Earhart 2013 - 2014 Event Archives

Earhart Week

Earhart Students Qualify for Global Destination Tournament

Would you like to support Earhart Destination Team on their adventure to the Global Competition in Knoxville, TN while you are having an opportunity to win a great prize from Park Street businesses and other local companies? Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Ticket will be sold daily before & after school. The drawing will be held on Monday, 20 May 2014. You do not need to be present to win.

Destination Imagination [DI] is an educational program where student teams independently solve open-ended challenges & present their solutions at tournaments. Teams learn important life skills including time management, presentation skills, collaboration, conflict resolution, & creative & critical thinking. DI teaches the Creative Process, from Imagination to Innovation, aligned with Common Core, 21st Century Learning, & STEAM.

Congratulations to all of our DI participants this year! Over forty Fourth & Fifth grade students from Earhart School competed for the second year in Destination Imagination Regional Tournament. Earhart PTA sponsored seven teams & four of those teams went onto the State tournament & one of those teams has been selected to compete in the Global Challenge being held in Tennessee next month!

Parent volunteers co-manage the teams & prepare them for the tournaments. Andy Madsen shared the following, "This being my first year as a DI Co-manager, I am constantly reminded of the words of Jim Schettler who taught our DI Manager training class. Referring to the students, Jim said 'Let them surprise you.' Jim's words remind me that our kids are capable of much more than we expect of them."

Fourth grade student, Maylee Witte says, "What I learned from Destination Imagination is that we can imagine anything together."

Destination Imagination Parking Lot Sale

Saturday, 3rd May 2014, 8am - 2pm
Earhart School

Destination Imagination Team needs your help! We Rock, Paper, Scissors! Parking Lot Sale helps raise funds to get us to D.I. Globules!

There are three tax-deductible ways to help with the Parking Lot Sale:

Donating any no longer want or need used items for the team to sell
Renting a stall to sell your own items at $25 without a shade or $50 with a shade. [Keep your profits from the sale of your items]
Come shop the sale & find needed treasures for your family & home

Got questions? Need stall reservation? Please contact Paizley Spencer via email or in Room 22

Ice Cream Social

Friday, 6 June 2014, 5:30pm - 7:30pm

You scream! I scream! We all scream for ICE CREAM! Our annual Ice Cream Social is here again! Earhart families are invited to have a fun & sweet evening outside M/U Room.

Astronomy Night

Thursday, 5 June 2014, 8pm - 10:30pm

Grades 3 - 5 families are invited to join the East Bay Astronomical Society at Earhart School. The "astronomers" will bring telescopes for a Sky Observation. Viewing will begin as it gets dark. We will all get the chance to observe the night sky with guidance from these experienced astronomers. You are invited to come for all or part of the evening.

This is a family event. All children must be accompanied & supervised by their family. The play structure & yard will not be available for play.


Distribution: Thursday, 5 June 2014, 8pm - 10:30pm
Signing: Friday, 6 June 2014, 2:50pm

The yearbooks will be distributed tomorrow. We will host a yearbook signing event on Friday after school in the K-1 Yard. Please remember to bring your own pen & meet your friends to sign each others' yearbooks. A limited number of extra yearbooks will be available for sale at the event for $20.

Got questions? Please contact Lara Asmundson.

Airplane Contest

Friday, 30 May 2014

The annual Earhart Airplane Contest for Grades 1 - 5 is here soon! Participate in one of the best events at school. There are design & flight contests.

From Wednesday, 28 May 2014 to 8:30am, the morning of Friday, 30 May 2014, bring Design planes to Room 62 & Flight planes to your classroom.


Only Grades 1 - 5 students may enter
All projects must be designed & made by students
Models, kits, Legos, & airplanes made from patterns are NOT allowed
For Design Entries:
   Airplanes may be made with any materials EXCEPT as outlined above
   DO NOT put NAME on the airplane
   An ID number will be assigned when submitting the Design entry
For Flight Entries:
   Airplanes MUST BE made of PAPER ONLY!!!!
   Clear tape may be used
   Clearly writing down name on the airplane

Please check with your teacher for an entry form.

Volunteers needed for Airplane Flight Contest. Please sign up via Google Docs.

Skate, Scooter, Bubbles & Beach Balls Day

Friday, 23 May 2014

Grades 2 - 5 must bring their own skates or scooters & helmet. There are no motorized scooters allowed.

Grades TK - 1 will enjoy Bubbles & Beach balls.

Popsicles will be served after lunches as a thank you for a successful Spell-a-Thon.

Staff Appreciation Snack Bar

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Second Grade families will host a snack bar for our amazing Amelia Earhart Teachers & Staff!

Would like to volunteer to provide food or drinks? Please enter your information here. For iPad or SmartPhone users, please make sure to press "SUBMIT" to save your data. For computer users, the spreadsheet should auto save your data.

The snack bar will be set up in the Staff Lounge located behind the Office. The Staff Lounge will be open at 7:30am for before school snack drop off. Please drop off your items by 8:45am for the event set-up.

Please remember to label any containers that you would like to get back.

5th Grade Science Fair

Thursday, 22 May 2014, M/U Room, 7pm

Earhart 5th Grade Science Fair is coming up & needs judges on 19 May 2014, 9am - 12:30pm!

Please refer anyone in the teaching or science field, present or retired, to our Science teacher, Ms. Nettles, or our parent volunteer, Melisa Alfieri. Thank you!

National Teacher Appreciation Week

5th - 9th May 2014
7th May 2014 - Breakfast for Earhart Teachers & Staff

If you would like to volunteer to provide food or drinks on Wednesday, May 7th, then please enter your information here.

The Breakfast will be set up in the Staff Lounge located behind the Office. The Staff Lounge rear door will be open at 7:30 am if you need to drop off your items before school begins. Otherwise, please drop off items no later than 8:15 am. Please remember to label any container that you would like back. There is already a toaster in the Staff Lounge for the teachers & staff to use. If you are entering your information on an iPad or Smart Phone, then please hit the SUBMIT button to save your data. If you are entering your information on a computer, then the spreadsheet should auto save your data.

Thank you for showing your appreciation for our Teachers!

9th May 2014 - Bring Your Teacher a Flower Day

Each student bring a flower for their teacher, as well as any paraprofessionals in their classroom, to show them how much we appreciate all that they do for our children!

Community Coffee

Thursday, 15 May 2014, 8:30am
Outside M/U Room

We will have our final community coffee right after Flag. This is a special day for our kindergarten classes as they will be attending our morning Flag Ceremony, too! Kindergarten parents please join us, as you will see what your child[ren] will do to start their day next year!

Salute to Education

Friday, 25 April 2014, 6pm - 9pm
Rhythmix Cultural Center
2513 Blanding Avenue

The Alameda Education Foundation's Salute to Education event is coming soon! Join us for a festive evening of friends, colleagues, wine & delicious food as we honor innovative programs & volunteers from each Alameda school. Tickets purchased before midnight on Wednesday are $30. Tickets at the door are $40. Tickets available online at Alameda Education . Space is limited so purchase your tickets soon!

Please join Alameda Education Foundation in honoring Earhart music teacher, Ms. Orzell, at SALUTE TO EDUCATION. Using songs to learn difficult concepts in math and science, Ms. Orzell will be honored as part of the M[STM] program. In addition, Earhart school is recognizing its PTA as volunteer of the year.

Would like to watch Earhart Elementary horning Ms. Orzell at Kofman Auditorium? Please visit Jack Woo's YouTube.

Green Festival

Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 2pm - 6pm, K-1 Yard

What an event! Over 200 people attended our FIRST ANNUAL Green Festival!

Kids were having so much fun transforming the old children size T-Shirts into reusable shopping bags, planting in the gardens, flying the Angry Birds, dancing, singing, doing different types arts & crafts, learning from the park rangers about nature, winning their prizes, and so much more!

Earhart's "it's a small world" for Disney's Sing-Along for UNICEF

The Walt Disney Company will donate USD $150,000 to benefit UNICEF in honor of the the 50th anniversary of "it's a small world," plus USD $1 for every sing-along video recorded & another USD $1 for every virtual doll created, up to USD $100,000.

Learn more about "it's a small world" 50th Anniversary.

2013 California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll

Congratulations! California Business for Education Excellence identifies Earhart School as 2013 Honor Roll & Scholar school. Earhart School is being recognized for demonstrating consistently high levels of student academic achievement & improvement in achievement over time.

2013 CBEE Scholar Schools

Earhart Spring Cleaning

Saturday, 3 May 2014, 9am - 11am

It is time to clean up our school!!

This Saturday, we will be spring cleaning! We are looking for volunteers to help with weeding, raking & general beautification of our fantastic school. In keeping with Earth Day, we want to do our part for our school. If you are interested in getting some fresh air, pulling some weeds, & raking some leaves. We also have some volunteers coming in from the Mormon Church to help.

If you would like to help or have any questions, please contact Sara Custer, PTA President. Look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Oakland A's Tickets

We are excited to announce that our school is now participating in the Oakland A's Step Up to the Plate for Education program for the 2014 season! Students, teachers, staff, parents, & their friends & families have the opportunity to purchase special discounted tickets for select A's games. At the end of the school year, the Oakland A's will make a donation back to our school. To purchase tickets & view the available games, please click to visit Earhart's personalized Athletics link.

Tickets for the select games are limited ?to participate in this special offer, we recommend purchasing tickets ASAP to reserve the best seats. There are 6 dates to choose from including giveaway days, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, & a game vs. the Boston Red Sox. Hope to see you at the ballpark!

The last day to purchase tickets is April 30, 2014.

Got questions? Please contact Sara Custer via email.

Art & Music Show

Wednesday, 26 March 2014, 5pm - 7:30pm, M/U Room

Are you ready for the astounding Annual Earhart Art & Music Show?

Please bring the entire family & friends to join us for this awesome evening event with our talented Earhart musicians & artists from all grades. It's a celebration of the artistic achievements of all Earhart students!

Missed the amazing & fantastic "Art Through Technology" -- digital art movie created by almost three hundreds young tech-savvy Earhart artists?

Spell-a-Thon 2014

Thank you Earhart Super Spellers, families and Friends! We have reached our $35,000 goal!

Big THANK YOU to our wonderful sponsors:

Did you see the Spell-a-Thon villain - the Jumbler? He visited Earhart while parents were enjoying their cup of coffee, & students were paying attention to the announcement of the Spell-a-Thon. Earhart needs Super Spellers to defeat the Jumbler! Are you ready?

Spell-a-Thon is here! It is our big PTA fundraiser for the year. Students will get pledges toward how many words they can spell correctly on their Spell-a-Thon spelling test. Our goal is to raise $35,000 that will directly go back to our students in the way of field trips, technology, science materials, books, art supplies, & more. If each Earhart student earns at least $58 in pledges, we will reach our goal [that's just 6 pledges of $10!].

Our theme this year is "Super Spellers" -- our students can be superhero spellers! Start talking to family, friends, & employers about sponsoring your student[s]! Spell-a-Thon envelopes will come home today, 12 February 2014.

Are you able to help volunteer to make this fundraiser a success? Please sign up via Google Doc or contact PTA VP of Fundraising Natalie Ackerman, 510.453.4087 or email.

Movie Night - Frozen

21 March 2014 | M/U Room | 7pm - 8:30pm

School Yearbook Pictures

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The team of parent volunteers creating this years yearbook are getting started & we can always use more photos. If you have pictures from your child's class or any school event please share them with us by uploading them to the Lifetouch Community Photo page as detailed below. We can always use pictures of special classroom events such as art docent lessons, field trips or special class parties. We also can use photos of school events such as the Innovative Program info night, movie night, Halloween party, & music concerts. Thank you for helping us create a wonderful yearbook!

Got questions? Please contact Lara Asmundson, Yearbook Coordinator

To submit photos to the yearbook staff, go to LifeTouch Community, register with the following code: HJBMMO

Once registered you will receive an email from Lifetouch with an activation link. You must click the activation link before you can log into the Lifetouch Community Image Upload site.

After logged on:

  • Upload 5 images at a time [10mB or less]
  • Enter a description for each image so yearbook staff can easily identify what is happening in the photo
  • yearbook staff will determine whether to use the photo in the yearbook

  • Please submit your photos by March 1st, 2014.

    Congratulations to our yearbook contest winner & runners up!

    Maylee Witte was our winner, & she receives a free standard yearbook.

    The runners up are:
    Abbigail Hui Jenna Chen Meredith Spotts Isabelle Sauter

    And they each get a $5 coupon toward a yearbook. Coupons will be delivered to their classroom before yearbook ordering.

    Innovative Program Evening

    Thursday, 27 February 2014 | M/U Room then Pod 4 | 6:30pm - 8:30pm

    Our science theme this year - Standing on the Shoulder of Giants will be celebrated with our Innovation Extravaganza. The evening will begin with student performances & then you will have the opportunity to do hands on activities in many classrooms. There are special guests for the evening, nearly forty "Innovators" will be joining us and sharing their innovative work! Please join us for an evening will not forget!

    Movie Night - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

    21 February 2014 | M/U Room | 7pm - 8:30pm

    Lunar New Year - Year of the Horse

    31 January 2014

    Lion Dance: 13 February 2014

    Volunteers are needed to keep the Earhart Lunar New Year Celebration tradition going! If you are interested, please contact Ms. Suzuki ASAP, in order to get the plan going. Thank you for your help!

    Would like to try some Chinese New Year paper cutting art works on your own?
    Please check out our Art Docent page!

    2014-2015 PTA Board Opening

    We are ready for the 2014-2015 school year & our PTA needs you!

    Would you like to serve our PTA as the Historian? This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in your child's education, help our school, make new friends & have some fun.

    If you are interested in holding a PTA Board Member position in the next school year, please contact our Parliamentarian, Lori Melero.

    Job Description:
    Auditor: Audits the PTA accounts in January [August - December transactions] & in July [January - June transactions]
    Financial Secretary: Deposits funds collected on behalf of the PTA
    Treasurer: Prepares a monthly Budget Report, chairs the annual Budget Meeting, utilizes Quick Books to track expenses and prepare checks
    Historian: Collects historical information on PTA events / programs to act as a reference for future events / programs

    We will elect a Nominating Committee who will create a slate of Candidates for our PTA Board Elections held at our March PTA Meeting. The slate process involves compiling a list of potential candidates to be considered for nomination or election.

    Thanks for stepping up and helping Earhart!

    Pajama Day

    24 January 2014

    Was it still bedtime? But it's already school time. Oh no! Everyone forgot to change?

    Ah! It's Pajama Day time!

    Movie Night - Despicable Me 2

    31 January 2014 | M/U Room | 7pm - 8:30pm

    Please bring your family to enjoy a movie night, which is a free event that Earhart PTA sponsors to help build community at our school.

    There will be free popcorn, treats and water. Please plan on bringing your own blanket or towel so that your child can comfortably watch the movie while seated on the floor, as we will have limited chairs.

    Please be advised that this is a family event with no paid supervision so you may not drop your child off and leave.

    Winter Legislative Newsletter

    If you are interested in being on the Earhart committee, please contact Mrs. Dean.

    Discuss Facility Needs
    AUSD asks that each school has a panel of representatives to provide initial input. AUSD will also gather input from others after speaking with the panel.

    Principal Dean is still looking for a few more people to join as a member of the Earhart panel.

    First Meeting:
    Date: Thursday, 9 January 2014
    Time: 3:30pm
    Location: Earhart

    Second Meeting:
    Date: Thursday, 30 January 2014
    Time: 6pm - 8pm
    Location: Earhart

    Common Core State Standards
    American education has always been run at the state & local level. Historically, this has left teachers and districts to pick & choose what to teach. This is about to end, with the majority of American public school children working to master the same set of rigorous skills in math & English.

    Please check out our
    Winter Legislative Newsletter

    PTA Monday Ice Skating Nights at the Little Ice Rink

    23 December 2013 & 13 January 2014 | 6pm - 8pm

    The South Shore Center is graciously donating 20% of the proceeds of all PTA skating nights, plus $6,000 to the Alameda PTA units.

    For both Mondays listed above, Earhart will receive a discounted priced to ice skate:
    $12 for adults with skate rental; or $8 bring your own skates
    $8 for children with skate rental; or $5 bring your own skates
    10% off for groups of 10 or more
    Please join us on these 2 evenings & mention you are from Amelia Earhart to receive your discount PLUS raising funds for our school!!

    The 3,000 square feet Little Ice Rink will be open 7 days a week. Tickets for non-PTA Ice Skating Nights with skate rental included are:
    $15 for age 9 - Adults
    $10 for age 8 or under

    Discounted prices for bringing your own skates. 10% off for groups of 10 or more with credit card purchases.

    Their opening days are:
    Date: 8 November 2013 - 20 Juanuary 2014
    Time: Monday - Thursday: 3pm - 10pm
    Friday - Sunday: 12pm - 10pm
    Location: South Shore Center [on Park Street, between Petco & Big 5 Sporting Goods]

    Yearbook Inside Cover Contest

    9 January 2014 Due - "On the Shoulders of Giants"

    It's that time of year again! The yearbook "Inside Cover Contest" is back! The 2013-2014 theme is "On the Shoulders of Giants"! Create an 8x11 masterpiece for the chance to have a full page inside the yearbook featuring your artwork & a FREE yearbook. 4 other runner-up winners will receive $5 off of their yearbook.

    Please use standard white copy paper [8x11] with either crayons, colored pencils, or markers. Do NOT use 3D objects, such as paper clips, bottle caps, etc. Be creative using the theme. All grade levels encouraged to participate.

    Artwork due into the school office by Thursday, 9 January 2014!

    Book Fair

    3-12 December 2013 | M/U Room

    The Earhart Book Fair opens in December after fall recess, pleaes join us in the M/U Room & to help support literacy at our school.

    This is a really fun event that the kids look forward to ever year. Also, approximately 55¢ per dollar spent at the book fair comes back to the school in the form of books & educational materials. Last year the book fair made over $9,400 for the school, & our goal for this year is to reach $10,000.

    Parent volunteers are needed to make this a successful event! This is also a great opportunity for middle school kids to earn community service hours! You can sign-up to volunteer via the real time link to a Google spreadsheet.

    If you are entering your information via an iPad or Smart Phone, then please hit the Submit button.

    Volunteers will receive a $5 book fair credit for every volunteer shift worked.

    Got questions? Please contact Kimberly and Paul Skuta via email.

    Thank you in advance for supporting the Amelia Earhart Book Fair!!!!

    Movie Night

    15 November 2013

    Are you a Monster fan? Want to see Mike & Sulley during their days in college?

    Then please bring your whole family & blanket or towel to comfortably enjoy watching 'Monsters University'! Earhart PTA sponsors this free Movie Night to help building community at our school.

    There will be free popcorn, treats & water. There are also limited chairs.

    Please be advised that this is a family event with no paid supervision, so you may NOT drop your child off & leave.

    Innovative School Program

    7 November 2013

    Have you ever wondered exactly what your child encounters in a school day?

    Science, Math, Technology & Music are the core of our Innovative School Program, but how does this look to my child as a learner each day in the classroom?

    Earhart School celebrated innovation in the Multi-Use Room with an overview of our theme for the innovative program this year, 'On the Shoulders of Giants'. Parents & students had the opportunity to visit several classrooms & experience the excitement of learning in an Innovative school that our students experience each day.

    It was a fabulous evening!

    Click to learn more about our Innovative School Program.

    Social Skills for Children's Success

    5 November 2013

    Our guest speaker, Sue Diamond, M.A., CCC, provided Earhart parents information on how to gain success in communication.

    Susan is the Author of "Social Rules for Kids - the Top 100 Social Rules Kids Need to Succeed." She is a licensed speech-language pathologist with a private practice in Alameda, California. She provides diagnosis & treatment of language delays & disorders & specializes in social language skills. She enjoys over twenty five years experience in the field. She has been on TV as an expert on social skills & has produced a DVD called "Diamond Social Skills." Her passion is helping people gain success in communication.

    School Smarts Graduation

    29 October 2013

    Congratulations School Smarts Parents!

    Halloween Costume Party

    25 October 2013 | 6pm - 8pm

    The joyful music, the yummy food, the prettiest, scariest, wackiest, & most creative people were all over Earhart school!

    The Halloween costume parade was fantastic! The super heroes, princesses, fairies, & monsters were also the amazing super models & dancing stars!

    There were lots of spooky fun!

    Crazy Hair Day

    25 October 2013

    Wow! What happened this morning? Were Earhart students & teachers waking up late with no time to brush their hair?

    No! It is the day to show off our crazy hair!

    Fuel Your School from Chevron

    1 - 31 October 2013 | Alameda Chevron gasoline stations

    Chevron is working with DonorsChoose.org to help K-12 teachers in Alameda County public schools get the supplies they need for eligible classroom projects. And everyone can help!

    From October 1 to 31, fuel up with 8 or more gallons using any electronic cards [i.e. credit, gift or debit card] at a participating Chevron or Texaco station and Chevron will donate $1, up to $1 million, to directly support public education projects in Alameda county. The donation of $1 for an 8-gallon or more fuel purchase is automatically applied as a result of your purchase at the pump.

    You can track money earned for our school by visiting:

    Current Earhart School DonorsChoose.org Projects

    Please see Fuel Your School official website for details.

    100% PTA Participation Ice Cream Party

    10 October 2013

    Congratulations to Ms. Esparza's 3rd grade class for being our FIRST class to reach 100% participation!

    Also congratulations to all of the classes reached the 100% participation!

    Enjoy your ice cream party!

    Thanks to the many Earhart families and teachers who have already contributed to our PTA Annual Donation Drive. This is an important fundraising event that supports many of the programs that make Earhart Elementary a wonderful school for our children.

    If you have not yet contributed & would love to help, please join or donate via 'Join/Donate' online or in the office by cash/check!

    Walk & Roll Day

    9 October 2013

    Raise your right hand if you walked to school!
    Raise your left hand if you biked to school!
    Jump if you rolled on a scooter to school!

    The purpose of the event is to encourage students to arrive at and leave from school using other modes of transportation than a car. This morning, Earhart parents, grandparents, & kids were walking, biking, skating or using their scooters to get to school.

    Spirit Day - Color Day
    First Movie Night - Epic

    27 September 2013

    Wear clothing with your class colors to show support!
    At night, 7pm - 8:30pm, bring a picnic mat
    & enjoy a movie, Epic, hosted by PTA!

    Kindergarten: RED
    First Grade: ORANGE
    Second Grade: GREEN
    Third Grade: YELLOW
    Fourth Grade: BLUE
    Fifth Grade: BLACK

    Earhart PTA Legislative Newsletter

    Interested in the Measure A Oversight Committee? Then check out our
    Fall Legislative Newsletter

    For more other news, please check out ...

    President's Corner

    Safety First

    19 September 2013

    This morning after the flag ceremony, witnesses said that a white SUV hit & ran the fire hydrant outside Earhart School parking lot. It has caused an estimated 3-story-high geyser that was flooding the sidewalk & roadway.

    Again, for our school safety, we would like to ask parents to drive safely during drop-off & pickup.
    Please DO NOT park in the white zone! Drivers have to stay in their driver seat!
    Please DO NOT make illegal U-Turn!
    Please DO NOT speed! The speed limit is 25mph.


    Register with full payment by 23 September 2013

    SuccessMaker Before/After School Program Fall Session will be available in September through November, 2013. SuccessMaker classes use educational software that supports and supplements classroom learning.

    All classes are held in the computer lab [Room 66]. Classes are available for all grade levels. Each class has a limit of 20 students. Classes are taught by Earhart teachers.

    Registration forms are available on Earhart's website and in the office.

    First School Smarts Engagement Breakfast

    10 September 2013

    We had a great start this morning!

    Earhart Elementary's School Smarts is a parent engagement program designed to help parents and guardians become more knowledgeable & involved in our school. The program is based on statewide parent research & is being offered in select schools in California during the 2013 - 2014 school year. It is supported by the Willeam & Flora Hewlett Foundation in partnership with the California State PTA.

    All parents and guardians are welcome! Childcare and a light breakfast will be provided. There is no cost to attend.

    For more information please visit our 'School Smarts' page.

    2013 - 2014 First Day of School

    26 August 2013

    Welcome back everyone! Hope you had a super fun summer!

    The first week or two of school will have early dismiss, please schedule your dropoff & pickup accordingly.

    Grades TK & K: August 26 - September 9 | 8:30am - 11:40am

    Welcome Back to Earhart Evening Event

    19 August 2013

    Was it nice to see so many familiar faces and meet the new faces at today's fun family event with music to kick off the new school year?
    1st day packets were being distributed for all registered students.

    Inside the packet, we got to see who our child's teacher will be.
    What a nice warm evening! The kids were hanging out again at playground; teachers were welcoming their new students; parents were catching up; and families were enjoying their picnic dinner on the field...