May, Message from the Principal

posted May 12, 2015, 11:25 AM by Unknown user

Dear Walnut Acres Family,

 

Sad News

It saddens me greatly to tell you that Walnut Acres' friend and former counselor, Alma Spring, passed away on Wednesday, April 29, as a result of a brain aneurism. Alma was with us for 3 years and took a full-time position as Mt. Diablo High School Services Coordinator for the 2014-15 school year.

 

Alma forged the counseling position at our site and offered her kind heart and patient manner to our children with joyous dedication. She so believed in the value of counseling at the elementary school level that last year she joined me to present the structure and responsibilities of our counseling program to our superintendent. Though Alma was not with us this year, she has helped Joanne Finn, our school counselor, acclimate to the position and often connected to see how we were all faring. She will be greatly missed by the children she served and the colleagues who depended on her, and I know you join me in offering prayers and best wishes to her family. As her family is grieving deeply, we have been asked to respect their privacy at this time.  We currently do not have information regarding services.

 

Class Size Reduction

The district is taking incremental steps towards the state's class size reduction plan of 24 students in every K-3rdgrade class by the 2018-19 school year.  During the 2015-16 school year, the 'ideal' class size will be 28/27 (28 students in kindergarten and 27 in 1st-3rd grade). The smaller class sizes are termed 'ideal' because the reality is that the contractual class maximums remain 32 in kindergarten and 31 in 1st-3rd grade. Classes will be set for 28/27, and if students move into our attendance area during the school year they will be placed in classes until the maximum number of 32/31 students is reached. Any students that join us during the year and seek to register for a class at maximum capacity will be overflowed to a nearby school with space at that grade level. 

 

For the coming school year, the district must demonstrate to the state that they are complying with the LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula) by instituting smaller class sizes at each school. Therefore, we will plan for classes of 28/27 students in K-3rd grade, and if we don't have enough students for a full class at a particular grade level, we will combine students in 2 consecutive grade levels to create a combination class for the 2015-16 school year.

 

Students selected for combination classes, should that need come to pass, will be those who tend to be more independent, mature learners and the class size will be slightly smaller. I will keep you informed if our numbers dictate combination classes, and you will be notified if your child is selected for a combination class.

 

Volunteer Appreciation Event

If you are a WA volunteer, please join us this Friday, 5/8, immediately following our 8:30 a.m. Sing-out in the MUR so that we can appreciate you! Sign in at the office and come enjoy a few tasty treats and some entertainment in your honor!

 

Thank you to PEAK

The PEAK Education Foundation recently donated $5827 to Walnut Acres PFC at their annual Stakeholders meeting! We are most grateful for their fundraising on our behalf and we invite them to join us at our Volunteer Appreciation Event on 5/8 event!

 

Seeking a Walnut Creek Community Service Day  WA Coordinator

Speaking of volunteers, would you like to be one for a very specific time period? On Saturday, 10/10, Walnut Creek will hold its annual Community Service Day event. Each year we get volunteers to support our site, usually from about 9:00-1:00 p.m. In the past, volunteers have painted our US map on our playground, tended to gardens, planted and pulled weeds, cleaned books covers, and slowly created a sitting area from the weeds between K and 1st grade classrooms.

 

We need a volunteer to coordinate the upcoming Service Day at Walnut Acres. Staff generates activities for the morning, but your input is very welcome, too. If you have interest, please contact me and I can put you in touch with Mrs. Denman, who has admirably done the job for the past few years.   

 

Movie Night Sponsored by Student Council

W.A. Student Council is hosting a Family Movie Night on Friday, 5/8 from 6-8:30 p.m. Bring comfy deck chairs or blankets to cuddle up with your kids and watch Big Hero 6 with friends and neighbors. Student Council is requesting a $3 donation per person or $10 per family.

 

Student Council will be 'selling' tickets for Movie Night after school Wednesday, 5/6, and at the door. There will be raffle tickets & treats for sale at the event. All proceeds will go towards the kindergarten party that the Student Council plans and implements annually.

 

Pedestrian Safety Plan

The draft Walnut Creek Pedestrian Master Plan has been released and is now available for public review.  To download the draft Plan, please visit the City's Pedestrian Master Plan website by clicking the link www.wcwalks.org. The Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP) is the first citywide planning effort focused on making walking in Walnut Creek safer, easier and more popular. The Pedestrian Master Plan contains goals, policies and actions to guide the positive evolution of walking in the city; an overall assessment of existing conditions for walking, including obstacles and challenges; broad recommendations for physical improvements suited to different pedestrian contexts and environments; recommendations for new or enhanced programs and activities to promote and encourage walking; general guidelines for the design of sidewalks, crosswalks and footpaths; and strategies for implementation and project funding.

 

Particular attention has been paid to improving access to schools, to transit, and within the Downtown, as well as improved access to open space areas, parks and neighborhood shopping centers. The planning effort relies on the public's involvement to help shape the Plan.  Opportunities for Walnut Creek residents and others to provide input and feedback on the Plan include public stakeholder and Commission meetings are delineated on the website.

 

Summer Programs at Walnut Acres

Camp Galileo will be with us again. They will offer a design-thinking approach to inspire budding innovators. Their award-winning camps liberate kids to explore and create without fear of mistakes. Weekly themes combine art, science and outdoor activities into whimsical narratives that keep kids giggling and engaged:

  • GALILEO ROCKS - Music-Inspired Art and Instrument Engineering
  • DESTINATION SAN FRANCISCO - Art and Engineering in the City by the Bay
  • GALILEO MAKERS- DIY Art and Real-World Inventions
  • MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION - Himalayan Art and the Science of Scaling Mountains

Sessions run from June 22- August 7. Extended care from 8 am - 6 pm. Optional healthy lunch program. To sign up or learn more, visit www.galileo-camps.com or call 1-800-854-3684.

  

Walnut Acres Day Care also has summer camps available. They will stimulate learning while kids have fun through their weekly theme-based programs. The Discovery program is for children who have just completed TK & Kindergarten. In shared group experiences they will be exploring science, art, dramatic play, & movement.  With a ratio of approximately 1 teacher to 8 children there are times for individualized interactions.  It's an opportunity for your child to meet friends for the upcoming school year! The Pathfinder program is for children who have just finished 1st-5th grades.  This program includes a variety of activities from swimming, sports, science, art, & field trips around the bay area! Check out the website at http://www.walnutacresdaycare.org/ for further information.


 

Learning about Common Core

The Great Kids Milestones Videos offers a variety of brief videos to help support parents understand what students are expected to know and do as schools transition to the Common Core Standards. The free online tool specifically identifies grade-level expectations in kindergarten through grade 5. Milestones videos show students demonstrating what success looks like in readingwriting, and math, grade by grade.  http://www.greatschools.org/gk/milestones/

 

Mother's Day

Poets write eloquently about the incomparable role of mothers in our lives. Robert Browning said that all love begins and ends there. The essence of the unique role of motherhood is the magic of unconditional love.  As the imminent psychologist Erich Fromm has written, "Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved." I wish mothers and all those who take on the role of offering unconditional love to a miracle-in-the-making, a very happy Mother's Day! May you bask in the love that you see reflected in your child's eyes and relish the childish gifts that are exuberantly presented to you.

 

Respectfully,

Colleen Dowd, Principal

 

  
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