• Fabulous Fall Fest!

    Posted by Katherine, PTO on 11/2/2019

    Another Fabulous Fall Fest!

    On a beautiful sunny day, hundreds of students and their families showed up to celebrate Montera, have fun and raise money for our school! Relive your memories — or see what you missed — in the video below.


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  • Ready, Set, High School!

    Posted by VP Communications on 10/18/2018 8:00:00 AM

    [This page has been updated with new info from OUSD that wasn't available on October 17.]

    Thanks to everyone who came out to High School Information Night last night, and especially to our three participating high schools - Oakland High, Oakland Tech and Skyline!

    Applying to high school can seem like a huge step and a complicated process, but if you break it down it's not so scary.  Remind yourself that everyone gets through it, and there’s a lot of help available along the way – the OUSD website and Welcome Center (in the old Lakeview school at 746 Grand Avenue), Montera counselors and other staff, and other parents who've been through it before. As a veteran of this process, I like to call the presentation I gave last night:

    Keep Calm and Apply to High School


    Applying to high school is kind of like childbirth – it will be over soon, and you’ll have this wonderful high school freshman and you won’t remember quite how it happened.

    The first thing you want to do is bookmark this page:


    It should be updated in mid- to late-October with more information about the “four easy steps to enrolling in OUSD” (more on that later). Currently this page has school profiles in English and Spanish, online and printable school directories, and the Enrollment Guide in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. Enrollment season for the 2019-2020 school year officially opens on November 5, 2018.

    The High School Options Process

    So, what is this “Options” thing I keep hearing about?

    It’s designed to expand the educational options available to Oakland families – it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get into your first-choice school, but hopefully it makes things more equitable.

    When you fill out your application, you’ll list up to three schools in order of preference.

    OUSD prioritizes school assignments in this order:

    1. Siblings - Any child who has an older brother or sister at the school goes to the front of the line so families can stay together.
    2. Neighborhood kids - Second priority is kids who live within the school’s boundaries.
    3. OUSD Staff - Children of OUSD staff who work at a particular school are placed next.
    4. Open lottery - Remaining students are placed in their first choice school if there are openings left at that school. If there aren't enough spaces, there's a lottery for any open slots. 

    If there's not room at your first choice school, OUSD will try to place you at your second choice, then your third choice.  You’ll hear all kinds of theories from people about how to game the system, like putting your first choice school second, or listing the same school three times – but your best bet really is to list three schools in order of preference.

    The way you rank schools also helps determine which waitlists you will automatically be added to. For example if you are placed in your 3rd-choice school, you will automatically be placed on the waitlists for your higher-ranked schools.


    Here are what OUSD calls “The 4 Easy Steps to Enrollment”:

    Step 1: FIND the right OUSD school for your student

    You probably already know your neighborhood school at this point, but if not, start by figuring out your neighborhood school by entering your street address on this page: www.ousd.org/schoollocator

    Then find out about all the schools you might want to apply to – go to info nights, take tours (schools should have info about these events on their websites), check out the online directory and talk to people who go there now. You can find info about prospective families events at all OUSD schools here: https://www.ousd.org/Page/17920#calendar26742/20181105/month

    For info about the schools who spoke at Information Night, see:

    • Oakland High (Info night = November 8, 2018, 6-7pm) (scroll down on the home page for tour signups)
    • Oakland Tech (Info night = November 1, 2018, 6-8pm)
    • Skyline (Info night = November 7, 2018, 6-8pm)


    Step 2: APPLY

    https://www.ousd.org/Page/11646) (nothing there at the moment)

    In past years, Montera received personalized applications for 8th graders, and counselors passed them out in 8th grade English classes before Winter Break.

    For the 2019-20 school year, the process is online - you'll receive a letter from OUSD with your login information, and use that to complete the application at https://www.ousd.org/Page/11646. The deadline to apply is February 8, 2019.

    Step 3: CONFIRM (or appeal) School Assignment

    You’ll get a text or email from OUSD on March 14, 2019 with your assignment. You have until April 2, 2019 to confirm your assignment. In the past you'd call your assigned school to confirm, but I think this year it will all be online - you'll get details from OUSD along with your assignment.

    Even if you’re appealing, but especially if you got the school you wanted, make sure to confirm by the deadline to save your spot - otherwise you’ll lose that spot AND any waitlist spots you had. Where you are on the waitlist is determined by the same priorities as enrollment - siblings, neighbors, employees, everybody else. Be patient - waitlists go until the 10th day of the new school year, so you might get in at any time.

    If you aren’t satisfied with the offer you received or the waitlists you were assigned to and you want to make changes, you’ll need to contact the Student Welcome Center to cancel all of your applications. You would then need to reapply as a late application, but this is really not your best course of action.


    Step 4: REGISTER

    You’ll get details from your school about when and how to register, choose classes, etc.


    Keys to Success

    • Do your homework. Learn about the schools and the process.
    • Get your paperwork in order. Fill out all the forms correctly and provide proof of residency, required immunizations, etc.
    • Meet all the deadlines.
    • Manage your expectations and keep an open mind. The truth is, not everyone gets into their first choice school – but often it works out okay anyway. Be open to the possibilities.


    Top 5 Reasons to Choose an OUSD High School

    Source: https://www.ousd.org/Page/15764

    1. High Quality Education in Your Neighborhood
    2. We Develop Empowered Thinkers
    3. Holistic Support for College
    4. Pathways to Career Options
    5. Our High Schools Support All Students

    Some of it sounds a bit fluffy and abstract, but one of the coolest things I’ve found about OUSD high schools is #4 - the career pathways (aka academies) available at every OUSD high school. Pathways provide concrete experience in top employment sectors, and there are different pathways at each school, so that may affect your decision about where you want to go.


    Ready? Go apply to high school - you can do it!

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  • Do Your Part

    Posted by VP Communications on 9/13/2018 8:00:00 AM

    Be a superhero - volunteer at Montera

    Thank you to everyone who came out to our first PTO general meeting of the year last night to find out more about volunteering at Montera!

    Those of you who attended heard my confession: In all the years of elementary school, I never attended a single PTA meeting. And a couple years ago, when my friends who were on the Montera PTO board started trying to get me to join the board, I dragged my feet and hoped someone else would do it…And yet, here I am as your president.

    So what changed my mind? I realized that Montera needed me.  Not me specifically – there’s nothing magical about me – but Montera needs each of us to be involved.

    Our goal is to have every family involved in some way at Montera. I could cite all kinds of stats about how when parents are involved kids do better in school, and tell you that you'll know more about the school and your kid's teachers and friends if you volunteer, but what it boils down to is this: Montera is better when we all pitch in. 

    Every little thing we do – including attending PTO meetings! – helps make this school a better place for all of us. You don’t have to join the PTO board to make a difference (although you could – we still have a couple open positions!) – whether you help stuff report cards or decorate for Fall Fest or speak at Career Day or fundraise for 8th grade activities, you’ve made a difference in our kids’ lives. Just like any amount you can donate to the PTO helps us fund school programs, any amount of time you can give is great, whether it’s two hours a year or two hours a week. Pretty much no matter what you’re good at or how much or little time you have, I guarantee we can find a way to put you to use.

    The volunteer page (https://www.ousd.org/domain/2916) has a survey you can fill out about your skills and interests, and a list of current volunteer openings. But I have to say, some of my favorite projects are ones where parents saw a need and came up with an idea of their own, like the cheer squad or the Parent Support Team.  So if you don’t see a volunteer opportunity you’re passionate about, or you have a skill like construction or graphic design or cooking that you want to share, let us know how you want to be involved and we’ll make it work. Whatever works for you, we can use you!


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  • The Year in Review

    Posted by President on 5/11/2018 10:00:00 AM

    Toro love - art by Montera students

    Thank you to those of you who made it out to our last PTO General Meeting of the year on Tuesday, May 8! We had a nice time thanking our volunteers, as well as approving our board and budget for next year. I'm excited to be heading up the PTO for another year and to have the foundation laid for the 2018-2019 school year.  (If you're interested in joining our board or volunteering in other ways, we still have some key spots open, by the way, including the vital VP of Fundraising role - please check out the info here and let us know if you'd like more information.)

    Montera art students made little hand-painted artworks for all the board members and other volunteers as thank-you gifts - we love them!

    If you missed the meeting, here's a recap of some of the things big and small the PTO funded or secured donations of this past school year with your help:

    Classroom supplies:

    • novels to engage readers
    • atlases
    • cow eyeballs and frogs for dissection(!)
    • science lab supplies so the kids could do experiments with dry ice and other materials
    • woodshop supplies
    • cultural materials for the Mandarin teachers
    • basics like paper towels and hand sanitizer


    • sports equipment, fees and uniforms for our championship-winning sports teams
    • a new four square space outside the MUR
    • Field Day

    Other things:

    • trash grabbers to help students beautify the school
    • library supplies
    • matching funds for field trips to the Tech Museum (6th grade), Exploratorium (7th grade) and Berkeley Rep (8th grade)
    • matching funds for the afterschool program


    • outreach to elementary schools
    • social events and materials to welcome new families
    • a high school information night
    • an IB information night that netted us some new families
    • a Fall Fest that turned a profit
    • an extraordinary auction
    • and more!

    All these things were possible because Montera parents donated time and money, asked local businesses for support, pitched in with hands-on labor and generally worked hard for our kids. I'm always so proud to see how everyone pulls together to address a need and get things done. If you haven't had a chance to donate to the Annual Fund yet, it's never too late, and we can always use your donations (we're only at about 60% of our fundraising goal this year) - you can find all the details, including a PayPal link, here.

    Mark your calendars for Registration (August 7, noon-5pm and August 9, 9am-1pm) and the first day of school (August 13!), enjoy these last few weeks of school and have a safe, relaxing summer! We'll see you in August.

    -- Jeni Paltiel, PTO President

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Last Modified on November 2, 2019