Frequently Asked Questions

Quick Reference for New Families

Welcome! We are glad you have chosen Bay Farm School. 
We have created this handy resource list to help

First Day of School/First Week of School

1. When will I know my kindergartener’s class assignment?
Finding out who your child has as their kindergarten teacher is exciting! To find out who your child's teacher is and to obtain your back to school packet, please come to packet pick-up on 
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 5pm (Bay Farm Campus between Office and Media Center).

2. When is the first day of school?
Monday, August 26th, 2013

3. What is the schedule for the first two weeks of school?

Kindergarteners have a special schedule from Monday, August 26th through Monday, September 9th. They attend school from 8:20am until 11:40am (they are dismissed before lunch). During these initial weeks, teachers will be performing student assessments after school to determine their small instructional groups (referred to as A and B groups). Click here for information on A Group and B Group.

4. What do kindergartners need to bring with them to school?

First Day of School:
Kindergarteners do not need to bring anything with them on the first day of school aside from a jacket/sweater as required by the weather.

Kindergarteners need to bring the following items with them to school:
  • Supplies (click here to view supply list)
  • Healthy snack (no candy/sweets, please)
  • A packed lunch (if they are not buying lunch, see Recess and Lunch for more information)
  • Back bag or other bag for their school work.
  • Sweater/jacket as required by the weather.
All items should be labeled with the kindergartener’s name.

5. Do I need to pack a snack for my kindergarten on the first day of school?

No. During the first week of school, snacks will be provided by the kindergarten teachers.

6. Do I need to provide supplies for my kindergartner?

7. Where do children park their bikes when they ride them to school?
At Bay Farm, we encourage students to walk or ride their bikes or scooters to school. Kindergarteners park their bikes in the bike rack located near the Kindergarten entrance. The Kindergarten entrance is the entrance gate on the right hand side of the campus (when looking at the school). There are additional bike parking areas for older students near the Butterfly Habitat on the far left hand side of the school (when looking at the school).

Kindergarten Curriculum

1. How do I prepare my child for kindergarten?
Here are some ways to prepare your child for Kindergarten:
  1. Practicing tying shoes
  2. Taking off/putting on jackets and sweaters
  3. Opening/closing lunch containers
  4. Writing their name with upper and lower case letters
  5. Reading and discussing stories together
2. What is the kindergarten curriculum?
Bay Farm kindergartens follow the state approved curriculum for public schools. 

3. What is A Group and B Group?

After students are assessed during the first two weeks of school, they will be assigned to an “A Group” or a “B Group” with half the class in each group. These are mixed groups of students from all levels. Each group stays an hour later two days per week to experience kindergartener in a smaller, more intimate setting with more one-on-one instruction. A Group stays late on Monday and Tuesdays while B Group stays late on Thursday and Fridays as follows:
  • Monday and Tuesday: A Group stays until 1:45; B Group dismissed at 12:45.
  • Wednesday: All kindergartners dismissed at 12:45.
  • Thursday and Friday: A Group dismissed at 12:45; B Group stays until 1:45.
4. What is the kindergarten schedule?
Here is a sample of a day in the life of a kindergartener.


Morning recess


First bell rings

Kindergarteners (and their parents, as desired) begin to line up with their class in the K/1st grade play area (on the right hand side of campus when looking at the school)


Second bell rings

Kindergarteners walk to their classroom and school starts


Phonemic Awareness activities, Calendar routine, Morning message, read aloud


Reading & Writing Instruction/Shared reading/Interactive writing/ Handwriting/Letter sounds/High Frequency words


Snack Recess




Theme projects, learning centers, or free choice time


Lunch and lunch recess


Read Aloud and review of day


A/B group dismissal


Small group reading instruction/FOSS Science/Learning centers/Special theme projects

Kindergarteners also participate in music once a week and gardening twice a month.

5. What is the Kindergarten Music Program?

The Kindergarten Music Program is sponsored by the Bay Farm PTA. It consists of a 30 minute weekly lesson, which culminates in the Kindergarten Holiday Performance during the first semester and the Spring Concert in the second semester. In Kindergarten Music, children are exposed to singing and rhythm through circle games, instruments and puppets, etc. The children discover their voices, matching pitch and moving to the beat. The goal of the program is to instill a joy and lifelong love of music. The program is taught by Mrs. Susan Linney, who has over 25 years experience teaching vocal music, including to all levels of students from K –12th grade. 

6. Do kindergarteners have homework?
Kindergarten homework focuses on reading and memorizing poems. At the beginning of each month, kindergarten teachers provide their students with a sheet of paper where they can record books read during the month. This sheet also contains the month’s two poems.

Parents read to their children each day for 20 minutes (and when children are ready they can read, too). They record the book titles on the sheet of paper provided and turn them in at the end of each month. Kindergartners also work with their parents to memorize two poems and recite them to the class. In addition, there are some special homework assignments throughout the year that build on the concepts that the children are learning in class.

7. Do kindergartners have minimum days?

Yes. There are minimum days throughout the year. Check the school calendar. On kindergarten minimum days, the children are dismissed at 11:40 before lunch (so there is no need to pack a lunch on minimum days).

Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher and the School

1. How do I contact my child’s teacher?
Here are the email addresses for the three kindergarten teachers:

Please check with your child’s teacher to determine her preferred mode of communication.

2. How do I contact the principal?
Here are Principal Babs Freitas' contact details:, phone: 510-748-4010

3. What other ways will I communicate with my child’s teacher?
Kindergarten teachers send out a monthly newsletter at the beginning of the month that provides detailed information on what the children are learning that month.

Kindergarten parents will meet with their child’s teacher in the fall to get an update on their child’s progress.

Parents may also schedule meetings with their child’s teacher as needed.

4. Are there any other communications channels?
Bay Farm school sends out a weekly email to all Bay Farm Parents called Splash. It provides parents with information about the upcoming week including PTA meetings, minimum days and holidays, and special events. We recommend all parents to subscribe to the Splash email newsletter. To subscribe, please email Tom Lynch.

The Bay Farm PTA website is another great resource for Bay Farm parents. If you are on Facebook, find us on Bay Farm PTA's facebook page

5. How do I get a school directory?

The school directory can be found on the PTA website. Note: The file is protected with a password that you can obtain from your child’s teacher or from another Bay Farm parent.

We encourage parents to provide their contact details for inclusion in the directory. You may do so by following this link.

Sick Days/Absent From School

1. What do I do if my child is sick and needs to stay home from school or will not be coming to school because of a family vacation or other scheduled event?
Parents must call the school (510-748-4010) the evening before or the morning of the absence and leave a message on the tape recording before 8:30 a.m. with the student’s name, teacher, and reason for absence.

Go Green and Gardening

Bay Farm is especially proud of our Go Green program. In this program, we focus on the positive impact our school can have on the environment by participating in school wide recycling programs including recycling in the classroom, recycling at lunch, and providing on campus recycling receptacles for batteries, printer cartridges, and cell phones. Through this program, we have been able to reduce Bay Farm’s carbon footprint while educating and engaging students, parents, and staff in this important topic.

In addition to Go Green, Bay Farm has one of the most comprehensive gardening programs of all the Alameda elementary schools. Every grade level participates in gardening and they each have their own planter boxes where they grow fruit, vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers. They learn about all aspects of the garden from the importance of worms and composting, to how to identify different plants, to cooking and eating organic produce.

Recess and Lunch

1. When and where do kindergarteners have recess?
Kindergartens have their own recess everyday from 10:00 to 10:25 am. Kindergarteners have recess in the K/1st grade play yard which is located on the right hand side of the school (when looking at the school) near the kindergarten classrooms. Kindergartners eat their snack and play during this time.

2. When can kindergarteners buy their lunch and how does it work?
Kindergarteners can begin buying their lunch about 1 month after school starts. Your child’s teacher will let you know the exact date. Each day in the morning, the teacher determines how many children are buying lunch and provides this information to the office. Children can buy their lunch using cash or credits. The cost is $2.50. For information on how to purchase lunch credits, please click here. Click here for the lunch menu.

3. When and where do kindergartners eat lunch?
For kindergarteners, lunch begins at 11:40 am and is followed by lunch recess.

All students eat lunch in the Multi-Purpose Room except on special warm weather days where they have the option to eat outside. Students eat lunch in two shifts. Kindergarteners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders eat in the first shift which begins at 11:40 am while 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders eat in the second shift at 12:05.

Because of our Go Green program on campus, we encourage parents to pack their kids a lunch that results in zero waste. This means using lunch boxes and food containers that can be reused or recycled. Kindergartners learn about recycling and put their knowledge to work during lunch time by sorting their lunch trash into grey bin (trash/landfill), blue bin (recyclables), and green bin (food wastes).

4. During lunch time, is there a specific area my child will play in?
After students finish lunch, a parent volunteer will walk each kindergarten class over to the kindergarten/1st grade play yard. It is the same play yard that kindergarteners use for recess. This play yard is specifically designated for kindergarteners and 1st graders. It is located on the right hand-side of campus (when looking at the school). There are two additional play areas for second/third graders and fourth/fifth graders.

Child Care and After School Enrichment Classes

1. What are the before and after school child care options?
There are two child care options on/close to campus:

  • On Campus: Alameda Island Kids provides before and after school childcare at Bay Farm school. 
  • Close to Campus: Alameda Parks and Recreation at Tillman Park provides after school childcare called Recreational Afterschool Program (RAP).
2. Are there after school programs available for students?
Yes. Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) provides a range of after school enrichment programs for students throughout the year. Many AEF classes are provided on Bay Farm campus but children can also attend AEF classes at any of the other AUSD elementary schools. Information will be provided to parents about AEF classes in the beginning of the school year.

Spirit Days and the Book Fair

1. Spirit Wear
Information will be provided in the beginning of the school year on how to purchase spirit wear.

2. What are the Bay Farm colors/mascot?
Bay Farm colors are teal and white. The dolphin is our mascot because, like our students, the dolphin is smart, fun, and playful!

3. Is there a book fair?
Yes. There are two book fairs during the year: one in the Fall and one in the Spring. The book fair is open to children and parents at lunch and after the 1st-7th graders get out of school (1:50 pm on Wednesdays and 2:50 pm on all other days). It is also open at least one weekday night.

Volunteering and Bay Farm PTA

1. How can I volunteer at Bay Farm School?
Kindergartener parents are always encouraged to volunteer and get involved in the school. Parents will have a chance to sign up to volunteer in their child’s classroom at Back To School Night (which occurs during the first month of school). Kindergarten classroom volunteer opportunities include helping with gardening, science, media center, and art.

You will also receive a “PTA Volunteer Form” in your child’s Back-to-School packet the first week of school. Please fill it out with your preferences and availability and return it to your child’s teacher. You may also contact any member of the PTA Board for more information  We encourage you to get involved in Bay Farm school. A strong parent community makes a strong school!

2. How do I become a member of the PTA?
You will receive a “PTA Membership and Fundraising Drive” letter in your child’s Back-to-School packet. Please fill it out and return it to your child’s teacher. You may also contact, Jason LeMonier or 
H.S. Zulu Co-Vice Presidents of Membership.

3. What is Bay Farm PTA’s approach to fundraising?
Bay Farm school subscribes to the direct fundraising approach and asks each family to participate in its annual fundraising drive at the beginning of the school year. The PTA Board recommends a donation of $200 per family and an additional $75 per child for those with multiple children, however donations of any amount will be gratefully accepted. In addition, we hold a bi-annual auction and social event. 

The funds raised are used to enrich the educational experience of the children. Here are some of the programs and events funded by your contributions to this PTA:

  • Technology/Computer Lab
  • Field Trips (K to 5th grade)
  • Library/Media Center Support
  • Family programs (Ice Cream Social, Movie Night, Evening on the Green)
  • Kindergarten Music program
  • Outdoor Learning Center/Garden instruction
  • Art Docent

4. Does Bay Farm support corporate matching on donations?
Yes, we encourage all families to inquire if their employer has a donation matching program. Charles Schwab, Clorox, Google, Wells Fargo, PG&E, Kaiser, Genentech, VISA, Levi Strauss and Oracle are just a few of the companies that have provided matching grants in the past. Use this tool on to see if your company offers matching. Contact your company's human resources or public affairs departments about their donation matching policy.