2/14/2014 Principal’s Monthly Message

Feb 14, 2014 by

Dear MES families,
Rain at last! The recent dripping skies will hopefully put a dent in the drought. Although the weather makes outdoor activities challenging, the kids seem to be enjoying breaking out the umbrellas and rain boots. As we swing into our soggy (so far!) spring, here’s a look at what’s going on at Montclair Elementary School.
Red zones, that is. Principal Bloom would like to remind everyone that even if the weather is frightful, there is absolutely NO parking along any red curbs – particularly on the tennis-court side of the lot, when doing so blocks one of our two exit lanes.
  • Parking in red zones is not only inconvenient to other drivers and a contributor to traffic problems on Mountain Blvd.; it’s also illegal and makes it impossible for rescue vehicles to get into the lot in case of an emergency. This puts all children and staff at risk.
  • If you happen to see parents parking in these areas, please remind them of the safety considerations. Being a few minutes late to secure safe parking is vastly preferable to creating an unsafe environment.
  • To help enforce the rules, we will soon be ticketing cars illegally parked in the red zones.
And one other parking-related reminder: the rear parking area serves double-duty as a playground for your children during PE. Parking here outside of drop-off and pick-up hours is not allowed. Here are the guidelines:
  • All cars must be out of the back lot by 9:30 a.m.
  • You may park there again briefly from 2 p.m. (12:45 on Wednesdays) to 3:30 p.m.
  • All cars must again by out by 3:30 p.m. for after-school programs.
We may begin enforcing these hours by closing and locking the gates. If your car is inside the locked area during non-parking hours, you will need to come to the office to request release.
We’ve been getting amazing feedback about the lunches offered courtesy of our brand-new cooking kitchen. Unfortunately, our free introductory period is over, so if your children want to continue enjoying these wholesome and delicious meals and you haven’t already prepaid, please send in your payment!  The lunch (including salad bar & milk) is $2.25 per student per day; if cost is a concern, families may apply for the free or reduced-cost lunch program. Please jump to the bottom of this email for all the details on how, when, and where to pay.
To keep our wonderful kitchen, we need to demonstrate major participation in the school lunch program, so we encourage any interested families to join in as soon as possible! 
Principal Bloom would like to extend congratulations and appreciation to the upper grades and to the second grade for their recent Art Show and Drama Show. Both events were wonderful and highlighted the efforts and talents of our wonderful kids. A special thanks to Remi Rubel for inspiring our young Renoirs and Matisses for the Art Show, and to the Bay Area Children’s Theatre and instructors Thomas Arndt and Bryan Quinn for helping out our budding thespians.
Why wait for the Oscars when our very own special event is imminent? Montclair Elementary School will enjoy a Grand Opening ceremony to celebrate the new construction and campus on Wednesday, February 19 at 10 a.m.
A long list of luminaries has been invited, including Mayor Jean Quan, OUSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Yee, our city council members, the school board, and our own MES Student Council. Principal Nancy Bloom will be speaking, as will several members of our community — including our own Larry Magid, who was integral to this incredible construction project. We encourage you to come by, enjoy some refreshments, and help celebrate our achievement.
Yes, the Otter Ball is coming! It’s on Saturday, March 15, and Principal Bloom would like to encourage your participation in this event – it’s one of two major fundraisers for MES. Here’s how to get involved:
  • Buy tickets and attend (visit http://www.otterball.montclairschool.com/ for general information, to buy your ticket, and to bid on the Silent Auction)
  • Contribute to your class basket (ask your room rep for details)
  • Donate a bottle of wine to the auction collection
  • Offer to host a pay-to-play party
  • Volunteer your time to help organize or coordinate (check with your room rep for opportunities)
Remember, we value time and effort as much as money! Principal Bloom would appreciate your help in whatever way you’re most comfortable.
Just in time for spring, our garden planting beds are in place! Our team is working on the irrigation efforts and the final touches; we hope to have the gardens available to students in the very near future. Meanwhile, we encourage you to do a little planting with your kids at home. It’s very powerful for young learners to see the life cycle in action, and watching their food grow just might help picky eaters try something new.
Missing mittens? Straying sweaters? Don’t forget to check the Lost and Found! Clothing, backpacks, and lunchboxes found around the school are placed on the lost-and-found hooks across from the girls’ bathroom near Room 11. Smaller items like jewelry, hair clips, keys, glasses, and hats are turned in to the office. Occasionally, items without an owner also congregate in the multipurpose room, although they generally do find their way to the official Lost and Found area.
Please check these areas regularly. At the end of each month, Principal Bloom will sort out items with both first and last names clearly marked for return to their owners. But unlucky items that don’t have identification will be donated directly to charity. The moral of this story? Mark all your child’s belongings with his or her full name.

Earlier this week, a child hit her head in a fall from the monkey bars during recess.  Although she remained alert and told us that she had not lost consciousness, we took every precaution and called an ambulance.  The playground was full of children at this time, and many may be concerned by this incident.  Please reassure your child that the injured student is feeling good and is back at school.  And please remind your children to exercise care when using the playground equipment.  


  • February 17: No school for Presidents’ Day
  • March 31: No school for Cesar Chavez Day
  • April 14-18: Our week-long Spring Recess
  • May 10: We’re thrilled to welcome our annual Variety Show to our new multipurpose space. It’s sure to be an amazing night, and wait until you see the professional-grade stage curtains we’re having installed.
  • May 23 and 26: No school for Lincoln’s Day and Memorial Day – four-day weekend!
As always, Nancy Bloom maintains an open-door policy and welcomes questions or feedback. Please also feel free to contact PTA Board members (listed below), or the Communications Committee (Lauren Disston, lauren…@gmail.com; CC Holland, cc_ho…@yahoo.com; Melissa Raymond, pta-pr…@montclairelementaryschool.org; and Libbi Ziegler, libb…@gmail.com) with questions or comments.
CC Holland
(on behalf of Nancy Bloom and the Communications Committee)


Prepaid and free/reduced lunch students simply swipe their ID cards as they go through the line. No student will be denied food for lack of credits but if you run a negative balance you create a lot of work for our office staff to follow up with you for payment.  ID cards have been provided to all students, are kept at school and are used each day they get lunch from our kitchen.
Please prepay and keep your balance positive throughout the year!
  • Put check (preferred!) or cash in sealed envelope with student’s name and “Prepay Lunch” written on outside.
  • Make check out to OUSD
  • Turn in envelope with check or cash:
    • in Multipurpose room Kitchen, hand to Velvet, Food Service Mgr for MES,between 6:30-11:00am or 1:00-2:00pm any school day
    • in MES Main Office, hand to Irene or Yesenia, MES office staff, between 8:00am-4:00pm any school day
You may also apply for free/reduced lunch here: http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/Page/938
Credit will be applied to the student ID and point of sale “payment” is processed the same as prepaid ID cards (meaning there is no way to tell which students are prepaid and which are free/reduced). We hope to have online payments and accept credit cards soon.
For your convenience, here is February’s lunch menu.


PTA BOARD MEMBERS (2013-2014):
President: Melissa Raymond
EVP Internal Affairs: Wonny Mullen
EVP External Affairs: Leslie Dougherty
VP Enrichment: Johanna Jones
VP, Membership: Michelle Branner
VP, Fundraising: Susan Terrill
VP, Technology: Candace Apple
VP, Diversity and Outreach: Mason Brooks (Diversity) and Ann Sinclair (Outreach)
VP, Community Programs and Events: Corinne Welpton
Treasurer: Amy Omand
Financial Secretary: John Uselman
Recording Secretary: Sharleen Haarsma
Corresponding Secretary:  Renee Chatas
Historian: Cynthia Judkins
Auditor: Janelle McCuen Geistlinger
Parliamentarian:  Russell Robinson
Teacher Representative:  Julie Chanter

For email addresses, click here:  PTA Board Email Addresses

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