Korematsu Info Night – November 13th

KMS Info Night_2014

Information Night is Thursday, November 13th 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the cafe (Room 35).  The campus is open to the community and all the feeder schools.  Everyone is invited to learn about our school.  Kids and families encouraged to attend.  Email us with any questions:  portolaptsa@gmail.com.  A map of the campus is below.  There will also be students on hand to help direct you.

Korematsu Middle School – Map of Temp Campus

WCCUSD School Board Candidates Forum Report

Green Check Mark_2

WCCUSD School Board Candidate Forum

Parents’ Voices Loud and Clear

Ten candidates gave opening statements and answered 6 questions from parents at Monday Night’s Candidates Forum, sponsored jointly by the PTAs of El Cerrito/Kensington schools. Three of the candidates will be elected on November 4th. Two of the candidates are incumbents.

The questions were about teacher quality; supporting and increasing the number of high-achieving students; follow-through on new programs; balancing charter schools and traditional public schools; and “What is the best book you have read recently about education?” The final question was from a Kensington fifth grader about how to fix school lunch.

View the candidate bios.
You can review the campaign financing records of the candidates at the Contra Costa County Elections Division website:www.cocovote.us/campaigns/public-viewing-of-campaign-statements/

More than a hundred people attended, so ask around if you missed it and want to know more.  Please remember to vote on November 4th!

WCCUSD Candidate Forum – October 6th


Monday, October 6, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Harding Elementary School Theater

The school board makes important decisions that affect teachers and children attending public schools in the district.

Arts education, all-day kindergarten, bond measures for construction, charter schools, differentiated instruction, Gifted and Talented Program (GATE), Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) spending, math programs, parcel taxes for programs, parents as stakeholders, teacher quality and compensation.  Who should be elected to shape these programs and spend this money?

The PTA’s of Kensington, Harding, Madera, Mira Vista, Fairmont, Washington and Korematsu are proud to join together to sponsor a WCCUSD School Board Candidates Forum.

This November, three seats out of the five are up for election.  There are ten candidates running. We will have at least one new board member since long-time board member Charles Ramsey is not seeking re-election.

This forum is especially designed for the El Cerrito feeder school population and will be moderated by our own Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor.  Come and have your questions answered. Learn about these candidates!

For information, or to submit a question to the forum, please email us at: 4westcounty@gmail.com

Board Votes to Rename Portola Middle School after Fred T. Korematsu

The WCCUSD Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to rename Portola Middle School after Japanese American civil rights icon Fred T. Korematsu. The District has not yet clarified when the name change takes effect, but when we have that information, we will post it here.

During World War II, Japanese-American citizens were ordered to internment camps despite the lack of cause for the detentions. Korematsu was arrested and convicted for defying the internment order. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his conviction. In 1983, the case was overturned in U.S. District Court and President Bill Clinton later awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After 9/11, Korematsu spoke out to protect the civil rights of Muslim inmates and U.S. citizens.

The committee tasked to evaluate the name change hosted four public hearings on the subject and the District received hundreds or written and verbal comments from community members before recommending the change to the Board.

The school is currently housed in portable buildings while its new campus is being built on Donal Avenue, four blocks away from its original location on Navellier Street between Moeser Lane and Portola Drive. The school is scheduled to open in its new location in January 2016.

New Campus Information

New Campus_Overall View_2014This past Saturday Marcus Hibser of HY Architects and WCCUSD district officials provided a community update on the progress of the new campus build.  The official “move in” date according to the district contract is March/April 2016, but so far the project is running ahead of schedule and the move in date could be as soon as Jan/Feb 2016. The timeline is depicted below.  The presentation Marcus shared can be found here.  Have a look — it will be a beautiful school.  The second half of the presentation is an update and plans on the rebuilding of Fairmont Elementary School, which will commence as soon as Fairmont students are able to move in to the temporary campus currently occupied by our Portola students.

New Campus Timeline_2014

Save These Dates

Registration and Orientation
Welcome poster
Registration and Orientation is scheduled for the mornings of August 5, 6, 7.  Details will be set home by mail.  Can you help PTSA one of those mornings selling sprit wear, collecting memberships, giving directions?  Necesitamos personas que hablan Espanol! Email us! portolaptsa@gmail.com
Incoming 7th / Returning 8th Grade Mixer
Saturday, August 9, 2-4 p.m.  Come meet new friends and catch up with old. Open to all – Parents, incoming and returning students, siblings and family members. Castro Clubhouse, 1420 Norvell Street, El Cerrito (@ Donal).  We’ll have light refreshments and snacks. Want to Help??  Email us!portolaptsa@gmail.com.  Click here for a printable version of the flyer above.  
First Day of School Monday, August 18th
It is a Minimum Day….Dismissal is at 1:25 p.m.
Back to School Picnic
Thursday, August 21st
5-7:30 p.m. Location TBD
Featuring Back to School Bingo!
Pizza, Salads, Dessert!  $5.00 per person.  Open to all…– Parents, incoming and returning students, siblings and family members.  Want to Help??  Email us! portolaptsa@gmail.com
And, finally, your 2014-15 Portola PTSA needs you!  Don’t wait until the start of the school year to take a fun, rewarding job with the PTSA.  More information about open positions at http://portolanews.com/2014/05/26/your-2014-15-ptsa-needs-you/.  Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten the lay of the middle-school-land, yet.  There will be plenty of parents to support you in whatever position looks interesting!

New Campus Update May 31

plans-smallAt a May 6th update to the El Cerrito City Council regarding the new Portola campus, school board member Charles Ramsey announced that there will be a New Portola Community Update on Sat., May 31, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Castro Clubhouse. The District will be doing outreach to neighbors, to be sure they know about the update. Please attend if you can.