April 2013

posted Apr 9, 2013, 10:38 AM by Anna Saunders

Happy April, Walnut Acres Parents!

I hope your break proved to be a delightful and restful family time! We are back for 10 weeks of focused learning and we will do our best to compete with the beautiful weather and myriad of sports activities. Here is the scoop for April, a heads up for summer opportunities at Walnut Acres, and fall planning requests:

Following our very successful Auction, Science Fair and Art Show and in preparation for the annual 5/10 Golf Tournament, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all who are helping our school community continue to thrive in difficult financial circumstances. Your time, donations, and joie de vivre are much appreciated!  If you want to provide input about how PFC money will be budgeted for 2013-14, you are welcome to attend the next 2 PFC meetings, on 4/16 and 5/14. Thanks to your previous generous spirit and your dedication to education, we have now hired a 6-hour a week, Site Tech I, Laura Decker, to support computer lab sessions and provide technical assistance, so that Patty Galindo, our Site Tech II, can spend more time assisting teachers with technology device activities in classrooms.   

This month our CAP presenters will be with us visiting in kindergarten, 1st 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms.  At the parent information meeting, The CAP training folks graciously offered to share their handouts electronically with the entire school community. The information is now on our school website and in the office.  The Training Handbook for Parents specifically presents concepts that will be shared during the workshop in both child and adult language. I encourage you to peruse the handbook so that you can better support your child in assimilating the workshop experience (click here). The other handouts provide more general information about what to do if you suspect abuse and local contacts for support (click here). I particularly recommend the handout on cyber safety resources and internet safety.

Also this month, Spring pictures will be taken on 4/11. Lost and found items will be donated to charity on 4/19, please check lost and found soon for any child-owned clothing you are missing.

These activities are routine for us, but check out the items below that are new to our community:

The front page of our school website now has a link to the local public library. (Click here for library site.) The CCC libraries are offering online kid-friendly research support with 80 full-text elementary school magazines, plus encyclopedias and an image collection. For access to this kid-safe research section of the CCC Library website, follow directions also on our site. (Click here for directions to the site.)

Speaking of the public library, if your child is excited about writing, consider having your author take on a creative writing project at the Ygnacio Valley Library in honor of National Library Week. The challenge is for K-5th graders to write a short story or poem about what the library means to them and submit it between 3/25-4/19. Every contributor who submits a product will earn a small prize, have their product displayed, and receive an invitation to a recognition celebration on 4/22 at 7:00 p.m.   

And one more intriguing new event in our district…MDEA (Mt. Diablo Education Association) in conjunction with MDUSD is planning the 1st Annual Employees’ Academy Awards, scheduled for 5/17, from 5:30-9:00 p.m. at Centre Concord. Nominations are now open to recognize outstanding teachers, classified employees, and parent volunteers! The Nomination Forms and Ticket Forms are both available on the MDEA website (click here) and you are encouraged to submit a nominee to recognize, promote and celebrate the excellence of those you feel have contributed to your child’s education in 2012-13. The crunch is that you must send in your nomination form by 4/12, so “get to it if you want to do it”! The ticket price to attend the event is $40 for the general public, but you don’t need to attend to make a nomination! 

Summer is around the corner and our school will host major opportunities for growth and FUN! Consider these options

1.    Walnut Acres Children's Theatre's summer production, Summer Magic, featuring scenes, songs and dances from Beauty & The Beast, Mary Poppins and High School Musical has a limited number of spaces still available. On Tuesday, 4/9 a registration form will be sent home with all 3rd graders. Registrations must be mailed and spaces will be filled on a first come first served basis based on postmarks. See the webpage (click here) for more details.

2.    Walnut Acre Day Care will again provide a Summer Fun Camp Program that includes weekly themed activities, enrichment classes, active games and sports, community service, van trips and bike excursions. For further information visit the website (click here).

3.    Galileo Learning is offering their first Walnut Creek summer program at our site from 6/24-8/2. The curriculum is focused on art science and outdoor activities for budding innovators, using the design thinking process developed at Stanford’s d school. Visit  www.galileo-camps.com or call 1-800-854-3684 to learn more.

Finally, Walnut Acre families, can you believe that it is time to begin planning for 2013-14?

That means that once again it is time to offer you an opportunity to share any insights that you have about the placement needs of your child for 2013-14. If you would like to offer input about your child’s learning needs, please complete the “green sheet” that will be on our website and in the office starting on, Monday, April 15th.  Please note that this is an opportunity to share any specific learning needs your child may have, it is not a forum for parents to select their child’s teacher. The forms are available through Friday, April 26th

I am also looking for parents (or grandparents) who may want to take on 2 very different, but valuable tasks for the coming school year.

1.    Is there a parent(s) who would like to coordinate our volunteer project(s) for the 2013 Walnut Creek Community Service Day (September 28th from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.)? Typically we submit gardening projects to the city for volunteers to complete.  This year we may ask for community volunteers to clean our library books. Our coordinator will attend a Project Leader training on September 12th, and in mid-October, and cultivate materials or donations if needed.

2.    Is there a parent who would like to earn a small stipend as coordinator for a 4th/5th grade recycling club? The club would meet once or twice monthly at lunch and take on projects such as organizing a recycling poster contest, creating recycle opportunities at school events, creating an art project from recycled materials, or attending a materials recovery fieldtrip.

I had hoped to talk about healthy foods this month in my newsletter because I notice we are reverting to sugary treats, but there is so much going on for April that I will focus on that topic next month when I also hope to share a salad bar start date. I will tell you though, that the recent PFC food drive brought in 1518 pounds of food which translates to 1214 meals. The Food Bank thanks the community and I thank the Food Bank coordinators and donators!

Enjoy the beautiful weather and your precious children. Just between you and me, there are times when the obligations of this job seem overwhelming, and other times, such as at our 3/29 Sing-out, when I am overwhelmed instead by the amazing beauty and promise of your children. We are all so lucky to be the adults in their lives who will help them become all they can be. Here’s to our children and to all of us who do our best to help them flourish!

Respectfully,

Colleen Dowd

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