Wednesday Folder


  • Today’s folder had the Chipotle Family Dinner night fundraiser, which was tonight, and the April PTA newsletter.

A few highlights from the newsletter:

Helping Hands Needed

Field Day and the school BBQ. We are fast approaching the end of the school year and with that comes these two great events. To make both of these a success, we’re looking for anyone who can help out on either day – even for a hour. Every parent makes a difference.  If you’re interested, please send an email to and tell coordinator Casey Lowe you’d like to help out with the BBQ or Field Day and she’ll get in touch.

Spring Dance. Mira Vista’s most awesome event of the year! The Spring Dance is May 17, 2014. The theme this year is Once Upon a Dream. The Mira Vista Spring Dance is a much-anticipated yearly event for the whole school—from K through 8, and their parents. But putting on a dance with decorations and fun doesn’t happen by magic, so we could really use your help with setting up the night before (please join the Set Up Party on May 16 in the multipurpose room) and cleaning up after the dance. Please contact and let us know what you can do–even if you only have 5 minutes, we’d love to have you there!

Upcoming Events

We have a packed and excited May!

  • May 5-9 Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 14 PTA Meeting, 7 pm
  • May 17 Incoming Kindergartner Playdate  11:00 am – 1:00 pm, Tassajara Park
  • May 17 Spring Dance, 6 pm
  • May 26 Memorial Day (no school)
  • May 29 Spring Concert, 7 pm

Family Dinner Night Wed April 23: Chipotle!


familydinnerfundraiser2We have another wonderful Family Dinner Night on Wednesday, April 23, at Chipotle in El Cerrito between 5-8 pm!

9901 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone:(510) 900-2658

Directions  | Menu

Mention Mira Vista and the PTA will receive 50% of your order! That is HUGE!


Message from New PTA Presidents

Dear Mira Vista,

We are excited to greet you as your new PTA presidents. We are grateful for the opportunity and humbled by the prospect of leading such an amazing parent and teacher volunteer group. We’re both parents of two boys (Sierra has a second grader and David has a first grader, and we both have younger boys not yet school age), and we’re excited about partnering together as your PTA leadership team. We feel we complement each other’s strengths well, and we’re both equally passionate about the success of the school.

A big thank you goes to outgoing President Cara Houser and Vice President Natalie Walchuk for their work this past year and for stepping into the job last spring. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors and are working with them to transition.

With only a short time until the end of the school year, we’re planning to finish the year with a high level of energy and fun. That includes Field Day and the End of School BBQ. We have great ideas for those events and would love to work with parents who can lend a hand for those — whatever you can offer. We welcome your feedback and input. We’re also taking the time to learn all we can about being effective PTA leaders, and that includes talking to parents and teachers for feedback, meeting with the PTA board to determine the overall PTA financial picture and goals, and meeting with school staff to determine needs. Cara and Natalie set up some great programs during their tenure that we’d like to continue and enhance next fall, as well as bring fresh ideas to new events.

Stay tuned– we’ll be in touch often. And please feel free to email us anytime at (Sierra) and (David). We’d love to hear what you have to say. It’s your PTA.

- Sierra and David

April PTA Meeting Recap

Here are the highlights of what you missed at Wednesday’s meeting:

  • The school year will be over before you know it. We need volunteers to organize and help out with the end of year barbecue and Field Day. If you’re interested in taking charge of either of these events or simply helping out, please email volunteers at
  • The annual Spring Dance is happening Saturday, May 17 at 6 pm. This is a family event for all grades. There will be a set-up party on Friday, May 16, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Pizza will be served, and volunteers are encouraged. There are also volunteer opportunities during the dance: taking tickets and vending in 30-minute shifts. This is a popular event; don’t miss it.
  • There will be a playdate for incoming kindergarteners this Saturday, April 19, at 1 pm in Poinsett Park. If you know any families who are considering Mira Vista, let them know. Please bring snacks; drinks will be provided. Contact Lia Lackey with questions.
  • New executive officers: To our departing president, executive vice president, vice president for middle school, and financial secretary, thank you for all your service this past year. Sierra Fong and David Almonte were nominated for president and executive vice president and duly elected. Congratulations and welcome!
    The positions of vice president for middle school and financial secretary are still open; please email nominations at or talk to Victoria Rome if you’re interested in nominating yourself or any other worthy candidate.
  • Standardized testing begins next week. This is the beta test for the new computerized system; scores do not count and will not be available. It’s a test for the testing process and good practice for the students.
  • Next year’s PTA budget is under development; if you’d like to add items (for example, things that required approval this year), let Ryan McLachlan know or email treasurer at

The next and final meeting for the 2013–2014 school year will be on May 14. See you then!

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.