Alameda Education Foundation: Back to School News

Alameda Education Foundation president Bill Sonneman discusses scores, sports and hitting the road.

As we settle into the 2011-2012 school year, I’d like to reflect on how our schools are doing and share with you exciting news about AEF programming.

School Smarts

There has been much press recently about API scores in Alameda.  But what do they really mean? And how do they affect the quality of our schools?

API stands for Academic Performance Index and it is a way schools are rated according to the California Standards Test. The good news here in Alameda is that almost all of our schools increased their scores. We should be especially proud of Lum Elementary School, which increased their scores by 29 points!

Schools look at this data to help them plan and improve. As a former principal, I can tell you that these scores motivate us because there is always room for improvement. Yet, I think it is important to note that AUSD’s average score is 842, well above the state average of 778, and that of Alameda’s 19 regular public district and charter schools (excluding Island High, which is a continuation school), all but two meet or exceed the state overall or grade level average.   Overall, our schools are improving every year. Scores may be accessed here.

Welcome to New Teachers

School scores don’t improve without quality teachers and AEF is pleased to welcome new teachers to our community. To help support the district’s 54 new teachers, AEF provided each of them with a gift card for school supplies. It’s just one way we support one of our core program areas, Teacher and Classroom Support. In addition to school supply assistance, AEF supports teachers and classrooms with our Adopt A Classroom program, which provides $500 directly to classroom teachers or program leaders for learning impact projects or materials; Teacher Mini-Grants, which enable teachers to apply for funding for projects and materials; and our School Supply and Instrument Drive done each summer to provide backpacks and school supplies to students in need.

Adopt A Classroom

Speaking of Adopt A Classroom (AAC), I was able to perform one of my favorite AEF tasks lwhen AAC chair Kathie Woulfe and I presented 13 adoptions on Sept. 15. When I visit the classroom to present the $500 donations to the teachers, I ask the students for their input on how it should be spent. As always, the students had some great ideas, from suggestions of ice cream to popsicles to —my personal favorite — a new Ferrari, but these dedicated teachers will use the donations to support student learning in their classrooms. We at AEF are so proud of this program, which has such an immediate and direct impact on student learning, and thank all of you who support Adopt A Classroom with your donations!

AEF Enrichment

Many of us switch into high gear as the school year starts, but AEF’s Enrichment Director, Sarah Olaes, has been in high gear all summer long and has done a wonderful job setting up AEF Enrichment classes for the school year. I’m pleased to announce that as of mid-September, AEF is offering 130 after school Enrichment classes with 1100 registrants — that’s about a 20 percent increase over this time last year.  In addition, we will be offering full-day camps on the upcoming non-student day, Oct. 7 (enrollment for these camps begins September 22).  We are also introducing camps for the Thanksgiving and Winter breaks. Check AEF’s web site for more information as it becomes available.  Fliers will also be going home in elementary school student packets.

Middle School Sports

AEF’s Middle School Sports program is underway with coed volleyball. This year, I am pleased to introduce AEF’s new Athletic Director, Marty Garchar, who will be coordinating our volleyball, basketball and track and field programs this year.  Marty brings a wealth of sports experience from both the coaching and organizational aspects. I am also pleased to announce that a combined Nea/ACLC team will be joining our program, so we now have teams based at four middle school sites: Academy of Alameda, Lincoln, Wood and Nea/ACLC. We look forward to a competitive and successful season! You may check our web site for the volleyball schedule.  


We all know that obesity and diabetes are becoming epidemic for our children. How does your child’s school lunch affect this?  Learn more on Sept. 22, 7 p.m., when Books Inc  presents a book signing with Amy Kalafa, author of Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health.  A percentage of the book sales from the evening’s event will benefit AEF.  

Pirates in Paradise!  Explore Alameda’s hidden treasure - our beautiful waterfront!  There will be all sorts of boating activities for the whole family including kayaks, canoes, dinghies, stand ups, windsurfers, whale boats, outriggers, dragon boats, and rowing shells. There will be races and regattas, along with water safety demonstrations.  Sunday, October 16, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Bridgeside Shopping Center (Nob Hill). Our “summer” weather should be perfect for this event. And proceeds from the day benefit AEF. Many thanks to sculling enthusiast and Farmer’s Insurance agent Deborah Wright for organizing this event. Check out our website for more information.

All Together Now 2011!  It’s not too early to purchase tickets for the best party in town. This year’s event will be held on Thursday, November 10 from 6:30 - 10 p.m. at the historic Alameda Theatre. There will be great music, featuring Beatles tribute band The Sun Kings, dancing, food and wine, but the highlight is sure to be the playing of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album when The Sun Kings will be joined by Alameda student musicians.

A big thank you to Lilac Dress Boutique for their recent handbag sale benefiting AEF, and to The Sun Kings’ Drew Harrison and Angela’s Bistro for their combined effort of raising funds for school arts programs during Angela’s Mojito Mondays.

Don’t forget to check out these above retailers and the many other businesses that support public education on AEF’s Shop 4 Education Marketplace!

AEF Road Show

I mentioned earlier one of AEF’s core program areas, Teacher and Classroom Support. Do you know what else AEF does to support Alameda students and schools? To help share the message about AEF’s important work, I have made it a personal goal this year to visit school site PTAs and faculties to make a short presentation about AEF. I feel passionately about the work we do to support our schools and am eager to share our vision.  If you would like to schedule a presentation, please email info@alamedaeducation.org.

Finally, a huge thank you to those who have responded to our summer Success Stories mailing and our Back-to-School appeal.  Thank you for your support and for helping AEF Support Student Success!  Donations to support the work of AEF are always appreciated.  Click on the “donate now” button below.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

My name is Sam Batchelder. I have been teaching Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art/cultural art form) through the AEF after school enrichment programs in Alameda since 2005. I have taught at Paden, Bay Farm, Nea, Edison, & Franklin Elementary schools. Capoeira is a very powerful educational tool & a supportive/diverse community for kids to develop healthy social skills/self esteem & discipline. It's also one of the most affordable educational activities available. Capoeira classes cover subject areas like: PE/conditioning, Music, Dance, Language,World History & many more aspects that support education in public schools. In Alameda capoeira has been growing steadily as a result of these AEF classes . This year my AEF classes are at max enrollment & many former AEF capoeira students are now in the higher level year round kids capoeira program (Capoeira Mandinga Alameda). These kids truly amaze! I have many videos/photo albums documenting this. Do you feel this program benefits Alameda kids? I believe they all deserve some recognition for their efforts/success. It would mean a lot to us if AEF promoted this work/encourage community support of capoeira for more Alameda school sites. I urge everyone at AEF to celebrate these kids with me in any way that fits AEF's vision/mission statement. Sincerely, Sam B -Capoeira Mandinga Alameda please post your reply or email me: sumidomandinga@gmail.com more about my work in Alameda is on my website: www.sumidomandinga.com
Anna Ludwig October 15, 2011 at 07:02 PM
AEF is truly lucky to have Instrutor Sumido teaching capoeira as part of the afterschool enrichment program! As an art teacher, I have worked with Instrutor Sumido ( Sam Batchelder) and have seen firsthand how excited the kids are to participate in his capoeira classes and know that they are learning many important developmental skills. Kids who train capoeira are learning to exercise because it's fun, to value other cultures, and to take turns and respect rules. They get to play instruments, learn how to do a cartwheel, sing in Portuguese, and be part of a rich and diverse community. Keep up the good work Capoeira Mandinga Alameda!


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