Notes from the Office

  • Notes from the Office January 14, 2018: Grant Writing to Help Our School

    Posted by VP Communications on 1/14/2018 8:00:00 AM

    Hello Montera Families!

    By now, you’ve probably seen the foreboding financial news about the OUSD budget.

    With ever-changing funding in public education, our school budget is always at risk. But with the revised, much lower OUSD budget recently approved, all schools in the district are taking a cut. Including Montera Middle School.

    We don’t want our students or dedicated educators to feel these cuts!

    We are prioritizing spending and actively seeking out new resources. But the truth remains: Our dynamic programs are threatened, including International Baccalaureate.

    It’s time to think outside of the box -- and we need your help.

    If you or anyone you know has experience writing grants, could you please contact me through the main office? (Call 510-531-6070 or email

    Even if you don't have grant writing experience, you can still help: If you write proposals for work or are good at filling out forms or meeting detailed requirements, you can help. If you are good at gathering information or writing in general, these skills can get us there! If you know retired people with any of these skills who can volunteer some time, please contact the school.

    We need to put together a team of grant writers as soon as possible.

    If you have ideas for other financial support, we also want to hear from you!

    They say it takes a village, and it appears now this is truer than ever, so thank you for your consideration and assistance. We think the Montera school community of families is very special, and if we work together, we can get through this and make our school stronger!

    Thank you!


    Darren Avent
    (510) 531-6070

    Comments (-1)
  • Notes from the Office January 7, 2018: International Baccalaureate Nuts & Bolts

    Posted by VP Communications on 1/7/2018 8:00:00 AM

    International Baccalaureate Nuts & Bolts
    Wednesday January 24th ,  7 to 8:30pm
    A Montera Community Presentation and Q&A

    Happy New Year, Toro Families!

    I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the winter break.

    To start off 2018, please join us in the MUR on the evening of January 24th from 7:00 to 8:30pm to learn all the nuts and bolts of our International Baccalaureate program (IB)!

    A panel of administrators and teachers will be on hand to share and provide Q&A to help you understand:

    • What IB is and how it nurtures our students’ growth and learning
    • How Montera is implementing IB now
    • How Montera will continue to implement IB
    • How Skyline High School is also transitioning to IB (and what an IB diploma is)

    There will also be group workshops to give you a better feel for how IB philosophy is implemented and taught in our classrooms.

    Here are a few highlights of our IB program so far:

    • Our kids now have more electives
      • Encouraging creativity, design, expression, and more
      • Electives are often the classes that keep our kids engaged in school!
    • Every student has three years of foreign language
      • Providing them future opportunities in our global economy
      • Giving them greater command of languages, including their native languages
      • Widening their cultural understanding
    • We see that IB is contributing to a more positive school community and culture.
      • Individuals are honored and group support of one another is required in IB curriculum.
      • Through IB, there are more opportunities for student leadership in classrooms and campus-wide.

    We highly encourage every family to attend or at least send one representative to this meeting!

    As the only International Baccalaureate middle school in Oakland, Montera is proud to be paving the way and offering an education that develops the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

    Remember: Wednesday January 24th, 7:00 to 8:30pm in the MUR and encourage other Toro families to attend!

    See you there!

    Darren Avent

    Comments (-1)
  • Notes from the Office October 31, 2017: Touring the Toro Way

    Posted by VP Communications on 11/4/2017 10:00:00 PM

    Hi Toro Families!

    It’s that time of year when Prospective Families are looking at middle schools for their kids.

    Would you please help spread the word about Montera and the Great Things Happening here?

    Why Spread the Word?
    The healthier our community, the healthier our school and the more we can provide for our Toro scholars. Your involvement in our community -- in any way you can make it happen with the demands of work and family -- helps your child and all our children to thrive.

    Great Things Are Happening at Montera!
    Tell other parents about some of the wonderful things Montera has to offer our students:

    • We embrace our diversity at our core.
    • We are the only International Baccalaureate Middle School in Oakland with:
      • The goal of creating confident global citizens
      • Multiple electives (with an emphasis on design and expression)
      • Three years of foreign language
      • Integrated programs that emphasize building character
    • We offer our Toros supportive social-emotional programs, something for everyone:
      • 30 lunchtime clubs
      • An active sports program
      • After-school clubs
      • Restorative Justice (accountability, personal and group transformation)
      • Avid (organization, goal setting, critical thinking, determination)
      • NFL Character Playbook (building and maintaining healthy relationships)
      • Onsite tutoring and counseling
      • Daily Advisory

    Consider Leading a Tour
    You can sign up to guide prospective families around campus. Sign up here!
    This is also a great way for you to get a sneak peak of Montera during your child’s school day.

    Thank you Fall Fest Organizers & Volunteers!
    A big shout out to all our parent and student volunteers (including our Cheer & Dance Squad) who made this year’s Fall Fest a success.

    Yours Truly,
    Mr. Avent

    Comments (-1)
  • Notes from the Office October 23, 2017: The Montera Mission

    Posted by VP Communications on 10/20/2017 10:15:00 PM

    Greetings Toro Families!

    I realized the other day that some of you may not know what our Mission Statement is here at Montera.

    Here it is:

    Mission Statement: Montera Middle School aims to provide all students with a supportive environment and rigorous curriculum through which they develop into inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring lifelong learners utilizing their creative talents to help build a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

    How We Are Accomplishing Our Mission
    Our staff is continually working towards this mission with many practices in place and new ones developing. Here are some of those:

    Recognizing Diversity Is a Strength
    One way that we accomplish our mission is by recognizing that we are a diverse community, and that is one of our strengths. Academically and socially, we celebrate this diversity every day.

    Being an International Baccalaureate School (IB)
    Our IB program helps us prepare students to live in a global society. Through IB, we provide our Toros with opportunities no other school in Oakland has. With our multiple electives, three years of foreign language, growing advisory program and more, our students will be better prepared for high school and beyond.

    Having Supportive Social-Emotional Programs Like Restorative Justice
    Our practice of Restorative Justice is important to us at Montera. Much more than conflict resolution, Restorative Justice emphasizes accountability, making amends, repairing harm, personal and group transformation, cooperation, and the building of better relationships. To learn more about Restorative Justice, go to I recommend the tutorial here:

    Providing Professional Counselors on Campus
    We have a 5-year grant with CCEB (Catholic Charities of the East Bay), providing students (and their families) going through any kind of trauma, big or small, with trained counseling (non-denominational). Counselors are on campus for ongoing individual and group sessions.

    Kicking Off the NFL Character Playbook - Building Healthy Relationships
    This past week, we launched our NFL Character Playbook with a rally led by visiting Oakland Raiders and Raiderettes. Sponsored by the NFL and United Way, the Playbook teaches kids to cultivate character and build and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. Eighth graders will start taking online Character Playbook classes in their advisories. Seventh graders will do the same in the second semester. Read more at

    Expanding Our AVID Program
    This year we went from one AVID class to three. We are also working on integrating AVID curriculum and practices into our advisories and all of our classes. AVID teaches organization, goal setting, critical thinking, encourages determination, and develops a true sense of hope in students for personal achievement. Find out more at

    See you all at the Fall Fest on Saturday October 28th! Organizers still need more volunteers to help with this fun community gathering - see the link for details.

    Great things are happening at Montera!

    Darren Avent, Principal

    Comments (-1)
  • Notes from the Office October 8, 2017: Funding & the Importance of LCFF Forms

    Posted by VP Communications on 10/8/2017 11:30:00 AM

    Dear Montera Families,

    Our projected enrollment for the 2017-18 school year was for 741 general education students. We are under projection by three students, for a total of 738. This may not sound like much of a difference, but the funds we receive from the district are in a large part determined by this number. This means our school could lose $10,000.

    This is why it is so important that parents complete the LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) survey. This state education funding formula determines the remainder of our budget.

    It has been estimated that last year Montera lost $30,000 because parents didn’t complete this form. Under the requirements of LCFF, the formula is locked in for three years, so parents who don’t complete this form will affect Montera’s budget for the next three years.

    Many families did complete this form at registration, and I thank you so much.

    But there are still 200 families that need to complete the LCFF form.

    We will be reaching out to these families directly to either complete the form at school or online. Either way, it takes only a few minutes. Forms are available in the main office.

    Option 1: Visit Montera's main office and ask to speak with Ms. Chantay. She will provide you with a form and walk you through the steps as necessary (a paper option or an online option is available if you come in).

    Option 2: Go online to This will take you directly to the website. Please complete your form and write your confirmation number down that will be displayed once the form is submitted. Please email or call (510) 531-6070 and provide us with your confirmation number.

    Either way, it just takes a few minutes to complete the form, and you'll be helping our school in a big way.

    What is LCFF?
    Under the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a portion of state funding will be determined based on the demographics of student population. On a per student basis for districts like Oakland, there is increased funding for large concentrations of low-income, English Language Learner, and foster student populations. Therefore, we are required to establish and confirm the number of students that represent these categories by having families complete the official LCFF form. Whether or not you fall into one of these categories, it is important that ALL families complete the survey.

    Remember, as a Sanctuary District, OUSD cannot and will not share any of your personal information to agencies that are gathering citizen status information.

    You can learn out more about LCFF at

    Please help us to insure we get all the funding from the district that our students and teachers deserve. If you have questions, please feel free to call the main office.

    Thank you, Toro families!
    Mr. Avent

    Comments (-1)