Friday Flyer | November 1, 2019

Air and Power: The New Normal

Dear OA Community,

Over the past few weeks we have been exploring solutions to what will, unfortunately, be a routine part of our future lives: power outages. Last year we missed only one day of school because of the wildfires, and this was due to poor air quality. This year, we have missed three days of school already due to preemptive blackouts, and fire season isn’t over yet. 

Here’s what we are doing to prepare for the new normal. 

First, we are installing Purple Air air quality sensors. This will allow us to precisely gauge air quality in and around school and help us determine whether it is safe to be in school when there is smoke in the air.

Second, as a short-term solution, we have purchased small, gas-fueled generators that will enable us to keep our essential services functioning, including lights, phones, and the internet, in the event of a power outage. 

Third, as a long-term solution, we are purchasing a large, natural gas-powered generator that will give us seamless coverage in the event of an outage. This type of generator requires special hook-up and approval from the City of Orinda, so, unfortunately, we cannot implement this solution immediately. It will certainly be in place within the next few months.

Finally, I have asked all teachers to create packets for each course that will include assignments that can be done from home, and without power, should we be unable to be in school despite the above solutions. We will have more information about this in a few weeks, and moving forward we will provide these packets to students at the beginning of each year. This will allow students to remain engaged with their work when coming to school is an impossibility.

We are looking forward to putting these solutions in place and being able to keep school open during future outages.


9th Grade Service Learning

Vicky’s 9th grade environmental science classes worked with EBMUD on Wednesday morning to restore creekside habitat. Vicky reports that her students hold the record for removing old tires – they dug out 104 of them in one morning. Nice work, class of 2023!


Halloween at OA

We take Halloween seriously, with a good deal of persistent silliness fueled by so…much…candy. We also had Coraline, a pumpkin carving competition, most excellent costumes, and a good amount of faculty participation! 


Open Mic Night: November 8

The last open mic night of first semester will be on Friday, November 8 from 4:30 – 6:30. See Sara to sign up if you’d like to participate, and be sure to come out and support your fellow Blue Jay performers!


Mountain Biking, Anyone?

Rich Manalang, father of Luke (9th grade), is the Head Coach of Oakland Devo, a non-competitive mountain biking club for middle and high school students. Beyond it being really fun, research suggests that biking is a great activity for kids with ADHD, so check it out!


Student Activism: GEN-Up

From senior Francesca:

GEN-Up is a student organization fighting for education funding for public schools and community colleges in California. Come march with us at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 9 in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Mateo. We have partnered with March for Our Lives, Women’s March, Oakland Teachers Union, and many more. Feel free to share the march details on social media, with friends, family, or email lists. You can find additional information at

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Saturday, November 2 (one week before the march) sign and banner painting at Lake Merritt Amphitheater from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Additional information and sign up to help here.
  • Help collect petition signatures for the Schools and Communities First (ballot initiative) Campaign. You can find further information about the campaign here. Although one has to be 18+ to actually collect signatures, students are invited to bring along an adult ally in order to work together. We can train you on how to collect signatures an hour before the march start-time on the day of the march. For more information or questions you may email me at

We invite all students to join our effort by applying to our organization through this link:


OA 2020 Vision – Join Us!

Contribute to our vision for OA by donating online (link below) or mailing a check to:

Orinda Academy
Attn: OA 2020 Vision
19 Altarinda Road
Orinda, CA 94563

Make a Gift to OA 2020 Vision


College Corner

This week Peter, Katherine, and I are helping many seniors proofread and put the finishing touches on their college essays so that they can make early deadlines. Many do not understand the benefit of early applications or the difference between early decision and early action.

Want to know more? Read here:

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Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendars

November 8 – Open Mic – 4:30-6:30
November 11 – Veterans Day – No school
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Break – No school
December 6 – Winter Concert
December 7 – Open House for Prospective Families
December 11-13, 16 Final Exams
December 17 – Teacher Work Day
December 18 and 19 – Conferences
December 20 – January 5 – Winter Break

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