PTA meeting Wednesday April 16

At 7 pm in the teacher’s lounge. Here is the agenda:


MIRA VISTA PTA – Meeting Agenda
April 16, 2014
7:00 to 7:30 pm


Childcare:   Mira Vista after school care staff (multi-purpose room)

Welcome:    Please sign in       7:00

Updates & Announcements    7:00 – 7:10

  • School Logo (Sierra Fong)
  • Spring Dance (Dance committee)
  • Testing snacks (Victoria Rome and Casey Loew)

Reports   7:10 – 7:25

  • Principal’s Report (Mr. Chilcott)
  • Teachers’ Report
  • Treasurer’s Report (Ryan McLachlan)

Action Items

  • Approve Minutes from Feb. 12, 2014 (Denise Logsdon)   7:25 – 7:30
  • Election for new officers (President and Exec. VP)

(Financial Secretary and Middle School VP positions are still open)

Adjourn    7:30

Upcoming Dates

  • Spring Dance – 5/17 @ 6:30
  • Spring Concert – 5/29 @ 7


Upcoming Events

There are some great school  and community events coming up in the next two weeks.

1. PTA meeting, Wednesday 7 pm. (agenda to post soon)

2. Easter egg hunts. See here for 510 Family’s list of hunts this weekend.

3. Berkeley Lab Science Re-Mix, May 1 7 pm

Some say, “Science is impossible to understand.” Or, “Science is scary.” Or worse, “Science is for somebody else.”
Wrong. Science is about everyone and for everyone.  Don’t believe it?
Then come to Berkeley Lab’s “Science Remix” (or watch our live stream) on May 1 at Richmond’s East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. From 7-8:30 p.m., Berkeley Lab scientists — with some help from the audience — will share how discovery happens, show what it means to you and reveal why science can be as personal as you want it to be.
Introduction by Jordan Simmons, Director, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts.
Science Remix Special Guests: Sarah Richardson, Ashley Gibb, Brett Singer, Peter Ercius, Jim Ciston and Paul Williams.
Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free, imagination required.
Click here to download the event flyer. RSVP not required. Seating is limited.
4. Kids Bowl Free program. You can sign your child up for free bowling all summer.

Election Time!

Next week’s PTA meeting (April 16, 7 pm) is an important one: we will be nominating and electing new executive board members. Our nominating committee has some great candidates for the top spots (president and executive vice president). They are still looking for a financial secretary and a vice president for middle school.

The financial secretary prepares checks and deposits cash and checks to the PTA bank account. PTA financial duties are shared between two people; the new officer will work with current treasurer Ryan McLachlan.

The vice president for middle school is a newer position designed to increase communication among the PTA and middle school families. This person could also coordinate special events or programs for the middle school students.

If you are interested in one of these leadership opportunities, please contact Cara Houser at or Chris Allen at

Come out and vote—this is your chance to shape the PTA you want for the next two years.



Spring break!

Spring recess is April 7-11. Enjoy!

Is Your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

The following is a repost from Armin Brott’s “Ask Mr. Dad” column and appeared in the Contra Costa Times on Sunday 4/16/14.

You can find more resources on our Parenting Tools page.

Dear Mr. Dad: When should we let our 10-year-old daughter have a cell phone? My wife says all of her friends have one and, as far as I can tell, she’s right. I don’t feel that she needs one, nor do I think she’s old enough for a $400 piece of equipment. My wife says our daughter needs a phone for safety. I’ve been holding my ground, but the pressure from wife and daughter is getting unbearable. What do we do?

A. Let’s start with a reality check.

I’m betting that, despite what you’ve seen, not all of your daughter’s friends actually do have a phone. According to a recent study by the National Consumers League, only 56 percent of 8-12-year-olds. “Only” is a relative term. That said, as the dad of a 10-year-old daughter, I feel for you. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all,
black-and-white solution.

Cost definitely figures in somewhere, but it’s mostly about maturity. Some 9-year-olds might be able to handle the responsibilities of having a phone, while some 14-year-olds might not be.

Eighty-four percent of parents who got their kids a cell phone did so for safety reasons, while 73 percent said it was so they could track their child’s after-school movements. While those motives sound noble, they may not be based in fact.

For example, while having a phone would give your child a way to contact you if she needed help, that same phone gives anyone and everyone a way to contact her. Specifically, it can make it easier for others to bully your child – or for her to bully others. And while a phone’s GPS might allow you to track where your daughter goes, it can’t tell you what she’s doing or with whom she’s doing it.

As your daughter careens toward adolescence, you need to know who her friends are and what she does with them. If she’s got her own phone, she can be friends with whomever she wants – and for 10 percent of kids her age, that involves sexting.

Before you make your final decision about whether to get your daughter a cell phone, sit down with your wife and discuss these questions:

  • Does your daughter truly need to communicate for safety reasons? Perhaps she rides the bus to and from school by herself.
  • Is your daughter responsible enough to keep that phone safe at all times? It is an investment, after all. If the answer to the first question is “Yes,” but it’s “No” to this one, consider an old-style flip phone, which you can pick up at most stores for $20.
  • Is your daughter mature enough to comprehend the myriad threats that having a phone opens her up to?
  • Does your daughter want a phone simply because it’s a status symbol, or for social reasons? Neither of these is an acceptable reason, by the way.
  • Can you afford to add another line to your phone bill? What about data? What about text messages?
  • Does your daughter understand the limited number of minutes she’ll have or the number of text messages she can send?
  • Would your daughter be likely to share her (or your) personal information with strangers or install apps that might give away her physical location?

Take these questions seriously and answer them honestly – about the way things are now, not the way you’d like them to be. Ultimately, the decision belongs solely to you and your wife – not to your daughter, and certainly not to her friends.



Did You Know? Mira Vista STEM Club

Mira Vista has a wonderful and active STEM club (That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). You may be wondering why we call STEM Club…well, “STEM Club” and also “Lego Club” or “Lego League.” STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Everything we do in STEM is geared toward getting kids involved in one of these fields in a fun way. Lego Club or Lego League refer to the first semester of STEM Club when we are exclusively involved in First Lego League — a worldwide children’s robotics competition. However, we have LOTS of Legos for the kids to get creative with even after the competition, and some students want to practice with the Lego robots, so sometimes we just let them enjoy building and engineering together.

This is a volunteer-run, after-school program on Fridays that provides science-related projects for kids in a safe, encouraging environment. In the fall, STEM focuses on the Lego Robotics Challenge, which is part of the national Lego Robotics efforts and is supported by all kinds of wonderful companies and federal offices.

We have a great STEM mini-site that you can always check.

Here’s some more info:

  • Students need to sign out at the end of class and be picked up by a parent or guardian unless permission is granted for a child to walk home.
  • We would like to increase communication with parents and members so that we can keep everyone apprised of what’s happening in class, discuss upcoming projects, have students working on a project over the course of the week between STEM classes, and let everyone know if class is cancelled or extended. Some projects take a little longer! So, parents…when you are picking up your child, please leave your name, child’s name, and email and phone number with the teachers so we can send this info to you.
  • Currently, there are no fees involved with STEM Club, but after a long week of school, we like to try and provide a snack for the kids. If you would like to sponsor a healthy snack or choose a date to provide a snack, please let us know. We usually have a full class of 20-25 kids. Also, there may be projects upcoming that require the purchase of a kit.
  • Please check in with our STEM site to confirm that STEM Club is scheduled or cancelled each week. We do not anticipate cancellations through the end of the season, but just in case, information will be posted here with the date and status.

Wednesday Folder


Hello Mira Vista Community,
During a long year when there are so many things going on it is easy to lose site of the sheer number of wonderful things
going on in a school like Mira Vista. To that end, here are some of the great things happening at our great school:

  • We have a STEM club that hosted a tournament for Lego robotics
  • Kids for the Bay is working with grades K‐5 on environmental education, including a field trip for each class
  • Our teachers engage in periodic peer observation days throughout the year where our teachers observe each other teaching in order to improve our practice and overall collaboration.
  • Mr. Watts has written another play that is acted out by students during the day for the students and 7 on Thursday April 3 for the community.
  • We have very strong community volunteerism, including our updated boards in the main hall, the two working gardens, and our 5th annual Mira Vista Dance on Saturday May 17. Thank you everyone for all your hard work!
  • Our Band program is growing every year! We now have band and strings for grades 4 & 5. We also have daily Band for the
  • middle schoolers, including an advanced band class after school every day.
  • We have two Computer Labs and two Libraries to which our teachers take their classes at least once per week.
  • We have Middle Schoolers buddying up with lower grade students in class. In this way the older students take direct responsibility for teaching the younger students what it means to be a Mira Vista Bee!

And these are only a few of the many, many ways we work to support the students and community of Mira Vista. Please join
us in making this school the best it can possibly be by lending your time and support!

New for next year:

  • Accelerated Reader-We will have a new reading program next year that will assess students reading level and help us, them and you choose books that if read will maximize the student learning. These new assessments will also help us pinpoint specific areas of need and teach to them.
  • Playworks-The district will pick up the cost of Playworks for 2014-15.  This is an organization that places a coach on site to work with students during their recesses and after school to teach appropriate play during our free time.  We believe this will cut down drastically on issues on the yard and in the classroom.
  • After School Team Sports– There will be ongoing funding to  support our development of team sports after school.
  • Improving Technology-We will have 40 tablets on carts for  students at the start of next year, followed by 80 more later in the year, with the expectation that we will have   1:1 tech for every student within 3 years.

For upcoming events and teacher info, please download the PDF.

Happy April! Upcoming Events

Although we are well into spring now, we are finally getting a bit of well-needed rain. We have a very busy April at Mira Vista. Here’s what’s to come this month:

  • April 3 Upper Grade School Play, Past Futures. Curtain time is 7 pm
  • April 16 PTA meeting. We will present nominees for new PTA board positions (see this post if you’re interest in serving) and vote them in. PTA leadership positions are unpaid, volunteer positions and usually held by parents who want to give back to their school.
  • April 22 Family Dinner Night at Chipotle at El Cerrito! Can’t wait!

We’ve prepared a handy April calendar for you to print out with all these date plus district date.  Download (in Word): April 2014 School Calendar

The play's the thing...

Come see the upper-grade students perform in an original stage play, Past Futures, written by retired Mira Vista teacher Mr. Watts. Curtain time is 7 pm, on Thursday, April 3, in the multipurpose room. It stars talented students and it’s about time travel—don’t miss it! A donation of $2 is suggested for the performance, but no one will be turned away.




Picture Day!

Today is picture day. Your child will receive the payment and choice packet after pictures are taken this time.