May 2012

posted May 8, 2012, 9:55 AM by Anna Saunders

Hello Walnut Acres Parents,

I am back again already to share with you the latest updates from our school community.  I begin by reminding you that if you have information about your child’s learning style that you would like to have considered as student articulation decisions are made, you are welcome to complete a “Student Information Form” available in the office. The form is due back to the office by end-of-day on May 27th.

You may know that the Walnut Acres School Site Council (SSC) serves as the teacher/parent team to supervise the expenditure of categorical monies, including the School Library Improvement Block Grant (SLIBG) funds and our English Language program funds. We have 3 wonderful School Site Council (SSC) parent volunteers who have finished their 2 year term. My thanks go to Amy Hiatt, Andrea Kelly Smethurst, and Jane Steven-Moler for their time, energy, and insights over the last two years.  

Three parents are needed to serve on the School Site Council for the 2012-13 school year! If you are interested in being a member of the School Site Council, please write a brief paragraph indicating your interest and pass it to me by 5/18.  Your commitment on the council will require a one hour meeting at 3:00 p.m. every first Thursday of the month plus one dinner and training session at the beginning of the year.  Let me know if you are willing to make this commitment and serve on the council. We’ll vote to approve/select the new council members in June.

A survey was recently sent out to parents of 3rd and 4th grade students to assess interest in processes that would put an internet device (laptop or iPad) into the hands of every 4th and 5th grade student. Approximately 88% of parents returned the survey.  Thank you!  The results indicate that 99% of 4th and 5th grade students have access to an internet device at home;   63% of current 4th grade parents and 58% of current 3rd grade parents would be interested in having their child bring a device to school, and about 30% of both groups  are interested in paying a yearly amount for access to a device provided by Walnut Acres.  We will study the comments you offered and decide if we would want to proceed with further investigation of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy given district approval.  (As indicated in the survey, we would only be able to proceed with a BYOD policy if our 21st Century Lab School Proposal is accepted by the district.)

Our 21st Century Lab School Proposal would give Walnut Acres the status of lab school within the district to explore and innovate with strategies and technologies that extend critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication and global citizenship while pursuing content standard mastery.  Our major goal in developing the proposal  is to seek support from the district to fast-track our need for hardware and wiring that will allow speedier and more reliable internet access.

Meanwhile, we have purchased 40 iPads with SLIBG and other school funds. We will spend time during professional development sessions to discuss developmentally-appropriate aps with a focus on aps that provide opportunities for students to be producers (collaborative creators) rather than consumers (game players).

As we wind down the 2011-12 year and prepare for the 2012-13 school year, I invite you all to join us at the upcoming Golf Tournament on 5/18 , the last fundraiser of the year, followed by one of my favorite Walnut Acres community events – the Open House Festival on 5/24 from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

Last but not least, if you have been a volunteer on the PFC Board, in a classroom, as a library or learning center volunteer, as a fund raiser or if you have worked in any other way to support our school community, please join us on Wednesday, June 6th at 12:15 p.m. so we can say thank you to YOU.

Enjoy this lovely month of May and your beautiful children. I challenge you this month to slow down and really enjoy them.  One way to do that is to proceed at a child’s pace.  That means letting go of adult outcome-based thinking and see the world through a child’s eyes. It can be quite an amazing experience.  I know we are too busy to do it often, but, once in a while, put your goals aside, whatever they might be and just participate with your child in an experience. Give it a shot.  Here’s a true story from one mom who did just that…
“I took my 4-year-old son to an elegant department store, where the melodic notes of a classic love song drew us toward a tuxedoed musician playing a grand piano. We sat down on a bench nearby and my son seemed as transfixed as I was by the lilting theme. I didn’t realize that he had stood up until he turned, took my face in his little hands, and said, “Dance with me”.  If only those women strolling under the Paris moon knew the joy of such an invitation made by a round-cheeked boy with baby teeth.  Although shoppers openly chuckled, grinned, and pointed at us as we glided and whirled, I would not have traded a dance with such a charming young gentleman if I’d been offered the universe.”

Here’s to the joy of seeing the world through a child’s eyes.

Respectfully,

Colleen

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