Bobcat Tracks - September 2015
Connecting our Community
PFC BOARD UPDATE
The PFC Board members thought we would take this first month of the school year to tell you a little more about all the crucial uses of PFC funds for this school year.  There are many efforts that we continue to fund, as we have for years, such as: Art Appreciation; Science Lab; Harvest of the Month; PEP (Parent Educator Program); the 4th and 5th Grade "Walk Through" field trips; hardware and software purchases; classroom, playground, garden and office supplies; and of course the ever-important Instructional Aides.  In addition, there are some exciting new initiatives! At last June's PFC meeting, we voted to spend $60,000 out of our Strategic Reserves to fund a critical first step in the vision to make 1-to-1 devices a reality at Bancroft and begin to move our school towards 21st century technological learning.  As you read in Principal Schuler's Message, she purchased 141 Chrome books so that 4th and 5th grade classes would share 1 classroom set for every two classes, with the three 3rd grade classroom sharing one set between them.  The additional technology (access points, charging stations, etc) and training required is being funded by the School Site Funds, a fund overseen by the School Site Council.  This is a very exciting development - one that our teachers, our principal, and no doubt our students, have been waiting for! To further support this, the PFC has increased our Site Tech funding to 2 days a week.
 
At Principal Schuler's recommendation, we have added support for a School Counselor for a day per week (in addition to the day that the district stepped up to fund this year). We will also be offering free Family Nights to build more family and community fun into the year.  We have increased our support for the school's Soul Shoppe program. (we encourage you all to attend the parent education night planned for Tuesday, October 27 at 7pm in the MUR!)  We have also committed to funding small gaps in field trip expenses so that all our children can once again have the enriching, unique, and memorable experiences that field trips offer.  
 
There are also programs at Bancroft that do not receive PFC funds, but do receive quite a bit of support in the way of volunteer hours.  Parent volunteers make possible incredible things including: After School Enrichment classes, Spiritwear, money and books for the Library via Book Fairs, 5th grade yearbooks, the school play, Odyssey of the Mind teams,Scout troops, and beautification of our campus through the Walnut Creek Community Service Day on October 10th
 
And of course none of this includes everything that all of you do for your individual classrooms on a daily, weekly and monthly basis!  We have a community that is strong, vibrant, and supportive because of the many and varied efforts of so many people.  We thank you all!  

As a final note, we wanted to make sure you understood that as parents here, you are all members of the PFC (Parent Faculty Club), so please don't hesitate to share your ideas, questions, and concerns with us - via email, in the halls, or at PFC meetings. We welcome and encourage your thoughts and are stronger for them.  

Mari Mielcarski
VP Finance, Bancroft PFC

For a better visual of our Uses of Funds, please visit the Financial Info page of the BancroftPFC website.

School Safety Guidelines
Keeping students, staff, and families safe in and around campus is a high priority at Bancroft. The information below highlights some critical arrival and dismissal procedures.
 
If everyone could adhere to these procedures, it will not only ensure safety to all, it will also avoid the need to request the services of the Walnut Creek Police Department to police the school campus for traffic violations.
 
Volunteers, on a rotating basis, are needed to help to make morning drop-off run more smoothly. If you can volunteer for this 20 minute time slot once a week, once a month or once this year please sign up here or email our traffic coordinator Amiee Gordon.  From 7:40-8am parent volunteers will welcome children as they exit cars ready for a great day at Bancroft. 

GREEN CURBS - Are ONLY for loading and unloading students from the "right" side of the vehicle. No waiting or parking is allowed. This is to ensure the continuous movement of traffic.
 
RED CURBS - NO parking, stopping, waiting, loading or unloading students. This is ILLEGAL.
 
NO U-TURNS - Once you turn onto Parish Drive towards school, you must follow the traffic to the end of the street and then turn left.
 
BUS CIRCLE - Is ONLY for school buses and it is also marked as a RED CURB. No parking, loading or unloading students, or using as a turn around at any time.
 
STAFF PARKING LOT - Is ONLY for staff use. No parking, loading or unloading of students, and it is not a drive-thru or turn-around area.
 
SPEED LIMIT - Please observe the 25mph school-zone speed limit at ALL times. There are pedestrians before, during, and after school.
 
PARKING - If parking is necessary, you may park on the street throughout the neighborhood or in the parking area at the END of Parish Drive next to Diane Adair ONLY.
 
CAR POOL LANE - This is for drop-off and pick-up as a way to minimize need for parking and getting in and out of the car. Please have your child ready to exit the vehicle during drop-off to keep traffic moving as much as possible.
 
Thank you for your support and help keeping all of our kids safe!
Dollar-A-Day 
Thank you Bancroft families for your contributions to our Dollar-A-Day campaign for the 2015-16 school year.  To date we have raised over $56,000 in Dollar-A-Day Funds and $25,000 in its sister fund for classroom support, the Excellence in Education Fund. This represents participation by 66% of our families. The money raised will help support the many exciting programs you read about in the Letter from the PFC Board above. We greatly appreciate your contributions to both of these extremely important school fundraisers!

To those families who have made a donation, we thank you!  For those of you who are still considering being part of our Dollar-A-Day success, please stop by the school office and make your donation today!  Donation forms can be found in the school office or on our PFC website under "Fundraisers."

Also, don't forget to ask your employer if they will match your contribution!  Many businesses offer generous matching programs for employee giving, and this money is becoming an important part of our school's funding.  If you have questions about this process, please email Mari Mielcarski

And finally, if you contributed $365 or more to the Dollar-A-Day campaign and haven't received your bobcat paw car magnet, please email Mari and we will get one to you.

Thank you again for your support!  Go Bobcats!
Volunteer Fingerprinting Information
Thank you to all of you who took advantage of our fingerprinting nights at the district.  And if you didn't get one of those appointments, never fear!  These fingerprinting evenings were not the only way to get cleared to work in the classrooms.  Please call the district directly at 925-682-8000 x 4153 to get an appointment.  Download the volunteer form from the MDUSD site, and bring your TB test results and cash or money order to your appointment.   
Walk-A-Thon: Calling all Superheroes!                                           
Lace up your running shoes and get ready for the 6th annual Bancroft Walk-A-Thon! This fundraising event will take place on Friday, October 9th and will include lots of fun music, snacks, event giveaways and prizes for all students. Parents, family members and friends are encouraged to participate as well, so mark your calendars and plan to come walk or run with your Bancroft student!

The Bancroft Walk-A-Thon raises money for the current school year to help fund technology improvements, teacher materials, library books, playground supplies, garden program supplies and our Science Lab. Students get family and friends to sponsor them based on number of laps completed during the event or with a flat donation. Students and classes have the opportunity to earn a number of prizes and awards based on their participation and donation collection. Our goal for this year is $25,000. We reached our goal last year with the amazing support of our Bancroft community- Let's do it again this year!

Walk-A-Thon pledge envelopes and additional information will be coming home soon with your child in their Friday or Monday folder.
 
GO BOBCATS!
Questions? Want to help with the event? Contact Event Co-Chairs Stefanie Lee or Jennifer McCullock.

Fall Fest
'Tis the season to SAVE-THE-DATE & VOLUNTEER at Bancroft's annual Fall Fest!

All proceeds from this fun, family event directly benefit next year's 5th grade outdoor education trip.  Your support will help ensure that all current 4th grade students will be able to participate in the exciting opportunity that awaits them in the 2016-17 school year!

The Fall Fest is Saturday, October 24, from 2-5 pm.

There are many opportunities to get involved and help make this year's Fall Fest a success for our Bobcats!

Planning meetings will be held in the Bancroft Library from 6-7 pm on Thurs 9/24, 10/8 & 10/22.  If you are unable to attend in person, you can still volunteer!  Please email Courtney Russell & Elisa Boyd if you have questions or would like to volunteer.
Save the Date for Family Movie Night!  
 Dress as your favorite superhero or wear your comfortable pajamas and join us for our first family movie night for this school year on Friday, October 2nd.

We will be showing 
The Incredibles. 
Doors will open at 6:30pm and the movie  will start at 7pm in the multi use room. Family movie nights are FREE this year. We hope you can join us!
 
Get Your Bobcat Spirit Wear!
It is NOT too late to get this year's Spirit Wear! Please submit your online Spirit Wear orders by September 30th. Prices start at just $12.

Bobcats take pride wearing spirit wear on Fridays. We plan to submit an order at the end of the month, available for pick up in October. (It's subject to us having enough orders for the school; payment is processed only if we go to order.) If we have stock of your item already, we may be able to get your clothes to you early. Order online now! 

Please email Stephanie Hall with any questions.
Harvest of the Month - Volunteers Needed
We will be kicking off our Harvest Of the Month program in October and are looking for volunteers to lead the classroom component of the lesson. Harvest of the Month is a parent-led program where we introduce a different fruit or vegetable to the students in 6 different sessions throughout the year: Oct, Nov, Jan, Feb, Mar, and May. Check with your teacher or room parent for exact dates. The kids love this program, especially as they get to sample the fruit/vegetable featured in the lesson!

The commitment is about an hour for prep, lesson and cleanup. All materials will be provided for you. If interested in volunteering or learning more, please email Kristin Carrillo.
Odyssey of the Mind
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems -- great and small -- for a lifetime. Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. The creative problem-solving process
rewards thinking "outside of the box." 

Each year, students 3rd grade and older are offered five new competitive problems to choose from. K-2nd students have one given problem.  These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months. Some of the problems are more technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance-based. Each long-term problem rewards "Style" in the solution. This helps teach students that they should not simply try to solve problems but take the next step of enhancing their solutions. The teams participate in a regional competition, presenting their solution to a panel of Judges. At the competition, the teams are also given an on-the-spot "spontaneous" problem to solve. Some spontaneous problems build verbal skills, some build mechanical skills, and some build both, but all improve a student's creative problem-solving talents.

To learn more, place your student on a team, or to volunteer to coach, attend the Info Meeting on Monday, Sept 21st at 7pm in the STEAM Room (C-Pod) or contact  Christy Paloutzian.  You can also visit OotM's website.
Note from our Librarian
Dear Parents,

Hello! I am Janet Gay, the Library Media Teacher at Bancroft Elementary. Soon your child will be bringing home a book or two from our school library, "The Bancroft Knowledge Center." Books are checked out for one week at a time. They are due back in the Knowledge Center on your child's library day, either WEDNESDAY or THURSDAY, depending on their class library time (see schedule below). Most books can be renewed for additional weeks if needed, but must be returned each week to be scanned by our computer.

Students are encouraged to share their books with you. Younger students will enjoy, and benefit from, being read to, or partner reading with you. Older students can read silently or aloud and then discuss what they are reading. Ask them about the characters, the setting, the plot, or what new information they found interesting.

Library books are the responsibility of the student. We have discussed keeping them in a safe place, away from liquids (beware of leaky water bottles in backpacks), food, pets, and small children to avoid loss or damage. District Policy (section 5161.3) and the California Education Code (section 18121 and 48909) provide that "liability for school property damaged OR failure to return loaned property is the responsibility of the student." In the event of a lost or damaged book, your child will receive a bill for the replacement cost. Library privileges will be suspended until the fine is paid or the book is returned. If you have any questions or concerns about a lost or damaged book please contact me. You can call me at 933-3405, extension 85805, or email me.

To allow our students more access to our wonderful library, we are open before school on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 am to 8:00 am, and after school on Wednesdays until 1:00 pm and on Thursdays until 3:30 pm. Your student is welcome to come in to work on homework, study for a test, use our computers, or just to read and relax. Students MUST check with you BEFORE coming to the library after school so you know where they are. Parents are also welcome to come to the library before or after school. If you would like to check out books for yourself or your child to read at home we can set up an account for you, too! 
Thank you for your help, and remember to READ EVERY DAY!!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Janet Gay

Class Library Day:
Wednesday: Hicks, Spalding, Timmer/Reynolds, Parker, Lipnicke, Sajjad, Davis/Winbery
Thursday: Giffin, Korsgaard, Hagen, Grunert, Stiles, Ledbetter, Lee, Bogni, Carbajal
PEAK (Partners for Educational Achievement K-12) is an education foundation started 6 years ago in an effort to raise additional money above and beyond each school's PFC. Currently, the Walnut Creek School District has a similar foundation, called the Walnut Creek Education Foundation (WCEF). This organization raises money for the Walnut Creek School District only. Annually, they raise almost $1,000,000. PEAK has raised $150,000 over the last 6 years, and every year they are growing. The money is disbursed to each of the six Walnut Creek schools in the Mt. Diablo School District (Bancroft, Walnut Acres, Valle Verde, EaglePeak Montessori, Foothill Middle, and Northgate High). PEAK supports approximately 4,550 students. Please visit their website for more details.

We have a PEAK representative for Bancroft, Amy Anderson, who is returning from last year. She will be attending the PEAK meetings every month and reporting back to the PFC. Thank you Amy!

The Walnut Run for Education was on September 13th and MDUSD had a great turnout. Thank you to any/all Bancroft families who participated! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to PEAK.

There are two fundraisers planned for this fall: 
Macy's Grand Re-Opening Fundraiser (November 21st) where PEAK will be selling 20% off shopping cards for $5 each; and the
Walnut Creek Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving Day, November 26th), PEAK's largest fundraiser. For the Turkey Trot, we will need both runners and volunteers. Online registration for runners and walkers is now open. You can select either Bancroft or PEAK Education Foundation as your beneficiary.

We encourage our students and parents to get involved and learn more about this great organization!
Join the Conversation - PFC Meetings
Mark your calendars for the second Tuesday of every month at 7pm for our PFC meetings. The next PFC meeting is Tuesday, Oct 14th. We look forward to your participation. Meetings are held in the school library. The PFC is an important voice within our school community and without you, we won't have our full voice.
We had a great turnout at our September meeting. Thank you to all the new and old faces who came to our first meeting of the new school year.

Other Announcements:
Partner fundraising 
easy ways to help raise money for our children
Earn money for Bancroft when you shop or dine out! eScrip partners with many businesses you already frequent. By registering your store cards, debit cards and credit cards at eScrip, businesses will donate a percentage of your purchase back to Bancroft without any extra work from you! Please take a moment to register your card here.  

Shop your favorite online retailers through the eScrip Online Mall.  Click the link here or click on "Online Mall" from the eScrip home page.  Amazon, Anthropologie, Apple, Alamo, and Avis are only some of the A companies that give 1-6% back to Bancroft when you start your purchase at eScrip!! There is also a "Forget Me Not" app that will remind you if you are on a shopping site that is eScrip eligible.  


Please continue to send in your Box Tops to the bin in the office. Last year our school raised over $1,200 from our Box Top submissions!

We have also begun accepting Labels for Education. You can put any Labels for Education UPCs and beverage/sauce caps in with the Box Tops bin.  We earn points that can be redeemed for Arts, Athletics, and Academics merchandise for our school.  Thank you!

Apply for a Target Red card and save 5% on all purchases PLUS Target gives back 1% to our Bancroft PFC. Visit www.target.com/redcard to learn more and apply.

 

Sports Basement During checkout, just let Sports Basement know you are a Bancroft Elementary family. Receive a 10% discount for yourself and 5% to Bancroft. 

 

Upcoming Dates
9/21: Odyssey of the Mind Info Meeting, 7pm

9/22: Picture Day

9/25: Life Skills Assembly, 2pm

9/28: Art Appreciation Mtg8am 

9/29: ELAC Meeting8 am

9/29: Art Appreciation6pm 

10/2: Family Movie Night, 7pm

10/7: Int'l Walk to School Day

10/9: Walk-A-Thon 

10/10: WC Volunteer Day 

10/13: PFC Meeting

10/27: Parent Soul Shoppe Night, 7pm

Visit the Bancroft online calendar for future dates.
Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by on the first day of school to our Back to School Coffee. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and meet some of our new families! Thank you to Rachel Gould and the hospitality committee for making the Coffee happen and happening! 

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped with another successful Info Day: Amy Anderson, Jenn Boswell, Kriss Bridgam, Jill Collins, Dan DiCarlo, Julie Fustok, Rachel Gould, Jennifer Hill, Melissa Horgan, Wendy Iglesias, Kelly Jones, Leslie Lafredo, Stefanie Lee, Marga Marshall, Oksana Melnyk, Lana Nemrovsky, Donna Noonan, Hillary Osness, Brett Paloutzian, Christy Paloutzian, Cherisse Riney, Erica Shankle, Shantel Stokes, and Brenda Walsh.

Thank you to all who have volunteered to be room parents!
Budget Update

For prior Blasts, Tracks, and Principal's Messages
Please refer to the PFC website's archive
Ongoing Fundraisers
dollar a day


Earn cash for our school!
Collect Box Tops and drop them in the collection bin in the office.
 
Shopping at Amazon? Click on the link on our homepage and Bancroft will receive a percentage of your purchase!

10% off everything every day and 5% back to Bancroft.  Just mention Bancroft when you check out.
Contact Us
Bancroft Elementary
925-933-3405