Alamedan Honored by Peralta District PTA

The Alameda PTA Council participated in the Peralta District PTA’s Founders Day Ceremony on Monday, May 16, and during the event, Sarah Olaes — an active supporter of Otis Elementary School — received the Founders Day & Perlata District PTA Very Special Person Award.

According to Christene Strena, president of the Alameda PTA Council, when Olaes’ oldest son was in kindergarten, she managed the Alameda Education Foundation’s after-school enrichment program. Olaes then expanded the program into “a broad, wide-ranging selection that lives up to its purpose and that it to enrich the children who take the classes,” Strena said.

The AEF recently hired Olaes to coordinates enrichment programs across the Island.

The group says that Olaes is best known for her role as campaign volunteer coordinator for both Measure E and Measure A, two parcel tax campaigns that aimed to expand local funding to support Alameda’s public school.

“Her efforts as volunteer coordinator mobilized several hundred volunteers through two campaigns. Volunteers for every PTA in Alameda worked with Sarah to secure funding for our schools. While Measure E failed last year, I am happy to share that Sarah immediately rejoined the next campaign effort and Measure A passed, bringing approximately $12 million in to Alameda Schools each year for the next seven years,” Strena explained.

“Without the incredible dedication of Sarah, and the entire Measure A Campaign staff, our community would not be able to pause during this ongoing state of fiscal emergency for California’s education budget. Alameda is certainly facing ongoing budget cuts along with the rest of California’s schools, but because of the Herculean efforts of Sarah, And the entire Measure A Campaign committee, the choices we would be facing in Alameda would be a lot more difficult,” the head of the PTA group shared.

AEF recently celebrated its annual Salute to Education event and a video of the festivities is posted on the group’s website.


Alameda Schools Benefit Set for Friday

The Alameda Education Foundation’s 28th annual Salute to Education takes place this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch St.

The event aims to celebrate innovation in Alameda’s public schools and recognize teachers, staff, volunteers and local businesses that make a positive impact on students.

Tickets are $40 and can be bought at the door or at alamedaeducation.org.

According to AEF President Bill Sonneman, the event is “a chance for the entire community to come together and get to know each other a little better, learn about innovative programs in our schools, and honor the people who work so hard for our students.”

“We’ll be celebrating at Rock Wall Wine Company on Alameda Point, and the evening will include gourmet hors d’oeuvres, local wines, and the beautiful backdrop of the San Francisco skyline,” Sonneman said.

Music will be provided by the award-winning Alameda High School jazz band.

Some of the innovative school programs to be showcased this year include a Creative Arts Institute program that helps students integrate visual and performing arts into Language Arts curriculum; “Fire Fighters in our Classroom;” a tutoring program developed by high school students that provides academic support for peers and younger students; and “The Wall Breakers,” a middle school classroom project attempting to change the perspectives of young people in order to end bullying.

(Photo courtesy of AEF and Lifetouch.)


Alamada Schools Celebrating Parcel-Tax Vote

The Alameda Education Foundation, a fund-raising group for special school programs and resources, is thanking the community for its passage of Measure A on March 8.

“By over a two-to-one margin, you showed your support for continued quality education in Alameda,” AEF said in a statement. “The fact that current economic conditions made this a difficult choice for many indicates our community’s willingness to sacrifice to ensure that Alameda students have the educational resources, programs and conditions they need for success.”

The Alameda Education Foundation says it especially wants to thank members of the business community that supported Measure A, which enjoyed more business support that the failed Measure E last year. “You, like us, realize that thriving schools are necessary for a strong community and a promising future for all of us,” AEF explained.

AEF also praised the Alameda SOS campaign committee for its “exceptional job of galvanizing the community to pass Measure A.”

According to the Alameda Country Registrar of Voters, the majority of Alamedans participated in the Measure A vote: 21,180 votes were counted, representing 50.9% of the Island’s 41,609 registered voters.

Some 14,200 ballots were sent in by mail, and about 7,000 ballots were filled out on election day at polling sites across town.

The “yes” votes totalled 14,342 — or 67.8% — and the “no” votes numbered 6,806, or 32.2%. The parcel-tax measure needed 66.6% or more votes to pass.


Alameda Middle School Basketball Season Begins


The Wood Middle School Beavers played their Lincoln Middle School rivals recently as part of the start of Alameda Education Foundation’s 2011 middle school basketball season.

Wood, Lincoln and the Academy of Alameda each host boys and girls basketball teams, and the teams compete three times in regular-season league play, according to AEF.

“The students really enjoy being able to play for their schools,” said AEF President Bill Sonneman, in a statement. “It gives them a great sense of pride and provides a wonderful sense of spirit throughout the whole school community. Being able to provide this program has such a direct positive impact on both the students and the schools.”

The middle-school playoffs begin the week of February 21, with the championships set for the first week of March. A complete schedule is found on AEF website.

Basketball is one of three sports sponsored by AEF, and the program receives no district funding. Sports programs were cut from the middle-school budgets four years ago due to budget shortfalls from the state, says AEF, and AEF began running the programs in the winter of 2009.

Since that time, over 350 student athletes from across the Island have participated in volleyball (fall), basketball (winter) and track & field (spring). The AEF sports program requires academic eligibility among its participants and emphasizes teamwork and sportsmanship.

Alameda residents can support the program by attending games. The entry fees are $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for students; the fees help to offset officiating costs.

AEF is also seeking donations to sustain the program through the 2010-2011 school year and beyond. Donations may be made on the AEF website or by contacting AEFSports@alamedaeducation.org.

Thanks to Al Wright and AEF for the picture (above) of Wood and Lincoln battling it out at the 2010 basketball championships.


Borders to Support Alameda Schools This Weekend


The Alameda Education Foundation and Alameda PTA Council are encouraging members of the community to visit Borders bookstore at Alameda Towne Centre this Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5.

Shoppers buying a book, toy or even a latte will recieve $15 giftcard to donate to the Alameda public schools or another public school of their choice. In addition, those buying the book “Waiting for Superman” will receive a second $15 giftcard.

The program is being organized through DonorsChoose.org, according to an Associated Press report.


Alameda Schools to Benefit from Beatles-Tribute Show


The Sun Kings, a Beatles tribute band, is set to headline “All Together Now,” a benefit supporting Alameda public schools, from 6 to 11 p.m. this Friday, November 12.

The venue is Auctions by the Bay Theatre, 2700 Saratoga Street, Alameda Point.

Proceeds from the event will support music, drama, art and more in Alameda public schools, according to Vicki Sedlack.

In addition to the Sun Kings, “All Together Now” will feature DJ Pete Fletcher spinning oldies from the ’50s and ’60s.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door and include food and one glass of wine or beer, with more beverages available for purchase.

More information and tickets are available at online at the AEF’s website. 


Alameda School’s Fund-Raiser Set for Oct. 10

AEF Millie Fund Raiser

Alameda artist Jean-Marie Bouin and a group of other community members will be at Millie’s Hair Salon, 2406 Lincoln Avenue, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, October 10, for a special Alameda Education Foundation fund-raising event.

Millie Luz, owner of Millie’s Hair Salon, is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her business in style. “It should be lots of fun, and I’m getting lots of local support,” said Luz, a long-time Alameda resident.

In addition to Bouin, other artists and photographers — such as Becky Calandri, Sheila Patterson and Pamela Thompson — will give 10 percent of sales to AEF, as will Deborah Porterfield of A Touch of Class Jewelers.

Luz says that her goal is to raise enough money to support (or “adopt”) four classrooms in need of supplies and other resources: a kindergarten and fourth-grade class at Lum School, a class at Haight School and one other class within the Alameda Unified School District. (It takes $500 to adopt a class.)

The hair stylist is asking guests to share $10 for the event. In return, each guest will get a glass of wine or beer and a raffle ticket.

The top raffle prize is a blue, red or black Jonway YY-50 scooter, donated by Yousuf Osmani of Scooter Importer on Park Street. (Both Osmani and Luz are graduates of Alameda High School).

Speisekammer Restaurant owners Cindy Johnson Kahl and Peter Johnson are giving coupons for more than 50 beers for the party; their daughter Darla is in fourth grade at Haight. Neil Doerr of Epic Wines is providing some bottles of his product line, and Ching Hua Restaurant is giving wine, as well.

Other donors include Chef Ian Libberton of the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and sous chef Casandra Szalkiewicz of Alameda, who plan to open Kokopelli Café on the Island; they are giving a gourmet meal for the auction. For the party itself, local baker Kathryn Le is sharing a sampling of cupcakes.

Stylists Angelina Maloney, Fufu Musleh and Luz are auctioning several Brazilian Blowouts hair treatments during the event.

“Millie is a fantastic person when it comes to giving and causes,” shared Porterfield. “Anything she’s involved in, I love to get involved with, too.”


Alameda School-Supply Drive Collects, Donates 400 Backpacks


The Alameda Education Foundation announced today, September 22, that it had collected enough school supplies from Island residents and organizations to donate 400 backpacks to students in need.

AEF says it thanks everyone that donated school supplies. These donations are needed to support the nearly 10 percent of Alameda Unified School District students who lack a permanent residence; the backpacks are currently being distributed through the McKinney-Vento Program.

AEF also wants to express its appreciation to Tuckers, the Bank of Alameda on Park Street and Color Me Mine for hosting donations bins and to the West Alameda Business Association for providing a collection table during the Concerts at the Cove series. And a special thank you is being expressed to Office Max for its support, AEF says.

In addition, the group wants to acknowledge the Alameda Kiwanis Club for providing support at the Towne Centre Summer Concert Series, selling popcorn and collecting donations, as well as donating over $300 in donations of filled backpacks and additional supplies.

The Realtors of Harbor Bay Realty adopted this effort and provided dozens of filled backpacks, according to AEF, and St. Joseph Homeless and Shelter Services Ministry contributed supplies that filled two vans (see above photo.)

Other supporters include the Alameda Recreation and Park Department, St. Philip Neri and St. Albert’s, who surprised AEF with another van full of supplies. In addition, FESCO- Family Emergency Shelter Coalition — gave a large number of backpacks and school supplies.

AEF also wants to note that Tuckers donated $200 for backpacks, and the Windemere Foundation donated $1,000 to purchase backpacks and supplies.

Finally, Peter Ng and the Fundraising Booth donated 50 percent of proceeds from kettle-corn sales during the Summer Beats Concert series; Alameda Towne Centre provided support and promotion services for the Towne Centre Summer Beats concert series.

While the community has given generously already, AEF says it is still collecting school supplies for 500 classrooms. Teachers need dry-erase markers, reams of copy paper, new office supplies, craft paints, paint brushes, glue sticks and other items.

Thus, community members are asked to give to AEF’s Teacher Supply Store when they have a business or office that is moving or need to get rid of supplies — new and gently used.

Plus, AEF aims to provide art supplies worth at least $1,000 to each school site to support volunteer-driven art docent programs. Musical instruments are also requested for the middle and high schools.

Donations are being accepted at the AEF Teacher Supply Store on Atlantic from 3-5 p.m. on Thursday. To host a donation bin, contact info@AlamedaEducation.org; cash donations are also requested.

AEF says that $5 is needed to buy a backpack for a needy student, and $15 provides a year’s worth of supplies. Donations may be made by check and sent to AEF “School Supply Drive”, PO Box 1363, Alameda, 94501. Contact Christine Strena for more information: Christine@AlamedaEducation.org


Alameda’s Middle-School Volleyball Season Begins


The Alameda Education Foundation has announced its the 2010 volleyball schedule, as part of the group’s 2010-2011 middle-school sports program.

Open to all 6th-8th graders, the teams are based at Lincoln Middle School, Wood Middle School and the new charter Academy of Alameda Middle School. Each school hosts two co-ed teams.

The first match is set for 4 p.m., Tuesday, September 28, when the Lincoln Lions host the Wood Beavers.

The season includes nine regular matches. Playoffs will take place on October 28, and the league championships will be on November 2 at Alameda High School.

AEF has sponsored the middle-school sports programs, after funding was eliminated by the Alameda Unified School District three years ago due to budget shortfalls. It began running the sports program in the winter of 2009.

According to the group, more than 350 students participate in the volleyball (fall), basketball (winter) and track & field (spring) activities.

Foundation members say the organization is actively seeking donations to sustain the program; for more details, write to AEFSports@alamedaeducation.org.

Thanks to AEF for this photo of a 2009 game between Lincoln and Wood middle schools.


Alameda Schools Get Sizeable Donation from Island Businesses

ABN presents check to AEF

Alameda Education Foundation President Bill Sonneman, far right, recently accepted a check for $750 from members of the Alameda Business Network during ABN’s August 18 mixer at Aroma Restaurant.

ABN, a professional organization dedicated to providing business opportunities for its members, holds quarterly mixers to combine business networking with fund-raising for local non-profits.

According to Kimberly Vaughn, left, an officer with ABN, the group selected AEF as its benefactor because it “recognizes and understands the importance of having a healthy school system in Alameda for our children. The Alameda School District needs support more than ever and we wanted to bring awareness to the urgency.”

AEF plans to use the funds to support programming that fosters student success in Alameda public schools, such as in art, music, drama and athletics.

Other ABN members attending the event included Chuck DiGuida (second from left), Erik Schuler and Maggie Caracciolo.

Many thanks to AEF for the photo and information.