Bancroft Elementary
Bancroft Elementary
Principal's Message - January
Principal's Message

Happy New Year!  Welcome back from the Winter Break and to the continuation of trimester two of the school year. January gives us a "refresh and reset" to the momentum and gains made thus far for 2014-2015 school year.  Many of us call it a time for resolutions, however for teachers and students at Bancroft we have had our eye on the vision and goals since August. We clearly know our children's needs and have experienced how students respond to strategies and supports that are leading them towards essential learning targets. Knowledge and skills are being translated into projects, presentations, tasks, and increased levels of confidence and independence.


Our focus will continue to be in the areas of reading comprehension of complex literature both fiction and non-fiction, listening and speaking skills, writing in all content areas, using Thinking Maps to organize information and thinking, deepening vocabulary and facilitating academic conversations between students as they become more collaborative in their work and explorations. Deep, driving questions that give students more experience with critical thinking and problem solving as well as having more than one way to think about something is where we are now in January.  Maturity and experience is very evident on the faces and in the conversations of the children this time of year. Among the staff there is a sense of belief, renewed energy and dedication to deliver instruction that is "cored up" to meet the expectation of the 21st Century Learner and expectations.


Currently our teams of teachers are exploring a variety of apps and websites to integrate into the day-to-day menu of practices and experiences for the students. Our goals will be to use more technology as part of the instructional classroom and homework tool kit. We will need to make some clear decisions about where to put technology resources into classrooms with both the "basic" tools necessary for instruction and learning, and about how to build a collection of student devises such as tablets, laptops, ChromeBooks, etc. so that classrooms have all the necessary tools. Pencils, paper, crayons, markers... yes, these have their place in the classroom too, but the tools for 21st Century are far more expansive and provide for much greater experiences that engage our students in ways that do not come from one-dimensional sources. Text that can be manipulated with highlights, annotations and electronic post-its will not only be more engaging, it will actually give our students the experiences they will need to use technology in their future grades and indeed to bring innovation to the forefront. Our children are the inventors and designers of the future!


Every tool and strategy has a purpose. Just like having an additional adult working in the classroom to support a small group practicing skills, a set of handheld devises with selected applications in math, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary can be like having three additional instructional assistants in the room with the teacher! With the right tools and information the students can have leveled practices and experiences which will offer another source of data for teachers in the form of reports from these programs. Nothing will take the place of the teacher and paraprofessionals in the classroom. The child-to-adult relationship with the immediate feedback and encouragement and the insight gained from the day-to-day interactions and responses are critical. They are the cornerstone for developing the right learning experiences.


There is much to do still and we are in the exploration phases. We will need funding. A Technology Plan is taking shape in order to identify current equipment, resources and how we can use Measure C funding through MDUSD to target specific needs. Additionally, PFC funding for technology, including funding a one-day-per-week site tech has been very supportive. Teachers will continue to need professional development opportunities to boost their skills and level of expertise. Taking risks and being pioneers is not new to Bancroft teachers as evidenced by the efforts being made each day as we dive deeper and more fully into common core instruction and practices. Please watch for newsletters from teachers to give you more information about classroom projects and learning goals, and for some of our teachers' information about their recent funding through the Donor's Choose program to fund classroom and instructional needs!


As we continue to expand our work within our community, welcome new families and students just arriving in the new year, and make steady progress on the learning goals discussed at parent teacher conferences, please remember that each child is truly a gift and gifted in what they bring to the world and our daily lives. There has been no greater joy for me each year than in watching my students grow and thrive. Thank you for trusting us with the greatest of all responsibilities!


Warmest Regards,

Linda Schuler, Principal 

2015-16 Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Information
Four parent informational meetings for Transitional Kindergarten are scheduled.


1/27/15: Pleasant Hill Elementary, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
1/28/15: Fair Oaks Elementary, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
2/2/15: Ayers Elementary, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
2/4/15: Delta View Elementary, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.


Presentations will be held in the Library and Childcare will be provided in the Room indicated at each site. After the presentation, parents will tour the TK Classroom.


Childcare and Spanish Translation will be provided. Julianna Sikes, School Support Administrator, will be hosting the informational evenings along with the TK Teacher and Principal at each site. If you have additional questions, please call Laura at 925.682.8000 x4024 or visit our website.

Registration information will be available in the Bancroft office after 1/20/15Registration will be on Tuesday, 2/3/15.  

Children born between 9/2/2010-12/2/2010 qualify for the program.

2015-16 Kindergarten Information

We are preparing to greet and begin registering

all our new Kindergarteners for the 2015-2016 school year. Students who will be 5 years old by September 2, 2015 are eligible to register for Kindergarten for 2015-16. 


Please mark your calendar for these important dates:

  • Registration packets may be obtained from the school office beginning January 20, 2015
  • Our annual Bancroft Kindergarten Registration Orientation Night for parents will be held on January 27, 2015 from 6:30-7:30 in the B Pod Center at Bancroft School.  
  • The first day to register for Kindergarten will be Tuesday,  February 3, 2015.

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Program (TWDI) began this school year with the first group of Kindergarteners.  Please see the next article for more information about this option.

Two-Way Dual Immersion (TWDI) Program 
Option for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Program (TWDI) began this school year with the first group of Kindergarteners and we look forward to growing our TWDI program into year two of implementation.  


Parents have a choice between registering their children in a traditional English only Kindergarten program or to select the Two-Way Dual Language Immersion program. Parents will need to indicate which program they will be enrolling their child in. Both programs will offer the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), follow all of the Bancroft established Kindergarten procedures, schedules, and routines and be taught by highly qualified and trained teachers. The TWDI program is considered an enrichment program and we ask that parents make a commitment to stay enrolled K-5th grade.


Each year Bancroft will add the next grade level for the Dual Immersion program, continuing up to fifth grade. This program will be following all the same CCSS grade level expectations. Again, only parents who have registered their children for this program starting in Kindergarten will be placed in these classes. We will be registering first graders into the TWDI program for 2015-2016 if they meet the criteria for enrollment, including parent commitment, and assuming there is space in the TWDI first grade classrooms.


As has always been the case, enrollment numbers at Bancroft will dictate how many classes we will have. At this time, we are projecting for two classes of students who will participate in the dual immersion program and two traditional Kindergarten classes. The enrollment in the Dual Immersion program will be open to the transfer process and has already drawn interest from surrounding schools and preschools. There are several preschool programs in the area that have students who have been in language immersion or second language programs. Our Kindergarten program would be a natural continuation opportunity.


Dual Immersion combines English speakers with speakers of a target language (Spanish) to develop a second language for both groups. Students are able to keep their native language while acquiring a second. The research has proven that English speaking students best acquire a second language through immersion and that Spanish speaking students best acquire a second language when their first language is well established.


Dual Immersion first began in California in 1980-1986. There are over 200 dual immersion programs with six different languages in the state: Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Hmong. In the United States over 422 dual immersion programs exists in 31 states.


The purpose of introducing the Dual Immersion programs to our children is to give students the opportunity to develop academic language proficiency in English and Spanish, master grade level core standards, and develop cultural proficiency. Language becomes the gateway to excel in future academic pursuits and successfully enter a global market fully bilingual and bi-literate.


The program objectives include:

  • All students will achieve proficient fluency in a second language without compromising their first language.
  • All students will achieve high levels of academic proficiency in reading and writing in both English and Spanish (with an achievement Seal of Bi-literacy upon high school graduation).
  • All students will meet or exceed state standards in all subject areas in both languages with heightened cognitive development.
  • Students will have amplified educational and professional prospects.
  • All students will acquire positive cross-cultural perspectives and elevate self-esteem.

The program model we are implementing is a 50/50 model where the students in the Dual Immersion classes will have 50% of each day in English and 50% in Spanish. The student class composition will ideally reflect:

  • 1/3 English speakers
  • 1/3 English learners (native Spanish speakers)
  • 1/3 fluent bilingual (English and Spanish)

Additional meetings and orientations will be planned for the TWDI program at Bancroft at several district locations.  These dates are to be announced.  Enrollment capacity for each Kindergarten class at this time is 29 students per class.  Students in the Bancroft attendance area will have priority enrollment over transfer students requesting either the Dual Immersion or traditional Kindergarten programs. Any transfer request approved is subject to the September 15 deadline. These procedures have always been in place and will be monitored closely by our school office and Student Services.

We look forward to welcoming all of our new Kindergarten students into the program of their choice and to supporting this exciting journey into learning, self-discovery, and friendships.

January Life Skills of the Month

Integrity and Common Sense


All the Life Skills are taught and used throughout every day at Bancroft School and students are given recognition and praise for being living examples of these skills (check out the Bancroft Best tickets to see all the Life Skills). Two specific Life Skills are focused on each month for more in-depth discussion and use. At the end of the month, two to three students are selected by their teacher for exemplary use of those skills and are honored with the Bancroft Life Skill Award.  Additionally, we hold a school-wide assembly for grades 1-5, and the students selected by their teachers are honored at this ceremony and presentation of awards. Parents of the students receiving recognition are provided with an invitation to attend the ceremony.


Look for our Life Skills Assemblies each month listed in the Principal's Message communication or visit the school website for more information.


The Life Skill assembly for Integrity and Common Sense will be Friday, January 23rd at 1:55 pm in the Multi-Use Room. 


MDUSD Transfer Application Window
The last opportunity to apply for new Intradistrict transfers closes January 15, 2015. If you plan to request a different school site for elementary or middle school, you must do so in the next week. The paperwork can be found on the district website, or you may come into our school office to pick up/drop off the correct form. 

Message from Dr. Meyer, Superintendent 
[Note: You may have received this email from Dr. Meyer in mid-December, but in case you did not, we thought we'd reproduce it here.]

Hello Parents, Staff and Community Members:

To begin, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season.  There are many interesting things happening at Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  Our partnerships with community and parents have grown stronger and we are putting an emphasis on both face to face and technology communications.  I continue to hear loud and clear that parents, staff, and community members want to work with us to support students toward college and career readiness. 


We have a variety of ways parents can become involved with their child's education including School Site Councils, Parent Teacher Associations, and other groups that are centered at the school site.  We also have some District wide committees I want to share with you and encourage you to become a participant. 

The Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) is a group that advises the district on school and classroom needs.  Our District shares news and information on educational topics, as well as discusses the educational needs of students from a parent perspective.  We meet at Willow Creek Center and scheduling information for our meetings is posted on the district website.  All are welcome to attend; the schedule can be found at


The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a group that shares information for parents of students with disabilities.  The group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Dent Center and receives regular updates on topics specific to Special Education Students.  Parents network and work on behalf of student needs, as well as share ideas on best practices that are being employed across the District, state and nation.


The District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) is a group that advises the district on concerns specific to English learners.  Recently, they celebrated the completion of our English Learner Master Plan.  It can be found at  Topics include legislative actions supporting English Learners and our new dual immersion program.


Doris Hernandez, DELAC President, and Dr. Nellie Meyer, Superintendent

Staff has also worked to improve our website by making it more accessible and easy to navigate.  On our new website, we have included contact information for Mt. Diablo District departments and staff, as well as a wealth of information you can use to support your student's education.  We are continuing to work on establishing a place where you can see the work we are doing to support the new state standards as well as our student successes.  Our website now has a Twitter feed and we encourage you to follow us at


We also encourage you to follow our student successes on Facebook at  Parents have shared in our community forums that technology is a priority and we are working to expand bandwidth, as well as working with teachers on how to use this important tool in every classroom. 


Lastly, winter break is a great time to reconnect with our families and to engage with them on meaningful activities like family discussions and reading to younger children.  At home, parents can model the value of reading by showing how we read for our own for pleasure.  I particularly enjoy having thoughtful conversations with my children at home.  Educational research shows us that these actions have a greater impact on student success than any other type of parent involvement.  The best gift you can give to your children is your time.


Happy Holidays!

Dr. Nellie Meyer


Mt. Diablo Unified School District


In This Issue
Upcoming Dates

1/13: Northgate Unified School District Meeting, 6:30-7pm, Library

1/13: PFC Meeting, 7-9pm

1/19: MLK Jr Day - No School

1/20: 2015-16 TK and Kindergarten Packet PickUp

1/22: Site Council Meeting

1/26: Teacher In Service Day - No School

1/27: 2015-16 Kindergarten Orientation, 6:30pm, Bpod

1/23: Life Skills Assembly

2/3: TK and Kindergarten Registration begins

2/6: Family Movie Night

Visit the Bancroft online calendar for future dates.
Ongoing Fundraisers

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Bancroft Elementary

Principal's Message |  Bancroft PFC website