with any reimbursement questions. 
Morning drop-off can be hectic. There's no parking, people are crossing at every corner and you have to get to work. The Otis Safety Patrol is here to help make drop off easier and smoother. But it helps if we are all on the same page. 
There are two drop-off locations: Fillmore Street and High Street. Fillmore, by far, gets more drop-offs than High Street as the closest entrance for the bottom four grades (K-3). 
Because it is so busy, we ask that you abide by the following rules: 
  1. Pull forward all the way to make room for carpoolers behind you. Pay attention to the volunteers waving you forward. It may be that you have to pause for the car in front of you to leave before letting your child out.
  2. The Safety Patrol volunteers will help students exit vehicles and escort younger children on campus. 
  3. Please do not make u-turns on Fillmore, as it is extremely dangerous. 
  4. Exercise caution pulling out of carpool - students are crossing all along Fillmore Street.
  5. If you can, plan to arrive with enough time to get through the line without being late. 
  6. If the line is long, consider dropping off on HIGH STREET - the line is usually much shorter.
Drop off is fairly straight-forward at High Street. Enter from the North and exercise caution when pulling back out into traffic as there are pedestrians crossing at Calhoun and High Street. 
If you are parking and walking your child to class, 
  • Allow sufficient time to find parking 
  • Do not block neighbors' driveways, jay-walk, or double-park. 
  • Help traffic flow by yielding to cars exiting the carpool drop-off if you see a long line.
  • Please note the crosswalk at Calhoun and High Streets is not the responsibility of the Safety Patrol Squad leader. Their job is to ensure the safety of the squad and the students exiting the cars. If you need assistance crossing the street, please walk to Fillmore and High Street where Jesse Dickinson, our long-time crossing guard, can assist you and your child/ren.
Most importantly, be patient with our volunteer students and adults. They come to school before everyone else to set up their morning to provide a valuable service. 
We are still looking for Safety Patrol Volunteers! If your 4th or 5th Grader is interested, please contact Neveen Acero (
I frequently get questions about what can and can't go in the Terracycle bin, but I have other answers to green questions that you may or may not even know you had! Like:

Did you know that you can safely dispose of unused and expired prescription medications? Medicine and prescription drugs are hazardous and must not go in the trash, or be flushed or poured down the drain- instead, take them to any local pharmacy (Walgreens, CVS), including those at local hospitals (Kaiser, Alameda Hospital), for recycling.

Check back weekly for new and easy ways that you can Go Green!
Box Top$ are back and are going digital!  
We will start our Box Top$ drive soon, but there are some BIG changes to the program. Box Top$ is going digital as it moves forward. Please take a look at this short video to learn about the changes.
I will ALSO be collecting any Box Top$ clips (those little cardboard pieces) that you still have and which have an expiration date that is still valid. Within the next couple of weeks I will get the bins back in the classrooms and will post an announcement to let you know when to send those in. 
In the meantime, please download the new app, keep track of your receipts and make sure you scan them within 14 days of purchase.
I will do my best to answer any questions you may have about this, but it's new to everyone, so I appreciate your patience if I don't know immediately. 
And to address the big question you have: yes, this will change our Box Top$ drive from an individual room-based competition to a school-wide effort. 
Thanks for your support of this program and the school. Last year we raised over $700 for the school! 
Keep clipping if you have old boxes with Box Top$ and start scanning if you buy products with the new labels. 
Volunteer and Community Service
It is very helpful to get your volunteer forms in order now so they are taken care of for the year. They can all be found here. Start with the Otis Volunteer Agreement packet for instructions. Remember, once you are fingerprinted as a parent volunteer with AUSD, that lasts for your entire time in the district and it is great to get this done early so you are all cleared for the years to come. Otis parent and Live Scan professional Emi Johnston of Island Notary & Live Scan will be on site during the Family Celebration Picnic (see above for link to sign up for a time slot) or contact her directly now by texting or calling 415-676-8007!  She is flexible and located right near Otis and can set up a time that works for you, including weekends, early morning, and after work.
If you are interested in being a part of our wonderful art and garden docent programs be sure to join the Konstella groups which can be found under committees, enrichment. There is an art docent supply room orientation for new, returning, and interested art docents on Friday, September 6th from 8:25-8:45 am.
Join Otis parents and students on the blacktop Friday, September 6th from 7:45 to 8:10 a.m., to participate in a moving art project that brings attention to the 15,000 migrant children currently separated from their parents in US detention centers. The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful project, aims to engage youth from around the world to make 15,000 butterflies to honor and bring attention to these 15,000 children. The butterflies you make will be displayed in museums and public institutions around the Bay Area and beyond. You can read more about the project and its reach at https:// We will also have more info about the project - and welcome any interested students to join us in planning and leading this event. For any questions or additional information please email Jen Lucky at
Spring Auction Volunteers Needed
The Spring Auction (aka Spring Fling) is one of Otis's biggest fund-raising efforts. This adults-only annual event celebrates our amazing community, while raising close to 35% of the annual PTA fundraising target. Our fun themes add to the celebratory nature of the evening which is complete with a dinner, drinks, dancing, and silent and live auctions. 
How does the Spring Fundraiser support our Owls?
The Spring Fundraiser raises more than 1/3 of the Otis PTA's annual fundraising goals. Our school is extremely fortunate to have an active parent community that gives so generously to our school. The Otis PTA funds an array of programs and curriculums at our school including: 
  • Otis' STEAM LAB
  • Soul Shoppe, our social-emotional curriculum
  • The Art and Garden Docent programs
  • Small group learning, including reading intervention
  • Recess supervision
  • Books & technology
  • Field trips & assemblies
How can I help?
There are many ways to help before, during and after the event. A few critical "jobs"are listed below.   
  • Graphic Designer - Design event theme artwork for marketing, program guide, event signage, invitation/postcard, etc. 
  • Donations Solicitation Lead - The auction is only as good as the items and bundles donated, and the generosity of our community of donors and bidders. Some corporate donors require up to 3 or 4 months to review and approve donations. This year, we will start soliciting donations earlier to ensure we have a good selection of high-value items. This job entails calling, emailing or visiting potential donors (list provided)
  • Communications Lead - As event date gets closer, we will include weekly/bi-weekly content for the Otis Outlook and Konstella as well as promote the event on our Facebook page.
  • Dessert Auction Coordinator - 2018-19 was the first year we did this and it was a huge success. We start the live auction with a dessert auction. This role is focused on soliciting cake/dessert donations, coordinating delivery to the event, and setting up the display.
  • Parties Organizer - A big seller at silent auction are our parties and Gifts from the Heart. Parties are put on by individuals, couples or groups of individuals/parents based on a theme. Past parties have included: 
    • Make Your Own Pizza Party
    • Bollywood-themed Party
    • Moms Cocktails and Crafts
    • Golden Girls
Gifts from the Heart are experiences that the teachers and administrative staff share with kids. Examples of Gifts from the Heart are:
    • Principal for a Day
    • Baking with Ms. Gilbert
    • Weekend STEAM Lab with Mr. Jerrold
    • Gaming and Goodies with Mr. O'Toole. 
Parties and GFTH have limited seats and people sign-up to attend the event. The Party Organizer reaches out directly to parents and teachers with ideas for parties.
  • Auction Item Team Members - Inputting auction items into auction software, helping to organize and coordinate auction bundles, night-of input

While it's still early, we are gathering a team early to ensure a successful Spring Auction. It's a great way for new families to get involved, meet other families, and learn the ropes to continue the tradition (or change it and make it their own) in future years. If you are interested in being a part of the planning and helping in any of these categories, or if you have any questions, contact co-chairs, Neveen Acero ( or Laura Meith( Or just sign up on Konstella for the Spring Auction Committee here
Want to stay in the loop on Otis news? 
Please sign up for Konstella
Konstella is our primary communication tool! Eventually, the Otis Outlook may be available via Konstella only. 

Please join the Otis Facebook Group:(
Lunch Purchase Information
To view the AUSD menu and information about purchasing lunch at school clickhere.  For the Free and Reduced Meals, you can sign up quickly and confidentially via myschoolapps or AUSD's Food & Nutrition Services webpage
Teen Wellness Film Series
Presented by AUSD and PTA Council in partnership with student and community organizations
This film series will feature documentaries focusing on issues related to teen wellness, including mental health, sexual health, self-esteem, social media, and relationships. Our goal is to start community conversations about the challenges our teens face and how best to support them. Families are encouraged to visit Common Sense Media's Movie Reviews for age recommendations.
Please register to attend at and to find screening location. Free Admission ($10 suggested donation to help us sustain our programming). First come, first served.
The first film is:
LIKE This documentary explores the impact of social media on our bodies, our brains, and our relationships. In an ideal world, social media is a tool and social platforms are a place to connect, share, and care -- but what's really happening? And how can we learn to manage social media better?
Screening: Thursday, September 12, 2019 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Co-host: Alameda Theatre, 2317 Central Avenue, Alameda
If you are not receiving emails from AUSD be sure to contact them to get on their list. 
Alameda Education Foundation ("AEF")
After-school enrichment class registration is open and there are still some classes with available spots! This season we have Book Making, Clay Sculpturing, Tennis, Math Mind Juniors, Magic and other fun classes.
Register online at Pls email if you have any questions. Limited scholarships for students on AUSD Free & Reduced Lunch. Price increase of $10 on Sep 7th! Please note that Adventures in Color & Adventures in Clay are for Grades K-5. Kinders are very welcome!
AEF Art Classes Offered By Otis Dad and Local Artist
Mandar Wagholikar, Otis dad and local artist, is offering two AEF classes this fall. Again note that Kinders are welcoe. Please read Mandar's post:

After a successful last season, I am coming back with after school AEF offerings this Fall! Join us for 'Adventures in Color' on Tuesdays, Sep 17, 24, Oct 1, 8, 15, 23 and 'Adventures in Clay Sculpting' on Tuesdays, Oct 29Nov 5, 12, Dec 3, 10, 17.

Last time we had a lot of fun! See some testimonials from Otis parents below. REGISTRATION BEGINS THIS THURSDAY FOR BOTH. LIMITED SEATING so please sign up quickly. Both old and new students welcome as we will work on different themes.

Art is magic! Early exposure to arts can lead to a life long pursuit of joy and well being.

See my art, demos & testimonials at
Siska O.: "My daughter loved learning about different art techniques and creating her own masterpeices during "Adventurs in Color". Tuesdays were much more fun since she knew the schoolday would end on a creative, colorful note! The course also inspired her to draw and paint at home more often."

Lou: "Lila had a wonderful time in Mandar's 'Adventures in Watercolor' art class. She created some fantastic pieces that she is very proud of. In Lila's own words "I really liked the class. I enjoyed the painting and want to be an artist when I grow up!" Mandar is a warm and talented teacher and an accomplished artist who really engages with the Children. The class is fun and I would recommend it for any budding young artist! Cheers!"

Liz S.: Ryan loved Mandar's 'Adventures in Clay' class. He had a ton of fun and was very proud of his work. He often came home planning to give gifts of his creations, only to later decide he liked them too much and keep them for himself. Mandar created a warm and inspiring environment.

Catherine: "We love Mandar's art classes! Our kinder and second grader took Mandar's painting and sculpture classes and had a blast. He does such a great job of supporting the kids' natural enthusiasm for the creative process. He's also very flexible about catering to each child's individual interests. Our younger daughter didn't want to work with the clay, so Mandar kindly allowed her to be a "helper" and even encouraged her to draw alongside the other students. We arrived every afternoon to find a room full of happy kids who were excited to show off their work and explain what they'd learned. Mandar's experience as both an artist and a parent really shows in the joy he sparks in kids of all ages. Thank you, Mandar! We're already looking forward to being back in the fall."

Jill F: "My son had so much fun in the Painting and Clay classes. He brought home a great variety of projects and even taught me some techniques! Mandar was absolutely fabulous with the group of kids and offers such valuable hands-on exposure to the arts. Both my son and I recommend these classes to anyone looking for some artful fun! Looking forward to the next enrollment!" - mom to a happy kindergartner 2019