Learn more below how the PTSA funds support our school. If you would like to support these programs and more, please click the Donate button.
Interview with Kim Chaney, Librarian
Q: What are some of the most important initiatives from the Library for students at Bay Farm?
A: Our library serves as a community hub of activities. My ultimate goal is for students to appreciate the library space as a safe place to learn about the things that interest them. It’s a place to explore new ideas, confront challenges, and learn how to problem solve. Information literacy is a vitally important skill in the 21st Century. Our library book collection is an essential resource to make this happen. My mission is to support the classroom teachers in creating a community of readers and information literate students.
Q: How does funding from the PTSA help you to deliver new programs and materials?
A: Our library would not exist without the PTSA’s support. Almost all of the books on our shelves have been purchased with PTSA funds. Additionally we acquire books through book fair sales, which is heavily supported by PTSA volunteers. Because of that support, I am able to keep the library collection updated and relevant. Another exciting addition to the library has been the Lego STEAM kits. Our students just started using them last week, and they are enjoying the challenges of building the projects and making them work. These kits engage students in coding and engineering skills. They provide fun ways for them to learn how to face challenges, and pivot strategies as needed. Students are learning that failure is not a bad thing, but instead a launching point of learning. These are invaluable lessons for adulthood.
Q: What are some important new investments the Library needs?
A: While I am always in need of funds to keep our library updated, I would love to expand my lessons to include more arts integration, as well as more STEAM challenges that are extensions of the literature I share with the students. Our old computer lab is being converted into a STEAM space that could be used by teachers and small groups. To make that all happen we would need art and STEAM supplies, as well as efficient storage. Student expression is part of the learning process, and it’s important to me that students learn to be information content creators, instead of just consumers.
Q: Why did you decide to become a Librarian?
A: Aside from loving the amazing children’s novels that have surfaced over the years, I realized that I most love to expose students to interesting literature and history. As a classroom teacher, I found it fun to
pair texts with the history and science concepts the kids were studying. I got a thrill when I found a juicy novel to share that supported the core subjects we studied in class. I also love to create fun and multisensory extensions to support those novels. Providing enriching and engaging reading experiences was a passion of mine when I was a 5th Grade teacher. I felt that the library would be a great way for me to expand that passion and share it with the school community. When students are immersed in a text rich environment, they learn by leaps and bounds.
Interview with Alex Breuer, Elementary PE Teacher & Middle School Athletic Director
Q: How is investment from the Bay Farm PTSA helping to support your PE programs?
A: With the help of our Bay Farm PTSA, the PE department has been able to offer a variety of games and activities geared towards creating a positive fitness culture in our students. Having adequate supplies is no small matter. The program needs everything from cones, hula hoops, poly spots, and bean bags to every sporting ball imaginable as well as a huge variety of other aids such as hockey sticks, baseball bats, tennis racquets, and hockey sticks. The list goes on and on as there are just too many items to list.
Q: Are there areas you would like to expand or improve in future we may be able to help?
A: The number of items also becomes a bit of a problem as our storage areas are very limited. I would love to be able to add items, such as push scooters, but we simply do not have anywhere to store large amounts or larger items. My hope over the last couple of years has been to add to our storage capabilities so that I can add to the variety of activities our students can participate in. More variety means more chances at success and the possibility of students finding a new passion in the world of fitness.
Interview with Bonnie Nelson Duffey, Music Specialist
Q: Can you share some examples of our music program across the school this year?
A: I’m excited to teach kindergarten officially next year since they have all day classes. I enjoying teaching them new songs and dancing with scarves. In addition:
- 1st graders are learning many new songs as well and we work with rhythm instruments and body percussion.
- 2nd graders will be learning some piano basics on my set of small keyboards. They bring their earphones with them from the classroom to let them have more exploration time.
- 3rd graders are playing on xylophones and learning more rounds, and two part singing.
- 4th graders are learning to play the recorder, which is the easiest way to introduce them to band instruments and hopefully encourage them to try an instrument in middle school. We also puting together a singing and dancing performance.
- 5th graders are very busy with learning ukulele. They are expected to take it home and practice. I’m very proud of them for learning to tune, take care of, and strum several chords. We spend most of our time preparing performance pieces for promotion in June.
- For the middle school class, I’m hoping to do some sort of performance, either a talent show or maybe a short musical!
Q: What would you like to invest in to further expand our music education program?
A: The first thing that comes to mind for funds is improvement on the MPR, especially the front of stage. Also we could also use some folding choir risers.
Q: Tell us more about your time with Bay Farm!
A: I’ve been teaching for 24 years and have been at Bay Farm for the majority of those years. I have directed many performances and enjoy musical theatre very much. I feel honored to be a part of so many students musical lives!
Interview with Outdoor Learning Center Teacher, Michael Holmes
Q: What inspired you to be a professional gardener, and/or how did you come to be in this line of work?
A: During my time as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley I joined a campus effort to compost more of the food scraps from the dormitories. This eventually led to working on a farm. Eventually I found my way to working as a landscaper and gardener. I still am a licensed landscape contractor and do that work during the breaks from school.
Q: How is the garden providing new and interesting experiences for our Bay Farm students?
A: In the Bay Farm Outdoor Learning Program our students are tasting local, organically grown vegetables and fruits, sometimes for the first time; they are seeing plants for the first time that are related to foods they may know well; they are learning to notice the subtle beauty and cycles of the flora and fauna all over the campus. I made a pesto using only things growing in the garden and students, some of whom had never had pesto and we’re not so sure about it, said I should open a five-star restaurant. The good news, of course, is it’s all stuff they can grow themselves and that they’re learning to grow at school.
A: Students are helping to move fresh mulch and soil into place, sprout plants in the greenhouse, water and maintain the garden beds, rotate crops in relation to the season, and support pollinators and native fauna by installing specific plants. They are learning about the botanical science related to the plants and planting strategies, and understanding how their eating habits can affect their health and the health of the planet.
Q: What would you like to see in respect to ways to expand the garden initiative to do more?
A: I hope we can continue to fund all the maintenance and personnel costs and keep expanding our native habitat garden. We are raising the bar for outdoor learning programs in the Bay Area and giving our students an invaluable sense of connection, wonder, and purpose in the process.
Q: How many different varieties of plants are in the garden?
A: Looking at the families of the plants is a great way to simplify the diversity and make connections between plants. Major families on campus include mint, mustard, cucumber, daisy, and buckwheat. In terms of families, we have at least a dozen different families in the garden. We have twice that many genuses and two or more times as many species as genuses. Biodiversity is a true reflection of ecological health and I hope to continue expanding biodiversity all over campus.