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Rheemarks: "Frank"ly Speaking...


“Frank”ly Speaking…

June 11. 2017


It was a celebratory last week of school at Rheem.  On Monday, I was “super-surprised” (yes, that’s now officially a verb) by the entire school who organized and performed a VERY special show for me.  It was absolutely wonderful!  Then, on Thursday, we held the Final Spirit Assembly, honoring our graduating 5th graders.  Read all about these special events with links to performances below.

Also, see below for information about how the Rheem Team keeps learning throughout the summer, as well as some news and other highlights about the end of the school year 16 – 17 and the beginning of 17 - 18!   


A Super Surprise Farewell Assembly

Rheem Students and Staff Keep a HUGE secret from Ms. Frank

I’m not sure HOW they did it, but they did.  Apparently, secret practice sessions (with lookouts in case I came by) were going on in classrooms for the past several weeks to prepare for the “Super Secret Surprise Sprit Assembly” that was held on Monday, June 5 in the Multi-Use Room.  And, every single student and staff member kept the secret!  How is that even possible?


Arriving late to work on Monday from a “breakfast meeting” (yes, even Superintendent Burns was in on it), I was whisked into the Multi-Use Room and surprised by all the students and teachers.  Given a special seat of honor, I was then thoroughly entertained, amazed, and delighted as each grade level sang a special song for me.  Then, as a special final encore, the entire Rheem staff donned golden, sparkly hats for a high-stepping dance number!  The whole thing was absolutely spectacular!  But, don’t take my word for it.  See and hear for yourself by clicking on the links below:

Kindergarten: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank
First Grade: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank
Second Grade: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank
Third Grade: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank
Fourth Grade: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank
Fifth Grade: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank

Teachers Only: A Fun Farewell to Ms. Frank


Many thanks to Ms. Jennifer Johnson for filming all the songs and for creating the links so that all parents can enjoy.


Final Spirit Assembly Honors Graduating 5th Graders

It has become a Rheem tradition to acknowledge our graduating 5th graders and others at a special end-of-year Spirit Assembly.  This year’s assembly, held on Thursday, June 8, included the following highlights:

  • A special slideshow featuring photos of our 5th graders as they grew from kindergartners into almost 6th-graders. Click HERE to view!
  • The current kindergarten class singing “I Think You’re Wonderful” to their older 5th grade buddies.
  • 5th graders being acknowledged for their efforts as members of Student Leadership and S.W.A.T teams
  • 5th graders receiving “Perfect Attendance” awards
  • “Graduating” parents receiving PTA awards for their above-and-beyond service to Rheem
  • A spectacular fall (and recovery) by yours truly!
  • The entire 5th grade class singing “The Hills of Moraga” together, after being individually introduced by their teachers.


In addition to graduating 5th graders leading school-wide sing-a-longs of “Rheem Rocks,” “Roadrunner Pride,” and “The Rheem Team Song,” a special song was also sung by the student in Room 10 in honor of their teacher, Ms. Caraska, who is retiring this year.  It was great fun to have so many parents, teachers, students, and others gathered together to celebrate a successful school year with songs and smiles. 



Hello from Roadrunnerssubmitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC director

Just a gentle reminder Roadrunner Club on-line registration will not begin until July 1st 2017.  Please register in a timely manner, because we were not able to accommodate all the last minute registrations last year.  There is a 48-hour turnaround time.


We have had a terrific year at Roadrunner Club.  Thank you for entrusting your children to us.  Have a safe and wonderful summer.  We will see you in late August.



Summer Success for Students

The most successful Rheem students know that consistent practice and perseverance can make all the difference!  With hopes that all Rheem families ENJOY the relaxation and fun that comes with summer vacation, we hope that Rheem families also will take advantage of not one, but TWO but programs that are designed to keep academic skills fresh over the summer months:

Rheem’s Summer Reading Program “Camp Read S’More!” – It’s simple!  It’s easy!  It’s FUN!  Simply read, read, read (a favorite summer activity anyway!) and log what you read on the Summer Reading forms linked HERE.  Return this form in the fall to receive acknowledgment at a Spirit Assembly AND a coupon to spend at the annual Book Fair in November.

Rheem ROCKS (Review of Computation Knowledge and Skills) Summer Program – This program is designed to fit each individual child’s needs and learning preferences.  Once again, the goal is to keep those math facts fresh as well as promote deeper understanding of math concepts. Click HERE for all the information, including the Recording Sheet to track efforts and return to school in August. 

But WAIT, there’s MORE… Our wonderful Computer Teacher, Ms. Johnson, has put together a comprehensive list of resources for student to practice typing skills and explore new technology.  Check it out HERE.


Thinking About Next Year…

Read the articles below for information and news about the 17-18 school year!


Summer Hours

The Rheem Office (376-4441) will remain open through Tuesday, June 20 and will then close until Tuesday, August 1.  The District Office (376-5398) will remain open throughout the summer.  Registration for Fall, 2017 will begin on Monday, August 7.  For registration information, please clickHERE


2017-2018 Instructional Calendar

Click HERE to download and print the 2017-2018 MSD calendar.  It’s the first step to make sure that your home and school calendars are “synced” to ensure good attendance for the next school year.  This calendar also notes events such as Parent Conference Weeks, Back-to-School Night, Open House, Minimum Days, and School Holidays!  Thank you for planning ahead.


Full-Day Kindergarten 

On April 13, 2017, the Moraga School District Governing Board approved a full-day kindergarten program, commencing the 2017-2018 school year.  The District is pleased to offer this additional time for increased student learning and social development, as well as more time for singing, reading, outdoor activities, and exploration.  A longer school day will also provide more opportunities for students to develop pro-social behavioral skills, including self-regulation, attentiveness, and self-confidence.

2017-2018 kindergartners will follow the first grade early/late bird, parent conference and minimum day schedule.  School begins at 8:25 AM for early birds and ends at 1:55 PM.  School begins at 9:25 AM for late birds and ends at 3:05 PM. 


K - 3rd Graders “All Early” for 17-18 School Start

All Moraga School District Kindergarten through 3rd grade students will follow an 8:25 AM to 1:55 PM instructional schedule for the first three weeks of school, August 21 through September 8.  

This three-week early release period provides teachers time to individually assess their student's reading and math levels to provide differentiated learning experiences for all students as well as to identify students who may be eligible for additional support.

K – 3rd grade teachers will contact parents to schedule dates and times for individual student assessment appointments.  We thank you in advance for your understanding and flexibility regarding this “early bird” schedule.


The Last Word…

So, just like most Sundays, I’m sitting at my dining room table, trying to figure out what I can say that may be interesting or helpful to you, the Rheem Team.  But, what to say for this last “Last Word”?

When all is said and done, all that’s really left is gratitude.  Gratitude to the mentors and colleagues, those who encouraged, supported, and told the hard truths.  Gratitude to the parents who trusted that “we’re all in this together.”  Gratitude to the kids who challenged and changed me.  Gratitude for 30 years of memories, 30 years of hard work, and 30 years of laughter.

Ah, the laughter!  Truly, how many jobs afford one the opportunity to laugh so frequently and heartily? Even the crazy, “you can’t make this stuff up” situations are always good for a chuckle in retrospect.   The unexpected, the unbelievable, the misunderstandings, the misspellings, the prat falls, the belly flops.  The real-life of it all. 

I worry that I won’t be laughing nearly as often, or as hard, or as spontaneously in my retirement, but I know when I think back on the full 30 years of being an educator, I’ll never be without a smile.  I’ve really had a great time.  

My heart is so full.  I am so grateful. 

I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal



“Frank”ly Speaking…

June 4, 2017


This is it!  The last week of the 2016-2017 school year…

We will be very busy at Rheem, with lots of special year-end events on campus.  Some highlights include the Staff vs. 5th grade Kickball Game on Wednesday and the final Spirit Assembly honoring 5th graders on Thursday. 

There will be one last RHEEMARKS edition sent out next Sunday to capture the highlights from the last week and to provide final information about summer programs.  ‘Til then, here’s to a happy, celebratory last week of school!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, June 5

  • MSD Cultural Proficiency Committee Meeting
    • 4:00 p.m. in Room 18 at Rheem

Tuesday, June 6

  • 5th grade field trip to Boomers (9:15 – 2:30)
  • School Board meeting, beginning at 7:00 at JM.  Click HERE for agenda.

Weds., June 7

  • 1st grade “Spirit of the Rainforest” program in Multi-Use Room (8:30 – 9:30)
  • 5th graders vs. staff Kickball game (10:45 – noon)

Thurs., June 9

  • Final Spirit Assembly honoring our graduating 5th graders (10:30 – 11:30)

Friday, June 10

  • Last Day to order School Kits for 17-18.  Click HERE for information.
  • Last Day!  Minimum Day!  All students arrive at 8:25.  K students are dismissed at 11:50; 1st – 5th graders are dismissed at 12:12


Yearbooks Capture Memories

2016-17 Yearbooks will be distributed this week.  5th graders will receive theirs on Monday and K – 4thgraders will receive theirs on Tuesday.  Many, many thanks to parent Leslie Baird for doing such a fabulous job of collecting, organizing, and formatting pictures to capture the highlights of this school year. 

Please help your children to understand and respect the uniqueness of a school yearbook.  The school staff will remind the students that negative comments and/or crossing out/defacing photographs (even their own!) is inappropriate.  Please join the staff in encouraging our students to remember the positive qualities of their friends as they sign each other’s yearbooks, and to keep their signatures to areas where they won’t obscure the pictures.  This way, all our students can enjoy these precious memories for years to come!


School News and Highlights

5th grader, Max Polk, is “Principal for the Day”

Rheem enjoyed the leadership of a new principal on Wednesday, May 31st.  5th grader “Mr. Polk” took the reins and made quite an impact.  He started the day by greeting students as they arrived to school with an enthusiastic wave and encouragement, “Be good!  Be kind!  Be awesome!”  Then, he visited classrooms in the morning, challenging students to learn “not one...but two, three four five and more” things that day!  Next, he met with the Superintendent and the Principals from the other school sites (both old and young) for a tour (ahem... scavenger hunt) of the district office and team-building/strategic planning activities (ahem… “minute to win-it” competitions).  After a power-lunch, he returned to Rheem to host a root beer float party in a 2ndgrade classroom.  Being a principal is exhausting!


Rheem Students Perform

Congratulations to Rheem students who recently participated in these crowd-pleasing performances:

  • 4th & 5th grade strings, band, and choir students for their annual Spring concert on Thursday, June 1st
  • Ms. Berkman’s 3rd graders for their “Holiday on Mars” musical productions on Friday, June 2nd.


Check out Lost and Found!

Our Lost and Found is overflowing!  During this last week, please be sure to check the Lost and Found clothing racks in front of Wing #3 as there are jackets, sweatshirts, hats, spirit wear, and other odds & ends just waiting to be claimed.  Most parents are surprised to find items that they didn’t even realize were missing!
The current Lost and Found will be on display through Monday, June 12.  After that, all unclaimed items will then be donated to a local charity.


Summer Success!

With the end of school just five days away, thoughts turn to summer! With hopes that all Rheem families ENJOY the relaxation and fun that comes with summer vacation, we hope that Rheem families will take advantage of not one, but TWO programs that are designed to keep academic skills fresh over the summer months:

Rheem’s Summer Reading Program “Camp Read S’More!” – It’s simple!  It’s easy!  It’s FUN!  Simply read, read, read (a favorite summer activity anyway!) and log what you read on the Summer Reading forms linked HERE. Return this form in the fall to receive acknowledgment at a Spirit Assembly AND a coupon to spend at the annual Book Fair in November.

Rheem ROCKS (Review of Computation Knowledge and Skills) Summer Program – This program is designed to fit each individual child’s needs and learning preferences.  Once again, the goal is to keep those math facts fresh as well as promote deeper understanding of math concepts. Click HEREfor all the information, including the Recording Sheet to track efforts and return to school in August. 

And that’s not ALL!  Keep in mind that students who have used “Raz-Kids” and “Think Central”programs during the school year will have access over the summer as well.  Enjoy!


Summer Fun with Technology, submitted by Jennifer Johnson, Computer Teacher

Summer is almost here!  It is a perfect time for students to work on typing skills, and to explore new technology.

Typing is a life skill that students should take time to learn correctly--fingers on the homerow keys, with eyes on the screen. Good habits are more important at this age than speed. 2nd-5th grade students can log into their Typing Club account at home to continue their work in Typing Jungle.  Other great, game-base websites (in order of difficulty) that teach typing are:


Keyboard Zoo

Keyboard Climber

Typing Rocket Jr

Dance Mat Typing

Typing Race

Nitro Type


It can be tempting for children to immerse themselves in video games over long summer days.  However, they can also use technology to engage with the world around them. Try some of these program and app ideas to get started:

Explore and document wildlife: Project Noah

Film a lego or clay stop motion movie: StopMotion Studio app

Produce a movie about summer vacation: iMovie program or app

Paint a picture: TuxPaintArtLab app

Create an animation: ABCYa Make an Animation

Learn computer programming: Code.orgScratch Jr appScratch

Compose a song by drawing: PaintMusic app

Be a maker: Makezine Projects

Write a book: Storybird

Search the sky: Starwalk app


Last Word…

You’ve probably heard of “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Well, I’ve been diagnosed with “Post-Delighted Surprise Disorder.”  The symptoms are easy to spot, and I have them all: 

  • Spontaneously breaking out into a wide smile thinking about cool high-school kids waving their arms “high in the sky” while singing the Roadrunner Pride song;
  • Unsuccessfully attempting to stifle laughter at the memory of Superintendent Burns demonstrating a one-legged, piano-playing move to replace the Dab;
  • Gasping for air in disbelief when realizing that the Multi-Use Room will be renamed, a new sound system will be purchased, and a commissioned mosaic of butterflies will be installed outside of the office;
  • Deeply sighing in gratitude for 3rd graders reading persuasive essays, for a best friend asking “How about Love?”, for teachers managing the microphone with comedic banter and costume changes, for the Glue Stick Fairy, for parents reading poetry, for kids sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the blacktop, and parents, teachers, family, and friends in lawn chairs;
  • Experiencing frequent flash backs of sensory overload resulting from blue and gold streamers and balloons, larger-than-life Halloween reflections, spirit songs, personalized pencils, perfect weather, and cookies, too!
  • Vigorous shaking of the head, trying desperately to comprehend the generosity behind a super-sized check to MEF and the overflowing “Big Bag of Travel Fun”;
  • Frantic worrying about who wasn’t seen or hugged or thanked or recognized;
  • Constantly rewinding and replaying the line-up of 30 beautiful faces, from a shy 5-year-old kindergartner to a confident 38-year-old orthopedic surgeon, representing the span of a career in education;
  • Being frequently overwhelmed by too many happy feelings at once: joy, gratitude, disbelief, surprise, amazement, and awe (just to name a few), and recognizing there are no words to describe how full a heart can be…

I may never recover from this very advanced case of PDSD, but that’s a prognosis I must happily endure. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

May 29, 2017



I hope this finds all Rheem families enjoying the 3-day weekend in honor of Memorial Day.  This coming week, we turn the calendar page to June, and the last days of school are drawing ever closer.

So, in the hopes that it’s never too early (or too late) to say THANK YOU, I want to do just that. Please accept my sincere gratitude for all that you do to support Rheem School.  If you’re reading this, you are keeping informed and aware.  Your willingness to be involved, communicate, and problem-solve is what keeps the Rheem Team going strong. 


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, May 29:

  • Memorial Day Holiday – no school!

Tuesday, May 30:

  • 5th grade “Walk Through the American Revolution” in Multi-Use Room
    • Cavallero in a.m.; Greer in p.m.

Weds., May 31:

  • 5th grade “Walk Through the American Revolution” in Multi-Use Room
    • Gubser in a.m.

Thurs., June 1:

  • 2nd/3rd grade Music INFORMances in Room 23 with Ms. Stafford
    • Ralph- 8:25-8:55
    • Berkman 9:00-9:30
    • Webster-9:40-10:10
    • Thomson- 10:20-10:50
    • Guidi- 11:05-11:35
    • Caraska- 11:40-12:10
  • 4th/5th grade Spring Concert in Multi-Use Room (2:00 – 3:00)

Friday, June 2:

  • 1st grade “Rumpus in the Rainforest” plays in classrooms, beginning at 1:00
  • Ms. Berkman’s class play in Multi-Use Room (10:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.)


OPEN HOUSE Amazement!

Rheem Team Spirit was certainly shining bright at last Thursday’s Open House!  It’s always a great feeling to watch excited children and proud teachers share a year’s worth of memories with parents, siblings, and extended families.  On Thursday, the classrooms, computer lab, library, and even the hallways, were filled to the brim with impressive displays of innovative learning experiences.  And, our school garden is looking as beautiful as ever with heathy tomatoes, lettuces, flowers and more growing and blooming. Many thanks to all our dedicated teachers and hard-working students for making this inspiring evening possible! 

But, wait… there’s MORE…

What you didn't see on Thursday is equally important and deserves recognition: our teaching assistants who support our teachers and students on a daily basis; intervention programs such as Reading Tutor, and “Power Half-Hour;” the hands-on science labs that are organized by Ms. Healy; our K – 5th grade Music programs; the social/emotional support of our Kids’ Connection Program.  The list goes on and on.  Most of this 'behind the scenes" support is funded by generous donations from our community to the Moraga Education Foundation.  As of this weekend, we are still $250,000 short of our $2.2 Million goal. So, just in case you haven’t given yet, please give today at  Give because you loved Open House; give because you are grateful your child has access to the arts and technology; give because you are aware that MEF supports every student, and every teacher, every day.  It's not too late, and every dollar counts as we get ready to fund next year's critical programs.



School News and Highlights

  • Recycle Woman paid Rheem a special lunchtime visit on Wednesday, May 24, to congratulate our school on impressive recycling and composting efforts throughout the year.  She also shared information about her new graphic novel coming out soon!
  • Dignitaries from Recycle Smart attended Friday’s Spirit Assembly to present Rheem with a plaque AND a check for $1,500 for meeting and exceeding our Wastebuster goals this year. The students were impressed that they earned money for the school simply by “doing the right thing” for the planet – recycling and composting in the lunchroom and in the classrooms.  WOW!
  • Mr. Sullivan, Rheem’s new principal this fall, learned all about an important Rheem tradition by participating in Friday’s Spirit Assemblies.  He witnessed the singing of all four school songs “loud and proud,” the recognition of recent accomplishments (Rotary Field Day, Jump Rope Contest Winners, Recycle Awards, etc,), and the spinning of the wheel.  Highlights of his visit included trying to contain the exuberance of a very excited Roadrunner mascot as it anticipated being awarded to the class that brought in the most Box Tops, showing-off his “rockin moves” during the Rheem ROCKS song, and even taking a heroic turn at the mic to announce several gold slip winners!  Well done, Mr. Sullivan!
  • Why are the Moraga Police here?  It’s important to know that, sometimes, when you see a Moraga Police car parked at school, it’s just for a friendly visit!  For example, on Friday, May 26, Officer Mike came to have lunch with the kids.  These visits are an opportunity to say hello and get to know the students a little better.  We have enjoyed these casual, friendly visits this year and hope they will continue next year, too.


Gold Slip Winners

At the May 26 Spirit Assembly, the following students had their gold slips chosen to spin the wheel for a prize!  Congratulations to:

Kindergarten: Sophia S., Lander C., Erik E., Henry G., Julia S., Ari U.

1st Grade:  Addison D., Matthew M., Caroline G., Jake S., Lola SB., Aaron W.

2nd Grade:   Jet W., Eli L., Nikko W., Sophia P., Drew K., Ellie C.

3rd Grade:  River N., Grace C., Sophia G., Venus S., Evey U., Zach S.

4th Grade:  Sofia G., Cooper C., Jack L., Abby R., Emma A., Natalie R., .

5th Grade:  Emily S., Nicolo D., Callen B., Jason R., Vivy L., Henry F.



Where is the Roadrunner Now?

At the May 26 Spirit Assembly, the Roadrunner mascots were awarded to the classrooms that turned-in the most BOX TOPS for our last collection of the year.  Below are the impressive results:


K – 2nd grade:

WINNER:  Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade class with 504 Box Tops

2nd place: Ms. O’Connell’s 1st grade with 243 Box Tops

3rd place: Ms. Strohmeyer’s with 1st grade class 233 Box Tops


3rd – 5th grade:

WINNER:  Ms. Culleton’s 4th grade class with 230 Box Tops

2nd place: Ms. Berkman’s  3rd grade class with 213 Box Tops

3rd place: Ms. Gubser’s 5th grade class with 185 Box Tops



Hello from Roadrunner Club


Registration for Roadrunner Club for the 2017 - 2018 school year will NOT begin on June 1, 2017 as originally planned.  Please check the Roadrunner Club webpage for regular updates. Registration should begin no later than July 1, 2017.


Jennifer Johnson will be Rheem’s new 3rd grade teacher!

We are excited to announce that Ms. Jennifer Johnson will join Rheem’s full-time staff for the 2017-18 school year as the new 3rd grade teacher in Room 10.  Currently, Ms. Johnson works with all K – 5th grade students, seeing them weekly in the Computer Lab.  She is well-known for her innovative technology lessons that encourage problem-solving and innovative thinking.  Now, with her teaching credential in hand, she is looking forward to expanding her skills to support the full curriculum.



Plenty of Summer Reading Programs to Enjoy!

All Contra Costa County Libraries are offering Summer Reading programs!  From June 5 to August 5, all ages can visit for brain-training activities and challenges to keep those minds fit.  Visit the Moraga Library for free and fun happenings all summer long. All finishers will take home a free book and a raffle entry to win amazing prizes.


And, once again, Rheem will be offering its own Summer Reading Program:  Camp Read S’More!  Students should submit completed Camp Read S’More forms to their teacher or to the office when they return to school in the fall.  Be on the lookout for more information coming in the next edition of Rheemarks.



The Last Word…

As you might imagine, it’s the season of “the lasts” for me.  The last Spring Picnic, the last PTA meeting, the last Open House.  On Friday, I held my “last Spirit Assembly with gold slips” and to mark the occasion, I pulled out an extra-large gold slip – the largest gold slip ever seen in Rheem Team history.   Made out to “The Rheem Team,” the students and staff assembled were told that they had earned this special prize for their amazing efforts to keep our school safe and happy, their supportive friendships of one another, and their positive attitude, flexibility, and cooperation when working together to accomplish goals. 

Since it was an “extra-large” gold slip, I commented that it must be an “extra-large” prize, and that I needed someone “extra tall” to help me with it.  Students eagerly pointed to Mr. Sullivan, who stretched himself even taller to prove he was up to the task.  Together Mr. Sullivan and I unveiled a 6’ x 6’ quilt that I had made from Rheem Spirit Wear I’ve collected over the past 20 years of being your principal.

Without a doubt, designing and sewing this quilt has been a labor of love for me.  I hope that it will be enjoyed by past, current, and future Rheem Teamers as they come into the Multi-Use Room for various events and celebrations for years to come. To me, it represents the way we’ve all come together to create something special and beautiful here at Rheem. 

Click on the embedded links below to see a photos of the finished quilt and its label. 

I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal

Rheem Quilt.jpg 

Quilt label.jpg 


“Frank”ly Speaking…

May 21, 2017


Rheem’s “can’t miss” event – our annual Open House is coming this week.  On Thursday, May 25 all classrooms will open at 7:00 for families to see student work on display.  Don’t forget to visit the Rheem Garden, the Library, and the Computer Lab in addition to your children’s classrooms.  There’s lots to see! 

Please keep in mind that Open House is not an appropriate time for an impromptu parent conference or to interview a potential teacher about his/her educational philosophy.  Teachers will be focused on helping their current students celebrate their accomplishments.  Thank you for your understanding!

For your convenience, and as a way to avoid traffic and parking congestion, a shuttle bus will run to and from the Rheem Shopping Center (by Starbucks), beginning at 6:45 through 8:30. 

Please remember that Open House Day will be a minimum day for all students.  Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:50 and 1st through 5th graders at 12:12.  There is no lunch served on minimum days.


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, May 22:

Weds., May 24:

  • Recycle Woman visit Rheem Students at Lunchtime!

Thurs., May 25:

  • Minimum Day!
  • Open House!  All classrooms open 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Friday, May 26:

  • Spirit Assemblies: 3rd – 5th at 8:40; K – 2nd at 10:05
  • Open House “Tour” – all students visit all classrooms (9:40 – 10:00)


Rotary Field Day Results

The results are in, and we are very proud of the 114 Rheem 3rd – 5th graders who participated in this annual track and field event on Wednesday, May 10.   It was a beautiful day, and all students demonstrated great cooperation and sportsmanship. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A total of 367 students from 4 area schools participated.
  • Two Rheem students TIED for High-Point Girl!  Grace Charles (3rd grader in Ms. Berkman’s class) and Natalie Rane (4th grader in Ms. Drury’s class).  WOW!
  • Two of the three high point classes were from Rheem.  Those classes are:
    • Ms. Drury’s 4th  grade with 24 points
    • Ms. Berkman’s 3rd grade with 18 points
  • Congratulations to our friends at Camino Pablo: Most Participation, High Point School, and High Point Classroom awards went to Camino Pablo.  The High Point Boy was also a CP student.

Thank you to the Moraga Rotary Club (especially Field Day Chairman and Rheem grandpa, Tony Schoemehl) for organizing this eagerly anticipated day, and thanks also to the St. Mary’s coaches and athletes who helped in judge the various events! 


Thinking About Next Year…

Read the articles below for information and news about the 17-18 school year!


Full-Day Kindergarten 

On April 13, 2017, the Moraga School District Governing Board approved a full-day kindergarten program, commencing the 2017-2018 school year.  The District is pleased to offer this additional time for increased student learning and social development, as well as more time for singing, reading, outdoor activities, and exploration.  A longer school day will also provide more opportunities for students to develop pro-social behavioral skills, including self-regulation, attentiveness, and self-confidence.

2017-2018 kindergartners will follow the first grade early/late bird, parent conference and minimum day schedule.  School begins at 8:25 AM for early birds and ends at 1:55 PM.  School begins at 9:25 AM for late birds and ends at 3:05 PM. 


K - 3rd Graders “All Early” for 17-18 School Start

All Moraga School District Kindergarten through 3rd grade students will follow an 8:25 AM to 1:55 PM instructional schedule for the first three weeks of school, August 21 through September 8.  

This three-week early release period provides teachers time to individually assess their student's reading and math levels to provide differentiated learning experiences for all students as well as to identify students who may be eligible for additional support.

K – 3rd grade teachers will contact parents to schedule dates and times for individual student assessment appointments.  We thank you in advance for your understanding and flexibility regarding this “early bird” schedule.


Order School Supplies for 2017-2018

Rheem students can now order their school supplies for next year!  Follow the easy steps below:

  • Click on the grade level.  Remember to use next year’s grade level!
  • Click “view kit” to see the kit’s contents. (If you choose NOT to purchase the kit, please reference this list for requested materials).
  • Proceed to checkout and pay.

The kits will be available for pick-up at Roadrunner Day, Friday, August 18 (the Friday before school begins).  Picking up kits on Roadrunner Day is OPTIONAL.  Kits not picked-up will be delivered directly to your child’s class for the first day. 

Ordering window closes Friday, June 9, so don’t delay, order yours today!  For more detailed information about this program, please click HERE.


2017-2018 MSD Instructional Calendar

Click HERE to download and print the 2017-2018 MSD calendar.  It’s the first step to make sure that your home and school calendars are “synced” to ensure good attendance for the next school year.  This calendar also notes events such as Parent Conference Weeks, Back-to-School Night, Open House, Minimum Days, and School Holidays! Thank you for planning ahead.



Hello from Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director

It’s been a fun couple of weeks at Roadrunners! We played musical chairs and made Churros for our cooking project to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. We planted tomato plants and made beautiful cards in observance of Mothers’ Day.  We made lemonade from real lemons donated by Wendy, and we also did a lesson about coconuts and learned everything coconut!  

We want to remind everybody it’s starting to get warm. Please include a water bottle in your child’s backpack.   

Roadrunner Club registration begins June 1st for the 2017-2018 school year; please remember registration is done all on-line.  Just click on the Roadrunner Club Tab on the Rheem School website for information.  I want to remind everybody that parents who did not register until the last minute were not able to come to Roadrunner Club the first week of school. Please allow 48 hours for your registration to be processed. 



The Last Word…

I never liked that book, The Giving Tree.  It had always bothered me that the tree gives and gives and gives some more, without once hearing a please or a thank you, without ever being acknowledged or rewarded for its generosity and hard work.  In the story, the tree never reminds the little boy, who has benefitted from its shade and comfort, of all she has sacrificed. The tree just stoically accepts the fate of its own diminishment throughout the book until it is all used up, until all that’s left is a stump!  And, the sense I got was that we were supposed to be OK about that.  It just didn’t seem right.


But, after working with the Rheem PTA for the past 20 years, I think I get it now.  Those PTA board members and chairpersons are the TREE.  They give and give and give.  No keeping score.  No exhausted sighs or subtle jabs.  It’s just giving for giving’s sake.  Without expectation of acknowledgment or reward.  Because there’s work to be done and someone has to do it.  Those PTA parents sign on to give countless hours to programs that make Rheem such a special place.  Just think: The Read-a-thon, Hot Lunch, The Science Fair, The FUN(d) Run, The Fall and Spring Picnics… The list goes on and on.  It’s the PTA that makes these things happen.  Year after year after year.


Without a doubt, working alongside the Rheem PTA “movers and shakers” has been one of the great pleasures of this job.   The PTA presidents, the Executive boards, and the Committee Chairpersons are some of the smartest, most organized, positive, focused, and generous people I’ve known.  And, instead of running large corporations or governments, instead of using their creativity for fame and fortune, instead of spending extra free time indulging in any number of luxuries, they give, give and give some more.  Because there’s work to be done.


One of my favorite poems is titled “To be of use.”  I don’t know if it’s considered a great poem or not, but I really like how it elevates good, honest, hard work to the level of awe-inspiring art.  How it reminds us that people are at their very best when engaged in “work that is real.” At Wednesday’s PTA meeting, I read it aloud to the PTA members gathered there that evening. I remarked that it might as well be titled, “Ode to the Rheem PTA.”  I’ve reprinted it below, in honor of all the PTA members I’ve known over the years, who have worked so hard to support our school.  I admire you more than I can say (and maybe that’s why there are poets).


To be of use

By Marge Piercy


The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half-submerged balls.


I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again.


I want to be with people who submerge

in the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and work in a row and pass the bags along,

who are not parlor generals and field deserters

but move in a common rhythm

when the food must come in or the fire be put out.


The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

May 14, 2017


Hope this finds you enjoying a wonderful Mothers' Day.

With most of CAASPP testing behind us and the memory of a full-filled Spring Picnic still fresh in our minds, we are heading into the final weeks of school.  It’s going so fast! 


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, May 15:

  • K and 1st grade Music INFORMances in Room 23 with Ms. Stafford

          Kathan- 9:35-10:05

          Inzeo- 10:05-10:35

          Lorie- 10:40-11:10

          O’Connell- 11:10-11:40

          Bailey- 11:42-12:12

          Strohmeyer- 1:00-1:30


Tuesday, May 16:

  • Kindergarten “Wildlife Meet & Greet” presentations by Lindsey Wildlife Museum in Rm. 25
    • Lorie (10:00); Kathan (11:00); Inzeo (12:00)

Note: All of Ms. Inzeo’s students are Late Birds today


Weds., May 17:

  • 5th (soon to be 6th) graders visited by JM 8th grade representatives
    • Gusber (9:40); Greer (10:30); Cavallero (10:50)
  • 1st grade Stand Up, Be Safe Lessons in classrooms
    • Bailey (8:30 – 9:05); Strohmeyer (10:15 – 10:50); O’Connell (11:00 – 11:35)
  • PTA Association Meeting, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Use Room
    • Special Guest: Mr. Brian Sullivan, Rheem Principal 17-18


Thurs., May 18:

  • JM Spring Fling and Open House

NOTE:  Thursday is NOT a minimum day at Rheem (only at JM)

Friday, May 19:  

  • Final Box Tops Collection of the year!



Spring Picnic & Art Show a SUCCESS!

The Rheem Team enjoyed a well-attended and super-fun Spring Picnic and Art Show on Friday, May 12.  Many thanks to this year’s Spring Picnic Chairperson, Andrea O’Toole, for organizing a fun-filled event for our entire school community.   Also, many thanks to Art Teacher, Larysa Larson, for putting together such an impressive display of Rheem student art.   

This year’s highlights included the giant inflatables, carnival games (with drawings for prizes), delicious food, and energizing music.  Also, the much anticipated jump rope contest, led by the always enthusiastic, Mr. John Flynn, yielded the following grade level champions:

Kindergarten: Rylan G.

1st grade: Ryan and Aaron W. (yes, twin brothers!)

2nd grade: Cayley C.

3rd grade: Audrey S.

4th grade: Sunguk P. and Natalie R.

5th grade: Will B. and Whitney W.

In addition, the announcements of the Raffle Prize winners created a lot of enthusiasm.  Winners of the “staff sponsored” prizes are listed below: 

Root Beer Float Party for the class w/ Ms. Frank and the Roadrunner:  Alex C. in Ms. Webster’s class

Starbucks with Ms. Frank: Rocco B. (2nd/3rd) & Christina M. (4th/5th)

PE Teachers for Your Grade: Quinn C. (K), Zoe A. (1st), Jenna C. (2nd), Matt J. (3rd), Cooper C. (4th), Caroline O. (5th)

Lunch and Makey Makey Project in Computer Lab (4th/5th): Audrey S. and Sebastian C.

Lunch and Clay Project in Art Studio (2nd/3rd): Daniela C., Maddie C., Emilie D.

Lunch and Clay Project in Art Studio (4th/5th): Emma A., Madi G., Carly R.

Ice Cream Social and Read-Aloud in Library: Riley O. (1st), Zoe L. (2nd), Mia T. (3rd)

VIP Parking: Ortland and Salvi families

We are grateful to the Rheem Team staff of offering these special events for our students.  The full list of all the lucky winners will be published in this week’s PTA newsletter.



Order School Supply Kits for 2017-2018

Why wait? It’s easy, convenient, and cost-effective!

Rheem students can now order their school supplies for next year!  Follow the easy steps below:

  • Purchase on line at
  • Enter Rheem’s account # 44569
  • Click on the grade level.  Remember to use next year’s grade level!
  • Click “view kit” to see the kit’s contents. (If you choose NOT to purchase the kit, please reference this list for requested materials).
  • Proceed to checkout and pay.

The kits will be available for pick-up at Roadrunner Day, Friday, August 18 (the Friday before school begins).  Picking up kits on Roadrunner Day is OPTIONAL.  Kits not picked-up will be delivered directly to your child’s class for the first day. 

Ordering window closes Friday, June 9, so don’t delay, order yours today!

For more detailed information about this program, please click HERE.



Box Tops Earn $$ for Rheem

Recently, Rheem received a check for $236.20 from General Mills Box Tops program, bringing our total earnings for the year to $889.80.  The average annual earnings for schools in our area is 223.11, so Rheem is doing well, ranking 42nd out of 932 Bay Area Schools that participate.  Box Tops earnings fund a variety of curricular enhancements, including non-fiction news magazines for our K – 2nd grade students.


We will be making one final Box Tops collection for this year, so be turn-in all BoxTops to the classrooms by this Friday, May 19.  The classes that turn in the most neatly-trimmed Box Tops will win the Roadrunner Mascots at the Spirit Assemblies on May 26.


Many thanks to parent volunteer, Shaun Paul, for being Rheem’s Box Tops chairperson.  She has spent many an evening sorting, counting, and organizing Box Tops to send in for cash! 


Check out to learn more about this program and to discover a variety of ways to earn Box Tops for Rheem.



Ms. Caraska to Retire this year

She’s been part of the Rheem Team since 1989!

Joan Caraska started her career at Rheem in 1989 as a Teaching Assistant.  Since then, she has always been a part of the Rheem Staff.  This year, she will retire after 17 years of full-time teaching at Rheem. 


What’s next?  With a sparkle in her eye, she responded, “I’m going to Disneyland!”  And, she is.  She has a trip planned to the Happiest Place on Earth this fall, accompanied by friends and family.  After that, she will be spending most of her time running a family business started by her husband, and hopes to spend more quality time with her daughter, Claire.


Ms. Caraska will definitely be missed at Rheem next year.  In addition to being a dedicated classroom teacher, she is always the first to volunteer to show-off her dancing skills as school assemblies!  Thank you, Ms. Caraska, for sharing your talents and good humor with us for so many years.



Last Word…

I’ve seen a lot of changes in the Moraga School District during the 30 years I’ve been here.  I remember that my first classroom had no air conditioning.  I remember serving hot lunch (KFC!  I kid you not!) to my 2nd graders, who then ate at their desks, because there was no Multi-Use Room.  I remember that parents had to communicate with me through hand-written notes, because there was no voice mail system and certainly no email.  I remember when overhead projectors were the “new” technology.  I remember playgrounds made of wood (and splinters being a daily occurrence).  I remember when there was no such a thing as a “shortened” Wednesday.  I remember the Math textbook before our current one, and the one before that, and the one before that (you get the idea…)


But, one thing that has remained constant through all those years, one thing that has had ONLY a positive impact for ALL the students I’ve known – those students now approaching middle age with families of their own as well as the ones that still get unbuckled from their car seats at drop off -- Just one thing that has worked and worked well, regardless of technological advancements or educational trends.  That one thing is the Moraga Education Foundation


Today is Mothers’ Day, so hopefully, you’ll indulge this analogy:  MEF is like a big-hearted, generous, common sense, knows-what’s-good-for-you Mom.  A good mom says “share your toys,” and “eat your vegetables” because it will make you a better person in the long term.  At a certain point, a good mom says “you know the right thing to do,” because she realizes that all those sacrifices (the lack of sleep, the color-coded scheduling, the constant driving here and there, the strategic doling out of consequences balanced with the soothing of hurt feelings), all those investments of time, creativity, and energy, have mattered in raising strong, healthy, and happy children who make the world a better place.   


Similarly, MEF asks that you invest now, sacrifice now, because it will pay off in the long run.  Art and Music Programs, Science and Technology, Libraries and Physical Education, Counselors and Teaching Assistants – all these programs are not “givens” in schools anymore – they are extras.  And, these extras, like encouragement and/or corrections, make the difference between an enriching experience and one that lacks what’s “good for you” (as a mom would say).


As adults, we don’t have our moms around as much to guide us, so for this Mothers’ Day, allow me to be that caring, yet consistent, voice that says, “Share you toys,” “Eat your vegetables,” and “You know the right thing to do.”  Give to MEF.   


As my 30 years in education comes to an end, people sometimes ask what I want or how I’d like to celebrate.  Honestly, if you’re reading this, I would consider it a great honor if you would simply make a donation to MEF.  Consider it a Mothers’ Day gift.  If you’ve already donated, give a bit more.  If you haven’t donated yet, for goodness sake, do it now.  Think about it – we both care about the future of your children.  Why not join forces to invest in them?  Click HERE.  Do it for me.  Do it for your mother.  Do it for the future.  You'll be glad you did. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

May 7, 2017


The sunshine made its seasonal debut this past week in full force!  In addition to experiencing the unusually hot weather, we also celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with Rheem Team spirit and aplomb!  Thanks to Rheem PTA, Room Parents, and EVERYONE who treated teachers and staff to cards, flowers, lunch, and other goodies throughout the week.


We are anticipating another busy week at Rheem.  CAASPP testing continues through Friday for all 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, and we are also looking forward to Rotary Field Day on Wednesday.  All students will participate in Soul Shoppe workshops on Friday, and then we hope to see everyone back at school for Rheem’s Annual Spring Picnic and Art Show on Friday evening.  See articles below for all the details.



This Week at Rheem:

CAASPP Testing continues through Friday for all 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders…

Tuesday, May 9:

  • Kindergarten “Museum of Children’s Art” presentations in classrooms
    • Kathan (8:30 – 10:00); Inzeo (10 – 11:30); Lorie (11:30 – 1:00)
    • All of Ms. Kathan’s students are Early birds today & all of Mrs. Lorie's students are Late birds!
  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at JM.  Click HERE for agenda.

Weds., May 10:

  • 1st grade “Stand Up, Be Safe” lessons in classrooms:
    • McKinnon (8:45 – 9:15); Bailey (9:45 – 10:15); Strohmeyer (11:00 – 11:30)
  • Rotary Field Day! Beginning at 3:00 p.m. at JM (see article below for details)

Thurs., May 11:

  • 3rd grade (Caraska & Ralph) “Biome” play in Multi-Use Room (10:30 – 11:15)

Friday, May 12:

  • Soul Shoppe “True Friendship” Workshops

          4th Grade 8:30 - 9:15

          3rd Grade 9:20 - 10:05

          2nd Grade 10:10 - 10:50

          Kindergarten 11:00 - 11:30 

          1st Grade 1:15 - 1:50 

          5th Grade 2:00 - 3:00

  • Annual Spring Picnic and Art Show (4:30 – 7:00 p.m.)


Rotary Field Day is THIS week!

Rotary Field Day will be held afterschool THIS Wednesday, May 10 at the JM field.  All 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders are encouraged to participate and represent Rheem School at this free (and extremely fun) recreational event.  Registration opens at 3:00 p.m. 


Rheem students have earned a wonderful reputation of consistently demonstrating great teamwork and sportsmanship at this event. We are looking forward to that famous Rheem Team Spirit shining bright again this year.  Students have been preparing for Rotary Field Day during PE classes. Medals will be awarded to the top three competitors in each event listed below:

Shuttle Relay

Standing Long Jump/Running Long Jump

Softball Throw/Football Throw

50 Yard Dash

Sack Race


See you there!  Go Rheem Team!


Spring Picnic & Art Show

Rheem’s annual Spring Picnic and Art Show is this coming Friday, May 12.  The Multi-Use Room will be overflowing with the artwork of Rheem students, and outside you can enjoy special events and games, great food, and the announcement of the raffle prize winners!   Order forms for wristbands and raffle tickets went home in the backpacks on Friday or you can purchase them via the PTA website HERE.  And, don’t forget to bring CASH to take advantage of the food trucks and to enjoy other goodies.  What fun!



School Site Council wants YOU!

Parent Members Needed for 2017-18 Committee

Rheem’s School Site Council (SSC) is looking for parents to represent the school community on this important curricular committee for the 2017-2018 school year.  This is an exciting opportunity to work with Rheem teachers and our new principal, Brian Sullivan, to develop goals for continuous school improvement -- next year and beyond!

Special thanks to this year’s SSC members who worked together to develop and monitor our current school plan.  Parent members included Kim Pertel, Jill Austin, Sally Salay, Rebecca Kelvin, Susan Padnick and Krista Cain.  Staff members included Sekai Greer, Amanda Lorie, Angie Guidi and Virginia Drury. 

Rheem’s current School Improvement Plan can be found in the “Quick Links” section on our school’s website.  If interested in joining Rheem’s School Site Council for next year, please contact Principal Frank!


Soul Shoppe: True Friendship

This Friday, May 12, all Rheem students will participate in the final Soul Shoppe workshop of the year: “True Friendship.”  During this workshop, students will practice using their skills to make new friends, strengthen existing friendships, and address challenges with their friends. Students will focus on three things they can do to develop true friendships:

  • Make a Friend - Sometimes it can be hard to make new friends. It helps if you can check your assumptions and judgements, reach out to someone new, and make space for them in your day and your existing friend group.
  • Be a Friend - How will you be the best friend you can be? Practice empathy, try new things, open up, and share your gifts.
  • Keep a Friend - Sometimes challenges arise in friendships. That’s okay! Instead of ignoring problems, gossiping, or deciding that a friendship must be over, use the tools you’ve learned all year long to help work through problems.

This final workshop will bring together skills learned throughout the year, with a special focus on developing self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.   Most of all, students will learn that EVERYONE is worthy and deserving of true friendships!



The Last Word…

In honor of “Teacher Appreciation Week”

I was only 5 years old when I heard the most beautiful singing voice I had ever experienced before or have since.  It belonged to Mrs. Chapin, my kindergarten teacher, and she taught us simple and fun songs with the clearest sounding voice I could imagine.  Singing together was pure magic!

In 1st grade, Mrs. Roberson let me explore the keys on the old piano in her classroom.  As the story goes, that year I begged my parents to let me take piano lessons until they finally relented. (On a completely unrelated note, Mrs. Roberson had a strong southern accent from being born and raised in Oklahoma, and for the extent of that school year, so did I)

My favorite memory of 2nd grade was baking bread.  Learning about living yeast organisms and chemical reactions were undoubtedly part of the lesson, but what I remember most is the compliments I got from my family that evening as we ate the mini-loaf I brought home.  To this day, nothing pleases me more than having friends and family eat and enjoy something I’ve baked.

In 3rd grade, Mrs. Taylor let me accompany 3 of my friends on the piano (did every classroom have a piano in those days?) as we unabashedly sang “The Look of Love” for the whole class.  We were stars!

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, left school early that year to have a baby.  Before she left, she took me aside and said that she depended on me to be a special helper to the substitute, because she thought I could be a teacher someday.

5th grade was the year my teacher, Mrs. White, noticed that I squinted when I looked at the board.  She told my parents I might need glasses.  She was right.

Our teachers influence us in big and small ways, with lessons planned and unplanned.  By watching, noticing, and encouraging, they shape our world and how we see ourselves in it.  And, no doubt about it, their impact lasts a lifetime.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the dedicated teachers at Rheem, who are making important contributions to the lives of all the students entrusted in their care.  It matters.  And, for a long, long (really long) time!

I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal 


“Frank”ly Speaking…

April 30, 2017



May.  It’s here.  One word: Wow.

CAASPP Testing begins on Monday, May 1 for 3rd – 5th graders and continues through Friday, May 12.  Individual schedules vary by class, but our students will take tests in the areas of English/Language Arts and Math during this two week period. Remember, the best at-home preparations for these tests are a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast, and a good attitude; however other test-taking tips (with a focus on managing stress) can be found HERE.

One more thing: Wednesday, May 3rd is Teacher Appreciation Day – the perfect day to let our teachers know how wonderful they are!



This Week at Rheem:

Monday, May 1:

  • 1st grade Field Trip to Oakland Zoo (8:45 – 1:45)
    • All 1st graders are Early Birds!


Tuesday, May 2

  • 4th grade Field Trip to Mission Dolores (9:00 – 2:45)
  • Kindergarten Field Trip to Smith Family Farm (8:30 – 1:15)
    • All K students arrive early and stay late!


Weds., May 3:

  • Teacher Appreciation Day!
  • 2nd grade on-site “Marine Mammal Center” event in Multi-Use Room
    •  Guidi (8:25 – 9:25), Thomson (9:40 – 10:40); Webster (11:05 – 12:05)


Thursday, May 4:

  • 3rd grade Tile Paining in Multi-Use Room
    • Caraska (8:30 – 9:15), Ralph (9:15- 10:00), Berkman (10:30 – 11:15)


Friday, May 6:

  • 1st grade “Stand Up, Be Safe” lessons in classrooms
    • O’Connell (10:15 – 10:50), Bailey (11:00 – 11:35), Strohmeyer (1:00 – 1:35)




Calling all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to Rotary Field Day!

The 26th Annual Moraga Rotary Field Day will be held afterschool on Wednesday, May 10 (that’s next week!) at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School.  All 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders are encouraged to participate and represent Rheem School at this free (and extremely fun) recreational event.  Registration opens at 3:00 p.m. 

Rheem students have earned a wonderful reputation of consistently demonstrating great teamwork and sportsmanship at this event. We are looking forward to that famous Rheem Team Spirit shining bright again this year.  Students have been preparing for Rotary Field Day during PE classes. Medals will be awarded to the top three competitors in each event listed below:

                Shuttle Relay

                Standing Long Jump/Running Long Jump

                Softball Throw/Football Throw

                50 Yard Dash

                Sack Race

See you there!  Go Rheem Team!



Order School Supply Kits for 2017 - 2018

Rheem students can now order their school supplies for next year!  

Follow the easy steps below:

  • Click on the grade level.  Remember to use next year’s grade level!
  • Click “view kit” to see the kit’s contents. (If you choose NOT to purchase the kit, please reference the kit contents for requested materials).
  • Proceed to checkout and pay.

The kits will be available for pick-up at Roadrunner Day, Friday, August 18 (the Friday before school begins).  Picking up kits on Roadrunner Day is OPTIONAL.  Kits not picked-up will be delivered directly to your child’s class for the first day. 

For more detailed information about this program, please click HERE.



Safety First

Ascot Drive Alert!

Recently, the Rheem office has received calls of “concern” from our Ascot neighbors regarding the use of this street for drop-off and pick-up from school.  Although we recognize that Ascot Drive used as an alternative entrance/exit to school, we encourage Rheem Team families to always be considerate of our neighbors.  Please do not double-park, block driveways, and/or park in the red area and leave cars unattended.  Be advised that The Moraga Police Department will give citations for parking violations.


Keep in mind that the Ascot stairs are not school-district property and are not supervised by school personnel.  The “official” school entrance and exit is Laird Drive, and supervision is provided both before and after school at the loading zones at the top of Laird Drive.  Although parking is tight, it is more readily available along Laird Drive than on Ascot.  Also, systems are in place to bring students to the office if parents are running late at pick up time.  For everyone’s safety, families are encouraged to use the Laird Drive entrance and exit to school. 


Let’s all continue to be good neighbors who follow all safety and traffic guidelines.



Hello From Roadrunner Club

Another great week at Roadrunner Club; we had great projects this week.  We made pizza on Wednesday for our cooking project, we did a great science experiment, with milk, soap and food coloring which explained rapid movements of molecules!!! 


Roadrunner Club registration for the 2017 -2018 school year begins on-line on June 1st 2017. Please remember at the beginning of last school year we had so many last minute registrations that we were unable to process and accommodate many of the last minute registrations. Please consider registering as early as possible, so you will be guaranteed a spot on first day of school.


I am anticipating most of my Child Care Aides leaving at the end of this school year.  If you are interested in a part-time job, please think of Roadrunner Club. We are a fun place, great snacks, and you don't have to take any work home.



Inspire the Future!  Support MEF!

The educational experience of every Rheem student is enriched and enhanced every day because of gifts to the Moraga Education Foundation.  Rheem benefits from additional staff and programs, all because of the generosity of MEF donors.  


To work and learn in a community that values and supports its schools and education is amazing.   Every day, students directly interact with teachers and staff that are a reflection of your support.  From PE with Ms. Peterson and Mr. Studebaker, to art with Ms. Larson, to computers with Ms. Johnson, and library with Ms. Gillbanks to your student’s classroom aide, donations to MEF are tangible and their impact is felt all around.  


In addition, donations are enhancing the technology at Rheem and supporting the new Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing program.  These will serve your students well as they continue their educational journey at Rheem and beyond.


The Rheem faculty and staff are so grateful for your support of our school.  Thank you for sharing your time, talents, and financial gifts.  There is just over 2 months left in this year’s MEF annual campaign.  Please consider making a donation today at to help support your student every day.




The Last Word…

I am often proud of the positive “spirit” of Rheem students, but I had a unique opportunity to be especially impressed by their caring and enthusiasm on Friday of this past week.  Rheem’s next principal, Mr. Brian Sullivan, stopped by to tour the campus with me and also to meet the students during their lunch time.  The kids were wide-eyed and curious as they saw me escort the tall, tie-clad man onto the Multi-Use Room stage.  Then, I told them that this person was someone very special… “the next principal of Rheem school… Mr. Sullivan!”  With that announcement, the room immediately erupted into rousing cheers and hearty applause!  In that one spontaneous moment, without skipping a beat, the students welcomed Mr. Sullivan with a big-hearted, “Rheem Team” outpouring of trust and enthusiasm! 

During lunch recess, I received a call on the walkie-talkie from a yard supervisor, “Who is that man out on the field?”  So, I explained.  The response: “OK, just wanted to make sure! The kids are just swarming him!”  I had to smile.

Later, when sharing with a teacher how quickly and happily the students welcomed Mr. Sullivan into their lives, the teacher commented, “I guess that might have felt a little sad.”  Well…. (yes, of course)…. Still, I remembered what I have told parents over the years — as they watch their young ones take off eagerly to greet a new teacher; when they feel somewhat abandoned as they stand at the curb, their hands still warm from the hands of their children, and they see them happily join a group of friends; when their children dash out of the car on the way to a sleep-over with just a flash of a good-by wave — that it is truly is a sign of strength for children to meet new adventures with a positive and welcoming outlook.  

Our children could not give us a better compliment than to show us, by their actions, that they feel secure enough to embrace new beginnings with confidence, excitement, and optimism.    It’s the Rheem Team way! 

Welcome to Rheem, Mr. Sullivan.  You’re going to love it here!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

April 23, 2017


Ready. Set. Here we go!  It’s another busy week at Rheem…


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, April 24:

  • Cultural Proficiency Committee Meeting
    • 4:00 in Room 18 at Rheem

Wednesday, April 26:

  • 3rd grade Moraga History Field Trip (8:30 – 1:30)
  • 4th & 5th grade Science Fair Presentations in Multi-Use Room
    • 5th grade (8:30 – 9:15)
    • 4th grade (10:25 – 11:15)

Thursday, April 27:

  • 3rd grade Science Fair Presentations in Multi-Use Room
    •  9:30 – 10:00 in Multi-Use Room
  • Science Fair in the Multi-Use Room (5:30 – 7:00)
    • See article below for details!

Friday, April 28:

  • Science Fair Walk-Through (8:30 – 10:30)
  • 5th graders visit JM (9:00 – 11:15)



Don’t Miss this Thursday’s Science Fair

All Families Invited!

The 30th Annual Rheem Science Fair is scheduled for THIS Thursday, April 27 from 5:30 pm-7:00 pm.  In addition to the 3rd – 5th grade projects on display, there will be booths, displays and demos by Little Medical School, PG&E, and Spectrum of Science.

Better still, plan on having dinner at the Science Fair!  5th graders will raise funds by selling pizza, beverages, and other goodies.  Picnic tables will be set up outside so that families can enjoy dinner al fresco!  It promises to be a fun and educational event for all ages.  See you there!

Many, many thanks to our Science Fair coordinators Svetlana Kuzmichenko, Bret Levenfeld, Esmeralda Sanchex, Doris Chen, and Ivan Cazares

Any questions? Please email


Panoramic “Rheem Rainbow” Photos

Panoramic Rheem Rainbow photos have arrived, and they are beautiful!  Photos and were sent home last week with students who had pre-ordered.  If you missed the pre-order, and would still like to get one of these keepsake photos, you may order one by calling Dorian Customer Service at (800-826-3535). 



Rheem Family Work Day a Success! 

Almost 70 Rheem Teamers showed up to show Rheem School some LOVE on Saturday, April 22.  What a great way to celebrate Earth Day.  Many thanks to retired teacher Alice Noyes for taking the lead on this work day.  Plants were planted, weeds were pulled, and many hands made light (and enjoyable) work.  Ms. Noyes was joined by Principal Frank, 3rd grade teacher Ms. Ralph, and the following:

The Carra-Hernandez Family (always the first to arrive and the last to leave!)

Claire and Conner Flynn

Alessandro Paolieri

Anjuli and Leela Cargain

Joe and Cohen Pearse

The Balzas Family

The Zawadzki Family

The DaSilva Family

The Zwakman Family

The Ortland Family

The Dontchev Family

The Chiarucci Family

The Souto Barona Family

The Ricca Family

The Mohr Family

The Malboubi Family

The Pertel Family
The Devinger Family

The Ginestro Family

The Obsitnik Family

Heather and Addison Davis

Stuart and Racheal Schonfeld



Coming Soon…to a Classroom Near You… CAASPP Testing!

Beginning next week, all MSD 3rd – 5th graders will participate in the state’s academic testing program, known as CAASPP (CAlifornia Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). The two-week testing window to take both the English/Language Arts and Mathematics portions of will begin Monday, May 1 and continue through Friday, May 12.  Details about the testing program were sent via email to all 3rd – 5th grade parents last week.  Click HERE for a copy of that information.

Students have been preparing for CAASPP tests by taking Interim Assessment Blocks (IAB's) throughout the year.  These are short practice assessments focusing on related content in English Language Arts and mathematics.  IAB’s are a great opportunity for our students and teachers to become more familiar with the testing interface and for teachers to monitor student progress.  This year our Rheem 3rd-5th grade teachers have administered IAB's focused on number sense, fractions, geometry, literary text, informational text, and speaking and listening.  Teachers receive very general feedback regarding student performance with the IAB assessments (Above Standard,” “At/Near Standard,” and “Below Standard"), and they use this information as another tool to support student learning in their classrooms.


Ideas of how parents can help students prepare for standardized tests can be found HERE.


Thinking About Next Year

As May quickly approaches, thoughts turn to the upcoming school year.  Here are some “quick links” with helpful information to be prepared:

Click HERE to access (and print!) next year’s school calendar.  Please reference this when planning family vacations to avoid unnecessary absences.

Click HERE to read about the process we use to create balanced classes at Rheem.

Stay tuned for information coming soon about ordering School Kits for the 2017-18 school year!


Hello from Roadrunner Clubsubmitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director


Just a gentle reminder when you are completing a new blue Permanent Reservation Form, please complete the ENTIRE form; including ALL reservation information, not just the changes.


We have had a terrific week.  We are learning about our environment and how to keep it clean and safe.  We did a wonderful science project; we observed the reaction between a base and a carbon dioxide.  Oil and water don't mix, but if you add a bicarbonite (alka seltzer), they do!



The Last Word...

There are lessons to be learned everywhere.  At Rheem’s Family Work Day, I busied myself working in the front planters while I greeted families and sent them up to the School Garden to join the others hard at work.  One 1st grader joined me in front to weed and rake, and even though I sent her up to the garden a few times (thinking that she would have much more fun with the many kids up there), she kept finding her way back down to me.  So, we happily worked side-by-side.  At one point she turned to me and asked, “Ms. Frank, are you trying to make the school pretty for the next principal?”  I stopped and thought.  “Well, yes, I suppose so!”  We continued working together.  Later, as I was spreading some chips up behind a larger bush in one of the planters, my little friend said, “Ms. Frank, I don’t think the new principal will see that.”  Again, I thought for a while.  “Yes, but we’ll know it looks nice, won’t we?”  She smiled.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

April 16, 2017


We have an exciting week ahead:  our 5th graders are off to Science Camp, and we are meeting and greeting next year’s Kindergartners at “Getting to Know You” events.  In addition, we are looking forward to Earth Day celebrations and our annual Family Work Day on Saturday.  Full speed ahead!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, April 17:

  • 5th graders to Science Camp (overnight)!
  • “Getting to Know You” program for incoming K students (by appointment 8:45 – 11:30)

Tuesday, April 18:

  • 5th graders return from Science Camp in late afternoon
  • “Getting to Know You” program for incoming K students (by appointment 8:45 – 11:30)

Weds., April 19:

  • MSD Coordinating Council Meeting, beginning at 3:30 at CP in Room 7

Friday, April 21:

  • 2nd grade Field Trip to Disney Nature Movie
    • ALL 2nd graders EARLY BIRDS (8:25 – 1:55)

Saturday, April 22:

  • Family Work Day!



Show Rheem some LOVE at Family Work Day

This Saturday, April 22!

Join Rheem Teamers big and small as we all join together on Family Work Day this Saturday, April 22. Come to school anytime between 9:00 a.m. and noon and get your Family Work Day “assignment” at the table by the flagpole in front of the school.  There’s plenty lots of work to be done all around campus, including in the Rheem School Garden! 

C’mon…  It’ll be fun! Dress for “work in the dirt” and be sure to wear sunscreen.  Also, be sure to bring your work gloves and any tools that would be helpful, too.  See you there!



School News and Highlights

  • This year’s Kindergarten Parent Orientation, held on Thursday, April 13 was very well-attended with over 50 parents present.  Many thanks to K teacher, Bess Inzeo; PTA President, Stacia Ruffolo; and Roadrunner Club Director, Eleanor Persons, who joined Principal Frank in providing an overview of the Kindergarten Program specifically and Rheem School in general.
  • On Thursday, April 13, MSD School board unanimously approved the concept of Full-Day Kindergarten, to begin next year (2017-18).  Details regarding specific arrival and dismissal times, lunchtime arrangement, and transportation concerns will be developed over the next several weeks. 
  • Our friend, Nasi, from Soul Shoppe, visited Rheem on Friday, April 14 to present “Me to WE” workshops for all classes.  Students learned about teamwork, and how utilizing the unique talents, interests and experiences of all members of the team can make for a stronger, more dynamic team experience!
  • Rheem’s Food Drive during Spirit Week resulted in 153 pounds of food collected, equating to 128 meals for hungry families in Contra Costa Country.  Thank you for your generosity!
  • To celebrate “Earth Day,” Rheem students will be working with their buddy classes for a “Campus Clean-Up.”  In addition to making sure our campus is free from litter, we anticipate that our buddy classes will be engaging in a few weed-pulling contests up in the garden!
  • CAASPP Practice Tests are available on-line at or by clicking HERE.   Rheem 3rd – 5th grade students will be taking these annual tests during the first two weeks in May.  More information about these test will be coming to 3rd – 5th grade families via email this coming week.


Save the Dates for MUSIC! Submitted by Sara Stafford, Music Teacher

Attention Kindergarten through 3rd grade families!


You are invited to attend an INFORMance in your child’s music class! This is an exciting way to see your child in action up close and personal.  Come check out the fun learning happening with in room 23!  The specific INFORMance dates and times are listed below:


Kindergarten and 1st grade, Monday May 15th:

Kathan- 9:35-10:05

Inzeo- 10:05-10:35

Lorie- 10:40-11:10

O’Connell- 11:10-11:40

Bailey- 11:42-12:12

Strohmeyer- 1:00-1:30


2nd and 3rd grades, Thursday, June 1st:

Ralph- 8:25-8:55

Berkman 9:00-9:30


Thomson- 10:20-10:50

Guidi- 11:05-11:35

Caraska- 11:40-12:10

More information to follow, but be sure to mark your calendars NOW to see music class in action!



Parent Volunteers Needed for Too Good For Drugs Program

A Great Opportunity to Get Involved!


Drug-awareness education is included in the 4th/5th grade Health Education Standards.  Traditionally, parents have taken an active role in presenting these lessons to students, in coordination with the classroom teacher.  Again this year, we need parent support! 


We are seeking parent volunteers to present the Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) Curriculum in our 4th and 5th grade classrooms.    The curriculum is fully developed, including lesson plans and all materials.  You do not need to be a parent of a 4th or 5th grader to participate. Also, training is provided so that parents feel confident about presenting, along with management support from the classroom teacher. This is truly a great opportunity to get into the classrooms and support student leaning! 


The TGFD curriculum has been recently updated to include more games, interaction, and real-life problem-solving situations (social media, peer pressure, etc.) to make the lessons more engaging for students.  The curriculum consists of 8 – 10 lessons, delivered over approximately 2 weeks in individual classrooms. 


If you are interested in getting involved with Rheem’s TGFD program, please contact Principal Elaine Frank at  by Tuesday, April 25.  A parent training will be scheduled for May 2nd, so that classroom lessons can be delivered during the month of May.  



Safety First

Rheem Supports District Safety Plan by Involving Moraga Police in Emergency Drill

On Tuesday, April 11, Rheem students and staff practiced “Lockdown” procedures with the support and observations of three members of the Moraga Police Department.  This was an unannounced drill, and as a result, information was learned that can further enhance our emergency response effectiveness.


The day prior to the drill, Lt. Brian South met with Principal Frank to review current practice and protocols.  Also, a campus “audit” was conducted to ensure that all rooms and building could be quickly secured (without keys) in the case of an emergency. 


The Moraga Police Department gave Rheem School high marks for efficient and appropriate drill response – both by staff and students.  Next steps include having additional “unannounced” drills at different times of day and with different “what if” limitations considered. 


Did You Know?

Safety Locks on ALL DOORS at Rheem


All building and classroom doors at Rheem can be locked quickly from the inside – without needing a key!  All classroom doors have a quick one-button locking mechanism, and double doors (such as the ones leading into hallways, the library, and the Multi-Use Room) have a “bar latch” that can be quickly used to secure them. 


The more people that know how to use these locks, the better, so next time you’re volunteering, please ask a staff member to show you how to use these locks.  It will just take a second (and that’s the point!).


Hello From Roadrunner Clubsubmitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director


Registration for the 2017-2018 school year begins on June 1st, 2017.  The registration fee is $35 dollars thru Sunday August 6th, then it goes up to our normal fee of $50 beginning Monday, August 7th.  


Registration for Roadrunner Club is done completely on line.  Please do not wait until the last minute; last year we were inundated with late registrations and many of them could not be accommodated for the first week of school.


We encourage e-mails for communication at Roadrunner Club.  However, we are often busy with children, parents, snack, and ASEP classes so we don't always have an opportunity to check our e-mails.   Please consider giving us as much advance notice as possible.  


We have had a great week of art projects. Our theme was Sea creatures. We talked about and made Jelly Fish out of recycled materials. We made a beautiful Mural with seaweed and various colored fish which was amazingly beautiful.  We have to remember that sometimes the simplest projects are the very best projects.


Out & About

Chariot Races in the Computer Lab

It’s hard to find the right word to describe how I felt during a recent visit to Rheem’s Computer Lab…Impressed? Amazed? Delighted? Intrigued? …  Blown away? 


I watched 4th graders grapple with the following challenge:  Build a chariot for a Sphero robot that could carry a Lego man safely through a course designed by other4th grade students.  Uh, what???


4th grade “Chariot Teams” had to program the Sphero prior to race day, knowing only the course measurements and angle of the turn. Teams had to brainstorm designs, construct them out of cardboard, measure each piece, and then re-create their cardboard creation on the computer in 3D (according to the measurements).   Then, they “printed” the chariot – yes, using the 3-D printer!  Teams "bought" print jobs, pipe cleaners, yarn, and other supplies with a budget they were required to manage. After they had a working design, they ran tests to see how far it would go in 1 second--they needed that information to know how many seconds to program their Sphero to run.


4th grade “Course Design Teams” had to figure out how to code a computer program that would count seconds and tenth of seconds once the timer began, and how to stop the timer. Next, they need to research how switches worked and build a switch that would conduct electricity and complete a circuit (turn on) once the switch was activated.  They also had to manage a budget and buy supplies. They hooked up their switch to their computer program via a Makey Makey, and tested it to ensure when the switch was hit the timer started, and when the end switch was hit it stopped.  They had to create the course and provide measurements to the race teams, and then recreate the same course on race day. Some groups even added music, ramps, flags, all sorts of fun things to enhance the course.

Students were eager to note some of the things they learned through this process:

  • how circumference is related to diameter,
  • how to measure angles with a protractor,
  • how to “drag” or slow down objects,
  • the relationship between speed, time and distance traveled,
  • how annoying managing budgets can be,
  • how group work can be both hard and rewarding,
  • and how important good measurements are.

Jennifer Johnson, our intrepid computer teacher, was the “coach” throughout the problem-solving process – allowing students to experience the frustrations and rewards of trial and error.  In reflecting on their learning experience, she commented, “I was very impressed that every group had major failure along the way.  Only one group out of all classes really got defeated by it and needed a pep talk.  All others went back to the drawing board immediately.  As one student said to me, ‘this required a lot of perseverance Mrs. Johnson!’  It certainly did, and I am super proud of them!”


This experience was a perfect example of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) experience.  Many thanks to the Rheem PTA for supporting the purchase of our 3-D printer, Sphero robots, and Makey Makeys to make this project possible!


The Last Word…

I was thrilled to receive the news that Brian Sullivan, current assistant principal at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, will be recommended to the MSD Governing Board to be the next principal of Rheem Elementary School.


I have worked with Mr. Sullivan this year on our Leadership Team and have been consistently impressed by his friendly, approachable demeanor, his common-sense way of developing solutions to problems, and his compassionate commitment to providing quality education for all students.


Mr. Sullivan has expressed a keen interest in attending Rheem events this spring and getting to know staff, students, and parents before he officially takes the reins in August.  I will look forward to introducing him to the Rheem Team, and working closely with him to ensure an effective and smooth transition. 


Thank you for welcoming and supporting our newest (and very tall) Roadrunner, “Principal Sullivan.”  It’s the Rheem Team way!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

April 9, 2017


I hope this finds all Rheem Team members enjoying the last day of our Spring Break and ready (even eager!) to come back to school tomorrow, Monday, April 10.


Our last week before Spring Break was quite memorable, with a spectacular infusion of “Rainbow” for our Panoramic Photo shoot on Wednesday.  We also celebrated our successful Read-a-thon on Friday, by attending Spirit Assemblies in our pajamas and spending any extra time enjoying one of our favorite activities – READING! 


For more details about the Spirit Assembly as well as other news, see all the features below…


This Week at Rheem:

Weds., April 12:

  • Rheem PTA Executive Board meeting, 9:30 a.m. in Room 25
  • 2nd grade Field Trip to Heather Farms:
    • Guidi (8:30 – 11:30), Thomson (9:40 – 12:00), Webster (10:40 – 1:30)
  • Science Fair Boards distributed to classrooms
  • MSD Safety Committee Meeting, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at CP in Room 7


Thurs., April 13:

  • Kindergarten Parent Orientation, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in Multi-Use Room
  • School Board meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in JM Library


Friday, April 14:

  • Soul Shoppe “From Me to We” Workshops
    • 4th Grade 8:30 - 9:15
    • 3rd Grade 9:20 - 10:05
    • 2nd Grade 10:10 - 10:50
    • Kindergarten 11:00 - 11:30
    • 1st Grade 1:15 - 1:50
    • 5th Grade 2:00 - 3:00



Save the Dates!

Rotary Field Day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, beginning at 3:00 at J.M.  All 3rd – 5th graders are encouraged to participate in this annual Track and Field event.  Stay tuned for details!

Also, make sure you have the following events marked on your calendars:

  • Rheem Family Work Day:  Saturday, April 22 (8:30 – 11:30) in the Rheem Garden and around campus
  • Rheem Science Fair:  Thursday, April 27 (5:30 – 6:30) in the Multi-Use Room
  • Rheem Spring Picnic & Art Show: Friday, May 12 (4:30 – 7:00), Multi-Use and front blacktop
  • Rheem Open House: Thursday, May 25 (7:00 – 8:00 p.m.)



Gold Slip Winners

At the March 31st Spirit Assembly, the following students had their gold slips chosen to spin the wheel for a prize! Congratulations to:

Kindergarten:  James G., Leela C., Tyler G., Lia M. Jaemin M. and Nella C.

1st Grade:  Jocelyn L., Adeline S.H., Hailey P., Luke C., Addison D. and Ethan R.

2nd Grade:   Bella A., Mailena Y., Karisma S., Adam S., Viviana S. and Mateo P.

3rd Grade:  Eddie W., Zack S., Lauren K., Arthur T., Sivani M. and Sophia G., 

4th Grade:  Brooke M., Sloan P., Max R., Hannah B., Arnav M. and Siena B

5th Grade:  Pinkie S., Chase K., Will B., James M., Nico D. and Isaac J.



Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director

I want to advise parents that if your child is taking an after school enrichment class on WEDNESDAY, unfortunately due to time limitation, they will be unable to do the cooking project at Roadrunner Club. I know this sometimes causes disappointment but the cooking project is often over by the time the children come back from class.


If you enroll your child in an after school program, including math boost, that affects their Roadrunner schedule, we would appreciate it if you would either complete an Activity Release Form or send an e-mail. We are required to search for your child if they do not arrive for their scheduled Roadrunner reservation and often we find them in a class we were not notified about.    



Did You Know? 

…that Rheem School has an Alma Mater?  Yes, our school’s “serious song” has been around for a while, but the music and words were reintroduced to the students at the March 31st Spirit Assembly.  Click HERE to see the images Rheem kids used to help learn the words and click HERE for the full lyrics.  See if your child remembers the tune (and watch out for the really fancy parts). 



Last Word…

I am a firm believer in the power of laughter.  Especially when shared, laughter can heal, connect, and bond.  Besides, nothing feels better than a good laugh!  It is for that reason that I shared a couple of videos, “just for the goof of it,” at our last Spirit Assembly.  Don’t search for any impactful lesson or subliminal message here.  These short videos, Duck Song 1 and Duck Song 2 are just goofy, plain and simple.  Watch with your child – or better yet, watch these yourself, and then walk up to your child at an unexpected moment and ask, “Got any grapes?” Enjoy!  (waddle, waddle…)


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

March 26, 2017


This next week is our last before Spring Break and, as such, it has been declared “Spirit Week” by our 5th grade Student Council.  Each day we will have “dress-up” opportunities to show our school spirit, leading up to our well-earned school-wide Pajama Day and Read-In on Friday, March 31st.  We will also celebrate with Spirit Assemblies on Friday and will announce how much money we’ve collected in Read-a-thon donations at that time, so make sure you’ve sent yours in to be counted!

Also, please note that Friday, March 31, is a minimum day.  School will start at 8:25 for all students (including K – 2nd grade late birds) on that day.  Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:50, while 1st through 5th graders will have a 12:12dismissal time.


This Week at Rheem is SPIRIT WEEK!

Rheem Roadrunners can show their school spirit by following these dress-up day ideas:

Monday: Rheem Spirit Wear Day! Wear Spirit Wear or Blue and Gold to celebrate Rheem!

Tuesday:  SPORTS Day -- wear something to show off your favorite sport or sports team!

Wednesday: RAINBOW DAY!* – This is also PANORMIC PICTURE DAY so we are going to turn the whole school into one, big rainbow for this photo op!  Be sure to wear the following colors by grade level:

                Kindergarten = PURPLE

                1st grade = BLUE

                2nd grade = GREEN

                3rd grade = YELLOW

                4th grade = ORANGE

                5th grade = RED

*if you happen to have an extra shirt in the color for your grade level, please bring it to school in case a classmate forgets… it’s the Rheem Team way!

Thursday: Wackadoodle Day! – wear crazy patterns/colors together; inside out; backwards, etc.

Friday: PAJAMA DAY – wear your jammies to school!  On this day, we will also celebrate our successful Read-a-thon by having a Read-In.  Pajamas and books… what could be better?


Also, this week… 5th – 12th grade Music Concerts!

Prepare to be impressed.  This week, 5th through 12th grade Moraga musicians from all three elementary schools, JM Intermediate School, and Campo High School will gather together to perform for the community.  All concerts are FREE and will be held at the Campolindo High School Performing Arts Center, beginning at 7:00 p.m.   Attend one or more as follows:

  • Tuesday, March 28 – Choir Night
  • Wednesday, March 29 – Strings Night
  • Thursday, March 30 – Band Night

The finales of these epic concerts are not to be missed as the musicians from all 5 schools will perform together!  


Rheem’s First Annual Variety Show a HUGE Success!


A new Rheem tradition was born on Friday evening when a standing-room-only audience was entertained by amazing student talent at the first-ever Rheem Variety Show!  Musicians, singers, gymnasts, dancers, magicians, comedians (and more!) delighted young and old.  It was a great display of Rheem Team creativity, fun, and collaboration!


Rheem owes a huge thank you to parent Courtney Pickering, who came to PTA with the idea of a Variety Show last spring, and volunteered her energy and creativity ever since to make it happen.   She was supported by several other parent volunteers, including Emcee Elaine Cable, who kept the show moving, and the amazing sound team expertise of Erin and Damon Nyhan along with Richard Herd


This event capped off “Family Week” – a week devoted to good old-fashioned family fun.  It certainly hit the mark! 



School News and Highlights

  • Rheem’s Whole School Panoramic Photo is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 29.  Order forms went home in the backpacks, but can be also downloaded HERE and returned to school with payment before Wednesday, March 29.  Don’t miss this opportunity to own this unique piece of Rheem memorabilia.
  • Read-a-thon donations are due Friday, March 31.  Thanks you to the families who have already sent in their donations.  Our students did a great job reading (over 12,000 hours); let’s show them our support!


Volunteer Help Needed, submitted by Rheem Hot Lunch Team

Our Hot Lunch program is our biggest fundraiser for our amazing school.  It continues to be successful because of parent volunteers during the lunch hour.  We could really use some help to bring us to the end the year.

Please click on this Signup Genius below and get involved.  You do not need any prior experience; you will be working with a veteran volunteer that will explain everything to you.

Please take a look and help where you can.



Out and About

On Wednesday, March 22nd, three members of the Moraga School Board paid a visit to Rheem.  While visiting classrooms, they made some observations about what they observed, including:

  • Kindergarten students reading!  “The amount of sight words that these kids know at this age is amazing!”
  • 1st graders identifying the scientific names of seeds and recording their observations about plant growth.
  • 1st graders playing “Sight Word Bingo”
  • 2nd graders editing their own “letters to readers” about favorite books.
  • 2nd graders solving math problems and sharing solutions with one another.
  • 3rd graders excitedly discovering the answers to an interactive geometry puzzle activity
  • 3rd graders anticipating the results of the Iditarod Race.
  • 3rd graders exploring all types of quadrilaterals.
  • 4th graders learning about area and dimensions through a math game
  • 4th graders integrating research into their development of “expert books” – utilizing skills learned in Readers’ and Writers’ workshop.
  • 4th graders working on Google Docs
  • 4th graders observing the complex world of DIRT with Ms. Healy!
  • 5th graders solving math problems in small groups and preparing to “teach” the rest of the class how they solved the problem.

Board members also commented on the active assistance of aides, the friendly nature of students, the beauty of the school garden (including the seedlings sprouting in the greenhouse), the library display of Roadrunner collectibles, kindergartners cleaning up after snack, and the deft, humane handling of a spider that suddenly appeared on the overhead projector.  There’s a lot that goes into a school day!

After visiting classrooms, they treated our teachers to lunch and had a chance to talk “up close and personal” with the Rheem Team!  We very much enjoyed and appreciated their visit.


Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons

As you all know, Ms. Frank is retiring.  I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Roadrunner Club staff, to thank her from the bottom of our hearts.   We have benefited from her experience and support on many occasions and will miss her terribly. We wish her well in her retirement.   


We would like to welcome Ms. MaryBeth Tanner to our staff here at Roadrunner Club.  Ms. Tanner brings with her many years of experience with children.  She is a class-room aid at Rheem Elementary and we are very lucky to have her with us


Reminder: Bring water bottles to Roadrunner Club. It is getting warm.


Last Word…

Don’t tell me what you value, tell me what you do and I’ll tell you what you value

                                                                                                                                                                             Source Unknown


Over the past several months, I’ve participated on Moraga School District’s newly formed “Cultural Proficiency Committee” – a group comprised of MSD educators and parents, charged with the task of exploring how our current system promotes respect and acceptance of all cultural groups.  Ideally, the ultimate goal is to ensure that ALL members of the school community (students, staff and parents) feel their needs are met in order to have equal access to the same opportunities to participate, learn and grow. 


One thing we’ve learned is that “cultural proficiency” is not limited to just race and religion, but to issues of family dynamics, sexual orientation, socio-economics, physical ability, and more.  However, issues of race and religion can be a primary source of bias and/or discrimination.  As parents and educators, we can be a powerful force in combating prejudice, but unless we actively engage in this effort, kids can pick up prejudice from society at large, the media, and others. 


I was pleased to see an article recently published by the Greater Good Science Center on this very topic.    The article, “Five Ways to Reduce Racial Bias in Your Children” outlines simple, yet extremely important, actions we all can take to support our children:

  1. Expose kids to more positive images of other racial groups
  2. Help your kids develop cross-group friendships
  3. Cultivate cross-group friendships yourself
  4. Talk explicitly about race and the effects of racism
  5. Work to combat biases in yourself


I highly recommend you read the full article to appreciate the research and nuance of this complex topic (especially as it relates to the importance of explicitly discussing cultural differences with your children -- #4).   At Rheem, we want all children to feel welcomed, valued, and appreciated for their unique contributions.  As parents and educators, we need to recognize the power of our own words and actions in communicating these values. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

March 19, 2017



This Week at Rheem … is FAMILY WEEK!

All Rheem families are encouraged to set aside time this coming week -- Monday, March 20 through Friday, March 24 – to simply have some fun together! To support this effort, Rheem teachers have agreed to greatly reduce homework for the week, with the intention of creating “extra” TIME to enjoy an activity as a family.  

And, what a better way to celebrate the end of Family Week than by attending Rheem’s First Annual Variety Show on Friday, March 24, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Multi-Use Room.  

Family Week is also a time to consider families in need.  A week-long food drive to benefit the Contra Costa County Food Bank will be held, and collection barrels will be available at the Variety Show for your donations.

Click HERE to download a Family Week recording sheet (a hard-copy was sent home in the backpacks).  Students who return photos and/or drawings of their family’s activities will see their work displayed on a Family Week Mural in the Multi-Use Room. 


Monday, March 20:

  • Vision Screening for 3rd graders


Wednesday, March 22:

  • Moraga School Board Visits Rheem!
  • Seed Secrets in 1st grade classrooms
    • O’Connell (8:30 – 9:30); Strohmeyer (9:40 – 10:40); Bailey (11:05 – 12:05)
  • Parent Ed: Stand Up Be Safe (SUBS) meeting for 1st grade parents
    • 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Lafayette School District Office
    • Click HERE for informational flyer


Thursday, March 23:

  • 4th grade/Drury field trip to Oakland Museum (8:30 – 3:00)


Friday, March 24:

  • 2nd grade field trip to AT&T Park (8:45 – 1:00)
  • Rheem’s first annual Variety Show (6 – 7:30 p.m.) in the Multi-Use Room
    • Price of Admission: Bring a non-perishable food item for the Contra Costa Food Bank!


School News and Highlights

  • JM’s Symphonic Orchestra, Concert Band, and Choir visited Rheem on Monday, March 13, showcasing their instrumental and vocal talents for Rheem’s 3rd – 5th graders.  It was an inspiring event that was fully enjoyed by all!  Thank you, Mr. Noel for making this concert possible.
  • Order forms for Rheem’s Whole School Panoramic Photo went home in the backpacks this past week.  This whole-school photo will be taken on Wednesday, March 29.  If families would like to purchase a panoramic photo, simply return the order form along with payment any time BEFORE Wednesday, March 29. 
  • Many thanks to Rheem families who have already sent in Read-a-thon donations, which are due Friday, March 31.  Our students did a great job reading (over 12,000 hours); let’s show them our support!
  • MEF’s 35th Auction & Dinner Dance was a huge success, raising over $200,000 to benefit the MEF Endowment Fund!  The final numbers are still being calculated and will be announced when available.    


Safety First

When Sharing is NOT allowed…

Yes, at Rheem we strongly believe in friendship, caring, and cooperation, but we have also made it clear that there are times when “sharing” is not allowed.  One example is at lunchtime.  Rheem kids know that many students have allergies, dietary restrictions, or even family “preferences” that make sharing food an unwise and, sometimes, unsafe choice.  We ask our students to respect what each individual has packed or ordered for lunch and not ask or give “samples” to others.  Thank you for reminding your child of this important safety rule.



Did You Know?

Every School Day Counts

Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind in school.

  • Missing 10% can make it harder to learn to read.
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.

Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school and themselves!  It’s important to build the habit of regular on-time attendance early.  The impact will last a lifetime.  Good attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.

(adapted by Attendance Works (



3rd Trimester S.W.A.T Team Announced

Because we have so many 4th and 5th graders who want to help out our school as S.W.A.T. (Students Worried About Trash) team members, we rotate in a new group of students each trimester.  We are grateful for the service of our new 3rd  trimester team:






Alex T.

Nicholas L.

Devan A.

Cooper C.

Sydney B.

Sofia G.

Nicolo D.

Gavin J.

Preston W.

Isabella T.

Addie O.

Hannah B.

Whitney W.

Pinkie S.

Justin N.

Damian D.

Leon Y.

Max R.

Jake R.

Rylen S.

Sienna B.

Phoebe K.

Braden C.

Courtney R.

Charlotte E.

Daisy P.

Olivia T.

Tristan M.

Sanguk P.

Brendan K.

These students oversee the clean-up process that requires ALL students to sort recycling from food waste (compost) and then put whatever remains (hopefully, very little) into the trash.  Also, SWAT members are on hand to help out our youngest students in the lunchroom, and can be seen opening milk cartons, fetching water, handing out napkins, and attending to other needs.  This is just another wonderful service our older students provide to keep Rheem Rockin’!



The Last Word…

I hope all Rheem families take advantage of Rheem’s first Family WEEK – Monday, March 20 – Friday, March 24.   It’s an opportunity and a challenge! 

All Rheem families are encouraged to take advantage of “a no homework week” to simply have some fun together! It’s the gift of TIME!

The choices of how to spend that time are limited only by your imagination: make a meal together; play a board game; take a walk or go for a bike ride; toss a football around; build a fort in the living room out of blankets and cushions;   make up some new dance moves to your old records, whatever strikes your fancy!  Let your children see your playful side and let them enjoy the “kid” in you.  

Family Week can even be a great excuse to get some of those chores done together: clean out a closet and make a run to the Goodwill; finally print out those photos and put them in an album; repaint that old bookcase or weed that garden patch.  Feel free to use me as an excuse!  Say, “Ms. Frank said so!”  (I’ll back you up, promise).

Whatever you do, do it in the spirit of fun and togetherness.  It’s the Rheem Team way!


And… A little something special for those of you who’ve read this far…

I was listening to one of my favorite NPR podcasts today, “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” (the March 18 show), and I was delighted to hear our lovely town of MORAGA mentioned!   Yes, not only is Moraga famous for its very own sinkhole, but apparently the town is even MORE famous for throwing the sinkhole a 1st birthday party last week. 

You can find the full WWDTM show HERE, but go to about 4:18 in the “Lightening Fill in the Blank” segment (embedded below) to hear the specific mention of Moraga.

Listeners beware, there are a few words and some content that won’t be considered appropriate for little ears, but it’s still fun to hear Moraga mentioned!

20170318_waitwait_07 (3).mp3 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

March 12, 2017


MEF’s 35th Anniversary Auction & Dinner Dance, held on Saturday night at the Claremont, was a huge success!  It was wonderful to see such overwhelming support out in full force for our students.  I’m sure details will be coming to you soon about how much money was raised at this event, but it is certainly safe to say that the Moraga community continues to be very committed to supporting our schools now and into the future.  Thank you Moraga Education Foundation!



This Week at Rheem:

Monday, March 13:

  • JM Music Concert for 3rd – 5th graders
    • 9:15 – 10:00 in Multi-Use Room


Tuesday, March 14:

  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in JM Library
    • Click HERE for agenda


Wednesday, March 15:

  • Culleton/4th: Field Trip to Oakland Museum (8:30 – 3:00)
  • PTA General Association Meeting, beginning at 9:30 in the Multi-Use Room
    • Guest speaker: Superintendent Burns


Friday, March 17:

  • St. Patrick’s Day!  Beware of leprechans!
  • McMullen/4th: Field Trip to Oakland Museum (8:30 – 3:00)
  • Special K Spirit Assembly at 9:40 in Multi-Use Room



“Response-Ability” Highlighted at Rheem

Soul Shoppe Workshops Inspire and Empower

It was great to see our friend. Nasi, from Soul Shoppe again this week, who reminded us that we are each “AMAZING!” and have the ability to respond (Response-ability, get it?) to others and/or situations that can help our school community be a positive place.   We just need to remember:

  • You are smart!
  • You are powerful!
  • You have what it takes!
  • You are important!
  • You can have a fun and happy life!

When we find ourselves saying things like, “I don’t care” or “It’s not my fault” or “I’m not good enough,” we are probably forgetting one or more of the above statements.  Through stories and examples, Rheem students saw how reminding ourselves (and others) of these truths can give us the ability to respond to disappointments, misunderstandings, or setbacks with true power.  

Thank you, PTA, for funding our Soul Shoppe work this year.  We’re learning a lot!


Smile… for Rheem’s Panoramic Whole School Photo!

Wednesday, March 29

We are overdue for a whole-school panoramic photo!  The last time one was taken was when our current 5th graders were in kindergarten (yes, in 2011 -12).   So, we’re planning to gather the entire Rheem Team together on Wednesday, March 29 for a whole school photo!

Flyers will be coming home in the backpacks next week with the option to buy a 10 x 24 laminated panoramic for $22 or a non-laminated one for $15.  One thing is for certain… time goes fast!  So, don’t miss this opportunity to get this wonderful keepsake to remind you always of the “good old days” at Rheem Elementary School! 


Attention 5th grade Parents:

Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation. The documentary film BULLY, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, brings human scale to this startling statistic, offering an intimate, unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. 

The Moraga iKind Project invites you to attend a special showing of the movie "Bully" on March 22, at 7:00 PM at the JM auditorium.  JM 8th grade students will share their school experiences with the audience following the movie.  JM Principal Joan Danilson and Superintendent Bruce Burns will also be present to answer questions. Free pizza will be served from 630 to 6:55.  RSVP at



School Climate Survey Results: 


In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • Respondents picked the top three lifeskills with the statement “I feel my child(ren) would benefit from more focus/practice of the following lifeskills”.

Perseverance (42%), Problem Solving (38%) and Initiative (30%)



Hello From Roadrunner Clubsubmitted by Eleanor Persons

We want to inform you all that Ashley Fitzinger's last day at Roadrunner Club was Friday, March 10.  We will miss Ashley so much.  Ashley always had a smile on her face and gave great hugs.  She is a very caring person and brought many outstanding attributes to our after-school program.  We wish her the best in all of her future endeavors.


Last Word…

Recently I read the following and it made me smile: “If you never jumped from one couch to another, to save yourself from the lava, then you didn’t have a childhood.”


Last week in this space, I mentioned the Family Dinner Project and encouraged families to take advantage of dinnertime to have conversations with each other.   As Rheem students and staff continue to work towards the “Recess of Their Dreams” by using Soul Shoppe tools and strategies, it is fun to imagine how recesses (and playgrounds) have changed over the years.  What a fun topic for parents to explore with their children!  So, what WAS your playground like?  What games did you enjoy?  What did you like most (and least) about recess when you were in elementary school?


I have to admit that I don’t remember a lot of details about the playgrounds of my youth, but for some reason, I distinctly remember one unique piece of “equipment” that WAS the kindergarten playground of West Putnam School in Porterville, CA.  I suppose there may have been other aspects to the playground, but my memory only holds one:  A piece of a very large cement irrigation pipe, probably 8 feet long and at least 6 feet high (or so it seemed), plunked down right in the middle of the kindergarten play yard.


It was 1965.  Naptime was still a daily event, and recess meant only one thing: the ability to scale the curved side and sit on top of the big pipe (like a miniature overlord) or the inability to make it to the top and to remain earthbound below.  I, not surprisingly, was one of the latter group. But, those of us who lacked climbing skills entertained each other by chasing each other through the pipe or, on especially hot days, sitting in its shade.  Through, around, above, below, within… that big pipe was the backdrop for wherever our imaginations took us – constantly morphing from a living dragon to a spherical castle to a long lost submarine to a meteor from space.   


Today, that big, old, dusty grey pipe would definitely not meet the safety or aesthetic requirements of a modern-day playground committee.  But, it is a great reminder of the width and breadth of our childhood imaginations.  So, however ordinary your own experience may seem, take the opportunity to let your children know how you made it extraordinary.  You were a kid once.  I’m pretty sure you never let hot lava stop you! 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


Frank”ly Speaking…

March 5, 2017


At Rheem, we try to use our Lifeskills to help us enjoy and succeed in everything we do.  Our recent Read-a-thon is a prime example.  Although the academic focus was on reading, we used the Circus Theme to remind us that we all have unique talents to contribute, and that such diversity is to be admired!  Also, we talked about goal setting, and we learned that through focused teamwork we can make amazing progress.  For examples of our recent successes, see the Read-a-thon and Wastebuters articles below.  Rheem really ROCKed it!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, March 6

  • Profession Day: no school for students!

Tuesday, March 7

  • Last day to order Hot Lunch for Spring Trimester (starts Monday, March 13)
  • Math at JM Information Night, 6:30 – 7:15 p.m. at JM Library

Wednesday, March 8

  • Science Fair drafts returned to students
  • Seed Secrets in 1st grade classrooms
    • O’Connell (8:30 – 9:30); Strohmeyer (9:40 – 10:40); Bailey (11:05 – 12:05)
  • Coordinating Council Meeting at CP/Rm 7 (3:30 – 5:00p.m.)

Friday, March 10

  • Soul Shoppe:  “Response-ability” Workshops
    • 4th grade (8:30 – 9:15)
    • 3rd grade (9:20 – 10:05)
    • 2nd grade (10:10 – 10:50)
    • Kindergarten (11:00 – 11:30)
    • 1st grade (1:15 – 1:50)
    • 5th grade (2:00 – 3:00)

Note: Click HERE for a letter from Soul Shoppe about what students will be learning at this workshop

  • Last Day of Winter Hot Lunch
  • End of 2nd Trimester
  • Variety Show Auditions (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.) in Multi-Use Room


Read-a-thon Success Celebrated at Spirit Assembly

It really WAS “The Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth!”


On Monday, February 27, Rheem students and staff gathered to learn the details of this year’s Read-a-thon.  We knew we all had a great time, but we were very excited to discover that Rheem’s grand total of reading hours continues to grow each year, and this year, broke the 12,000 hour barrier!  Take a look:

2012 = 9,282 hours

2013 = 9,497 hours

2014 = 10,749 hours

2015 = 10, 974 hours! 

2016 = 11,671 hours (which was incredible…)

2017 = 12,864 hours! (What??? Unbelievable!)


Also, once all the tally sheets were counted, we realized that 98% of our students participated! A total of 13 classes had 100% participation (every students turning in at least 1 tally sheet).  The Roadrunner Mascots were awarded to the four classes that can boast 100% participation for each week of the 4-week Read-a-thon.  Congratulations to: Ms. O’Connell’s 1st grade, Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade, Ms. McMullen’s 4th grade, and Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade.

With such amazing results, it’s no surprise that our students earned themselves a Read-In and Pajama Day on Friday, March 31 (the Friday before Spring Break).  We are all looking forward to a comfy, cozy day of reading to celebrate! 

Drawings were held from the many, many “Feat of Daring” posters that were completed by students.  Winners of a set of circus-themed juggling balls were kindergartner, Henry L., 1st grader, Amelia W., 2nd grader, Drew K. 3rd grader Zack S.., 4thgrader Abby R., and 5th grader Carolyn O.  Winners of a $20 gift certificate to Bel and Bunna bookstore in Lafayette were 1st grader Ayush S., and 4th grader, Brayden C. These lucky winners also had the honor of leading the school in the “Rheem Rocks” song at the assembly.

The annual Read-a-Thon also brings in generous donations from sponsors.  On Friday, March 3, sponsor sheets for collections went home in the backpacks, along with a “Circus Duck” to commemorate the students’ terrific efforts.  Please help your child collect his or her pledges to send back to school on or before Friday March 31 (Read-In Day).  If you haven’t completed a sponsor sheet but would still like honor your child’s efforts, you can simply write a check to “Rheem PTA” with “Read-a-Thon” on the memo line and send it to school. 

Many thanks to all members of the Rheem Team for supporting this year’s Read-a-thon, especially Parent Coordinator Diane Johnson and her supportive team, including Sally Salay, Michele Kong, and Jen Blau and all the parents who added together miles of tally sheets!


Gold Slip Winners

At the February 27th Spirit Assembly, the following students had their gold slips chosen to spin the wheel for a prize! Congratulations to:

Kindergarten:  Avery Z., Matias C., Ziya S., Jake C., Kyden B., Audrey K

1st Grade:  Zoe B., Kaio D., Linn A., Kaden M., Chase N., Estela S.

2nd Grade:   Ben B., Eloise G., Brooke R., Daniel B., Angad D., LeeAnn A.

3rd Grade:  Xoel S., Nathan F., Isabella K., Matilda H., Sophia G., Sivani M

4th Grade:  Hannah B., Justin N., Cooper C., Sara H., Jake J., Yvonne G.

5th Grade:  Emily S., Mateo P., Gavin J., Lorenzo C., Soyoon P., Audrey S.


Wastebuster 2017 Goals Met!

Recycle Woman is PROUD of Rheem


Recycle Woman recently wrote the following note to the students of Rheem:


I am so happy to share with you the waste audit results. Donald Rheem is doing an amazing job, and I am proud of all the students!  You have met and surpassed your Wastebuster goals for this year!  Thank you for helping take care of the planet!


We celebrated our Wastebuster efforts at the February 27 Spirit Assembly.  Students remembered that Recycle Woman had made 3 visits to our school: one in early November for an initial Waste Audit; again in mid-November to teach us more about recycling and composting; and then for a third time in February to conduct a second Waste Audit to see if we had improved.   We certainly did!  The students cut 4 pounds from the landfill at just one lunch.  That’s a savings of 20 pounds a week and over 700 pound in a school year!  WOW! 


Students learned that they were doing a much better job about not including recycling or composting in the landfill collection.  Click HERE for the Spirit Assembly powerpoint that includes the details!



Attention 5th grade parentssubmitted by Joan Danilson, JM Principal

On Tuesday, March 7th, the Joaquin Moraga Math Department will be hosting an informational session about math at the middle school.  We will be covering our textbook, current math pathways, the placement process and the courses that are offered in our district.  We encourage all interested fifth grade parents to attend.  The presentation will be held in the JM Library from 6:30 until 7:15 PM.  We look forward to seeing you there.



Assistant Secretary Update

We are pleased to announce that Erica Smith will be Rheem’s new assistant secretary, replacing Linda Wu whose last day will be this Friday, March 10.  Many of you may know Ms. Smith as mom to 2nd grader Josh and 1st grader Estela.  We are fortunate that Ms. Smith will be learning “at the feet of the master” as she will be working WITH Ms. Wu this coming week before completely taking over on Monday, March 13. 


We are also pleased to know that Ms. Wu will be back at Rheem substituting in the front office when needed.  She has served in this important position for the past 12 years, offering comfort to the students and assistance to the rest of us.  Prior to working at Rheem, she was a Teaching Assistant at Los Perales, and was very involved in Parent Club and MEF when her sons Harry and Henry (now, 27 and 28, respectively) were in the Moraga School District.  She will be dearly missed, but we wish her all the best in her “retirement.”



Out and About

When bopping in and out of classrooms over the past week, I observed:

  • Kindergartners making combinations of five by sorting spots on ladybug wings
  • 1st graders practicing speaking and listening skills when sharing items from their personal “collections” as a pre-writing exercise, providing specific details about what make something a favorite.
  • 2nd graders writing book reviews, being sure to integrate the phrase “for example” as a way to include details about the most important parts of the story.
  • 3rd graders learning about the Iditarod, up close and personal (actually petting the huskies!) as they get ready to use math skills to track their own “mushers” during this year’s race. 
  • 4th graders taking an Electricity and Magnetism test on individual chromebooks.  Google Forms was used to provide immediate feedback to students (and the teacher!) while linking them to an explanatory video if/when a mistake was made.  It was impressive to watch kids actively learning through an assessment!
  • 5th graders simulating “colonial life” through garden activities, tin-smithing, cooking corn cakes, reel dancing, and more – all dressed in costume!


School Climate Survey Results


In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, parents were asked which of the 16 lifeskills they felt their children were most skilled at.  The top three lifeskills chosen by Rheem parents were

Caring (53%), Friendship (42%) and Curiosity (39%)



Hello from Roadrunner Clubsubmitted by Eleanor Persons

We have had a fun filled week.  No rain - YEAH!!! We celebrated Mardi Gras this week with beautiful glittered masks in different shapes, marble art and salt art.  We made Blinis for our cooking project (fruit filled crepes) to carry out the theme.  Next week we are celebrating spring with crafts like kite making.  



What is better than Family Night? Family WEEK!

Rheem 3rd grade teachers organize 2017 Family Week

This year all Rheem Team families are encouraged to plan a family activities during the week of March 20 – 24.  To support this focus on the family, Rheem teachers will be greatly reducing and/or cancelling homework to allow families the time to take advantage of “Family Week.”

Need a few suggestions or what to do? Think about reading a book together, playing a board game, going on a walk, taking a bike ride, preparing dinner together, etc.  Of course, on Friday March 24, attend the Rheem Variety Show together!

Family Week is also a time to help families in need. Consider donating to the Contra Costa Food Bank. Containers will be on campus to collect canned goods between March 20 – 24 and “at the door” of the Rheem Variety Show on Friday evening, March 24.  


The Last Word

Recently I ran across these words by cultural historian, Catherine M. Wallace:


Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.  If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? However, it’s not always easy to do – especially when we need to move forward, and quickly.  It reminds me when I was a young teacher, and I was about to send the students off to do some work, but first asked if there were any questions.  One student earnestly raised her hand and said, “Ms. Frank, I have purple shoes.” 


Kids want the grown-ups in their lives to know the “big stuff,” and as much as we try to help them understand the best time and place to share, it doesn’t lessen the importance of what they want (and need) for us to hear. 


It is in that spirit that I share with you a website that will open up opportunities for your children to share their very own “big stuff” with you.  It’s called “The Family Dinner Project.” The concept is simple.  Eat dinner together.  The website not only includes research on the benefits of sharing this important time together, but provides tons of examples of conversation starters that will make this ritual fun and memorable.  Try it!   I hope it brings your family joy.



I love this school!
Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

February 26, 2017


“Here comes the sun… Doo da dwee doo!

Special thanks to the teachers and students for their perseverance through some intense precipitation these past weeks!  It certainly makes one thankful for that famous Rheem Team flexibility and cooperation. 


I’m looking forward to sharing the results of the “Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth” at tomorrow’s Spirit Assemblies.  Here’s a hint regarding the news – our students can feel very proud of their efforts!   Be on the lookout for Read-a-thon Sponsor Sheets coming home in the backpacks on Friday.  The students did a great job reading; let’s show them our support!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, February 27:

  • Spirit Assemblies: 9:00 for 3rd – 5th graders; 10:00 for K – 2nd graders
  • “Seed Secrets” in 1st grade classrooms
    • O’Connell (8:30 – 9:30); Strohmeyer (11:05 – 12:05); Bailey (1:00 – 2:00)


Tuesday, February 28:

  • Parent Ed Night (by POEMS: Parents of Exceptional Moraga Students)
    • IEP Basics:  What is an “Individualized Education Plan?”
    • 7:00 p.m. at JM Library
    • Presenter is Laraine Domenico of Contra Costa SELPA


Wednesday, March 1:

  • 5th grade Colonial Days (8:30 – 2:00)


Friday, March 3:

  • Science Fair Draft Reports due!
  • 4th grade Field Trip to Sacramento (8:00 – 4:30)
  • 3rd grade Spirit of Alaska Program in Multi-Use Room (1:30 – 3:00)
  • Read-a-thon Sponsor Sheets go home with kids!



Save the Dates!

Don’t miss these upcoming Rheem events!

There are a variety of fun-for-the-whole family events coming this Spring that you won’t want to miss.  Make sure these dates are on your calendars:

  • Rheem Variety Show:  Friday, March 24 (6:00 – 7:30 p.m.) in the Multi-Use Room
  • Rheem Family Work Day:  Saturday, April 22 (8:30 – 11:30) in the Rheem Garden and around campus
  • Rheem Science Fair:  Thursday, April 27 (5:30 – 6:30) in the Multi-Use Room
  • Rotary Field Day: Wednesday, May 10, beginning at 3:00 at JM
  • Rheem Spring Picnic & Art Show: Friday, May 12 (4:30 – 7:00), Multi-Use and front blacktop
  • Rheem Open House: Thursday, May 25 (7:00 – 8:00 p.m.)



Did You Know?

2017-2018 Instructional Calendar Approved

Recently, the Moraga School Board approved the 2017-2018 calendar, complete with dates for such events as Back-to-School Night and Open House for the 2017-2018 school year.  Did you know that Rheem’s Back-to-School Night is scheduled for Thursday, August 24, 2017?  School Holidays and Staff Development Days are also noted.  It’s not too early to make sure you have your home and school calendars “synced” to ensure good attendance and to not miss any important events.  Click HERE for the 2017-2018 MSD calendar.  



School Climate Survey Results: 

Feeling Connected to School

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 90% respondents agreed with the statement “My child feels ‘connected’ to the school – that he/she is a contributing member of the school community”.

Actual Breakdown: 45% strongly agree; 44% agree; 8% neutral; 1% disagree; 0% strongly disagree; 2% don’t know



Amanda Lorie is Moraga’s Teacher of the Year!

​Rheem kindergarten teacher, Amanda Lorie, has been selected as the Moraga School District Teacher of the Year.   Her dedication, compassion, and collaborative attitude make her an excellent choice for this honor.  


​Ms. Lorie began working in the Moraga School District seventeen years ago.  In the early 2000's, she began working at Rheem as an elementary PE teacher assistant, a classroom teacher assistant, a yard duty supervisor, and a GATE assistant.  These early days working with the students and staff at Rheem piqued her interest in getting a teaching credential.  With a teaching credential in hand, she returned to Rheem in 2002 as a long-term substitute in 1st grade, and then taught kindergarten for 2 ½ years before taking time off to have her son, Brandon.


Ms. Lorie has never stopped learning and growing as an educator.  While raising her son, she simultaneously pursued a Master’s Degree in Education at UC Berkeley with a focus on children’s cognition and development, reading theory, and best practices in teaching reading.  Her teaching career continued in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, during which time she also received her Reading Recovery Certification at St. Mary’s.   She found her way back “home” to Rheem in 2013, where she taught 2nd grade, and served as a “teacher leader” – providing guidance and resources to all 2nd grade teachers in the district as they began the implementation of Common Core Standards.  Now, in her 2nd year of teaching kindergarten at Rheem, she serves on the district’s English/Language Arts committee and was one of a select number of teachers to attend the 2016 Summer Institute on the Teaching of Reading, The Reading and Writing Project, at Columbia University.


Yes, Ms. Lorie has the knowledge and skills to be an exceptional teacher.  But, she also has that special quality that cannot be found in any textbook or workshop; it’s called LOVE.  Her concern for the social/emotional well-being of her students is of paramount importance.  As a result, her classroom environment is welcoming, fun, and supportive.  Ms. Lorie is a passionate advocate for ALL students, recognizing the unique supports needed by the wide variety of learners in her charge.   When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, she doesn’t hesitate to respond:


“I get to spend my days working with young children who love to learn.  They fuel my days with energy and excitement and so many questions -- every second I spend with them is a gift.  And I am grateful for, and cherish my days with my students and their open minds and generous hearts.  My drive comes from them – teaching them to read and their progress, their smiles, their zest for life and learning and playing and questioning and problem solving -- they teach me new things every day.  They make me want to be a better teacher, to always learn, and to always push myself to be the best that I can be.”


Ms. Lorie moves on to the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year selection process, representing the Moraga School District.   The board will acknowledge her as the district’s Teacher of the Year at the March 14 board meeting.   Congratulations! 



Safety First

Communicable Disease Notices

If your child is sick with one of the following communicable diseases, please give the office a call so notification can be sent to the other students in the classroom. This gives parents the information that their child may have been exposed so that proactive measures can be taken.  The communicable conditions that require us to notify parents regarding possible exposure are:

  • Chicken Pox
  • German measles
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Scabies
  • Slap Cheek
  • Streptococcal (scarlet fever and strep throat)
  • Whooping Cough
  • Pink Eye
  • Shingles
  • Ringworm
  • Pinworm

Although head lice is not a communicable disease, it is also something we report as it can be easily spread.  We very much thank you for your cooperation with this important notification procedure.


Hello From Roadrunner Club

Finally some SUN and vitamin D!  We have had a great week!   Our cooking project for Wed was learning the origin of Brownies and then making them! They were yummy.

Just an FYI, we have had some difficulty with our telephone line due to all of the rain. Our phones are now working but I would suggest that you communicate with Roadrunner Club via e-mail.

We are almost out of used, clean clothing in our supply closet.  If you would like to donate, we would appreciate any donations you might have, mostly sweatpants, socks, mostly K-2nd size.  Thank you. 


Last Word…

This year’s Read-a-thon may be over, but reading is forever!  And, thank goodness! Engaging, enlightening, AND cost-effective, the power of a good book is unlike any other form of entertainment.  And, better still, reading makes the world a better place:


I was happy to come across the article, “The Importance of Family Reading” recently, and was especially struck by the first paragraph:


Reading gives us two gifts—the gift of understanding and the gift of feeling understood. Every new book you read shows you another life, another time or place or way of being. Every new book also assures you that yes, other people have felt as afraid, as embarrassed, as sad, as giddy and as joyful as you have felt. Through reading, we learn empathy, compassion, respect and understanding. How lucky we are as parents to be able to give our children those skills by doing something as simple and enjoyable as reading.


It makes sense, doesn’t it?  Empathy is the ability to appreciate a different perspective, and books support that experience.  Another article, “How Reading Can Teach Children Empathy,” further explains how this happens.  Fiction “tricks our brains into thinking we are part of the story” – so our brains become “wired” to have the same sensitivity to real people that we feel for fictional characters.  


Entering the world of characters from different times, different places, and with uniquely different experiences and challenges, supports our children to become more compassionate people. So, by simply encouraging our children to read, we have made the future a little better.  Feels good.  Let’s keep up the good work! 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

February 20, 2017


I hope this message finds the Rheem Team enjoying the last bits of an extended 4-day weekend in honor of Presidents’ Day!  It may be a bit soggy out there, but it’s always nice to have some extra time for “PDF”: Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time.

The extended break was well-deserved after our students and staff celebrated the end of the Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth with a Crazy Circus Hair Day on Thursday, February 16.  Unique and colorful hairstyles dominated campus, featuring sparking braids, sharp mohawks, and stylish do’s adorned with a wide variety of accessories, including pipe-cleaners, Starbucks cups, and even the Eiffel Tower!  At lunchtime, I had a great time reading Crazy Hair Day to the students -- a story about a young boy who confused Crazy Hair Day with Picture Day!  The happy ending brought into focus our current theme of being “allies” to one another, as this boy’s classmates s saved the day by helping him “fit in” to the class picture – can you guess how?

I am very proud of our students’ efforts over this 4-week focus on reading, and I look forward to sharing the total hours read and acknowledging those students who completed a “Feat of Daring” poster at our Spirit Assemblies on Monday, Feb. 27.  Thanks to all the parent volunteers who tallied weekly hours for each class, and special thanks goes to Diane Johnson (Henry’s mom) for organizing this year’s Read-a-thon.


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Feb. 20:

  • No School – President’s Day Holiday

Tuesday, Feb. 21:

  • Rheem Site Council Meeting, beginning at 3:15 in Room 25
    • Superintendent Burns will attend to provide information and get input regarding the district’s LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan)
  • MSD’s Cultural Proficiency Committee Meeting, beginning at 5:00 in Room 25

Wednesday, Feb. 22:

  • Safety Committee meeting, beginning 3:30 at CP (Rm. 7)


School News and Highlights

  • When the 3rd week Read-a-thon tallies were all counted, Rheem students had logged 7,393 hours --- 831 hours more than the end of the 3rd week time last year!  WOW!  Can’t wait to find out how many hours were read in all! 
  • Rheem’s School Site Improvement Plan was approved by the Moraga School Board at the February 14 meeting.  This plan is developed and monitored by our School Site Council, and it features specific goals and action items in the areas of Math, English/Language Arts, and School Climate.  This year’s School Site Plan can be downloaded from the “Quick Links” section of our website.  Future issues of Rheemarks will provide updates on stated goals.
  • Rheem students continue to use the “THINK” tool by asking themselves if their interactions are:
    • True?
    • Helpful?
    • Inviting?
    • Necessary?
    • Kind?
  • Recycle Woman (in her human form, as “Jessica”) returned to Rheem’s lunchroom on Monday, February 13,  to help our SWAT Team (Students Worried About Trash) conduct a second “waste audit” this year.  The results of this audit will be shared with the students at our next Spirit Assembly to see if they’ve reduced their contributions to our landfills. Stay tuned for details!


Teachers Go to School!

All Rheem teachers continue to participate in ½ day Readers’ Workshop Lab days through February.  Organized by MSD’s Director of Curriculum, Dr. Carolyn Parker, and with the support and guidance of West Coast Literacy consultant Leslie Nash, and MSD’s Teacher on Special Assignment, Terryl Miller, our teachers are focused on providing differentiated reading instruction to students. 

During the Readers' Workshop lab days, our K-3 teachers are focused on guided reading lessons.  During a guided reading lesson, a teacher meets with a small group of students and reviews sight words, vocabulary, and text organization.  Students are then coached by the teacher with prompts and scaffolds that help students process the information.  Similarly, our upper grade teachers are focused on strategy lessons which provide instruction that supports individual readers in their classrooms.  Both guided reading and strategy lessons allow for differentiated instruction for building strategic, independent Rheem readers.  

In the coming week, all K – 5 teachers will be attending these Readers’ Workshop lab sessions, resulting in your children having a ½ day sub at some point during the week.  We appreciate your understanding so that the teachers can have this important professional development experience!



School Climate Parent Survey

Students Enjoy School

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 93% respondents agreed with the statement “My child enjoys going to school”.

Actual Breakdown: 48% strongly agree; 45% agree; 6% neutral; 1% disagree; 0% strongly disagree; 0% don’t know

We are very proud of this positive response.  We believe that a student’s enjoyment of school is directly related to his/her willingness to take the risks necessary for rigorous learning! 


Rheem 1st Annual Variety Show

Save the Date – Friday, March 24th

Mark your calendars for the evening of Friday March 24th!  At the 1st Annual Rheem Variety Show, Rheem students will showcase their talents and skills to the delight of friends and family.   Auditions will be on March 10th, from 4-6pm in the Rheem Multi-Purpose Room.  Informational fliers and audition forms were sent home in the backpacks, but can also be foundHERE (or in the “Quick Links” section of our website).  Please contact Variety Show coordinator, Courtney Pickering, if you would like to help out with this fun new event at Rheem:



Hello from Roadrunnerssubmitted by Eleanor Persons

Boy have we had lots of rain these last few weeks!  But, here at Roadrunner Club, it is warm and toasty and inviting.  We have certainly become more creative with indoor games, crafts and activities!  

Also in the last couple of weeks, we have celebrated Valentine’s Day, Ground Hog Day, and Presidents’ Day!!!  We’ve enjoyed fun cooking projects, snacks, and trivia games (How many presidents were left handed?) We decorated valentine cookies, found out there will be six more weeks of winter (Mr. Phil) and that the two dollar bill has Thomas Jefferson on it. For our penny cleaning project, (to celebrate Presidents weekend), the kids guessed which cleaning solution shines the cooper penny best.  The winner was vinegar and salt, second coca cola and baking soda, last was soap and water.

Just a gentle reminder Critters and Clay will start up on 02/28/17.   If you have not done so, please complete an Activity Release Form.  Also, please remember Permanent Reservations are due on the 12th of every month effective on the 20th of every month.


Did You Know?

Garden Buddies

Each week, a different “Rheem Buddy Team” is assigned to visit the garden and complete on-going maintenance tasks.  Although watering hasn’t been a need recently, thanks to this year’s generous rainfall, we fully expect weed-pulling to begin in earnest soon!  To learn more about our School-Wide Buddies Program, see this week’s “Last Word” article (below).



The Last Word…

“That’s My Buddy!”

Some things just make good common sense.  We know that children learn best when they feel connected to their school.  We remember how our own like or dislike of school was closely related to our sense of belonging and being accepted socially. We know how positive self-esteem benefits general health and promotes one’s ability to persevere and succeed.


That’s why, at Rheem, we are committed to building an environment in which students feel safe, cared for, and respected, not only by the school adults, but by their peers as well.  Through a school-wide “Buddies” program, we hope that we can further develop this sense of “belonging” that makes Rheem such a special place to learn and grow. 


At Rheem, our School-Wide Buddy Program involves every student, kindergarten through 5th grade.  All classes are matched with a “buddy class,” an older or younger grade level that joins with them in a special year-long partnership.  As referenced by the Developmental Studies Center, this unique buddy relationship “allows older students to experience themselves as caring, competent, and valued while the younger students can experience themselves as worthy of special attention and kindness.” Further, children learn through experience that they are capable of building positive relationships and showing care, which in turn can provide the motivation for them to create similar relationships with others.


Not only does our Buddy Program allow students to use the skills learned from our Lifeskills focus, but we feel it can support our efforts to create a Bully-Free environment as well. When children of different ages have a chance to get to know one another, learn from each other, and have fun together, age barriers as well as stronger vs. weaker dynamics are broken.  Suddenly, it is “cool” to help someone else and it is “OK” to receive help.  More spontaneous helping behavior and less teasing are the result, thereby enhancing a school-wide atmosphere of trust and safety. 


A very special thank you is due to the Rheem teachers who have embraced this program in an effort to allow all children, regardless of their age or classroom assignment to experience the positive effects of having a buddy.  Fifth graders are paired with kindergartners; Fourth graders have first grade buddies; and our second and third graders are working together to create friendships that will hopefully last through the rest of their academic careers.  Each teacher is working cooperatively with his/her own “buddy teacher” to provide meaningful experiences that support both academic and social/emotional goals. The 2016-2017 buddy pairings are as follows:


                Ms. Inzeo’s K class with Ms. Gubser’s 5th graders

                Ms. Kathan’s K class with Mr. Greer’s 5th graders

                Ms. Lorie’s K class with Ms. Cavallero’s 5th graders

                Ms. Bailey’s 1st graders with Ms. Culleton’s 4th graders

                Ms. O’Connell’s 1st graders with Ms. McMullen’s 4th graders

                Ms. Strohmeyer’s 1st graders with Ms. Drury’s 4th graders

                Ms. Guidi’s 2nd graders with Ms. Caraska’s 3rd graders

                Mr. Thomson’s 2nd graders and Ms. Berkman’s 3rd graders

                Ms. Webster’s 2nd graders with Ms. Ralph’s 3rd graders


As you can see, everyone benefits by having a buddy!  And the excited, reciprocal exclamations of “That’s my buddy!” can be heard on the playground, in the hallways, and even out in the community.   We hope you’ll ask your child about his/her buddy and see for yourself the positive impact a special buddy can have in a child’s development.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

February 12, 2017


I’m happy to announce that Rheem Team spirit is alive and well as evidenced by the students’  impressive participation in The Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth, and their enthusiasm about celebrating the first-ever “Crazy Circus Hair Day” this Thursday, February 16.  What a great opportunity for the kids to show that they’re CRAZY about reading! 


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, February 13:

  • Waste Audit at Lunchtime: How are we doing as Wastebusters?

Tuesday, February 14:

-Valentine’s Day!

-School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at JM.  Click HERE for agenda

Wednesday, February 15:

-MSD Coordinating Council meeting, beginning at 3:30 at JM

Thursday, February 16:

  • Read-a-thon Week 4 tally sheets & “Feat of Daring” posters due

Friday, February 17:

-Science Fair Applications Due

-No School in celebration of Presidents’ Day Weekend


Note: No school on Monday, Feb. 20 either!



Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth News & Highlights:

  • At last count, over 96% of Rheem students are participating in the Read-a-thon!
  • NINE classes can boast 100% participation in the Read-a-thon (all students having turned in at least 1 tally sheet).  Those classes are Lorie/K, Bailey/1st, O'Connell/1st, Guidi/2nd, Thomson/2nd, Ralph/3rd, McMullen/4th, Cavallero/5th, and Greer/5th!
  • FOUR Rheem classes have had 100% participation for BOTH the 1st and 2nd weeks.  Those classes are: 

Ms. O'Connell’s 1st grade

Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade

Ms. McMullen’s 4th grade

Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade  

  • Rheem students have earned Crazy Circus Hair Day on Thursday, February 16!  On this day, Rheem students and staff are encouraged to be VERY creative with their hairstyles! As always, Spirit Wear or school colors (blue and gold) are always good options on these special days as well. 
  • “Feat of Daring” posters are due this Thursday, Feb. 16! Students are encouraged to continue recording (and rating!) the books they read during the Read-a-thon on this poster to turn in on the LAST day of the Read-a-thon for a chance to win a prize. 


The 2017 Science Fair is ON!

Science Fair Information and Applications can now be found by clicking HERE or by going on our school website under the “Resources” tab.  Many thanks to our Science Fair Coordinators (all parent volunteers for introducing this opportunity to our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders on Monday, Feb. 6.

Applications are due by Friday, February 17.

The Science Fair is scheduled for Thursday, April 27.  Be sure to mark your calendars! It’s always an inspiring evening for the whole family!



Safety First!

Late Bird Arrival

The staff parking lot is reserved staff and is not available to parents for drop-off of students.  As our students use the cross walk at the entrance to the parking lot, it is important to decrease the amount of cars going into and out of the staff parking lot at drop-off times.  Therefore, we will be blocking off access to the staff parking lot during Late-Bird arrival (9:10 – 9:35).  Again, we ask that all parent use the drop-off zone on Laird.   We are grateful to Mrs. Edita Romano for her supervision of Laird Dr. at morning drop-off, making the arrival procedure safe for all.

Similarly, please do not use the red emergency zone (bus circle) for drop-off of students.  This is reserved for emergency vehicles only, unless monitored by staff (kindergarten pick-up).

We very much appreciate your understanding and cooperation.  Thank you. 


Job Opportunities at Rheem

  • Late Bird Supervision:  This is the perfect job for someone who is dropping off their late bird in the morning!  We need someone to supervise the “late bird morning recess” from 9:10 – 9:25each morning.  Please call the Rheem Office if you are interested in this 15-minute a day job – it’s not a big job, but it makes a BIG difference to the supervision of our students.
  • Assistant Secretary: After 16 years in the Moraga School District, our wonderful assistant secretary, Linda Wu, is retiring.  She will be leaving her position in March; therefore, we are looking for another organized, kind-hearted person to service in this invaluable capacity beginning next month.   See HERE for the job announcement and application process.


School Climate Survey Results:

Caring Friends

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

-81% respondents agreed with the statement “My child has caring and supportive friends”.

Actual Breakdown: 32% strongly agree; 49% agree; 15% neutral; 3% disagree; 0% strongly disagree; 2% don’t know


Attention 5th grade parentssubmitted by Joan Danilson, JM Principal

On Tuesday, March 7th, the Joaquin Moraga Math Department will be hosting an informational session about math at the middle school.  We will be covering our textbook, current math pathways, the placement process and the courses that are offered in our district.  We encourage all interested fifth grade parents to attend.  The presentation will be held in the JM Library from 6:30 until 7:15 PM.  We look forward to seeing you there.



Soul Shoppe News & Highlights:

On Friday, February 10, Nasi of Soul Shoppe met with all grade levels for “100% You” workshops.  Discussions included:

  • Recognizing the way in which we are different from each other;
  • Realizing how differences make our school better, and yet, how we sometimes “judge” those differences;
  • Considering how we can encourage and support each other’s’ differences as part of a big-hearted and healthy school;
  • Older students talked about the words “stereotype,” “prejudice,” and “discrimination” as a way of seeing how our differences can divide us; however, respect for “diversity” can make us stronger!
  • ALL students learned to use the “THINK” tool to remember how to be supportive.
  • The THINK tool is simple:  Before you speak, ask yourself if what you will say is:  True, Helpful, Inviting, Necessary, and Kind.  If so, it will likely help someone feel “100% OK” (and that’s always a good thing).

Parents, you can support this work by asking your child what he/she learned and how they felt at this workshop.  Then, consider sharing your own experiences about being “100% You.” Have you ever felt “different” or that people did not understand something about you?  Were you ever teased for just being yourself?  Talk, then listen, listen, listen.  Also, be sure to reassure your child that you love them “100%!” 

Many thanks to the Rheem PTA for funding our Soul Shoppe program.


Last Word…

My apologies.  I’m sending out this week’s Rheemarks much later than normal because I spent the day taking my 13 year-old nephew, Frankie, to see “Finding Neverland” in the city (instead of focusing on this newsletter).  However, it was meant to be.  What a great show – a reminder of that constant inner struggle between growing up and remaining… well, young at heart -- full of imagination and possibilities!  How fitting that when shopping before the show, Frankie picked out a new men’s dress shirt (size 17 ½ neck!) as well as a Batman watch at the Lego store.  Perhaps we are always caught between being a grown-up and being a kid – but, it’s never clearer than at age 13. 


So, next week, I’ll get back to more educational messages, but this week, I’m sending out a song from the show, “We’re all Made of Stars,” sung by the four talented young performers.  It’s a great song for kids, but maybe more importantly, it’s an upbeat reminder of how we ALL have dreams to chase after – regardless of our age.  Click HERE and enjoy!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

February 5, 2017


The Rheem Team continues to amaze and astound!  Never before have I been able to announce that students met a Read-a-thon participation goal after just one week!  Students were promised a Crazy Circus Hair Day on Thursday, Feb. 16 if they showed over 90% participation by Week 2.  Well, once the tallies were in for Week 1, participation had reached over 93%!  See more impressive stats under “School News and Highlights” below.

In other news, the Annual MEF Phone-a-thon is back!  On February 7 and 8, many Moraga parents and staff members will come together to make phone calls on behalf of MEF, encouraging Moraga families to support their children’s education by making a donation.  I’d like to thank all Rheem families, in advance, for supporting MEF in whatever way they can.  If you haven’t pledged yet, please click HERE to show your support for Rheem and MEF.  Remember, we’re all in this together!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, February 6

  • Science Fair Introduction Presentations in Multi-Use Room
    • 5th grades (8:30 – 9:15)
    • 4th grades (9:15 – 10:05)
    • 3rd grades (10:25 – 11:15)
  • PTA Executive Board Meeting at 9:30 in Room 25

Tuesday, February 7

  • 100th Day of School!
  • MEF Phone-a-thon

Wednesday, February 8

  • MEF Phone-a-thon

Thursday, February 9

  • Read-a-thon Week 3 Tally Sheets Due!

Friday, February 10

  • Soul Shoppe: “100% You” Workshops
    • 4th grade (8:30 – 9:15)
    • 3rd grade (9:20 – 10:05)
    • 2nd grade (10:10 – 10:50)
    • Kindergarten (11:00 – 11:30)
    • 1st grade (1:15 – 1:50)
    • 5th grade (2:00 – 3:00)

Note: Click HERE for a letter from Soul Shoppe about what students will be learning at this workshop


School News and Highlights

Dance Through Time Assembly

On Monday, January 30th, all Rheem students were treated to “Celebrate!” a special assembly by “Dance Through Time” of Young Audiences.  Students laughed and learned as four professional dancers demonstrated the evolution of dance styles from the 1900s to the present.  Period costumes illustrated past trends, as dancers showed the fancy footwork needed for the Lame Duck, the Charleston, tap, swing, rock n' roll, disco, break dancing and more. The dancers also present historical information about each era, showing how social dances reflect the attitudes of the time. 

Special thanks to a few heroic teachers (Mr. Greer, Ms. Caraska, Ms. O’Connell, Ms. Strohmeyer, and Mr. Thomson) who, along with many student volunteers, impressed the crowd with their willingness to take a risk and learn a few new dance steps themselves!  And, thanks to Rheem PTA for funding this entertaining and educational assembly!


Rheem Crowns 2017 Spelling Bee Champ

On Wednesday, February 1st, a representative from each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class competed for the title of Rheem School Spelling Bee Champion.  Many multi-syllabic words later, 5th grade Nicolo Dolge was named champion, and 3rd grader, Summer Cloza, was declared runner-up.  For the full list of contestants and details about this exciting event, click HERE.


Read-a-thon Update: The Greatest News on Earth

The Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth is already breaking records.  In just one week, Rheem students logged in 2,423.5 hours of reading (355 more hours than last year’s impressive Week 1 total).  Also, seven classes can boast 100% participation.  Those classes are:

Ms. O’Connell’s 1st grade

Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade

Ms. Ralph’s 3rd grade

Ms. McMullen’s 4th grade


All THREE 5th grade classes:  Ms. Cavallero, Mr. Greer, and Ms. Gubser!


Kindergarten Registration Update

After 2 days Kindergarten Registration (Feb. 2 & 3), 57 kindergarteners and 5 Transitional Kindergartners had registered for next fall at Rheem!  This is a healthy-sized cohort, even though these numbers are a bit lower than this time last year.   


A Word About Overdue Library Books

submitted by Mrs. Gillbanks, Rheem Librarian

Rheem students love to read and that’s a good thing!  However, last week, overdue book notices were sent to 95 Rheem students.  That's approximately 1/4 of the students on Rheem's campus!  Usually, there are about 24 students or so who haven't returned their books on time, but this year, the counts have been increasing to very high numbers. 

Library check out policies and class visit dates and times are listed on my website which can be found by clicking the "Rheem Team" tab on the Rheem homepage.  1st through 3rd graders check out their books for one week.  4th and 5th graders may check out their books for 2 weeks.  Due dates are stamped on the backs of the books. (hint- the due date is your child's next visit date). 

Please help your child remember to be responsible and return his/her books to the library on time.  It is important to note that unfortunately, any student with an overdue book may not check out a new book until that book has been returned.  Let’s keep the books flowing by making sure library books are returned and/or renewed on time!


School Climate Survey Results 

School Character Education Programs

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 85% respondents agreed with the statement “The school’s character education programs have positively influenced my child’s development”.

Actual Breakdown: 36% strongly agree; 44% agree; 9% neutral; 2% disagree; 1% strongly disagree; 9% don’t know

Currently, Rheem uses a multi-faceted approach to character education.  In addition to overarching school and classroom procedures built around “One Word: Three Rules” (RESPECT: Be safe, Be kind, Think!), Rheem students are continually reminded of the 16 Lifeskills through class discussions, Kids’ Bulletins, Spirit Assemblies, and frequent reflection opportunities.  In addition, Rheem is fortunate to have the guidance and support of Soul Shoppe, which visits Rheem throughout the year to provide student workshops, focusing on communication and friendship skills.


Did You Know…

Who is Donald Rheem?

Donald Rheem was the son of William S. Rheem, who was the President of Standard Oil Company (Chevron).  Rheem transformed his Moraga home into a lavish estate where the famous were entertained. He bought many acres in Rheem Valley and built many homes and subdivided his properties.  1n 1925, Donald Rheem and his brother founded Rheem Manufacturing Company in Emeryville, CA. While the company has produced a number of products in its nearly 100 years of operation — including steel shipping containers, household appliances like gas ranges, semi-conductors, musical instruments and more — Rheem today is the only manufacturer in the world that produces heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products, and it is the largest manufacturer of water heating products in North America.  Now you know!


MEF 35th Anniversary Auction & Dinner Dance

Tickets on Sale Now!

The Moraga Education Foundation (MEF) is celebrating its 35th year of supporting excellence in education for all Moraga public school students. In honor of this anniversary, you are invited to Under the City Lights, a community wide event onSaturday, March 11, 2017, at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing. Tickets and VIP tables are limited and on sale now at  

Auction donations are still welcome.  Nothing is too small as donations can be packaged together.  This celebration is a separate fundraising event from MEF’s 2016-2017 annual campaign as proceeds will specifically benefit the MEF Endowment Fund to help provide a long-term, stable source of funding.  We look forward to seeing you there!  Questions? Email


Last Word…

If you haven’t checked out the Moraga iKind website recently, I highly encourage you to do so --  if for no other reason than to watch the short video “Just Do Right: Maya Angelou’s 3 Word Secret to Living Your Best Life” which is front and center on the website’s homepage.  Her message is so simple, yet so profound:  Just. Do. Right.   


Part of my job is to talk with students about the choices they make.  In doing so, I’m always impressed by how little “teaching” I actually have to do.  I’ve found that the great majority of students already know the difference between “what’s right” and “what’s wrong.”  You’ve taught them well.  They know it’s better to share than withhold; they know it’s kinder to include than exclude; they know it’s nicer to compliment rather than criticize.  They know which action would be helpful to a situation and which action could make the situation worse.


What I’ve found is that poor choices are usually the result of impulsivity, impatience or expediency -- simply not thinking the situation through.   That’s why, at a certain point, as parents and as educators, the best advice we can give our children may be not give any advice at all!  Instead, simply asking, “What do you think is right?”  “What do you think would be most helpful?”  “What would (fill in the blank with someone you admire) do?” “What would you tell your little buddy to do?” might be the most empowering way of have the answer present itself, sans lectures or lessons.  


So, I encourage you to take the 3 ½ minutes necessary to watch Maya Angelou’s words of wisdom together with your children.  Click HERE.  And, then, consider using those three simple words as a reminder that the right answer, the right comment, the right action, is never very far from reach. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

January 29, 2017


It’s been an exciting first week of “The Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth!”  All students are encouraged to keep reading, reading, reading – in addition to completing and turning in those tally sheets on Thursdays.   Although 100% participation is our primary goal, students may also get sponsors to support and encourage their efforts.  Monies raised go to our PTA to fund important programs and improvements to our school.  Read-a-thon Sponsor sheets are due this Thursday, February 1st along with Week 2 tally sheets.   Click HERE for access to all Read-a-thon Forms (including tally sheets, sponsor sheets, and the “Feat of Daring” poster)


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, January 30:

  • “Dance Through Time” Assemblies in Multi-Use Room
    • 8:45 for 3rd – 5th; 10:00 for K – 2nd

Tuesday, January 31:

  • 5th grade/Gubser Field Trip to Martinez Courthouse (900 – 2:00)
  • Parent Ed: Executive Functioning and Supporting Independence
    • 7:00 p.m. at JM Library

Wednesday, Feb. 1:

  • School-Wide Spelling Bee: 9:00 a.m. in Multi-Use Room

Thursday, Feb. 2:

Friday, Feb. 3:


School News and Highlights

Classroom Spelling Bee Champs Announced

3rd – 5th grade class spelling bee champions will compete in the Annual School-Wide Rheem Spelling Bee on Wednesday, February 2, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Multi-Use Room.  Congrats to the following finalists:

3rd grade finalists: Summer C., Matt J., Kylie K.

4th grade finalists: Devan A., Sophia P., Brendan K.

5th grade finalists: Nicolo D., Serge V., Dante V.


Remember “Remind”

Are you one of the 351 parents who have subscribed to “Remind?”  If you want receive timely “Rheeminders” on your cell phone about everything Rheem-related from minimum days to emergency alerts, simply text @rheem to 81010 or click HERE download instructions. You can opt-out of messages at anytime by replying, ‘unsubscribe@rheem’.   Visit to learn more. 


Rheem Parents “Stepped Right Up” to Volulnteer for the Read-a-thon!

We are very grateful to the many parents who give generously of their time to collect student tally sheets, verify the totals, and enter the data into a spreadsheet each week of the Read-a-thon.  Some parents are the volunteer for not one… but TWO classrooms!  Dare I say it… these Rheem parents are “the greatest volunteers on Earth” and are listed below:





Stuart Schonfeld


Mark Chiaruicci


Shannon Morelli


Moon Chung


Shannon Morelli


Jon Nickens


Amy Chen Yee


Burcin Nee


Karen Chiarucci


Tonya Feeman


Jen Wen


Michelle Kong


Beth Chang


Moon Chung


Joy Kim


Diane Johnson


Eric & Lori True


Vicky Kearsey


Who or What is P.O.E.M.S?

Parents of Exceptional Moraga Students

POEMS is a group of MSD parents who have students with special needs.  Each Moraga School site has a representative who has learned about resources within MSD  and wants to help connect parents to the appropriate resources and to each other.  We are grateful to Hannah Preece ( for serving as Rheem’s representative.   Click HERE to learn more about POEMS and how this group can help you and your family.  


School Climate Survey Results

School Adults Model Behavior

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 89% respondents agreed with the statement “School adults consistently model respectful behavior that creates a positive climate for learning”.

Actual Breakdown: 38% strongly agree; 51% agree; 4% neutral; 3% disagree; 1% strongly disagree; 3% don’t know


Sign up for MEF Phone-a-thon!

MEF is looking for volunteers for their annual Phone-A-Thon on February 7th and 8th at 6:30pm.  If you are able to volunteer on one or both of those dates, please click HERE sign up.  For questions, please contact Joan Vattuone, MEF PAT Chair (and Rheem parent) at



Did You Know?

Rheem School’s Attendance line is 377-2086.  Please make a note of it or program it into your phone. By using the attendance line, you can leave a quick message and not risk tying up the main line which we like to keep open for non-attendance issues. 

 Please call the attendance line when your child will be absent for ANY reason.  Even if you inform the teacher that your child will be absent/late, you must ALSO call the Attendance Line!

If a child is marked absent and there is not a call to the Attendance Line, office staff will call all numbers listed on the emergency card until the whereabouts of the student can be verified by an adult.  Again, using the attendance line can save the office staff from extra work!

Next time you are in the office, ask for one of our school magnets that lists the attendance line, our main office line, and the phone number for Roadrunner Club.  Place it in a handy spot, and you’ll never have to worry about not having the right number to call. 


Safety First

Did you know that all of Rheem’s classrooms doors can be easily locked from the inside?  In 2015, Moraga School District changed all the classroom door locks to be easily secured from the inside without a key.  Previously, a teacher had to use his/her key to lock the door from the outside.  We appreciate this important upgrade to our facility, which can save valuable time in the case of an emergency. 


Hello from Roadrunner Club submitted by Eleanor Persons

Just to catch you up on what has been going on at Roadrunners Club:  We made the best of all the rain we had.  We played indoor tennis with balloons and paper plates.  We celebrated Martin Luther King Day with intertwining hands painted different colors, and we celebrated Chinese New Year with the most beautiful hand painted dragons.  It does not matter what the weather is, we still have a blast at Roadrunner Club!  

Just a gentle reminder: After School Enrichment Classes started this past week.  Remember, one Activity Release form per child per class.  If your child is not picked up from the class when it is over, the teachers have been instructed to return your child to Roadrunner club and all normal fees apply.

Thank you for your understanding.


Last Word…

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on a preamble, because I’d like you to get right to this video of advice from Brene Brown about how to talk with your kids about the divisive political rhetoric that is everywhere right now.  She speaks about her own experience with family members who have very different beliefs.  And, she does a great job of “not taking sides” in this short (5 minute) talk but, instead, reminding parents of the important job of raising kids who are committed, but not compliant.  I appreciate her simple, direct, relatable style that focuses on keeping respect and civility front and center, and I hope you do, too.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

January 22, 2017


At our Spirit Assemblies on Wednesday, we discovered that we are about to embark on “The GREATEST Read-a-thon on Earth!”  This year, our annual Read-a-thon has taken on a whimsical circus theme, challenging our students set goals to READ READ READ!  Information packets came home in the backpacks on Wednesday (including an optional assignment for students to complete a “Feat of Daring” poster for a chance to win a prize).   You can find all the information and forms regarding our annual Read-a-thon by clicking HERE or looking under the “Quick Links” tab on our website homepage. Tally sheets for the 1stweek of reading are due on Thursday, January 23rd.

We hope our students will take advantage of a 3-day weekend to start tallying their reading hours.  There is no school for students on Monday, January 23 as it is a Staff Development Day for teachers.


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, January 23:

  • Staff Development Day – no school for students

Tuesday, January 24:

  • 5th grade/Cavallero Field Trip to Martinez Courthouse (9:00 – 2:00)

Thurs., January 26:

  • 1st Week Read-a-thon Tally Sheets Due!
  • 5th grade/Greer Field Trip to Martinez Courthouse (9:00 – 2:00)



School News and Highlights

Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth

Click HERE to see the presentation Rheem students saw on Wednesday to Kick-off this year’s Read-a-thon.  (Note: a powerpoint version is attached if the Google sheets link doesn’t work).  The presentation includes a photo of the inspiring “Rheem Circus” from Halloween, instructions on completing the double-sided “Feat of Daring” poster, a goal-setting video, and information about the rewards that are in store for a successful Read-a-thon.


THANK YOU Read-a-thon Committee

This year’s Read-a-thon was made possible by the leadership of Read-a-thon Chairperson, Diane Johnson and her talented committee, including Sally Salay, Michele Kong, and Jennifer Blau.   Also, thanks in advance to the dozens of parent volunteers who will be helping tallying student hours read. 


Where is the Roadrunner Now?

The Roadrunner mascots enjoy traveling from class to class as our many friendly class competitions send them all around the school!

January 13th Spirit Assembly, the Roadrunner mascots were awarded to the classes that brought in the most neatly-trimmed Box Tops.   Here are those results:

K – 2nd category:

3rd place: Ms. Strohmeyer’s 1st grade class with 119 Box Tops

2nd place: Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade class with 143 Box Tops

1st place: Ms. Webster’s 2nd grade class with 170 Box Tops!


3rd – 5th category:

3rd  place: Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade class with 201 Box Tops

2nd place: Ms. Ralph’s 3rd grade class with 493 Box Tops

1st place: Mr. Greer’s 1st grade class with 522 Box Tops!


Next, our mascots will travel to the classes who show the highest, most consistent participation during the Read-a-thon!   


Teachers Go to School!

At the Staff Development Day on Monday, January 23, all MSD K – 5th grade teachers will meet with MSD Writers’ Workshop Consultants in the morning to norm and calibrate student “on demand” writing as a way to provide differentiated, targeted instruction.   In the afternoon, teachers will choose from a menu of workshops presented by specialists on such topics as “Handwriting and Fine Motor Interventions” to “Assistive Technology Tools for Writers in the Classroom.”  We are looking forward to a full day of learning!



School Climate Survey Results

Correcting Inappropriate Behavior

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 71% respondents agreed with the statement “The school has systems in place to correct inappropriate behavior that include opportunities to learn from consequences”.

Actual Breakdown: 26% strongly agree; 45% agree; 14% neutral; 2% disagree; 1% strongly disagree; 13% don’t know

Although the positive response to this statement increased from 69% last year, Rheem’s Site Council and staff has noted that this is the only question on our survey that fell below our hoped-for 80% positive-response benchmark.  It’s worth noting that this question had a much larger “neutral” and “don’t know” response than any others, which may indicate that a relatively low percentage of our student population actually has “inappropriate behavior” that requires specific correction.   However, to support communication in this regard, this week’s “Did You Know” article (below) focuses on our school’s Gold and Blue Slip system.


Did You Know?

Rheem’s Gold and Blue Slip System is Almost 20 years old!

In an effort to acknowledge and encourage positive behavior as well as to promote consistency in dealing with inappropriate behaviors, a Gold Slip/Blue Slip system was introduced to Rheem students in 1997.  Ever since, Rheem students who are “caught being good” by a school adult are given a Gold Slip.  Gold Slips are collected in the classrooms until two are chosen at random at a monthly Spirit Assembly for a chance to “spin the wheel” and win a prize.

Conversely, students receive blue slips when a school rule is broken.  Blue Slips are reviewed by the principal and dealt with according to the individual infraction and circumstance with parent cooperation and support.  Oftentimes, students complete an “Incident Reflection” after receiving a blue slip as an opportunity to think through which Lifeskills could have been helpful and/or how to best “clean-up” the situation.

Our goal is for all students to recognize that they are part of a team and their contributions matter!


Tickets on Sale NOW!



The Moraga Education Foundation (MEF) is celebrating its 35th year of supporting excellence in education for all Moraga public school students. In honor of this anniversary, you are invited to Under the City Lights, a community wide event on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing. Tickets and VIP tables are limited and on sale now at  


Auction donations are still welcome.  Nothing is too small as donations can be packaged together.  This celebration is a separate fundraising event from MEF’s 2016-2017 annual campaign as proceeds will specifically benefit the MEF Endowment Fund to help provide a long-term, stable source of funding.  We look forward to seeing you there!  Questions? Email


The Last Word…

This next week, January 23 – 27, is The Great Kindness Challenge Week.  All California public schools have been encouraged to participate, and yes, Rheem School is signed up!  The goal of this week is simple – just spread kindness!  I can’t imagine better timing.

Our school uses the word “RESPECT” as its cornerstone.  As a result, kindness is always valued.  Kindness is a sign of strength and imparts power to both the giver and the receiver.

Click HERE to download a 50-item checklist of Kindness examples OR create your own.  As a family, see how many acts of kindness YOU can achieve.  At Rheem, we will continue to look for ways to recognize and celebrate kindness – through thoughts, words, and deeds – every day of the school year.  Why?  Because we’re all in this together, and kindness MATTERS!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


Readathon 2017.pptx 


“Frank”ly Speaking…

January 15, 2017


We enjoyed a busy week at Rheem!  In addition to the excitement of heavy rains, we held our school’s National Geo Bee (always a nail-biter) and attended inspiring Soul Shoppe “I’ve Got Your Back” workshops. 


Meanwhile, we are eagerly anticipating the beginning of our annual Rheem Read-a-thon on Thursday, January 18.  You’ll soon discover that there why this year’s Read-a-thon is destined to be “The Greatest Read-a-thon on Earth!”   Information will be coming home in the backpacks on Wednesday after our kick-off Spirit Assembly.  The kids can start readying and tallying their Read-a-thon hours on Thursday.


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, January 16:

  • School Holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 17:

  • School Site Council Meeting – 3:15 in Room 25

WednesdayJanuary 18:

  • Spirit Assemblies in Multi-Use Room: 3rd – 5th at 9:00; K – 2nd at 10:00

ThursdayJanuary 19:

  • Read-a-thon Begins!
  • 3rd grade Stand Up, Be Safe lessons in classrooms:
    • 9:15 - 10:00 Caraska; 10:30 - 11:15 Ralph; 1:00 - 1:45 Berkman


School News and Highlights

  •  “We need to do this every month!” was what one parent commented after attending the “Soul Shoppe Parent Ed Night” on Wednesday evening, January 11.  After a very brief PTA meeting, Amy from Soul Shoppe led the assembled parents through a series of exercises and examples of how to be supportive and effective when those inevitable conflicts arise.  Thank you PTA for sponsoring this Parent Ed presentation as well as this year’s Soul Shoppe workshop series for our students.
  • On Thursday, January 12, twelve 4th and 5th graders competed for the title of Rheem School’s National Geographic Champion 2017! At the end of the impressive and intense hour-long competition, 5th grader Andy Moon, was named champion, and 5th grader Kadin True, was declared runner-up. For the full list of contestants and details about this exciting event, click HERE.
  • On Friday, January 13, students and staff met Ms. Nasi from Soul Shoppe for “I’ve Got Your Back” workshops.  Through stories and role play, she helped the students recognize when and how they can be an “ally” – not only to a person being mistreated, but also to the person who may be experiencing a “leaky balloon.”  Students discovered that questions such as “Are you OK?” and “How Can I Help?” can be used to create the “Recess of Our Dreams!” 
  • Rheem School recently received a $619.90 check from General Mills, representing our Box Tops collection from March, 2016 – November, 2016.   Visit to track our school’s earnings throughout the year and also to find more ways to earn.  Bonuses can really add up!


Kindergarten & Transitional Kindergarten Registration

Welcome ’17-’18 kindergarteners!

Rheem will hold registration for next year’s Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students on Thursday and Friday, February 2nd and 3rd.  Registration will take place at Rheem from 9:00am – 2:00 pm on both days. 

To be eligible for kindergarten, the child must turn 5 years of age by September 1, 2017. To be eligible for Transitional Kindergarten, the child must have their 5th birthday between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, 2017.

For detailed information about on-line registration, immunization requirements, and what documents to bring on registration days, click HERE.

Parents of incoming kindergartners should bring their calendars to registration, as we will need to schedule incoming Kindergarten students for our “Getting to Know You” appointment, which will take place in April.


The Cost of Student Absences

And, by the way, we’ve improved!

This space has often been used to remind parents that all absences (whether excused or unexcused) have a financial impact on our school budget.  For example, last year, I reported that Rheem had a total of 2,136 absences in 14-15, representing $83,000 in lost revenue.  I’m pleased to let you know that during the 15-16 school year, we reduced our total absences to 1,725.  Although, this still represents a hefty cost ($67,000) we are definitely moving in the right direction. 

Certainly, we do not want sick children coming to school.  However, it is important to consider the necessity or appropriateness of an unexcused absences.  Of last year’s 1,725 absences, 523 were “unexcused.”  These unexcused absences represent over $20,000 in lost revenue for Rheem School alone. 

There are ways to mitigate financial loss due to unexcused absences.  One is by completing an Independent Study for absences of five days or more.  Another is by providing reimbursement to the district for unexcused absences.  For the 2016-2017 school year, the average daily attendance (ADA) rate is $40.63.  A check payable to the Moraga School District can be sent directly to the school to cover the cost of lost revenue due to extended family vacations or “extra” holidays.  Thank you!



Safety First

Supervision Before and After School

It’s important that students are well supervised at all times.  Supervision before school begins at 8:10 (9:10 for late birds) and extends 15 minutes after dismissal.  It’s important to be aware of these limits so that your child is always adequately supervised.  Unless your child is enrolled in Roadrunner Club, please your child does not before 8:10 in the morning; also, make sure that your child is picked up by 3:20.

Students who arrive on campus before or after we provide supervision, may be asked to report to Roadrunner Club and a resulting fee will be charged.  Thank you for your cooperation.


School Climate Survey Results

Rewarding Positive Behavior

In the MSD School Climate Survey given in November, 2016, 186 Rheem parents responded as follows:

  • 92% respondents agreed with the statement “The school has systems in place to encourage and reward positive behavior and contribution”.

Actual Breakdown: 52% strongly agree; 40% agree; 4% neutral; 2% disagree; 1% strongly disagree; 1% don’t know



Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director

We are really celebrating this weather!  We have painted cloudy stormy skies, we have had soup and hot apple cider.  We had a cool science project making snow with baking soda and hair conditioner.  The kids made the coolest snow men! We had snow bridges with long trains, we had melted snow men, and we had the best time ever!  The kids were up to their elbows in "snow!"  What a mess, but what a blast!

A gentle reminder: A drop in reservation is permanent for that day and time.  If you cancel, you are still responsible for the fees of that day. 

Enjoy the Rain!  It is doing so much good.


The Last Word…

I was delighted to receive this short film (only 8 minutes long) in my email recently, and am even more delighted to share it with you all now.  It is lovely and nonsensical and funny and wise.  Most important, it reminds me of the insightful consciousness of children, and how through their playful imaginings, we can find profound comfort (if we listen closely).  Click HERE to watch and hear lessons on overcoming fear and self-doubt, and then, always remember, “Scared is scared of all the things you like…”

I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

January 8, 2017


Greetings from a very rainy beginning to 2017!  However, be assured that not even the rain will dampen our resolve to press onward to meet bigger and brighter goals at Rheem.

This coming week, we will re-emphasize our work with Soul Shoppe – starting with a Parent Ed opportunity on Wednesday, where our consultant Amy will present “Building Resiliency and Supporting a Growth Mindset in Our Students” immediately following the brief PTA meeting.  Then,on Friday, all students will attend “I’ve Got Your Back” workshops, where students will learn exactly what to say and do to intervene when others are being hurtful.   It’s all part of marinating a “big-hearted” school where all students feel safe and happy. 

Add to this our continued Readers’ Workshop implementation, our “Math and Mindset” focus, and our renewed interest in being Wastebusters (see articles on all these items below), and MORE, it is clear that we are headed toward great things in 2017!  


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, January 9

  • 4th/McMullen: “Walk Through California”
    • 8:30 – 11:00 in Multi-Use Room


Tuesday, January 10

  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 in JM Library
    • Click HERE for agenda


Weds., January 11

  • PTA Meeting in Multi-Use Room
    • 6:30 p.m. in Multi-Use Room
    • Soul Shoppe Parent Presentation: “Building Resiliency and Supporting a Growth Mindset in Our Students” Don’t miss this informative parent presentation!  The presentation will begin immediately after conducting some brief PTA business


Thurs., January 12

  • Rheem National Geographic Bee
    • 9:00 a.m. in Multi-Use Room (Best of luck to our student finalists!)
  • MSD Student Wellness Committee meeting
    • 6:30 p.m. at JM Library


Friday, January 13

  • Soul Shoppe “I’ve Got Your Back” workshops
    • 4th Grade 8:30 - 9:15
    • 3rd Grade 9:20 - 10:05
    • 2nd Grade 10:10 - 10:50
    • Kindergarten 11:00 - 11:30
    • 1st Grade 1:15 - 1:50
    • 5th Grade 2:00 - 3:00

Note: Click HERE for a Parent Letter from Soul Shoppe about these workshops!


School News & Highlights:

Moraga Police Join Rheem Students for Lunch

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Moraga Police Department Officers Mooney and Craig joined Rheem students during lunch.  After several excited students reported that “the police are here!” they all got a chance to settle in and chat with the officers as they rotated around the room, giving out “Junior Police Officer” badges to the students.  We hope to see more of MPD’s officers as they make efforts to get to know the people (adults and kids alike) that they serve.  

Where Does it Go?  Rheem students know!

Compost. Recycling. Trash.  Rheem students are learning the differences so that they can help our school AND our planet.  Prior to the Winter Break, Recycle Woman (in human form) visited Rheem School to work with our “Students Worried About Trash” (aka: SWAT team) to conduct a “waste audit” to see how we were doing with our lunchtime sorting.  Click HERE for the powerpoint of what we found (featuring members of our very own SWAT team!) and HERE (“The Power of Sorting Resources” student guide”) for what we are doing about it.   

The Clean-Up

Last week, Rheem students reviewed the 5-step process for resolving problems and changing our future behaviors for the better.  Here’s how it works: When we become aware of having caused a problem, we approach the person and say:

                ○ I know that I ​. . . (admit what we’ve done.)

○ I apologize​. (apologize sincerely)

○ What can I do to make it right? (​ listen to what they need to make it better now, and what they need to do next time to avoid it happening again.)

○ Next time I will . . . ​ (make a commitment for a positive behavior we will do next time)

○ Will you forgive me? ​(shake hands, shake it off!)

Readers Workshop Lab Sessions

A new series of Readers Workshop trainings begin this week. All Rheem teachers will be participating in these ½ day workshops, focusing on the research and inquiry skills our students develop through the reading of non-fiction texts.   This work specifically aligns with our school’s English and Language Arts goal.  Thank you for your understanding and support as each teacher will participate in four ½ day trainings with our consultants from West Coast Literacy.  

School Climate Survey Results:  Behavioral Expectations

In mid-November, MSD asked all parents of elementary school students to provide feedback in a survey about “School Climate.”  In the next several issues of Rheemarks, we will feature one survey question and how the 186 Rheem parents who responded answered:

  • 90% respondents agreed with the statement “The school’s behavioral expectations are clear, consistent, and conducive to learning.

Actual Breakdown: 53% strongly agree; 37% agree; 5% neutral; 1% disagree; 1% strongly disagree; 2% don’t know


Rheem Team Cares

School-Wide Efforts Support those Nearby and Around the World

Each year, Rheem students and staff focus practice the Lifeskill of Caring and Friendship by helping others.  This year, Rheem’s efforts provided support to three different organizations:  The Berkeley Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center, Heifer International, and Make a Wish Foundation.  Whether helping those locally or on the other side of the globe, it always feels good to reach out and make a positive difference.  See below for the details of each specific effort.

K – 3rd grade Students Bring Cheer to Women and Children in Berkeley

Rheem School has enjoyed a long tradition of being part of the holiday celebration at the Berkeley Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center.  This year, Rheem families were able to purchase toys for the children and gift cards for the mothers who frequent this shelter.  Angie Guidi organized this effort for our school and was again overwhelmed by the generosity of Rheem’s students and parents.  Likewise, the smiles on the faces of the moms and kids who were the recipients of these gifts brought true meaning to the Lifeskills of Caring and Friendship.


4th Graders Support Heifer International

by MarcAnthony Paolieri Della Monica and Arnav Misra

Each year Rheem School’s fourth grade classes raise money to donate to Heifer International.  What Heifer basically is, is an organization to help the poor. The organization has lifted 25 million families out of poverty. Heifer’s goal is to help the remaining 1 Billion people out of poverty. What Heifer does is it gives people animals (instead of money), and teaches them how to use the animals properly and not eat them. But unlike money, animals don’t run out.

This year Ms. McMullen’s class raised $265 and bought a llama, flock of hope, and honey bees. Ms. McMullen’s class also gave the gift of a boost of nutrition. Mrs.Drury’s class raised $306 and bought a flock of hope, boost of nutrition, sheep, honey bees, and an earth gift basket. The last class, Mrs. Culleton’s class, raised in $266.61 and bought a llama, 3 shares of a pigs, a share of a water buffalo, a flock of hope, and chickens. A nutrition boost contains vitamins and protein and a head start on fighting off hunger. A flock of hope contains chicks, ducks, and geese. A share is when you donate a little bit of money and when the people that collect the money reach enough money to buy that animal they buy whatever animal you donated the money towards.


5th Graders Support Make A Wish Foundation

By Christina McDonnell, Ali Maguy and Caroline Obsitnik

Each year Rheem School’s fifth grade class donates money to a different foundation. This year we chose the *Make A Wish* Foundation which grants the wish of every child with a life-threatening medical condition. We wanted sick kids to have the opportunity to feel normal, get a break from their treatments and have fun. In the United States, about 1 wish is granted every 35 minutes.

Many kids have made the wish to meet someone famous like: Roger Federer, a famous tennis player, Selena Gomez or Bethany Hamilton. Some other kids wish to go to many places such as Hawaii, Disney World and Los Angeles. Some of the money raised helps pay for families to go on trips with their children.

All of the classes each donated a certain amount of money and together we earned $473.37!  Hopefully that will help make more wishes come true.  Many parents and children are grateful for the Make A Wish foundation, and so are we!


Teachers (and Principal) Go to School!

On Thursday, December 12, I  (Ms. Frank) attended an inspiring “Math and Mindset” workshop along with 5th grade teacher, Tonja Gubser and 1st grade teacher, Gillian O’Connell -- a very similar conference to one attended by 3rd grade teacher, Jackie Berkman, earlier in the year.  At these workshops, Stanford Profession Jo Boaler presented empowering ideas about learning math, and gave us an opportunity to collaboratively struggle with some challenging math problems!  We’re excited about sharing what we’ve learned with our colleagues and students. 

Now, YOU can know this important information, too.  For a video overview, “Four Boosting Math Messages from Jo and Her Students,” click HERE.  I encourage you to watch this 8 ½ minute video together with your child and talk about what seems surprising about these ideas and how these ideas can help when faced with a math challenge:

  1. Everyone Can Learn Math at High Levels
  2. Believe in Yourself!
  3. Struggle and Mistakes are Really Important
  4. Speed is Not Important

Parents can gain even more ideas about supporting a positive math experience for their children from a handout we received at the workshop, simply entitled “Advice for Parents”  Click HERE for your copy.



Safety (and Nutrition) First!

Consider a truly “healthy” birthday alternative this year…

Let’s face it, sometimes a frosted cupcake or a glazed doughnut really hits the spot, but too many sugary snacks can be problematic.  Also, the need to be alert to a variety of food allergies as well as nutritional preferences can complicate finding the perfect “one size fits all” edible birthday treat.  So, why not find an alternative (and healthier) way to celebrate your child’s big day?  At Rheem, it’s definitely OK to consider alternative birthday treats.  Some options include:

  • Have your child bring in a favorite book to share with the class.  No one is allergic to books!  Ms. Carl has several special book plates that can be used if a family would like to donate a book to the class or school library in honor of a child’s birthday.
  • Everyone can use a new pencil or eraser now and then.  Giving every classmate an inexpensive school tool that reflects your child’s interest (dinosaurs, soccer, dance, etc.) will be a welcome and useful way for your child to be recognized.
  • Did someone say Glue Sticks?  Imagine the thrill on the teacher’s face when your child presents the class with a set of brand new glue sticks (or sharpies, or colored pencils, etc.) in honor of his/her birthday!  Now, THAT will put some extra spirit into the Happy Birthday song!

Get the idea?  Please know that whatever a family chooses to do (or choose not to do), we will always help a child feel special on his/her birthday. We do ask that parents resist the temptation to provide elaborate goodie bags or bring in distractions like balloons or party favors.  When in doubt, just ask your child’s teacher – she will be happy let you know what will be most appreciated by the class in the limited time available to celebrate birthdays. Thank you!


Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director

Happy New Year from the Roadrunner Staff; 2017 will be the best year ever.  Now that everyone is bundled up in their coats and sweaters, please remember to collect all of the extra clothing at the end of the day, including umbrellas.  After-School Enrichment Classes start on Jan. 24. Please remember we need one Activity Release Form per child per class.

We have two New Years’ Resolutions at Roadrunner Club. First, we are trying to encourage the children to recycle as much as possible. Ask your child which garbage can a certain item goes in and I bet they know the answer!  Second, we have decided on a theme for Roadrunner Club this year.  Our theme is Kindness.  We have talked a lot about Kindness in circle, what it means,  how we can be kind to others and how we can do an act of kindness at least once a day.



The Last Word…

Empathy.  Simply understanding and caring about how someone else is feeling.  It’s an important concept, and one that makes a huge difference between an environment that is supportive and friendly and one that is… well… not.  With Roadrunner Club’s current focus on Kindness, Rheem School’s upcoming “I’ve Got Your Back” student workshops, not to mention the concerns generated by current world events, I can’t think of a better time to take a step back and remember the simple (yet powerful) meaning of the word Empathy.  Click HERE for a fun review, starring Mark Ruffalo – delivered in a way that even a pre-schooler will understand.  And, here’s hoping that Empathy will guide all our interactions at Rheem.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

January 2, 2017


I hope this “Happy New Year” edition finds all Rheem Teamers energized for all the learning and growing that awaits us in 2017.  Each New Year brings with it new hopes and goals, but one thing remains constant: “We’re all in this together!”  Let’s keep our famous spirit of collaboration (a.k.a. “Roadrunner Pride”) strong as we enjoy the good times as well as face the inevitable challenges ahead.  We can do this! 

P.S.  And, I can’t think of another group of people I’d rather do it WITH… *BeepBeep*


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, January 2: 

  • HOLIDAY – No school!

Tuesday, January 3:

Thurs., January 5:

Stand Up Be Safe lessons in 3rd grade classrooms

  • 9:15 - 10:00 Caraska; 10:30 - 11:15 Ralph; 1:00 - 1:45 Berkman



School News & Highlights

2017-2018 Calendar Approved

At the December 13 school board meeting, the Instructional Calendar for NEXT school year (2017-18) was approved.  Download your copy by clicking HERE and make sure to note the start of school and school holidays.  Although the specifics of Back-to-School Night and Open House haven’t been finalized yet, you’ll have important information for planning.


Rheem Parent Elected School Board President

On December 13, 2016, Moraga School Board member, Jon Nickens, was elected to serve as Board President.  Mr. Nickens was elected to the Board in 2014 and most recently served as the Board’s vice president.  President Nickens is well known to those of us at Rheem.  He is a frequent volunteer, working in his children’s classrooms and helping out at events like the FUN(d) Run and even on Picture Day!  He has previously held the office of Treasurer on the Rheem PTA Executive Board as treasurer and has also served on Rheem’s School Site Council.


Support MEF by supporting MEF Business and Civic Sponsors

These days, most people are choosing to spend their money with businesses that support like-minded causes.  Are you aware which local businesses support the Moraga Education Foundation?  Click HERE to view the list of MEF’s business and civic sponsors. As you make spending decisions in 2017, please consider supporting these businesses and organizations, and be sure to let them know their contribution and support of quality education is very much appreciated!


True Stories…

When you know your teachers need a vacation…

During the last school week before the break, a Rheem teacher asked me about my holiday plans.  I shared that I would see my mother at Christmas this year.  When the teacher asked me how old my mom was, I proudly reported that she was 89 years old.  Her response: “Wow!  That’s… well, that’s… that’s 8 TENS and 9 ONES!!!”



Get Involved in 2017! Submitted by Bruce Burns, MSD Superintendent

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution that will make a difference for both your child and the entire school community?  Consider joining a district-level committee.  There are a variety of opportunities to lend your voice to make a long-lasting impact.  Parent input is needed on all of the following committees:

Cultural Proficiency Committee:  This new MSD committee will explore what it means to be a “culturally proficient school” and will outline our district’s strengths and areas for improvement in making sure our schools provide equal access to all students.  Actions will be developed to make sure students from all backgrounds feel included and valued.

Coordinating Council: This long-standing MSD committee has evolved from reviewing supplemental district programs to developing and overseeing the implementation of the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan), the District’s road map to the future.  In other words, this committee decides the overarching direction and focus for our schools. 

School Safety Committee: This committee has had a great influence state-wide on the way safety concerns (specifically child-abuse reporting) are handled at the school level.  Currently, the Safety Committee develops and monitors MSD’s Comprehensive Student Safety Plan, which includes issues such as emergency preparedness, digital citizenship and campus security.

Student Wellness:  This committee was established in the fall of 2016 and is charged with ensuring that schools are in compliance with our district’s “Wellness” board policy.  Anticipated work of this committee will include how we address the physical, social, and emotional health of our students.

If you have an interest in any of the above topics, please contact your school principal or Camille Santi, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent (925-377-4101), to find out more!  Our schools’ success depends on the involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders.  Please join our efforts!


The Last Word…

Rheem School is in its 4th year of working with Soul Shoppe to promote a safe, happy, and “big-hearted” school environment.  We look forward to kicking-off this year’s efforts in earnest in January.

I hope that all Rheem parents have marked their calendars to attend the PTA-sponsored upcoming Soul Shoppe Parent Night, scheduled for Wednesday, January 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Use Room.  There you will meet Amy MacClain, who will be working with Rheem students and staff throughout this spring.  For this Parent Night, Amy will discuss ways that parents can support a “growth mindset” in their children – helping them to foster resilience, persevere through challenges, and be open-minded to new ideas and opportunities.  And, isn’t that what we want most for our children?

Our goal in continuing our work with Soul Shoppe is to maintain and strengthen our previously-learned communication and coping skills (I-Message, Clean-Up, Emptying Our Balloons, etc.), while growing in ways that can make our classrooms and playground as happy and safe as possible!  The four student workshops already scheduled for this spring include:

  •           “I’ve Got Your Back” on January 13, 2017
  •           “100% You” on February 10, 2017
  •           “Response-Ability” on March 10, 2017
  •           “Me to We” on April 14, 2017

These workshops are designed to promote empathy and compassion, while teaching students how to communicate with respect and confidence.  These skills will support our student in building strong, healthy relationships in school and beyond. 

Parents will receive information both before and after each workshop to reinforce these messages at home.  The school home partnership will be important to our success.  Let’s start off this New Year by reaffirming our commitment to work together as a school community in the best interest of our children – starting with attending the Parent Night on Wednesday, January 11.  See you there!

I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

December 11, 2016


It’s hard to believe we have just one more week of school before our two-week Winter Break!  It’s an exciting time, and amidst all the hustle and bustle, I’d like to extend a friendly reminder to continue practicing our safety rules – especially when it comes to dropping-off and picking-up students on Laird Drive.  Please remember not to pass waiting cars into on-coming traffic or to use the red bus circle for drop-off.  Parking lots are also off-limits for pick-up and drop-off.  Let’s make sure our lifeskills of Caring, Cooperation, and Patience extend into our parking and traffic procedures.

Please note that Friday, December 16 is a minimum day for all students.  On Friday, all students arrive at 8:25.  Kindergarten students will be dismissed at 11:50 and 1st – 5th graders will be dismissed at 12:12.  Remember, there is no lunch served on minimum days.


This Week at Rheem:


Tuesday, Dec. 13:

  • K – 3 “Rheem Cares” donations due
  • 4th grade “Heifer Project” donations due
  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at JM
    • Click HERE for agenda


Weds., Dec. 14:

  • BOX TOPS collection in classrooms
  • 5th grade “Make a Wish Foundation” donations due


Friday, Dec. 16:

    • 8:25 arrival for All students
    • Kindergarten dismissed at 11:50
    • 1st – 5th graders dismissed at 12:12



School News & Highlights

  • Rheem’s 4th and 5th grade students enlightened and entertained us with an “Inform-ance,” on Thursday, December 8, showing us how much they have learned in music class.  Under the direction of Mr. Noel (strings), Ms. Stafford (band) and Mr. Zack (choir), students demonstrated the inspiring results of weekly practice.  Many thanks to MEF for funding our Music Program!
  • Save the Date for MEF’s event, Under the City Lights. It will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. The evening will include silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing.  Please help support MEF's 35th Anniversary event by donating an auction item.  Please go to the event website for details. 



Our Lost & Found is Overflowing! Submitted by Lisa Fitzinger

Please be sure to check the Lost and Found clothing racks in front of Wing #3 as there are jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters and other odds & ends just waiting to be claimed.  Most parents are surprised to find items that they didn’t even realize were missing!  We have clothing items from companies such as Columbia, Nike, and Gap. We have spirit wear from school and local youth teams.

Rheem Leadership students check the lost and found weekly for any items that are labeled with student names and return these items to their owners.  Please make sure to clearly mark your child's clothing, lunchbox, hats, etc. with your child's name.

The current Lost and Found will be on display through Friday, December 16th until 12:30 p.m.  At that time all unclaimed items will then be donated to a local charity.


Rheem Book Fair a Success! submitted by Sharon Gillbanks, Librarian

The Scholastic Book Fair at Rheem was a huge success with a sales exceeding last year by  $300+.  It was so exciting to have ALL the students visit the fair and to witness their enthusiasm about being able to see so many new books and participate in an independent shopping experience by either purchasing books or making their wish lists.  Each and every student used their math, time management and decision making skills to make their visit a fun, educational experience. 

Thank you to all the parents for reading my informational letter (it was rather long) and who followed through with the instructions for the class visits.  It made the class visits go so smoothly. Thank you to all those parents who also visited the book fair to purchase books to benefit the Rheem Library and the classrooms (Teacher Wish Lists).  Lastly, thank you so very much to all the parent volunteers who helped during the book fair, especially Lynette Galarza & Tohiko Barrett (my own mom!) who worked tirelessly from open to close every day of the fair!  It would not have been such a success if not for all the volunteers' generous help!

Please note the following regarding Library Books over the Winter Holiday:

All Rheem Library books are due back into the library this week before Winter Break.  There will be no check-outs this week, but please take your children to the Public Libraries over break!  They have fun events & activities during December. (and every month):


The Last Word…

Last week in this space, I included some true stories of Rheem students demonstrating kindness towards staff and one another.  Sharing those stories prompted even more examples of consideration, including this anecdote from Mrs. Johnson, our computer teacher:

“I worked last weekend and all day Monday setting up a breakout/treasure hunt game for the kids in computer lab. I was excited, but stressed because I had underestimated how much work it would be to develop. 

I was floored by how appreciative the kids were!  One third grader asked how long it took.  I told her I "worked on it over the weekend," and she said "Oh Mrs. Johnson, thank you so much for doing this for us!" She told her classmates, and they all came up and thanked me. It totally made it all that much more worthwhile.  What a wonderful bunch of students!

When so many of us worry about the decline of civil discourse, it’s gratifying to see (and hear!) that our students appreciate the efforts of others and are able to freely express their gratitude – especially, since it’s been scientifically proven that a sincere “thank you” positively benefits both the giver and the receiver.  Click HERE for a recent Today Show Health and Wellness post on the topic (as well as a cute video of kids explaining how gratitude works).

Civility.  Appreciation.  Gratitude.  Empathy.  These will continue to be lifekills we will value, teach, and practice at Rheem.  It’s especially important this time of year as we give/receive gifts and respect our varied holiday traditions.  Happy Holidays and Gratitude to all!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

December 4, 2016



In these final weeks before the holiday break, all classrooms are participating in a special “Rheem Cares” project.  Hopefully, you’ve already heard details about Kindergarten through 3rd graders providing holiday cheer to the children and mothers at the Women’s Drop-In Center in Berkeley, 4th graders collecting spare change to benefit the Heifer Project, and 5th graders supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  All families are encouraged to get involved as a way of helping our students practice the important Lifeskills of Caring and Friendship with a special focus on Giving. 

And, speaking of gift-giving…are grandparents, aunts, and uncles nagging you for the perfect holiday gift?  This holiday season consider the gift of a donation to MEF in your child’s honor.  Remember, the gift of education lasts a lifetime!  Direct them to

Thank you for your generosity, support, and caring!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, December 5:

  • First Day of Winter Hot Lunch Session!
  • PTA Executive Board Meeting, 9:30 in Room 25
  • 4th grade Walk-Through California Programs
    • Culleton in a.m.; Drury in p.m.
  • Parent Ed Night: Sensory Processing (7:00 p.m. in JM Library)


Tuesday, December 6:

  • Vision Screening for all 2nd grade and K students not previously screened
  • School Site Council Meeting, beginning at 3:15 in Room 25
  • Parent Ed Night: Parenting in the Digital Age (7:00 p.m. in JM Auditorium)


Wednesday, December 7:

  • 1st grade Field Trip Trip to Lawrence Hall of Science (9:00 – 1:30)


Thursday, December 8:

  • 4th/5th grade Winter Music Concert in MU Room (2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)


Friday, December 9:

  • 2nd grade Field Trip to Contra Costa County Food Bank (8:30 – 12:15)

Note: All 2nd graders are Early Birds on Friday



Parent Education Opportunities This Week

This week, MSD offers (not one), but TWO informative Parent Ed Nights:

  • On Monday, December 5, join Occupational Therapist, Janet Alexander, to learn more about “Sensory Regulation Strategies,” beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the JM Library.  Click HERE for the flyer detailing additional “Evening with the Experts” presentations during this school year.
  • On Tuesday, December 6, join MSD Director of Technology, Adrienne DeWolfe,  for “Parenting in the Digital Age”beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the JM Auditorium.  If devices are on your children’s holiday gift list, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn tips on managing screen time and responsible use! Please see the flyer for more information. 


School News and Highlights:

  • Did you know that December 5 – 9th is Computer Science Education Week? In honor of this special week, Rheem students will be participating in the Hour of Code, joining tens of millions of students globally to learn more about computer programming. K-3 will participate in a fun classroom breakout challenge where they solve programming puzzles to unlock secret boxes. 4th and 5th grade students will continue working on Learn to Code, a self-paced curriculum I developed based on Harvard’s Creative Computing Guide. Want more information or to continue learning at home? Visit for a myriad of fun and engaging activities for your child. Happy coding!
  • We will be making another BOX TOPS collection before the Winter Break.  Please turn in all neatly-trimmed Box Tops to the classrooms by Wednesday, December 14.  The classes that bring in the most Box Tops will be awarded the Roadrunner Mascots at the January Spirit Assemblies.
  • Many thanks to the Moraga Kiwanis Club for recently improving our school campus by adding two new painted features to our front blacktop: a large-scale USA map and a “Peace Path” that outlines the steps for successful conflict resolution.   This project was headed-up by Club President, Sam Sperry (grandfather to four Rheem students: 5th grader, Max, 2nd grader Ellis, and K cousins, Ford and Meg) and involved several club members, including our very own superintendent, Bruce Burns


Did you Know?

Recycle Woman (a real superhero) made a visit to Rheem before the Thanksgiving Break to remind all staff and students about the importance of recycling.  To help us in our efforts, she introduced the following new items that you may notice around campus:

  • Compost Pails in the classrooms to collect paper towels and any food scraps
  • “Itty Bitty” trash caddies that hook onto our recycling bins.  That way, students really think about whether to use the recycling or landfill side of the trash container.
  • “Paper Towel Only” Slim Jims in the restrooms.  Yes, paper towels are compostable, and, therefore, we are reducing waste by not putting them in the trash.

Recycle Woman (aka Jessica Jane Robinson) also visited Rheem the week prior to conduct a “Trash Audit” with our SWAT (Students Worried About Trash) Team, and will be back in January to conduct another one to see the progress we’ve made.  Jessica is a Climate Reality Leader working with the Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore.   



National Geographic Bee Finalists Announced

We are very proud of the forty-nine 4th and 5th graders who participated in the Preliminary Round of this year’s National Geographic Bee.  On Wednesday and Thursday or this week, these students took a 35-question quiz to determine who would compete in the final competition.  The twelve qualifying students are listed below:

4th graders:                         5th graders:

Arnav M.                              Andy M.

Cooper C.                             Ben T.

Devan A.                              Callen B.

Emma A.                              Kadin T.

Luka V.                                Maureen K.

                                          Nate H.

                                          Serge V.

The Final National Geographic Bee Competition will be held on Thursday, January 12 at 9:00 in the Multi-Use Room.  This contest will be similar to a Spelling Bee where contestants orally answer questions about geography until one champion is selected to represent the school!  We are looking forward to this exciting annual event!


The Last Word…


On Wednesday, at the MSD Coordinating Council Meeting, we were discussing our English Language Learner program.  One parent (who moved to Moraga from Russia last year) remarked that her son came home from his first day of school at Rheem and told her that he had “many friends.”  She questioned him, “But you don’t speak English; how can you have so many friends?”  He responded, “We didn’t talk, but I know they are my friends.”


On Thursday, when I was handing out the 35-question National Geographic Preliminary Quiz to students who were giving up their lunch recess to take the test, I heard the simple words, “Thank You,” as I gave each child her or her paper. 


On Friday, one of the MSD directors was on campus for a meeting.  She stopped me to say, “You know, several kids smiled at me and said Hello while I was on my way to this classroom!  That was so nice -- they don’t even know me!”


I can’t remember what day it was, but this past week I overheard a 2nd grade girl come into the office to thank Ms. Fitzinger for lending her a sweatshirt when she was cold and then apologizing for not returning it (it had fallen out of her backpack).  The 2nd grader offered, “Is there anything I can do to make it right?”


And that’s just what I remember off the top of my head!  It is so gratifying to see and hear of these genuine and unexpected acts of civility and inclusion happening around us at Rheem – especially when many of us worry about the impact of unkind words that we hear on the national news.  These gestures from our students are small to be sure, but they provide us with a grand sense of hope for our future!


I love this school!


Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

November 27, 2016


Leftovers, anyone?  Here’s hoping that you all enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  It’s always a wonderful time to reflect on our good fortune and the true meaning of gratitude.  You’ll read more about how to continue that effort in this edition of Rheemarks


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, November 28:

  • Be on the lookout for “Rheem Cares” information coming home in the backpacks

Tuesday, November 29:

  • Last Day to sign-up for Winter Hot Lunch!

Wednesday, November 30:

  • 1st grade “Ice Cream Baggies” in classrooms
    • Bailey (8:30 – 9:25); O’Connell (9:35 – 10:40); Strohmeyer (11:05 – 12:05)
  • National Geo Bee Preliminary Competition (12:15 in Room 2)
  • MSD Coordinating Council Meeting
    • 3:30 p.m. at Camino Pablo School/Rm. 7

Thursday, December 1:

  • National Geo Bee Preliminary Competition (12:15 in Room 17)

Friday, December 2:

  • Last Day of Fall Hot Lunch (Winter Hot Lunch begins on Monday, Dec. 5)


School News and Highlights:

  • The sign-ups for our Winter Trimester of Hot Lunch CLOSES this Tuesday, Nov. 29
    • Link for Menu and to Sign Up:, go to Hot Lunch under Programs, and go to the eteambuilder site to sign up.
    • If you have any questions please contact Kim Pertel - 
    • The new service will begin Monday, December, 5 and go through Friday March, 3.
  • Attention 4th & 5th graders!  This week, preliminary competitions to select 8 – 10 National Geo Bee finalists will be held during lunch recess as follows:
    • Weds. Nov. 30 in Room 2 for 4th graders
    • Thurs., Dec. 1 in Room 17 for 5th graders

          Click HERE for details about the National Geo Bee at Rheem


  • The Roadrunner Mascots were awarded to the classrooms with the best attendance during the 1st trimester of this school year.  Congratulations to Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade and Ms. McMullen’s 4th grade!
  • Rheem has expanded its recycling efforts by adding paper towel receptacles in the bathrooms.  Used paper towels are compostable; therefore, by adding them to our food compost pick-up, we will greatly reduce adding to landfills. 
  • THANK YOU to the 186 Rheem parents who responded to the MSD School Climate Survey.  Look for information about the results in future RHEEMARKS issues. 


Spirit Assembly Lesson

In addition to singing school songs and applauding gold slip winners at the November 18 Spirit Assembly, Rheem students reflected on their own specific gratitude lists and considered how their lists might be similar or different to other children around the world.  In doing so, we viewed photos taken of children with their most prized possessions.  Click HERE to access the slideshow.  Consider watching it together with your child to hear what he/she noticed about the photos.

If you’d like to learn more about the project that inspired these photos, click HERE


Parent Education Opportunities

Parenting in the Digital Age, with MSD Technology Director, Adrienne DeWolf

  • Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. at JM Auditorium.  Sign up to attend now! 
  • Please see the flyer for more details. Also, if you haven't completed the parent survey, it's linked on the flyer, and we'd still love your input. 


Sensory Processing, with MSD Occupational Therapist, Janet Alexander

  • Tuesday, December 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the JM Library
  • Click HERE for the flyer detailing additional “Evening with the Experts” presentations during this school year


Did you Know?

Rheem has a long-standing tradition of focusing on the lifeskills of Caring and Friendship during the weeks between the Thanksgiving and Winter holidays by helping those in need.  This effort is called “Rheem Cares.”  K – 3rd grades will support the Berkeley Women’s Drop-In Shelter, while 4th and 5th graders support Heifer International and the Make a Wish Foundation, respectively.  Be on the lookout for information coming home in the backpacks or through teacher e-newsletters this week so that your family can get involved and experience the joy of helping out. 


Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC director


The Roadrunner kids enjoyed a fun week prior to the Thanksgiving Break.  Due to the conference schedule, we had long days and lots of kids, with great art projects and great weather.  On Tuesday, with the misty, breezy weather, we half expected Mary Poppins to fly in with her umbrella!


I want to remind all of you that we have wonderful job opportunities at Roadrunner Club. We are looking for someone who likes children and wants to earn a little extra spending money. Do you want to purchase something special for the holidays? Apply here!


I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.  See you again soon!


Last Word…

We are fortunate people.  Most of us don’t have to think very hard before coming up with many ideas to put on our gratitude lists.  And, although our individual lists vary, there is one thing I know we all have in common: The Moraga Education Foundation. 

Just imagine how different it might feel to send your child(ren) off to school tomorrow if they were not going to be enjoying the many benefits MEF provides.  Computer access would be severely limited and visual and performing arts programs would be non-existent.  Librarians, Science Aides, Technology teachers, and Teaching Assistants would not be there to greet and motivate your child(ren).  Class sizes would be larger and enriching experiences would be fewer.  Instead, everyparent in the Moraga School District can be assured that each child will be supported and inspired by the programs and personnel that MEF provides.  What a wonderful gift!

I urge all Rheem families to reflect on our good fortune to be supported by MEF.  If you have already given to MEF, we owe you our collective “Thanks.”  If you haven’t yet given, please consider joining the effort by clicking HERE.  I know many of you are upping your charitable donations this year in an effort to “do something” to help others.  Why not do what you can to make our schools the very best they can be?  Our children and their futures are worth it.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

November 13, 2016



This next week is Parent Conference Week!  I hope you have your “Rheem Team Family Challenge” posted prominently to help you keep track of the different schedules each day.  Please note that Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be shortened minimum days with an 11:45 dismissal for all 1st – 5th grade students.  Wednesday will follow the regular schedule, but remember; Wednesdayis always an early dismissal day at 1:50 for 1st – 5th graders.  All kindergartners will arrive as “early birds” every day this week. 

Make sure you review the “Tips for a Successful Parent Conference so that you can make the most of this important meeting. It’s our hope that by working together, we can make this the most successful year possible for every student.

While you’re at school for your Parent Conference, be sure to stop by the Book Fair, which will be held in the Library beginning tomorrow (Monday).  Proceeds from this event will go to support our school library.   All classes will be visiting the Book Fair during the school day in the coming week; however open shopping hours are as follows:


Book Fair Shopping Hours:

Monday, Nov. 14th: 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, Nov. 15th: 8 – 9 am & 11:30 – 2pm

Wednesday, Nov. 16th: 8 - 9 am & 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Thursday, Nov. 17th: 8 – 8:30 am & 11:30 – 5pm


This Week at Rheem:

Monday – Friday (Nov. 14 – 18):

  • Parent Conference Week and Book Fair!

Monday, Nov. 14

  • Recycling Assemblies with Recycle Woman!
    • 9:00 – 9:30           3rd – 5th graders
    • 10:00 – 10:30      K – 2nd graders

Tuesday, Nov. 15

  • MSD Wellness Committee
    • 7:00 p.m. in JM Library

Thursday, Nov. 17

  • 2nd grade Nor-Cal Bats presentations in Rm #25
    • Guidi (8:25 – 9:25)              Webster (9:25 – 10:25)     Thomson (10:35 – 11:35)
  • 3rd grade Native American Feast in Multi-Use Room

Friday, Nov. 18:

  • Spirit Assemblies!
    • K – 2nd (8:30 – 9:15)            3rd – 5th  (10:30 – 11:20)


MSD’s School Climate Survey Wants YOUR Feedback

Children learn best when they feel safe and secure at school.  The Moraga School District’s Elementary School Climate Survey provides an opportunity for parents to give important feedback to teachers and administrators about their child(ren)’s experience in this regard.


We hope ALL Rheem parents will take part in this survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes to compete.  The survey can be accessed by clicking HERE or through this link: This survey will be open until Friday, Nov. 18, so please don’t hesitate to give us your thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this valuable information!


2nd Trimester S.W.A.T Team Announced

Because we have so many 4th and 5th graders who want to help out our school as S.W.A.T. (Students Worried About Trash) team members, we rotate in a new group of students each trimester.  We are grateful for the service of our new 2nd trimester team:






Mateo P.

Tristyn R.

Owen L.

Sara H.

Brooke M.

Sofia G.

Nicholas L.

Preston W.

Diego H.

Isabella G.

Amarise G.

Leyni L.

Jake R.

Grace G.

Analise G.

Danielle L.

Luke B.

Cameron A.

Drew W.

Noah H.

Sophia P.

Luke D.

Mia H.

Finley C.

Nick B.

Brayden C.

Mitchell H.

Mari C.

Carly R.

Abby R-G

These students oversee the clean-up process that requires ALL students to sort recycling from food waste (compost) and then put whatever remains (hopefully, very little) into the trash.  Also, SWAT members are on hand to help out our youngest students in the lunchroom, and can be seen opening milk cartons, fetching water, handing out napkins, and attending to other needs.  This is just another wonderful service our older students provide to keep Rheem Rockin’!


Rheem’s National Geographic Bee Coming Soon

Calling all Rheem 4th & 5th grade Geography Buffs!  Rheem’s Annual National Geographic Bee will be taking place this winter.  The preliminary competition to select 8 – 12 school finalists will take place in the form of a written test in the classrooms during the week of Nov. 28.    Then, when we return from the Winter Break, the school finalists will participate in the final competition, scheduled for Thursday January 12 at 9:00 in the Multi-Use Room.  The National Geographic Bee is an exciting contest similar to a spelling bee where contestants orally answer questions about geography until one champion is selected to represent the school!  So, brush off those atlases, and join the fun! 

Want to get a head start on studying?  Check out the many quizzes and activities found on the Study Corner of the National Geographic Bee website:


Rheem Computer Lab becomes Rheem Tech Lab!

Exciting, New Technology Added

Thanks to the generosity of our PTA, the Rheem Computer Lab is now the Rheem Technology Lab! It is outfitted with a state-of-the-art 3D printer, a few iPad Airs for projects, and Sphero robots, in addition to its existing desktop computers and Activeboard. In the new year, be on the lookout for new STEM lessons in the lab, designed to maximize cross-curricular learning while sharpening 21st Century skills. For a video of our 3D printer in action, click here.


Did you Know?

Chronic absenteeism 

(missing 10% of more of school days) can cause students to suffer academically.  That’s why, at Rheem, we make it a practice to alert parents when their child’s absences and/or tardies exceed 10%.  

As of Friday, November 4 (the end of the first trimester), we had been in school for 54 days.  Therefore, parents whose children have been tardy and/or absent more than 6 days will receive a letter from the school, with the attendance record attached.  This letter is meant to raise awareness as well as to offer support to help reduce chronic absence.


Why is reducing chronic absence so important?

Students suffer academically if they miss 10% or more of school days. 

• Studies show that children who miss too many days in kindergarten and 1st grade often have trouble mastering reading by the end of 3rd grade. Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves.

• When children are absent, schools get fewer resources from the state, resulting in less funding to pay for teachers and books. Chronic absence in kindergarten predicts chronic absence the following year, so even the attendance patterns of our youngest students affect funding down the road.

• For every day of missed school, it takes three days to make up what was missed. 

• By the 6th grade, if a student continues to be chronically absent, it is a leading indicator of whether he or she will drop out of high school. 

• In the 9th grade, chronic absences are a better indicator than test scores of a student’s likelihood to graduate from high school.



Hello from Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons, RRC Director


This week we have Conference days Tuesday, Nov. 15th, Thursday, Nov 17th, and Friday, November 18th. If your child comes to Roadrunner Club normally on those days, we will expect them at their time of release and expect them to stay for their permanent daily schedule.  We are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on conference days, as usual.   Please let us know if you are altering your regular reservation.

We had a wonderful fun- filled week!  We have discovered thru the democratic process that the children have chosen pasta as their favorite snack.  We gave them a lesson in the importance of our democratic process, by having secret ballots, voting for your favorite choice and seeing the results at the end of the process.

Please Note: if a child does not attend school, they cannot attend Roadrunner Club. Also, children must come directly to Roadrunner Club from the class room. They may not leave campus and come back to Roadrunner Club. 

Just a friendly reminder, bills are due the 13th of every month.  Thank you for your attention to making on-time payments.  


The Last Word…

Regardless of political affiliation, we all woke up on Wednesday morning surprised at the result of Tuesday’s presidential election.  Given the most recent polls, we just didn’t expect the outcome.   As children often reflect the emotions of the adults in their lives, many Rheem students came to school with anxiety about what this election “meant.” They had heard what their parents had interpreted as either hopeful promises or dangerous threats, and were eager to figure out how this news would impact their daily lives.


Even before school started on Wednesday, a few parents had sent me an on-line article “What Do We Tell the Children?”Several other parents had emailed me with questions about how to communicate with their children or about how the news might be handled in the classrooms.  


Again, as parents and educators, we find ourselves venturing into conversations we would prefer to avoid.  And again, and as always, we are called upon to bring our best, most confident, and hopeful selves forward in order to support our kids.


Each Wednesday, I write a “Kids’ Bulletin” to the students – it’s my way of communicating directly to them about upcoming events or school-wide programs and goals.  But, on Wednesday, we had to discuss what was on everyone’s mind.  Click HEREfor a copy of the Kids Bulletin, dated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank


“Frank”ly Speaking…

November 6, 2016


The Ringleader of the Rheem Circus, Monsieur Franc, declared it so on Monday, October 31; therefore, it must be true: The Rheem Halloween Parade was the Greatest Show on Earth!

This year’s Halloween parade began with our Grand Marshall, Funky Pumpkin (transformed into a very friendly clown) leading the way.  Students and parents were then treated to the Parade of the Circus Performers (otherwise known as Rheem teachers and staff) as they marched along the parade route to “Entry of the Gladiators.”  Then, the music shifted to more traditional Halloween melodies as each grade level, dressed as silly and spooky characters of all shapes and sizes, paraded as the crowd cheered.  All in all, it was a great show of Rheem Team spirit! 

Highlights included the students singing the “Rheem Team Song” and “Roadrunner Pride,” accompanied by Monsieur Franc at the piano, the traditional 5th grade “Ghostbusters” dance, and the announcement of the “Mr. Funky Pumpkin” guessing contest winners (see below). Also, the Roadrunner mascots were awarded to Ms. Webster’s 2nd grade and Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade for running the most laps at the recent FUN(d) run. 


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Nov. 7:

  • PTA Executive Board Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8:

  • Election Day – Be sure to VOTE!

Wednesday, Nov. 9:

  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at JM Library

Friday, Nov. 11:

  • Veteran’s Day Holiday – No School!


More Halloween Highlights

Mr. Funky Pumpkin Guessing Contest Results:

Each year, Rheem students stretch their estimation muscles by trying to guess the weight, circumference, and number of seeds inside Funky.  Here are this year’s results:

-Funky weighed in at a hefty 208 lbs. The closest guess came from 2nd grader Karisma Sarkar at 206 lbs! 

-Funky’s circumference measured 84 inches!  Not one, but two 5th graders, Paige Brockmeyer and Drew Wilkalis guessed the exact circumference of 84 inches!

-Funky yielded 616 seeds. Two students, 2nd grader Samantha Mohr and 3rd grader Aria Valiyee had the closest guesses at 603 seeds!

The above named students each received a goody-bag filled with Rheem Team surprises and the admiration and applause of the crowd at the Halloween Parade when their names were announced!


It Takes a Village to Make a Circus…

Here’s to:

-Mr. Dave for scooping out all the pumpkin gunk inside Funky Pumpkin, and for his assistance with parade and audio set-up!

-The Rheem PTA for purchasing this year’s Funky and to Mr. Fitzinger (yep, Mrs. Fitzinger’s husband) for driving all the way to Castro Valley to pick him up!  

-Maureen Gala and Theresa Needs for costume and set design to transform Funky into our Happy Clown!

-Sara Stafford for her ready assistance with the music for the parade!

-Lisa Fitzinger for having the good sense to wear roller skates and use them like a champ to be the best personal assistant to the ringmaster that any circus could hope for!   

-The entire Rheem staff for their creativity and collaboration as Circus Performers! Trained seals, tamed lions (and their trainers and tamers), fortune tellers, magicians, fancy ladies riding elephants, bearded ladies, plate spinners, balloon sellers, and, of course, pooper scoopers!


Newest Rheem Teamers

We are happy to welcome two new staff members to Rheem!

  • Zack Barbieri (or “Mr. Zack” as he’s known to the students) is MSD’s new and very enthusiastic 4th/5th grade Choir teacher.  He is a recent St. Mary’s graduate and enjoys playing the guitar and piano.  When he’s not teaching, he enjoys rock climbing, swing dancing, and playing keyboard for his band “The Skunkadelics.” 
  • Justine Dolan is the new Speech and Langauge Therapist, serving Rheem students on Monday afternoons, and all day Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  She was an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College and earned her graduate SLP degree from Southern Conneticut State University.  Her interests are history, hiking, and spending time with her son, Damian, a 4th grader at Rheem!


Digital Citizenship Focus Continues, submitted by Adrienne DeWolfe, MSD Director of Technology

We continue to discuss digital citizenship this week in Moraga SD.  This week’s focus is: How can we be mindful in a busy, technology-rich world? Linked below are some resources to help facilitate a conversation at home and extend your child’s learning.

Have you taken our Parent Survey? Help us know what technology issues are most important to YOU!


Safety First

Rheem is Prepared!

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Rheem participated in the “15th Annual Countywide Schools Shelter in Place Day,” by holding a special emergency drill.   A “Shelter in Place” or “Lockdown” drill differs from a fire or earthquake drill in that we practice how to protect ourselves inside of the building from something outside (be that a person, an animal or a chemical we don’t want to breathe in). 

Students learned that in a “Shelter in Place” situation, teaching and learning could continue in the classrooms; however, during a “Lockdown” we would take different precautions, including being as quiet as possible.  Teachers followed-up Wednesday’s drill with discussions about what to do if a child were outside of the classroom and heard a “Shelter in Place” or “Lockdown” announcement.  Ask your child if he/she knows what to do in the case of an emergency.  It’s always a good idea to be prepared.


Did You Know?

Supervision Before and After School

It’s important that students are well supervised at all times.  Supervision before school begins at 8:10 (9:10 for late birds) and extends 15 minutes after dismissal.  It’s important to be aware of these limits so that your child is always adequately supervised.  Unless your child is enrolled in Roadrunner Club, please make sure your child does not arrive before 8:10 in the morning; also, make sure that your child is picked up by 3:20.

Students who arrive on campus before or remain after we provide supervision, may be asked to report to Roadrunner Club and a resulting fee will be charged.  Thank you for your cooperation.


Plan Ahead for Parent Conferences

This year, parent-teacher conferences will be held for all K through 5th grade students during “Conference Week,” November 14 - 18.  We strongly encourage that you schedule a conference with your child’s teacher on these days, since the teachers have these days set aside to focus on the invaluable school-home connection.  

As you know, the conference offers a special opportunity for parents and teacher to share information about the child.  The best conferences end with both the parents and teacher feeling they have learned something about the child.  Be sure to read “Tips for a Successful Parent Teacher Conference” to make the most of this important opportunity.

Also, it’s not too early to make arrangements for the changes to the bell schedule to accommodate Conference Week.  Click HERE to download the specific schedule (also known as the “Rheem Team Family Challenge”) that includes three “shortened minimum days” on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of Conference Week.


Plan Ahead for the Scholastic Book Fair, Submitted by Sharon Gillbanks, Rheem Librarian


Rheem’s annual Book Fair, benefiting our school library, will be during conference week, November 14 – 17.  Each class will have a specific time to visit the fair during school hours.  Students can shop, spend their Summer Reading Program $5 Coupons, or make their wish lists (if you do not wish your child to spend money during the fair). 

Allowing your child to shop during the class time is entirely optional, although shopping independently will help your child practice math, decision making, and time management skills. Specific instructions and a flyer were sent home in students' backpacks last week.  I highly encourage you to visit the book fair with your child prior to his/her class visit to help him/her choose books and make a wish list to bring to the fair to help your child have a successful class visit.  You are also more than welcome to shop with your child during his/her class visit!

The fair will also be open before and after school for you to shop with/for your child/children. 

Thank you in advance for helping make the Scholastic Book Fair a winner for the library!

Book Fair Shopping Hours:

Monday, Nov. 14th: 3:00 – 5:00 pm

Tuesday, Nov. 15th: 8 – 9 am & 11:30 – 2pm

Wednesday, Nov. 16th: 8 - 9 am & 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Thursday, Nov. 17th: 8 – 8:30 am & 11:30 – 5pm


Volunteers Needed!

Sign up at: (you can view your child's class visit times here too)
Can’t Make it? 
Online Book Fair site with even more books available:



The Last Word…

This year’s Halloween theme provided the opportunity for my alter-ego, Monsieur Frank, the ringmaster of the Rheem Circus, to unabashedly declare the following:

“Step right up!  Come one, come all! Prepare to be impressed with the skillful juggling that IS a school year up close!  At Rheem, we invite children of ALL ages to experience the wonder, the glory, the breathtaking drama that occurs when teachers, parents, and students work together to perform spectacular, awe-inspiring feats of daring!  Be amazed as they accept challenges with bravery and determination!  Marvel as they accomplish reality-defying feats with persistence and flair!  Applaud as they reach goals never-before imagined!   Circus performs work together to make magic happen; at Rheem, we work together to make learning happen!  Combined with fun and a sense of belonging, we help and support one another.  We embrace the unique and celebrate the unusual.  We are proud of being AMAZING!  Thanks to EVERYONE on the Rheem Team for their own special contributions to The Greatest SCHOOL on Earth!”


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

October 30, 2016


Prepare to be amazed and delighted at one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year – the not-to-be-missed Rheem School Halloween Parade on Monday, October 31 at 12:15.  This year’s Funky Pumpkin is ready for his close-up, and we are looking forward to seeing all the “alter egos” of students and staff emerge at this year’s big event.  Hope to see you there!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Oct. 31:

  • K – 5 Halloween Parade at 12:15 on front blacktop
    • Note:  To accommodate the parade schedule, all K students will be “late birds” (9:25 – 1:02) and all 1stand 2nd graders will be “early birds” (8:25 – 1:55) on Monday

Tuesday, Nov. 1:

  • Read, Relax, and RECHARGE Day at Rheem!
    • The Rheem Team will enjoy a low-stress day in an effort to re-cover from Halloween and to re-charge for all the learning yet to come!
  • Free Movie Presentation: Screenagers
    • 7:00 p.m. at Campolino Performing Arts Center
    • RSVP and more information HERE  

Wednesday, Nov. 2:


Thursday, Nov. 3:

  • Stand-Up Be Safe lessons in 5th grade classrooms:
    • Greer: 9:00 - 10:00; Cavallero: 10:30 – 11:30; Gubser: 1:15 – 12:15
  • Vision Screening (5th and 2nd grade)


Friday, Nov. 4:

  • End of First Trimester!


Halloween Parade Concessions

Be sure to bring a dollar or two to the Halloween parade and stop at the 5th grade concession stand to purchase a refreshing beverage and glow stick necklaces.  All proceeds help fund our 5th grade end-of-the year activities!


School News and Highlights:

Rheem’s FUN(d) Run took place on Wednesday, October 26 – an exceptionally beautiful fall day.  The combination of perfect weather and contagious school spirit inspired our students to run an impressive 8,256 laps at the event.  Also, Rheem staff was out in full force and ran 411 laps total.  Thank you to PE teacher, John Studebaker, for making sure young and old(er) were warmed up and “on their marks” for the 15-minute run.  Many thanks as well to FUN(d) Run parent organizer Kim Thompson (Olivia’s mom) and her team of lap-counting volunteers. 


Thank YOU!

Thank you to all of the Rheem families who made a donation to MEF during this year's Day of Giving.  MEF raised over $200,000 because of YOUR generosity which will help fund critical staff and programs at our school.  

Right now, MEF is 40% of the way toward their goal of raising $2.2 million this annual campaign.  The Day of Giving was a huge success; however we still have a long way to go, and we want all Rheem families to be part of, and proud of, the education our students are receiving.  Every donation is important!  

Please help our school maintain the amazing staff and programs that make it so unique and allows the Moraga School District to be one of the best in the state of California by making a donation to MEF today at  Together we can make a difference for every student, every day.



Did You Know?


A student is considered “truant” when the student has an unexcused absence of more than 30 minutes on three or more days during a school year.  Since extended family vacations and other non-essential reasons for missing school are not considered “excused,” Rheem’s truancy rate is higher than you might think.  During the 2015-2016 school year, 91 Rheem students were considered truant, based on this criterion.  That’s almost 23% of Rheem students!  You can help reduce this statistic by scheduling family trips on non-instructional days and by making sure that students arrive on time and stay in school for the full day.  Thank you!


Volunteers Needed

Vision Screening

Grades 2 and 5 are scheduled for Vision Screening on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016.  The school is in need of parent helpers that day.  Parent assistants will bring children to and from the screening room and/or help record results.  The assistants are essential for the program to take place.  Two parent helpers are needed at each or both of the following times:

8:30am – 10:30am

10:15am – 12:15pm

If you are able to help, please contact Mrs. Wu in the Rheem office at 377-4135 or email her at



Save the Dates for “Evenings with the Experts”

The newly formed group "POEMS" (Parents of Exceptional Moraga Students) & MSD will be hosting a series of parent education evenings this school year. All evening events will take place in the JM Library from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30.   Please make a note of these informative evenings on your calendars!


·       December 5, 2016 : Sensory Processing, Presenter Janet Alexander, OTR-L, Occupational Therapist

·       January 31, 2017:  Executive Functioning and Supporting Independence at Home, Presenter Olivia Flint, LEP, Psychologist

·       February 28, 2017: IEP Basics, Presenter Laraine Domenico, Contra Costa SELPA Program Coordinator

·       March 28, 2017: Building Bridges: Positive Behavior Support Across School & Home, Presenter Teri Jasman, Behaviorist

Click HERE to download a flyer regarding these presentations.   



The Last Word…

It’s likely that your family enjoys some “unique” traditions: routines and expectations that were born from something silly or unexpected that was so memorable it simply had to be repeated.  These traditions might not make a lot of sense to someone watching from the sidelines and not “in” on the joke.  Rheem has a few “unique” traditions all its own, and you’ll view some at tomorrow’s Halloween Parade:

  • Many, many years ago, a very large, misshapen pumpkin was donated to our school, and it seemed only fitting that we embrace its uniqueness and name it “Funky.”  At tomorrow’s Halloween Parade, the 20th “Funky Pumpkin” will preside as our Grand Marshall, after being transformed by the good humor and creativity of select staff members.   
  • Did you know that the traditional 5th graders “Ghostbusters Dance” was first taught to a different group of 5th graders about three music teachers ago?  It was a hit, and it stuck!
  • The stadium anthem, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” has been reserved for the 5th graders trip around the parade route ever since it was released by the BaHa Men in 2000.
  • Teachers and staff closely guard their collaborative “theme” for the parade (even from their own children) to the delight and surprise of all who attend.  What will it be this year?

And, admittedly, I will be in my own traditionally flurry, ridiculously anxious about the sound system failing or the pages of my piano music flying away in the breeze.  Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s Halloween at Rheem!


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

October 23, 2016


WOW! WOW! WOW!  It felt great to be a part of the Rheem Team at Friday’s Fall Picnic!  Over 300 cakes (305 to be exact) filled the Multi-Use Room and ultimately found happy homes with Cake Walk winners.  Roadrunners young and old(er) alike enjoyed carnival games, giant inflatables, good food, lively music and the Hula Hoop contest.  Everyone was in good spirits as names of raffle prize winners were announced and game tickets were pulled for additional prizes.  Many thanks to Fall Picnic Chairperson, A.J. Brown (Finley’s mom) and her team of volunteers for putting on such a great party for our school community.  


The Fall Family Picnic is just one of Rheem’s many eagerly-anticipated October events, culminating in the non-to-be missedHalloween Parade on Monday, October 31st at 12:15!  And, between now and then, we have this Wednesday’s FUN(d) Run to look forward to!  Stay tuned to all the communications so you and your family won’t miss out on any of the excitement.


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Oct. 24

  • Balclutha Overnight (Ms. Gubser’s 5th grade)

Weds., Oct. 26

  • FUN(d) Run! (wear your running shoes!)

Friday, Oct. 28

  • K Field Trip to Smith Family Farm (8:30 – 1:00)


School News & Highlights

  • Rheem Parents ROCK!  The Rheem parents’ response to MSD’sDigital Citizenship Survey grew from 4% to over 50% after a notice was sent home asking for input.  Way to respond!  Parent feedback will help us better understand what steps are needed to educate our students on how to stay safe and appropriate on-line.  It’s not too late to let your voice be heard.  Click HERE to participate. 


  • About 50 parents attended MSD’s Readers’ Workshop Parent Night on Thursday, October 20.  Parents heard from Leslie Nash of West Coast Literacy (the consultant who is working with our teachers and students), and Rheem teachers Amanda Lorie and Jen Strohmeyer, both of who were trained in Readers’ Workshop in New York this summer. If you missed this parent night, click HERE for the agenda and hand-outs!


  • St. Mary’s College Men’s Basketball players visited Rheem on Friday morning, October 21 to read to students in several of our classrooms.  They answered student questions as well.  By all accounts, the players were friendly, good readers, and very, very TALL!


  • The Roadrunner mascots were awarded to the classrooms that brought in the most cakes for Friday’s Cake Walk (on average per student). It was a very tough competition since the Multi-Use was overflowing with cakes. However, once all 305 cakes were counted, the winners were:
    • K – 2nd grade: Ms. Kathan’s Kindergarten class
    • 3rd – 5th grade: Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade class (with Ms. Culleton’s 4th grdae class coming in a very close 2nd)


Safety First

Especially during Halloween…

The following guidelines are designed to ensure that all our students enjoy a safe and happy Halloween at school:

  • “Accessories” resembling weapons such as guns, knives, swords, etc. are inappropriate and never allowed at school (CA Ed Code. 48915).  Such items will be removed from students and returned to parents at a later time.
  • Students will not be allowed to skateboard or roller blade during the parade (feet power only, please!). 
  • We also appreciate students being considerate of those who get easily frightened by keeping “blood and gore” to a minimum.
  • Finally, given recent media attention, clown costumes will NOT be allowed.

Keep in mind that Halloween can be confusing to some children -- why would anybody do something scary on purpose?  Therefore, frightening masks, elaborate face paint, and creepy costumes and sounds can terrify some children, no matter how quickly the scary masks are removed to reveal friendly, familiar faces. Our goal is to provide our students with fun, not fear, and with the events of the past month still fresh in our minds, let’s “dial down” the fear and anxiety on Halloween this year. Thank you for your understanding!


Save the Date!

Free Movie Presentation of “ScreenAgers”

  • November 1, 2016 at Campolindo High School
  • Campolindo Performing Arts Center, 7-9pm
  • RSVP and More Information  HERE
  • Click here, for movie trailer
  • Hosted by: The Moraga iKind Project and the JM iKind Committee, The JM SMILE Club, The Diversity Committee of the Acalanes Union High School District, Campolindo and JM Leadership, MSD PTAs
  • A student panel discussion will follow the movie.



Did You Know?

Dogs (and other furry friends) at school

As a general rule, dogs and other animals are not welcome at school.  Specifically, according to the state’s education code, dogs are prohibited from school campuses, whether or not the dogs are leashed.  Several signs posted on campus note that “Dogs are not allowed.”

Therefore, if families are including a dog walk at the same time they are picking up or dropping off their child, we request that you meet or say goodbye to your child at the crosswalk on Laird, thereby not bringing the dog on campus. This precaution will help keep your pet from being overrun by well-meaning children and assure that our children are safe during the busy arrival and dismissal times.  We have several students who are either afraid or allergic to certain types of pets, so this policy keeps our school environment safe and friendly.


Hello from Roadrunners

Another week closer to Halloween!  We have been preparing and can't wait for the big event. We are doing a different Halloween art project every day.  If you haven't already registered your child for Roadrunner Club, go to the Moraga School District web site and join us for fun filled afternoons.

  We are having an issue with musical instruments being left in the Roadrunner Club.  Please remember when you pick up your child pick up his/her musical instrument as well.  We cannot be responsible for holding on to them.  We have a large number of children and not enough space to store items over night.  Some (like cellos) are very cumbersome.  We hesitate taking them to lost and found, so please remember to pick them up.

Do you want to earn some extra Holiday spending money?

We are still looking for a morning aide from 7:00 - 9:30. It is a great shift with the whole day ahead of you when you are done.  We would love to have a parent come and join us.  We are a great place to work.  Ask any of us!  



The Last Word…

I learn a lot when I visit classrooms.  Recently, when visiting a kindergarten classroom, I learned how to make a book (ANY book) an “old favorite” – one that you look forward to reading again, again, and again.  The steps are simple:

  • Step 1: Find a book
  • Step 2: Find someone you love
  • Step 3: Ask that person, “Will you read this to me, please?”
  • Step 4: When the book is finished, say, “Will you read it to me again?”

Given my own experience with sharing books with young children, it seems that they come to us hard-wired with this knowledge.  No doubt, you’ve had similar experiences, too – experiences that include asking yourself the questions, “How can I possibly read this same book one more time?” and “How can this child possibly want to hear it for the umpteenth time?”  And, yet we find ourselves reading it again, and again… to the child’s unwavering delight.


As a fan of the podcast Writers’ Almanac, I was delighted to recently hear the host, Garrison Keillor, share the poem“Reading to My Kids” by Kevin Carey.  It seemed to sum up the experience well, as well as remind us of its importance.  I’ve reprinted it below:


When they were little I read
to them at night until my tongue
got tired. They would poke me
when I started to nod off after twenty pages
of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket.
I read (to them) to get them to love reading
but I was never sure if it was working
or if it was just what I was supposed to do.
But one day, my daughter (fifteen then)
was finishing Of Mice and Men in the car
on our way to basketball.
She was at the end when I heard her say,
No, in a familiar frightened voice
and I knew right away where she was.
“Let’s do it now,” Lennie begged,
“Let’s get that place now.”
“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta,”
and she started crying, then I started crying,
and I think I saw Steinbeck
in the back seat nodding his head,
and it felt right to me,
like I’d done something right,
and I thought to myself, Keep going,
read it to me, please, please, I can take it

To hear Mr. Keillor read this poem, click HERE. 


As parents and educators, there are so many times when we wonder if what we are doing or saying is, ultimately, the “right thing.”   However, we should never doubt that when we are sharing a book with our children we are, indeed, doing “something right.”   I find that very reassuring, and I hope you do, too.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

October 16, 2016



Not even the rain could dampen the Rheem Team Spirit on Friday, when our kindergartners donned bright orange and black butterfly wings and marched around the Multi-Use Room to the delight of family, friends, and their 5th grade buddies at Rheem’s 41st Annual Butterfly Parade.  Just pure cuteness and joy! 


And this Friday, October 21, everyone can bask in our special school spirit at our Annual Fall Family Picnic and Cake Walk, from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.  Yet another opportunity to enjoy good, old-fashioned fun with carnival games, giant inflatables, raffle-prizes, good food, the hula-hoop contest, and the biggest collection of colorful and crazy cakes in Moraga!  Buy your tickets now by clicking HERE.   



This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Oct. 17:

  • Balclutha Overnight (Ms. Cavallero’s 5th grade)


Tuesday, Oct. 18:

  • Balclutha Overnight (Mr. Greer’s 5th grade)
  • Stand Up, Be Safe Lesson: 5th/Gubser (1:00 – 2:00)
  • Rheem School Site Council Meeting: 3:15 in Room 19


Weds., Oct. 19:

  • 3rd graders to Oakland Zoo (8:30 – 2:00 p.m.)
  • Free Movie Presentation: The Mask You Live In sponsored by Moraga iKind Project
    • JM Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.
    • The movie is appropriate for parents and middle school students age 13+.  Students younger than 13 should be accompanied by a parent.
    • A student panel discussion will follow the movie


Thurs., Oct. 20:

  • Photo Make-Up Day (for students who were absent or want a re-take)
    • For re-takes – be sure to return your original portraits on re-take day
    • (Rheem Order Code is 08305W)
  • Parent Ed Presentation: Readers’ Workshop
    • JM Auditorium, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    • For more information, click HERE


Friday, Oct. 21:


Volunteers Needed for Fall Family Picnic!
Did you know that events like the Fall Picnic are 100% planned and staffed by volunteers?  It takes a village to put on an event of this magnitude, and we still need a lot of helpers to make it a success for our kids (middle school and high school kids can help too and get credit for volunteer hours!).  If you could give just an hour of your time before, during, or after the picnic, the kids will thank you (and so will we!).  Click here to sign up (we especially need help with set up and break down):



It’s Digital Citizenship Week, submitted by Adrienne DeWolfe, MSD Director of Technology

It’s Digital Citizenship Week! In our MSD community, we will be discussing how we can be kind online over the next few weeks. This week we will focus on what it means to be a good digital citizen. We are surveying our MSD community to find out our educational needs for students and parents. Please take a moment to complete our parent survey.

All classroom teachers have access to video and discussion activities on this important topic.  The videos are linked below in case you'd like to view too and be able to discuss at home. Each week we will send you a tip sheet or other resource to help facilitate a conversation at home and extend your child’s learning. On Dec. 6, we will host a parent education night at JMIS for all K-8 parents, so mark your calendars.

Focus for Week 1, Oct. 17-21:

We hope all Rheem families will take advantage of Digital Citizenship Week to discuss this important topic.  


Teachers Go To School!

Although Monday, October 10 was a “no school” day for students, Rheem teachers were hard at work!  The focus of the day was on mathematics.  Here is a brief overview of their day’s learning:

  •  TK – 5 general ed teachers spent the morning reviewing math pacing guides and discussing differentiating strategies in cross-district grade-level teams
  • Afternoon sessions included a “menu” of workshops for teachers to attend, including sessions taught by specialists from Silicon Valley Mathematic Initiative and Cal State East Bay, as well as  the following sessions presented by Rheem staff:
    •  “Hands-On Projects to Challenge Advanced Math Students,” presented by Virginia Drury/4th grade teacher
    • “ iPads in the K-2 Math Classroom: Beyond Drill & Kill Apps,” presented by Jennifer Johnson/RH computer teacher
  •  “Specials” teachers (Art, Music, PE, etc.) spent the day in collaboration planning, including updating curriculum to meet 21st century standards. 
  •  Special Ed staff explored best practices for differentiation, accommodations and modifications, and worked with specialists regarding student-centered grouping practices and gradual release models.

Staff Development Days are a welcome opportunity to reflect on best teaching practices and learn from the experts around us.  MSD’s next Staff Development Day is scheduled for Monday, January 23.


Did You Know?

Halloween Costumes

When planning a Halloween costume for our parade on October 31st, please note the following:

  • “Accessories” resembling weapons such as guns, knives, swords, etc. are inappropriate and never allowed at school (CA Ed Code. 48915).  Such items will be removed from students and returned to parents at a later time.
  •  Students will not be allowed to skateboard or roller blade during the parade (feet power only, please!). 
  • We also appreciate students being considerate of those who get easily frightened by keeping “blood and gore” to a minimum.
  • Finally, given recent media attention, clown costumes will NOT be allowed.  

Thank you for your consideration as you plan this year’s costume.  We look forward to a safe, fun-filled parade on October 31that will be enjoyed by everyone!


Safety First

Earthquake Safety

On Thursday, Oct. 20, the students and staff at Rheem School will be among millions of Californians who will participate in theGreat California Shake Out.   

The purpose of the “ShakeOut” is to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes, so that we can be prepared in the event of the real thing!  Students and staff will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” before evacuating the classrooms to the fields.  We will also practice our “student release” procedures at that time.

Now would be the perfect time to review earthquake preparedness at home.  Please consider reviewing the “Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety” so that your family is well-prepared.


Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons

A few reminders this month.  We have just completed our first billing cycle.  Please make sure you make checks payable to the Moraga School District.  Also, make sure you sign your child in (in the a.m.) or out in the afternoon; we have had quite a few no sign fees incurred by families this month. ($10 dollar fee). 

If you are scheduled to pick up your child from the ASEP class and miss the pickup, your child will be brought over to the Roadrunner Club.  At that point your child will be signed into Roadrunner and billed accordingly.  Once you pick up your child from Roadrunner Club, please remember to sign them out.    

We have had a large enrollment at Roadrunner Club this year, and we have not always been able to accommodate all dro- ins.  Please accept our apology; we are trying to do our best making sure all children have a safe play environment. 

We have had a great month of art at Roadrunner club. We went on a nature hunt and made pictures with our finds, we made sunflowers with sunflower seeds, discussed Christopher Columbus and his three ships, and today we made real slime. 


The Last Word…

At the end of a long, rainy Friday, as I was directing cars around the bus circle to pick-up soggy students, one especially energetic 1st grader looked up at me as I helped him into the back seat and exclaimed, “Rheem ROCKS!  Even in the rain!”  Ahhhh… yes.


I hope this finds you all having enjoyed a grey, rainy weekend with equal enthusiasm – or, at the very least, with an appreciation for the chance to do something a little different.  A huge opportunity awaits when the sports game gets rained out.   Think PDF (Playtime, Downtime, Family Time) as noted below in an excerpt from a New York Times feature (click HERE for the full article):


There are things to be learned from playtime, downtime and family time that can’t be learned in the classroom, onstage, on the field or at the rink. Our children are learning to bump up against one another and find a way to get along and to find the things that interest them enough to pull them in when time isn’t an issue. They’re letting their thoughts sort themselves out, or finding support and comfort in family rituals. Maybe they’ll even learn that eventually, everyone feels like they’ve watched enough television for one day. Mostly, they’re learning to be whoever they are when no one is watching.


Our belief in the importance of taking time to “reconnect and recharge” is why we are examining our homework practices as well as banning the “b” word (“bored”) at Rheem.  Creativity is always an option when there’s nothing to do.  Perhaps it’s the ONLY option.  Take advantage of it. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

October 9, 2016


It’s hard to believe that we are well into October – one of the most exciting and event-filled months at Rheem School.  I’m looking forward to all the “home-grown” events in store: the Kindergarten Butterfly Parade (Oct.14), the Fall Family Picnic and Cake Walk (Oct. 21), the FUN(d) Run (Oct. 26), and, of course, the not-to-be-missed Halloween Parade (Oct. 31).  Can’t wait!


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Oct. 10

  • Staff Development Day – no school for students!

Tuesday, Oct. 11

  • Yom Kippur begins at sundown (School Board Meeting moved to Thursday)

Weds., Oct. 12

  • Yom Kippur observed

Thursday, Oct. 13

  • Stand Up, Be Safe Lesson: 5th/Cavallero (1:15 – 2:15)
  • School Board Meeting, beginning at 7:00 in the JM Library.

Friday, Oct. 14

  • Kindergarten Butterfly Parade: 11:00 a.m. on K blacktop
  • Stand Up, Be Safe Lesson: 5th/Greer (1:15 – 2:15)
  • Reflections Entries Due!


School News and Highlights

  • MEF’s Day of Giving was held on Wednesday, October 5.  To help celebrate, four Rheem musicians (Callen B, trumpet; Emily S., clarinet: Audrey S., flute; and Isaac Jai, saxophone, provided entertainment in the bus circle that morning, while enthusiastic students held signs and waved to those arriving.  If you didn’t get a chance to donate yet, it’s not too late; just click HERE.
  • The Rheem Hummers have raised $1,625 so far this year for habitat restoration! Who are the Rheem Hummers?  Read the full article below by 4th grade Isabella Tritto.
  • October is National Bullying Prevention Month.  Rheem will recognize this important effort by continuing our discussions and quickly intervening whenever a student feels unsafe at school. To read Resolution 17-11, adopted by the MSD Governing Board in support of Bullying Prevention, click HERE.
  • Desperately Seeking Funky!  The Rheem Team is in need of a large pumpkin to be the focus of our October Estimation Contest.   Classic pumpkin beauty is not a prerequisite, and misshapen and/or “unique” qualities are welcome.  However, shy pumpkins need not apply since this year’s “Funky” will be receiving a creative make-over before being the center of attention as the Grand Marshall of this year’s Halloween Parade!  Please let us know if you discover this year’s “Funky Pumpkin” by calling the school office: 376-4441.
  • Readers’ Workshop is being implemented in ALL Rheem classrooms.  To learn more about this engaging, research-based program, please attend the Oct. 20 Parent Education Night on the topic.  Click HERE for details.


Spirit Assembly Report

Spirit Assemblies bring the entire Rheem Team together to celebrate accomplishments, focus on school-wide goals, and simply enjoy singing and laughing together.  The highlights of the Spirit Assembly held on Wednesday, Oct. 5 included:

  • Congratulating ALL students for showing their awareness of the “One Word and Three Rules” that guide us at Rheem:  RESPECT: Be safe; Be kind, and Think!
  • Learning how taking a moment to “just breathe” can help calm us when we are upset or stressed.  The short video,Just Breathe, inspired our discussion on the topic.  Ask your child how imagining a cup of hot cocoa can help with deep breaths!
  • Students who participated in the Summer Reading and Math programs were given certificates and prizes. 
  • Awarding the Roadrunner Mascot to the classes who brought in the most BOX TOPS: Ms. McMullen’s 4th grade class who brought in 1,192 Box Tops and Ms. Guidi’s 2nd grade class with 648 Box Tops!
  • Listening to Ms. Culleton encourage participation in the PTA Reflections Contest.  Click HEREfor information and inspiration regarding this year’s theme: “What’s Your Story?”
  • Announcing the winners of the recent Roadrunner Coloring Contest:
    • 1st Grade:  1st Pl- Linn A., 2nd Pl- Ayush S., 3rd Pl- Jocelyn L.
    • 2nd Grade:  1st Pl- Kaitlyn Y., 2nd Pl-Molly H., 3rd Pl- Cayley C.
    • 3rd Grade:  1st Pl- Adison S., 2nd Pl- Cassidy W., 3rd Pl- Grace C.
    • 4th Grade:  1st Pl- Sofia G., 2nd Pl- Emma A., 3rd Pl- Cooper C.
    • 5th Grade:  tie- 1st Pl- Whitney W. and Drew W., 2nd Pl- Vivyanh L., Emily S.
  • Picking gold slips for a chance to spin the wheel for a prize.  The lucky winners were:
    • Kindergarten:  Mitchell p, Sadie G., Flynn M ., Kahlan C., Andrrew M., Reese K.
    • 1st Grade:  Ella E., Kaden M., Matthew M., Avie S., Hudson O., Tong Q.
    • 2nd Grade:   Zoe L., NateA., Marley T., Zoya C., Dylan F., Rocco B.
    • 3rd Grade:  Henry F., Zack S., Grace C., Anthony K., Talis S., Sophia G.
    • 4th Grade:  Sara H., Diego H., Hannah B., Gregory H., MarcAnthony P., Brayden C.
    • 5th Grade:  Audrey S., Tyler N., Henry H., Samantha D., Mateo P., Emily S.
  • Singing our school songs: “Rheem Team,” “Rheem ROCKS,” and “Roadrunner Pride!”

Parents are always welcome to attend Rheem Spirit Assemblies.  Our next Spirit Assemblies are scheduled for Friday, November 18 at 8:30 (K – 2nd) and 10:30 (3rd – 5th).  Come join the fun!


The Rheem Hummers, Point Blue, and the Bird-a-thon

By Isabella Tritto, 4th grader

On the first of October, many students in Mrs. Culleton’s fourth grade class came to the Valle Vista Staging Area for this year’s Bird-A-Thon. So thank you to Kirill, Natalie, Cooper, Rex, Brooke, and Jessie for helping with this great cause with me.

Point Blue, a conservation organization, has coordinated an event called the Bird-A-Thon every year. Many teams of people gather to watch birds or listen for distinctive calls. Each team asks for donations. Our team, the Rheem Hummers, has a special donor who offers ten dollars per each species sighted in an eco-friendly way.  So, thanks to our twenty five team members this year, we sighted a total number of thirty-three species and raised $330 in two hours.  You can donate, too. To see a photo of our team and to donate, just click her.

      Point Blue celebrated its fiftieth anniversary during the spring of 2015 with over one hundred forty scientists, many environmental educators, and a growing number of habitat restoration specialists. Our donations, along with the donor’s contribution, help this group continue to do great work.

      At the Bird-A-Thon, our group walked on a path near Canyon that led into a wide stretch of trees where we spotted birds resting and chirping. At the end of the path we found a reservoir, and saw some birds, like King Fishers and Egrets, fishing and bathing.

      Thank you to our community volunteers and we hope you can join us next year to help us donate money to this organization that helps preserve our wildlife.


Safety First

Are you aware of the MANY Student Safety Resources that are available on the Moraga School District website?  Click HEREfor tips and information on a variety of important topics including biking and walking to school, being home alone, cell phones, on-line safety, and cyber-bullying. 


Did You Know?

Student Tardies

Students are required to pick-up a “Pass to Class” from the front office if they arrive late to school. And, if arriving more than 30 minutes late, a parent must accompany the child to “check in” for the school day.  

Of course, the best situation is to arrive on time to school every day.  Our teachers use the first few minutes of the school day to complete necessary routines, give essential directions, and provide review and/or enrichment activities to stimulate thinking and creativity. 

Certainly, we understand that unavoidable situations may arise causing lateness.  However, if tardiness becomes a chronicproblem, it will be important to examine what plans can be put in place to correct the situation.  At the elementary level, getting to school on time is a joint responsibility of parents and students.  Thank you for your support!


Hello From Roadrunner Club, submitted by Eleanor Persons

ASEP classes have started. Just a gentle reminder that we need an Activity Release form for each activity for each child.  Note that if your child is in an ASEP class and returns to Roadrunners after the class please pack a little extra snack for them to have after their class ends.  Some of the children return as late as 430pm and are hungry.       

Do you want to make a positive impression on a child"s life while making a little bit of $$.?  We have several shifts available at Roadrunner Club. If you are interested, please contact me at Roadrunner Club (925) 376- 3012  or


Last Word…

When I was a 2nd grade teacher in the 90’s, my students and I enjoyed learning about what was happening in the world through a daily “Current Events” routine.   Students would bring in newspaper clippings (remember newspapers?) to share with the class.  It was a great way to have meaningful conversations about real events.  As each year went along, we found we could rely on certain kids for certain types of news.  I fondly remember one student who always brought in the weather page.  And, of course, there were our sports and entertainment fans who would keep us updated on the play-offs and the current box-office hits.  Most students seemed to focus on local happenings, but if a major world event took place, it was guaranteed that more than one student would come to school with the same front page headline.  I didn’t always understand the nuances like I thought I should (I remember relying on a precocious 8-year old to help me understand stock market fluctuations), but it was a way to bring the real world into the classroom and feel connected to real events.


I can distinctly remember my discomfort when the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.  How could I possibly hold THAT discussion?  Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure that it made sense to have a “Current Events” routine, and I seriously thought about scrapping the whole thing.  Even though we had previously discussed “Mad Cow disease” and had the names ofBenjamin Netanyahu and Madeline Albreight on our Word Wall, this was an altogether new level of difficulty.  Yet somehow, with the help and understanding of my students’ parents, we navigated those troubled waters together. 


In my early days as principal of Rheem, we dealt with the horrors of 9/11 and its aftermath.  Since then, it seems that we are all too frequently worrying about how to help our students cope with unimaginable situations.  It seems that a new crisis is as predictable as the old-fashioned weather page.


And, here we are again.  Faced with possibly explaining words we can’t bring ourselves to say out loud, grappling with whether “locker room talk” is as benign as some would suggest it should be, wondering how to come to terms with the words and actions of presidential candidates that would no doubt require a trip to the principal’s office (or much worse) if said or done by an elementary school student.


Before watching the 2nd presidential debate last night, my stomach was in knots.  Not because I was nervous for the big people on stage, but because I was worried for all the little people, our children, who might also be watching or, at the very least, would be dealing with the fall out.  What will they hear?  What will they be faced with knowing?  What is my responsibility as an education leader to protect AND educate them?  I’m sure many of you asked the same questions.


Recently, a very well-intended parent exclaimed to me, “I can’t believe that we have to arm our young children to responses to this type of language.”  Believe it or not, the parent was NOT referring to the current political discourse.  But, as we grappled with the issue, we both came to understand that, of COURSE, we have to arm our children with responses.  It is our primary job, after all.  There’s no hiding from it.  It’s right there on their screens (or their friends’ screens).  They are listening, and they look to us to make sense of it all.   And, yes, we have to be mindful of their age and maturity level so as not to overwhelm or frighten them.  But, we absolutely cannot ignore them or the situation they find themselves in.   


It’s not easy, and the “perfect” discussion starter cannot be Googled (I know, because I’ve tried).   However, I’ve found that the right words come when it’s important enough.  And, the most important thing is that we help our children to listen, think, and develop integrity.  So, take a deep breath and start the conversation.   No matter how “awkward” the topic.  We owe them our support and they deserve our attention.


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

October 2, 2016


Rheem is a wonderful school! On that, most of us agree wholeheartedly.  However, I’d like you to take a moment to imagine Rheem without Art, PE, or Music; our Classroom Aides, Computer teacher or Librarian; our Reading Tutors, Science Aide, or technology.  Also, imagine no support or materials for innovative programs like Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop.  Suddenly, our treasured school, which is filled with so many rich educational experiences for our students, is a very different place. 

Well, that’s what Rheem would look and feel like without the support of the Moraga Education Foundation.  And, that is why, I’m urging ALL Rheem families to give, and give generously, to MEF.  This Wednesday, October 5 is MEF’s “Day of Giving.”  Please take this opportunity to show your support for your child’s education and for Rheem!

Donate or pledge now by clicking HERE.  Thank you!



This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Oct. 3:

  • Rosh Hashanah observed
  • PTA Executive Board Meeting, 9:30 – 11:00 in Room 25

Tuesday, Oct. 4:

  • Site Council Meeting, 3:15 – 4:30 in Room 25

Weds., Oct. 5:

  • MEF Day of Giving!  Click HERE to participate!
  • Spirit Assemblies at 9:00 (3rd – 5th) and 10:00 (K – 2nd) in Multi-Use Room
  • MSD Safety Committee Meeting, 3:30 – 5:00 at Camino Pablo School (Room 7)

Friday, Oct. 7

  • 5th grade Life at Sea program in Multi-Use Room (8:30 – 12:00)



School News and Highlights:

  • Rheem’s Cross-Age Tutor Program invites older students to help and support younger students in their classrooms.  This year, 23 4th grade students will be devoting some of their snack recesses to join another classroom to help both the teacher and students in a variety of ways.  In about 10 – 12 weeks, other 4th graders will rotate into this program.  Many thanks to Ms. Adrienne McMullen for organizing this program which promotes a sense of belonging and team spirit! 
  • Rheem Student Leadership students endorse MEF’s Day of Giving!  At their September 28th meeting, after hearing from MEF Liaison and Rheem parent, Alison Anderman, Rheem’s 5th grade Student Leadership voted overwhelmingly to support MEF’s efforts.  As a result, they are busy making posters, designing flyers, and are encouraging the Roadrunner Mascot to make an appearance at drop-off this Wednesday. 



Safety First

Moraga School District’s Student Safety Committee (SSC) will meet for the first time this year on October 5, 2016 at 3:30 at Camino Pablo School in Room 7 to continue its work in ensuring a safe school environment for all students, staff, and volunteers.

Rheem is still looking for a parent representative to serve on this committee.  If you are interested in school safety and would like to take part in this important work, please contact Principal Frank (376-4441) and/or simply join us this Wednesday.  Rheem’s teacher representative to this committee is Greg Thomson.

An important aspect of the SSC’s work is to review and update the district’s Comprehensive Safety Plan.  The 2016-2017 Plan can be accessed HERE (from the MSD website>District>Student Safety).




Did you Know?

Excused vs. Unexcused Absences

Last week’s “Did You Know” article reminded parents that schools only receive ADA funding for students who are in attendance, regardless of the reason for their absence.  However, ALL absences are noted as “excused” or “unexcused” for auditing purposes. According to MSD board policy, absences are considered “excused” for the following reasons:

  • Illness
  • Family emergencies
  • Justifiable personal reasons (such as funeral attendance)
  • Religious holidays

Absences are considered “unexcused” if they do not meet one of the above-mentioned criteria.  For example, missing school for vacations or “extra holidays” are unexcused.  Thank you for your diligence in avoiding extended trips when school is in session. 


MSD Bans Styrofoam

After hearing a well-researched presentation by JM ECO Club students (including several Rheem alumnae), the Moraga School District Governing Board voted unanimously to ban the use of polystyrene (styrofoam) at the September 13 board meeting.   A copy of the approved resolution which bans the use of Styrofoam during the school day and for all groups using MSD facilities can be found HERE



The Last Word…

I said it up top, but it’s worth repeating again: Rheem is a better school because of the Moraga Education Foundation (MEF). This Wednesday, on MEF’s Day of Giving, the Rheem Team has a special opportunity to recognize and celebrate the positive impact MEF makes on every student, every day at Rheem.  

Each day, I am in the very fortunate position of seeing up-close the many positive benefits that MEF brings to our school.  And, YOU see MEF’s impact every time your child comes home excited about a new library book, a new computer skill, a new art project, or a story about how he/she was helped by a teachers’ aide, Reading Tutor, or one of the many other staff members that are funded by MEF.  

Please join me in showing your gratitude and support for MEF by clicking here and making a tax-deductible donation today. 


I love this school!

Ms. Frank, Principal


“Frank”ly Speaking…

September 25, 2016


The reviews are in... and Wednesday’s Rheem Team Back-to-School Parent Party was a GREAT success!  I thoroughly enjoyed greeting both new and “experienced” Rheem parents at the event.  Many thanks to Serina Culleton, Rheem teacher and parent, for organizing the event.  In case you haven’t heard, “Mingle Bingo” got everyone mixing it up, and winners got to spin the famous Rheem Team wheel for exciting prizes such as stuffed Roadrunners and FridayFreeze coupons!  


This Week at Rheem:

Monday, Sept. 26:

  • Native American Days – 3rd/Berkman (8:30 – 2:00)

Tuesday, Sept. 27:  “Parenting the Challenging Child”

  •  7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in OUSD Board Room (8 Altarinda Road in Orinda)
    • Click HERE for flyer.

Weds., Sept. 28:

  • Native American Days – 3rd/Caraska (8:30 – 1:50)

Friday, Sept. 30:

  • Native American Days – 3rd/Ralph (8:30 – 2:00)



School News and Highlights

  • Buttercup (a full-grown Holstein) and Oreo (a two-month old calf) charmed the students of Rheem School when they visited last Monday.  Students learned a lot about cows, dairy farming, and dairy products, and even more can be learned at the Mobile Dairy Classroom website!
  • Readers’ Workshop is being introduced in all classrooms at Rheem.  During the past two weeks, all Rheem teachers have participated in Readers’ Workshop Lab sessions to learn about how to most effectively launch a Readers’ Workshop program and integrate it into the existing Writers’ Workshop lessons. Parents are invited to learn about his curriculum shift at the upcoming Parent Education Evening – “Introducing Readers’ Workshop” onOct. 20, beginning at 6:30 in the JM Library.  We hope you can attend. Click HERE for details.
  • BOX TOPS were collected in the classrooms last Friday for the first of several collections during the school year, so don’t stop clipping!  Did you know there is even a Box Tops app that can help you earn more $$ for Rheem?  ClickHERE to learn all about it!



Introducing Rheem’s New Art Teacher

We are delighted that Larysa Larson has joined the Rheem Team as our Art Teacher.  Ms. Larson is at Rheem on Thursdays and Fridays in Room 24.  4th and 5th grade students receive weekly 1-hour art lessons, and 1st – 3rd graders attend Art class on a rotational basis (once every 3 weeks).  Read Ms. Larson’s introductory letter to you below:


Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am so pleased to be teaching your child art this year. I have taken this opportunity to let you know a little about myself and to invite you to contact me if I may be of any assistance to you with regard to your child.

I teach from the perspective that each student is unique. I strive to create a classroom environment where students feel encouraged, supported and inspired.
Through my individualized instruction, I nurture and guide each student to his or her highest artistic potential. 

A little about myself: I received my B.F.A in Painting and Drawing from California College of the Arts and my M.F.A from SFSU also in Painting and Drawing.

I have previous teaching experience at elementary school level, and this is my fourteenth year teaching art to a young audience.

My hope for this school year is to engage students in creating art with meaning and value. We will develop skills in creativity and problem solving through art. 5th graders are currently working on String Art project which is a part of a unit on 'Creating Sense of Motion in Art'. In this project students use their math skills to solve a key for their string pattern designs.

Fourth graders are creating PopArt self-portraits inspired by the art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Third graders are exploring beauty of the autumn colors and creating an abstract art compositions using fallen leaves. Second graders are reviewing warm and cold colors and collaging landscapes using construction paper. Finally, the first graders are celebrating approaching holiday season with orange and black color paper cutouts arranging them into a whimsical family of cats.

Each grade will explore a joy of working with clay, painting with watercolors, tempera and acrylics, drawing with oil and chalk pastels, color pencils and markers. In October we will discover the art of printmaking and stamping while creating memorable and one of a kind prints of animals and cartoon characters.

Your child is important to me. I look forward to working in partnership with you through the upcoming year and I am confident that together we can provide the support and encouragement needed to help your child excel. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me at

Larysa Larson
Art Teacher


Ascot Drive Parking and Traffic Alert!

Many Rheem students and parents use the Ascot Court “stairs” to enter or leave school.  Although this area is not school-district property and is not supervised by school personnel (the “official” school entrance and exit is Laird Drive), we understand that the Ascot Drive stairs are conveniently located for access to Roadrunner Club.

However, both the Rheem School Office and the Moraga Police Department have received many complaints from our neighbors on Ascot Drive regarding parking and traffic issues resulting from this access area.  Please be advised that police department will give citations for speeding and/or illegal parking (double-parking, parking in private driveways, etc.) on Ascot Drive.   

Please be aware that supervision is provided both before and after school at the loading zones at the top of Laird Drive.  Although parking is tight, it is more readily available along Laird Drive than on Ascot.  Further, systems are in place to bring students to the office if parents are running late at pick up time.  For everyone’s safety, families are encouraged to use the Laird Drive entrance and exit to school. 

Let’s all continue to be good neighbors who follow all safety and traffic guidelines.


Did You Know?

Attendance Counts (and Costs)

Did you know that the Moraga School District only receives funding for students that are “in their seats,” regardless of the reason for their absence?  That’s right, the state does not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences for revenue purposes.  However, parents can help mitigate the loss of funding by choosing to complete an Independent Study or providing an Attendance Reimbursement (see below).

Independent Study

An “Independent Study” can be developed for a student who will be absent a minimum of five days to a maximum of eight weeks.  Independent Study forms can be obtained by the child’s teacher or in the front office and require the signature of the teacher, parent, and principal.  The district receives attendance reimbursement for successfully completed Independent Studies. 

Attendance Reimbursement

Some parents choose to reimburse the district for revenue lost due to unexcused absences.  For the 2016-17 school year, the average daily attendance (ADA) rate is $40.02.  A check payable to the Moraga School District can be sent directly to the school to cover the cost of lost revenue due to extended family vacations or “extra” holidays.


Safety First! 

Parking, Sidewalks, and Crosswalks…

Rheem’s parking lots are reserved for staff during school hours and/or volunteers/visitors who are on campus for an extended period of time.  Parking lots are not for drop-off or pick up of students. 

Parents and children are to stay on the sidewalks and within crosswalk lines when walking to and from school.  Do not walk through the parking lots or across the bus circle.

To get more than 400 students to and from school safely, Rheem relies on all families understanding and following procedures.  Thank you for your cooperation!



Rheem Site Council Wants YOU!

Parent Member Needed to Complete 2016-2017 Committee

The purpose of Rheem School’s Site Council (SSC) is to develop, support, and monitor our school goals.  In recent years, the council’s work has focused on supporting the district’s Strategic Plan by developing and monitoring actions steps to implement the Common Core standards and the Writers’ Workshop program.  Last year, specific goals were established in Mathematics and Language Arts based on CAASPP data.   Traditionally, our council also develops a “School Climate” goal to promote and maintain a positive learning environment for all students. 

According to Site Council by-laws, the council must consist of equal representation from the faculty and the parent community. Currently, there are THREE open positions for parent representation on the council.  The SSC meets approximately six times throughout the school year, after school on Tuesdays.  Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4, beginning at 3:15 in Room 19.  If interested in this worthwhile volunteer opportunity, please contact Principal Elaine Frank (376-4441) for more information, or simply come to the meeting to find out what it’s all about!

Along with Principal Frank, the current staff members on the SSC are teachers Sekai Greer, Amanda Lorie, Angie Guidi, and Virginia Drury.  Parent members are Kim Pertel and Jill Austin.



The Last Word…

Every once in a while, I come across irrefutable evidence that our children have much to teach us.  That’s certainly what I felt this week when I heard of the 6-year old boy that wrote President Obama about his concern for the 5-year-old Syrian “boy in the ambulance.”  Day after day, if we have ears to hear, we will notice that our young children’s first response to pain and unfairness is often one of compassion and support.  Please take a moment (just one and ½ minutes) to be inspired by the words of one such little boy.  Click