8th Grade

Dear 8th grade Families,

Welcome back to the 2018 – 2019 school year at Claremont Middle School! We are excited to introduce ourselves to you as an 8th grade team and look forward to building relationships with your students. You can meet us in person and learn more about the learning in each of our classrooms on September 14th at Back to School Night.



  • Gary Watson
  • gary.watson@ousd.org
  • Hi! My name is Gary Watson, and I will be the Dean of 8th grade. I have been at Claremont for 2 years, primarily as the Assistant Principal. I am excited to work with students, families and teachers to ensure ALL students are successful this year! If you have any comments, thoughts or concerns, I will be your FIRST point of contact. Please feel free to send me an email of introduction! I would love to build a strong community here!


  • Kelsey Riley
  • Room 27
  • kelsey.riley@ousd.org
  • I am beyond excited to be the new counselor at Claremont Middle School this year! I graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies, then completed my Masters of Arts in counseling and student personnel down at San Jose state.  While my office is open to all Claremont students, I will be supporting the awesome 8th Grade Team and helping our 8th graders prepare for their transition to high school. Here’s to a wonderful school year! Go Knights!


  • Seth Maher
  • Room 18
  • seth.maher@ousd.org
  • Download Syllabus
  • This is my fourth year with CMS, and my 6th year as a professional educator. I am a part of the National Science Teachers Association and was the Science & Technology Coordinator at my last school in Alexandria, Virginia. I am excited to be a part of OUSD leading the way in California by following the Next Generation Science Standards. We will cover a variety of topics including physics, astronomy, biology while practicing the core skills of science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • “Anything worth having is worth working for.”


  • Christine Dychinco
  • Room 17
  • christine.dychinco@gmail.com
  • Download Syllabus
  • Hello!  This is my 11th year teaching mathematics and 1st year here at Claremont Middle School! I will be co-teaching with Ms. Thacher. You will see me on campus on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. I am excited to support, teach and challenge your children in the subject matter of mathematics. I hope to continue to help Claremont evolve into the best school it can be!
  • “You only fail when you stop trying.”


  • Ariel Thomas
  • Room 19
  • ariel.thomas@ousd.org
  • This is my 1st year at Claremont and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity work with your students! I am a Bay area native in got both my Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degrees from Santa Clara University. I look forward to a great year!
  • “If you stop learning, you stop creating history and you become history.” – Vadim Kotelnikov


  • Cait Fallahay
  • Room 14
  • caitlin.fallahay@ousd.org
  • Download Syllabus
  • I am thrilled to be started my teaching career here at Claremont. I am from Chicago and have been living in the East Bay for just over 2 years, having graduated from the UC Berkeley with a Masters in education. I am excited to get to know the 8th graders and their families, and create positive and productive relationships!
  • “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

The Claremont P.E. team would also like to welcome students. Our goal is to provide a safe, healthy and fun environment for students to develop lifelong fitness and wellness habits. In order to be successful, learners will have to be dressed and participate daily. We will share more information around expectations in our syllabus and at Back to School Night.-Mr. Gulley and Ms. Johnson

Supplies *

A supply list went out at registration.
Please add the following:
2 Additional composition notebook(ELA)
* If obtaining these supplies is an issue, please let Mr. Watson or one of the 8th grade teachers know.

Tech Exchange (TX) provides low cost, sometimes free, computers to Alameda county students. Tech Exchange also partners with charter to offer very low cost internet. If you do not have a computer at home, please find a time to visit https://www.techexchange.org/.

Behavior Expectations

As a school we have three expectations for all students in all parts of the building: to be Compassionate, Mindful, and Safe. Accordingly, the decisions and actions that our students make are expected to follow this philosophy.

  1. Follow Directions the First Time Given.
  2. Keep Hands, Feet, and Objects to Yourself.
  3. Listen Attentively to the Speaker.
  4. Use Positive and Constructive Language.
  5. Food, Gum, Headgear, and Electronics (such as cell phones, smart watches and headphones) Should be Put Away at All Times.

Ways to Support at Home:

  1. Ask your child what they learned in school that day and check their planners for homework and due dates.
  2. Regularly check Aeries (parent.ousd.org) to monitor your child’s grades.
  3. Encourage your child to read at least 30 minutes every evening.
  4. Use Khan Academy and Prodigy (prodigygame.com/play) at home with your child to help them practice mathematical concepts.

Please do no hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. We look forward to the 2016-2017 year with your student.


The 8th Grade Team