El Toro Weekly November 14, 2013 – Electronic ONLY this week

Math Update

This past Tuesday, Phil Gonsalves, Drew Kravin and two math coaches led over 40 parents from Portola and our feeder schools through ways to help kids with math.

We’re listing five things we overheard:

1.     Laughing.

2.    Grown adults shouting out the answers.

3.    “I know you are running late, but please keep on going.  We’ll stay.”

4.    “That was really fun!”

5.    “Can you come back again soon?”

You can find their presentation online at:  http://www.wccusd.net/Page/3237

Once there, click on the “Portola Middle School November 12, 2013 Presentation” link.  It is a QuickTime presentation and will play automatically and can be stopped and started anywhere within the presentation. Additionally, you will find many guides and resources here:

Content Presentations


General Math Resources


Instructional Videos




Study Guides for Benchmark Testing


WCCUSD Curriculum Guides


Parent Guides


We warmly thank Phil and Drew for their time and insight.  We are already working on a date when they can return!  A special THANKS to Luz Kirsch for Spanish Translation.


Golden Gate Fields Thank You

PTSA wants to extend thanks to all that came out and donated time to work our Golden Gate Fields booth this past Sunday.  We collected about $150 in tips, and are expecting our $1,000 check shortly.  A special thanks to Sally Fraser for organizing.


Portola Information Night Thank You

A special thanks to all that helped with Thursday’s Information Night. We hosted over 150 prospective parents and students from all of our feeder schools!  They listened to our Jazz Ensemble, learned about after school activities, and took mini science and math classes among others!  A warm thanks to our organizers – Renee Hoyer-Nielsen, Alonn Ilan, Becky Jonas and to our Jazz Ensemble (led by Tiffany Carrico), student presenters and everyone else who graciously gave time, hospitality and smiles!  We just keep raising the bar!!


ESCRIP to Benefit Portola!  ‘Tis the Shopping Season!

The shopping season is coming, and ESCRIP is an easy way for Portola’s PTSA to collect funds … And it involves very little effort on your part.  You register your credit cards, and if you shop at preferred providers, Portola’s PTSA gets a portion of the funds.

How to do it:

1.      Get your wallet and your HUSBAND’s wallet.  Corporate credit cards are great too.

2.      Log into ESCRIP.   http://www.escrip.com/

3.      Set up an account and register your cards, or switch (or add) Portola Middle School.  eScrip Group ID – 145162830

4.      If possible, shop providers that support escrip.  If not, at some point, a few pennies will trickle into PTSA anyway.  We hope more than just a few!

5.      You will find a list on online  and brick and mortar merchants here:



Target Card- Take Charge of Education –  The Shopping Season is Coming!

And while you are at it….do you have a Target credit card?  Is Portola Middle School your recipient of Take Charge of Education Funds?  If not, make the switch today!  You do not need a computer.  The voice-activated system will lead you through.

How to do it:

1.      Get your Target Credit Card.

2.      Dial 1-800-316-6142

3.      Follow the instructions.

4.      Check your next statement to ensure Portola Middle School is the recipient of the funds!


Save the Date

Celebrate Portola is Coming!  Please join us for an evening of community, a celebration of our bands, great food and silent and live auctions!  Saturday, February 1, 2014, El Cerrito Community Center. Community members, parents AND YOUR CHILDREN are warmly welcome!  Ticket information and all the details coming soon!

Special WCCUSD Board Meeting Wednesday, October 23rd at 6:00 p.m.

Given the uncertainty of the funding through Local Control Funding Formula and the concern about the rate of recovery of assessed value, the Board is considering how to use local funding sources to restore programs and provide for the needs identified in the strategic plan as well as create a bridge to renewed growth in assessed value.  The West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:00 PM in the multipurpose room at Lovonya DeJean Middle School to consider whether to contract for a random sample survey to assess public support for a parcel tax and/or a bond measure in 2014.  Public input and comment will be welcomed.  More information about the agenda for this special meeting is available on the district’s website.
If you cannot make the meeting, and have comments, you may email the Board.  Their email addresses can be found here:
You can also watch from home .  Depending on where you live, it could be PCTV,  Channel 26 or HCTV, Channel 28 or  KCRT, Channel 28.
You can also stream here:

Upcoming PTSA Meeting Tuesday November 12 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

*** SAVE THE DATE!! PTSA Meeting Tuesday November 12 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
After routine PTSA business, PARC (Parent Academic Rigor Committee) is proud to present a night of Parent University:  “The Common Core and Middle School Math” featuring Drew Kravin and Phil Gonsalves of WCCUSD’s Math Department.  Drew and Phil will answer: What is The Common Core?  Why are we moving this way, and what parents need to know to help your kids. .  If you have never heard Phil and Drew speak, we encourage you to come on out.  They teach our teachers, and are quite engaging!  They will even make you want to do math!  We will have a Spanish translator on hand as well as handouts and numerous resources in English and Spanish.

Get involved in planning the new EC library

The City has embarked on the process of developing a new library facility, including exploring space needs, services, and funding options.  As a parent/guardian and leader in our schools and in the City, your input is valuable and critical.  In our research so far, many community members have expressed their desires for improved facilities and programs for children, students, and families.  I would like to especially hear from you how a new City library can be useful to all of you and your families, and what the City could provide that would enhance our ability to serve our students in El Cerrito and the surrounding area.
To that end, I’d like to invite you, other members of the PTA/PTSA, and any parents/guardians of students that are interested to a community meeting to discuss planning a new library facility.  We will be holding this meeting on October 24, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito.  Please forward this message to your group, to other parents/guardians, and anyone else you think would like to participate.
If you cannot attend the meeting, you may forward your thoughts directly to me via email at kpinkos@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us or by phone at (510) 215-4302.  Additionally, the City is conducting a brief survey online at www.el-cerrito.org/librarysurvey.  Please give us your feedback via the survey and also feel free to forward the survey link as well.
The City truly values your participation and your input!  I look forward to seeing you, your representatives, and other parents/guardians at the meeting.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to reply or contact me at the number below.
Very truly yours,
Karen Pinkos, ICMA-CM
City of El Cerrito
10890 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito CA 94530

PTSA Meeting Tuesday, October 8th 6:45pm

Please join us for our PTSA meeting, Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 6:45pm in room 8 at Portola; near the Portola Drive entrance and main offices

We will have a special presentation of the movie “Bully” after our business meeting is concluded. Please note the business meeting is starting at 6:45pm.

I. Call to Order, introductions of PTSA executive committee-
– Kathy Guarneri, PTSA president
II. Approval of minutes from last meeting
III. Principal’s report- Mr. Burnham, School Site Council Elections
IV. Financial report – Katherine Meurer, treasurer
V. Presentationof bills- Katherine Meurer, treasurer
VI. Report of Executive Committee- – Membership- Julie Brown
– Math enrichment and Math club and Disaster Prep. – Leslie Reckler, VP of Operations
– Negar Souza, Fund Raising VP- Zachary’s Pizza Night, Garage Sale, Rubio’s Restaurant night
– Parliamentarian- Bylaws, Felicia Robertson
VII. Committee Reports: Fright Fest- Chris Novak; – Fright Write- Saidah Said
-Garage Sale- Negar Souza – Information Night- Renee Hoyer-Nielsen
– Spirit Wear- Kim Johnson; – Yearbook- Kelly Whitney
– Celebrate Portola- Judy Chin and Tammy Garretson
VIII. Old Business: Back to School Night, Teacher Luncheons
IX. Program: viewing the movie “Bully”, start time around 7:15pm, 98 minutes long, The students are seeing it during school.
X. Adjournment