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A New School Year!

August 3, 2021

Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year!

I am excited to welcome all of our students back to school on August 12th! We are busy preparing our campus and classrooms for a fantastic year ahead. During the summer our K-3 teachers have received training in our new phonics instruction through the Orton Gillingham method. We are excited to launch our district's Every Child Reads Initiative as we focus on literacy development for each and every student.

Social-emotional well-being is a priority this year as we welcome all students back to campus after a year of varied learning environments. Our staff and community are committed to support and care for all students right where they are in their social-emotional development and academic progress. While we may have some tricky roads ahead, I know we will navigate them together and lean on each other through times of uncertainty and change.

I hope you have had a chance to review Dr. Austin's comprehensive email outlining the guidance we will follow from the California Department of Public Healthy for our return to campus. I have shared a few of the highlights below along with a link to more detailed information. Unfortunately, we will not be able to have parents or host in-person school events on campus at this moment in time. Not to worry. Our time will come!

In-person instruction is the default for all students. We can't wait to see you! If you have medical concerns and are interested in the Virtual Independent Study Remote Learning option, please tune into the parent webinar tonight at 6:00pm. The webinar will be recorded and pushed out to all families on August 4.

Below you will find our most recent staffing update along with bios of our new teaching staff. I am excited that we are adding so many new teachers with a passion for inclusion and equity. They are a perfect fit for Ohlone!

I had beautiful beach time with my family over the break and now I am back in the saddle! I will be working with our staff this week and next to prepare for the new school year ahead. Please forgive any delays in my response to emails. It is a busy time! I am looking forward to seeing your children on August 12. Enjoy these last days of summer, and play, play, play with those beautiful children of yours!

Ohlone Principal


School Schedule

Please note that K-3 students end their day at 1:30 on Fridays. 4-5 students are out at 2:30 on Fridays. All students end their day at 2:30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. All students in K-5 are out at 1:30pm on Wednesdays.


Class Placement

Your child's class placement will be emailed to you by 4:00pm on August 11th. All elementary schools are sending class placements the day before school this year. This will provide us with time to make any necessary adjustments if families choose the Virtual Independent Study Program. We want to ensure balanced classrooms for our students.

As a reminder, class placements were done for all students this year, with the exception of incoming 3rd and 5th grade Mandarin Immersion. Some Olders may have a new teacher this year. Luckily, we have an amazing teaching staff!


COVID-19 Guidance Highlights

CPHD guidelines are subject to change with little notice. Please read the highlights below. There will be more detailed information on the PAUSD website soon.

QR Health Screening - No longer required for staff or students
Entry/Exit Points - Students will continue to use specific entry points; No screening necessary
Parents on Campus - No parents on campus at this moment in time; Farm volunteers ok.

Masking Indoors - Required for students and staff regardless of vaccination status
Masking Outdoors - No longer required for staff or students; Optional
Social Distancing - Not required indoors or outdoors per CDC guidelines; Distancing will be encouraged at lunch.
Cohortsand Play Zones - Discontinued
Desk Barriers - Discontinued
School Materials - Can now be shared
Ventilation - All filters are being recalibrated to accommodate larger class sizes. Signs will be posted on doors.

Field Trips - None at this time
Kinder Open House - Cancelled
Back to School Night will be virtual again this year. We will hold our BTSN on Zoom on August 23.


School Lunch

Lunch will be provided again this year at no charge.There will be a vegetarian option every day. A meat and veggie option is available on Mondays & Fridays. Click on this link for Food Services information in English, Spanish, & Mandarin.


Staffing Update


Brittany Gardner has been selected to support the district as one of the PAUSD TOSAs this year. Congrats, Brittany! Suzy Anvar and Libby Beavitz are leaving PAUSD and off to new adventures. Please read Suzy's lovely message to families below. Libby is moving to Oregon with her family where she will teach. Please join me in wishing them well! They have made great contributions to Ohlone. I know we will miss them dearly.

New Arrivals

We have three newly hired teachers joining Ohlone. Nikki Alcantara will be our new K-1 teacher, Vidya Karra is our new 2-3 teacher, and Sharon Choi will join the 4-5 team. We also have a Farm Science Instructional Assistant, Carly Deitsch!

From Suzy:

My last year at Ohlone was the best year of my teaching! The class brought me joy every day. I am so thankful to the parents and children of the class of 2020-21. The children came to zoom ready to learn, worked hard in school, and made amazing growth! I also appreciated the parents who encouraged and supported me.


New Ohlone Staff

Nikki Alcantara - K-1 - Room 3

My name is Nikki Alcantara and I am so happy to be joining Ohlone Elementary School this year as the new K/1 teacher!

I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California and just moved to the Bay Area this summer. I graduated with my Master's degree in Learning and Teaching in April and have been spending my summer exploring my new hometown. Before moving to the Bay Area, my partner and I converted a 1999 Dodge van into a camper van and took it on its first road trip to Yellowstone National Park for an extended summer vacation.

Although I have been working with elementary students for five years, this will be my first year teaching and I am thrilledto be going on this journey full of "firsts" with a wonderful group of Kindergarten and 1st grade students.

As an educator, it is my goal for my students to leave the classroom feeling appreciated for their unique qualities and empowered by their knowledge and strengths. I am passionate about giving my students a well-rounded education that focuses not only on academics, but also on social and emotional skills and real-world learning so that they may create positive change in the world.

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, baking, and spending quality time with my friends and family. I cannot wait to meet you all and be a part of the Ohlone community!


Vidya Karra - 2-3 - Room 13

My name is Vidya Karra and I am thrilled to join PAUSD and the community at Ohlone Elementary School! I live in San Francisco and have 11 years of teaching experience in 1st/2nd & 2nd/3rd grade classrooms, similar to Ohlone's model and core values, which deeply resonates with me.
After spending time in Maryland, India, Tennessee, and Arkansas, my family eventually settled down in Fort Worth, TX where I was predominantly raised. I earned my Bachelor's Degree from The University of Texas and worked in Finance before transitioning to a career in Education. I completed my Lower Elementary Montessori Credential and taught in Public Montessori Schools in Houston, TX and most recently in San Francisco, CA. I also attended UCLA's Graduate School of Education and earned a Masters of Education in Urban Teaching.
In my free time, I enjoy practicing & teaching Yoga, traveling, learning Spanish, reading, hanging out with my huge family, and watching Texas sports (Go Cowboys!).


Sharon Choi - 4-5 - Room 28

Hello! My name is Sharon Choi, and I'm excited to join the 4/5 team at Ohlone!

I grew up in Orange County, and I moved to Berkeley in 2015, where I completed both my undergraduate and graduate programs (Go Bears!); I've been in the Bay Area since! I love houseplants and gardening, and I have a huge passion for sustainability and climate change. On days off, the weather determines whether I am an extreme extrovert or introvert, as I enjoy outdoor activities as much as I enjoy binge-watching TV shows!

I can't wait to start off my teaching career with the Ohlone community!


Carly Deitsch - Farm Science Instructional Assistant

Hi all, my name is Carly Deitsch!

I was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018. I worked on my first permaculture farm in Costa Rica after graduating college, through an organization called WWOOF. I fell in love with agriculture and its capacity to support and build communities through increasing access to food, stimulating local economies and bringing people together. Since then, I've worked on a couple of different farms with the goal of increasing local food accessibility, learning the ins and outs of small-scale farming and how we can improve farming practices to become more sustainable.

Over the course of the past 8 years, I've worked with numerous after-school programs: from community centers to programs designed for children with learning differences. I've worked one on one with students and with small groups of children, ranging from elementary kids to high schoolers, as a tutor and a nanny.

I am looking forward to starting this next chapter and school year with you all at Ohlone! Discovering a school that has a created a space to fuel young minds through farm science and an interactive farm experience is very exciting! This is one of the many things that makes Ohlone such a special place and I'm very thankful to be a part of a team and school family that encourages and fosters different styles of learning and experiences for their children.


Staff At-a-Glance

Instructional Aide Staff List coming!

Room 15 - Ying Ren (MI)
Room 16 - Judy Kislitsyn (MI)
Room 17 - Piper Joseph
Room 1 - Nancy Shorum
Room 2 - Roni Kraft
Room 3 - Nikki Alcantara
Room 4 - Joanna Kovacs

Room 6 - Claire Albert (MI)
Room 7 - Lu Sun (MI)
Room 10 - Monica Lynch
Room 11 - Ashley McCrea & Alex White
Room 12 - Isabelle Polito
Room 13 - Vidya Karra
Room 14 - Michelle Haughney

Room 20 - Limin Chen (MI)
Room 21 - Cathy Harkness-Lemat & Avery Olesen
Room 22 - Yineng Lu (MI)
Room 26 - Lisa Carrell
Room 27 - Eloise Rippey
Room 28 - Sharon Choi
Room 30 - Janice Stone

K-5 Education Specialists
Room 19 - Hanna Miller
Room 23 - Kathleen Flynn

Psychologist - Elaine Lay
Speech-Language Pathologist - Cynthia Ehrhorn
Occupational Therapist - Erin Finley
Reading Specialists - Nikki Moore & Allyson Zeman
English Language Specialist - Sarah Jados
CASSY Counselor - Brittney Tabel
IT - Christine Venegas

P.E. Teacher - Bobby Rankin
Teacher Librarian -Grace Bunya
Farm Manager - Marieluise Fries
Farm Science Instructional Assistant - Carly Deitsch
Spectra Art Teacher - Teresa Kwon
K-4 Music Teacher - Kerri Eikenberg
4th Grade Music Teachers - Robin Smith & Corrine Leary
5th Grade Music Teachers - Keith Hunter, Gary Ortega, Allison Zenner,
Shawn McGinn & Valerie Lee

Office Staff
Secretaries - Jane Dick & Heike Enders
Clerk - Xiomara Rodriguez
Head Custodian - Gil Cordero
Custodians - Chau Pham & Junior Bayquen
Assistant Principal - Elsa Chen
Principal - Dawn Yoshinaga