FAQs

 Got a question? We got answers.

School Procedural Questions:

My child is staying home sick. Who do I contact?
Call the main office in the morning. (510) 231-1412. Tell them the reason your child will be staying home, your child’s name, and teacher.

I need to take my child out early for a doctor appointment. How do I do that?
Go to the front office and sign your child out on the STUDENT SIGN-OUT sheet. Tell the office staff that you need your child to be called to the office. At the doctor’s office ask the doctor for a doctor’s note to return to class.

When bringing your child back to school present the doctor’s note to the school’s office staff and your child can go back to class. If the doctor’s appointment is at the end of the day they can present the note to the front office the next day for the portion of the day that the child was not there.

My child is going to miss school because of a family vacation. Who do I notify and what do I do to make up the classwork?
Please plan family vacations around the school calendar. We would like to see every child in class all year round. If a family emergency arises and your child needs to miss school please talk with their teacher to come up with a study plan for the days they will be gone as well as notifying the secretary in the office.

Why is Wednesday a minimum day?
Wednesdays are minimum days so that teachers can have class prep time, time for meetings, coordination of events, etc.

How do I purchase hot lunches for my child? 
You can prepay for your student’s breakfast or lunches securely online with a credit or debit card: http://MySchoolBucks.com – All meals offered at no charge for all students who qualify for free and reduced status.

Is there a dress code at Madera? 
There is no uniform policy at Madera. Jeans, leggings, dresses, shorts, t-shirts… Normal kid clothing. Not showing midriffs, not too short shorts, tasteful / no shirts with vulgarity. You get the picture.

Volunteer Questions:

How do I get a District Volunteer Badge?
All parents and community members that wish to volunteer in WCCUSD need to get a District Volunteer Badge to ensure our students have the right to learn in a safe environment. Start by applying online at: WCCUSD / Be a Mentor. Follow the instructions listed.

Do I need a District Volunteer badge to help out in my child’s classroom?
Yes. Once you get a District Volunteer Badge its good for as long as you have a child in WCCUSD. Its worth the investment in your time to get it now.

I don’t have time to volunteer in my child’s classroom, but I still want to help out. How can I get involved? 
There are lots of ways to help out! Short answer is email PTA President, Gayle Chin with your strengths and availability, and she’ll help figure out a good role for you.  Also check out our Volunteer Tab (scroll under Ways You Can Help) for list of current pressing jobs that need to be filled.

Are volunteers required to join the PTA?
Of course, it’s appreciated if you can join the PTA via the $15 membership.  Anyone can volunteer whatever the membership status.  However you can help is very much appreciated. For example, you can contribute items for the auction, help with the yearbook production, yard duty at lunchtime recess, and many other ways.  Many parents find that it’s rewarding to apply their own skills, talents, and professional experiences to benefit the school and the kids.

I want to chaperone a class field trip. What do I do?
First of all, get the proper paperwork from your child’s teacher. You’ll need to give copies of you district volunteer badge, valid drivers license, and proof of insurance with YOUR name on it. The date on the insurance card must be valid through the date of the field trip.

I signed up to drive on a class field trip, but now I can’t go. Can someone else drive in my place? 
No, unfortunately another driver can’t step in for you at the last-minute. Field trips and drivers are organized weeks in advance. Please save this for extreme emergencies. If a field trip doesn’t have enough drivers, it would have to be canceled. Which would be sad.

PTA Questions:

How can I join the PTA?
If you are interested in joining PTA there are forms in the office to fill out and return with the $15/person membership fee to the MEMBERSHIP mail box in the PTA bookshelf in the front office. Please make checks payable to Madera PTA, and write “membership” in subject line.

You can always contact Suzie Souza, PTA’s Membership VP at suziesouza@hotmail.com

What does my membership pay for?
About half of the $15 membership fee goes on to council and state level PTAs. Madera gets the other half. And that only goes so far…

The portion of the dues that’s allocated for council and state level, goes towards securing adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth.

What is Direct Appeal?
Direct Appeal is our annual fundraising campaign. The Madera PTA helps provide a stable long-term source of income to our school, providing approximately $200,000 per year.

Donating is an important way families and community members help maintain Madera’s excellent educational programs. Even if you regulary contribute to our school through community service, your financial support is crucial as monetary donations fund key elements of our educational program at all levels.

Please consider giving to Direct Appeal today. Check out the Direct Appeal Page for more information and how to donate.

I paid my membership fee, why do you still ask for more?
We want 2 things from you. Your time and your money. Whatever you can give in both.

The PTA currently budgets roughly $375 per student in programs and enrichments. We ask for more money because the PTA pays for far more than what the $15 membership dues would cover. We ask for your time, because we couldn’t do it all without you.

The PTA raises funds for Madera’s enrichment programs and can not provide the programs for Madera’s students without the financial backing from the parents and community members. In addition to paying for class supplies, field trips, and assemblies, the PTA also pays for extra enrichment programs, like Art, Technology, Music and Garden. Without the extra fundraising Madera would not be able to enrich the lives of its students in such a wonderful way. Please support our students by supporting our programs.

PTA Accounting Questions:

I bought something for the school, can I get reimbursed from the PTA?
First, please make sure it’s approved by your committee leader or by the PTA and within the PTA budget. In most cases, members should spend their own money and then apply for reimbursement by completing a PTA Warrant form in the school office, attaching receipts, and leaving it in the PTA President’s box for review, approval, and processing. Receipts should be neatly arranged, with reimbursable amounts circled or highlighted, and stapled to the top left corner of the warrant.

What is a warrant?
A warrant is a formal request for payment. Blank warrants, labeled “Payment  Authorization/Request For Reimbursement” can be found in the Treasurer’s box in the office. > Or printable here: PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION/REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT

I submitted a warrant 1 week ago, and haven’t received payment yet. How long does it take?
Please note that there are four people involved in approving all warrants and cutting and signing checks. Please allow 2-3 weeks to receive your reimbursement, which generally is mailed to the address listed on the warrant.

Can the PTA pay a vendor directly?
Yes. If direct payment is required, please note it CLEARLY on the warrant. A copy of the vendor invoice must also be attached to the warrant. All payments made directly to the supplier will be mailed by US Post to the address on the warrant, unless otherwise noted.

Can a check from the PTA be processed quickly?
Checks can be prepared more quickly if necessary: please indicate “RUSH” on the warrant if this is required. Please also email PTA President, and Treasurer with your need for expediting payment: (Gayle Chin & Andres Bergero) Keep in mind, we are all volunteers and most are working professionals. We will do our best to rush payment within reason.

I bought something for the PTA last school year, can I get reimbursed now?
Unfortunately our budget is annual, and funds from one school year do not carry over to the next. Our fiscal year is July 1 through June 30. Please make sure your warrant is submitted to the PTA within that time frame.

I chaired a fundraiser. How do I deposit the money I collected?
Chairs must deposit funds within 3 days after the event has ended. You must fill out a deposit slip (labeled Collections of Funds form) which are available in the Treasurer’s box. Make sure that all money is counted in the presence of another PTA member and itemized correctly on the deposit slip. Once you fill out the Collection of Funds Form, please put everything together in an envelope and drop in the school safe. Please DO NOT leave money (especially cash) out in the open.  > Printable here: PTA Deposit Form

I kept track of contributions for my fundraiser on my computer. Can I just use that, or do I need to rewrite it on the deposit slip?
A printed detailed spreadsheet can be used. But please also attach a PTA deposit slip with the details of your fundraiser and totals listed. This is needed for our accounting and auditing purposes.

Where is the school safe?
For larger bulky deposits please put in the school safe in the back copy workroom behind the office. – Walk in to the workroom, face the windows, take 2 steps to your right – the safe is located in the cabinet at your knees. There is a drop down door on the safe that you can put your envelope of money in. For a smaller deposit, there is a lock box inside the school office next to the door.

I wrote a check to the PTA that still hasn’t cleared my account. Did you get it?
Thank you! Please allow 2-3 weeks for checks to process after the fundraiser has ended. Since we’re all volunteers, our schedules don’t always line up in a timely manner. We appreciate your contribution and your patience.

Is my donation tax-deductible?
Madera PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit. Madera PTA Tax ID: 94-6184090

Kindergarten Questions:

When do I receive notification of child’s placement?
The school district typically sends out a postcard to families during the summer (generally a few weeks before school starts) to let you know your child(ren)’s kindergarten registration status and AM or PM designation. [FYI those first two weeks of school there is often some “movement” as the district is finding out what families have moved away don’t show up to school, etc., so it’s possible there is some small adjustments to ensure class sizes are balanced, etc.]

Madera posts teacher/class assignment lists Sunday afternoon of the week school starts. That is when you find out your child(ren)’s teacher and classmates.

Is there an orientation event to help my kindergartener get ready for school?
There is an orientation (8/21/15 @ 4:00 p.m.) held right before the start of school at which your child will have an opportunity to take a look at the classroom and school yard and meet some of the teachers.

Where do we turn in “Health Assessment” forms (medical, dental)?
Bring to the Madera front office by the beginning of school year (or sooner if possible), in person or mail to 8500 Madera Drive, El Cerrito, CA 94530.

Where can I find the school calendar?
West Contra Costa’s calendar is here.  Additionally, the PTA publishes a Madera calendar in late August (this will indicate special school-specific events, like kindergarten picnic which happens the first month of school, etc.)

When does the kindergarten day start?
The bell for morning kindergarten rings at 8:20 am. Kids can line up outside of the kindergarten doors as early as 8 am, but students are not allowed into the classroom or school until 8:20 (unless it’s raining). Around 8:20, teachers open the doors and usher the kids in. Parents are generally allowed into the classroom (especially early in the year) to get their kids settled, but every teacher is different in how they handle separation anxieties (both kids’ and parents’). For afternoon kindergarten, the doors open at 11:45.

When does the kindergarten day end and where do I pick up my kid?
Morning kindergarten ends at 11:40. The kids are lined up depending on whether they are going home or to the after-school program. Parents can meet their kids in the hallway or out in the yard. Kids who are going on to the after-school program are walked over to the Clubhouse by one of the daycare staff. Afternoon kindergarten ends at 3:05. As with the morning program, kids are either walked over to the after-school program or picked up in the hallway or yard by their parents.

How do “minimum days” work for Kindergartners?
Shortened (minimum) days only pertain to grades 1-6. The Kindergarten day always remains on the same schedule.

How do I get my kid to school?
Most kindergarten parents drive to the school, park, and walk their kids to the upper yard. You can also drop your kids off at the curb in front of the school (although most kindergarteners seem to like being walked in, particularly early in the year). Unfortunately, this area is often very congested, so use caution if dropping your kid(s) off. Parking around the school is also difficult although kindergarten parents usually are able to find spots since classes start and end at different times from the rest of the school. Walking or carpooling are options, too!

How does my kindergartener get to the (pre and/or after) school program?
The teacher will receive information of your child’s participation and know to line up the kids based on where they are going after school (home or aftercare). Children also enrolled in the morning program (opens at 7am) are escorted to their classroom. If you enroll your child in the afterschool later in the year, be sure to let your teacher know so that your child is guided to the correct area. [More info. @ http://el-cerrito.org/index.aspx?nid=435]

When do the kindergarteners eat lunch?
Kindergarteners do not eat lunch in the classroom (there is a snack time). The kids who stay after school after morning kindergarten eat lunch in the afterschool clubhouse. PM kindergarten kids eat at the Clubhouse before they go to class (those who buy lunch are walked to the MPR around 11:15am to get their lunch). If your child is purchasing a hot lunch, the afterschool staff brings the food over to the kids. (For more information on the hot lunch program, including applying for free or reduced price meals, see the WCCUSD website).

How do I get information about class room and school events?
Every Friday, the PTA distributes information (via a send-home folder) about upcoming events. You can also sign up on-line to receive electronic mailings or be included in Madera electronic communications.

What types of school supplies do children need?
Madera’s PTA funding efforts ensure lower grades, including kindergarten, are fully stocked for classroom work from day one. In terms of a back-pack, you’ll want to choose one big enough to fit a regular sized take-home folder (9×12) as well as snack bag/tote.

I’d like to help out in the classroom. Are there volunteering opportunities?
There are many ways you can help out in the classroom or in the school. Every class needs volunteers to stuff the Blue Folders on Friday mornings. Many teachers rely on class parents to organize parties, gather supplies, or schedule volunteers. You can sign up to volunteer in the classroom through your teacher. Madera is lucky to have a very active Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to support our teachers and students. The PTA always needs help with school-wide activities: school-yard supervision, library staff, event organizers, etc.

If you have other questions about the kindergarten experience, please reach out to Madera parents you know, or the front office.

To contact the Madera Elementary School office:
(510) 231-1412

2 comments

  1. Hi Christy.

    You have to register on site. School is currently closed for summer. Someone *should* be there 2 weeks prior to the first day of school, (8/10/15) but there are no scheduled hours that school is open and available to register your child. Please call first. 231-1412

    To register your child, you will need to bring:

    Proof of Child’s Age (child must be 5 years old by September 1st, 2015)
    Birth Certificate or Baptismal Record
    Proof of Immunizations
    Two Pieces of Documentation – verifying address with parent, guardian or caregiver’s name and one form of valid photo ID

    Keep in mind, this info is coming from a representative in the PTA. – I might not be entirely accurate in my knowledge… Forgive me, if I lead you astray.

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