Principal's Messages

Principal's Message - June 2, 2020

posted Jun 2, 2020, 7:19 AM by Vice President Communications

Hello Jaguar Families,

Wow, what a crazy and challenging 2019-20 school year! I am so thankful to our Walnut Acres Community for providing the bedrock of involvement and support. As you may have heard, the district is in the process of searching for a new superintendent. It is unfortunate that we are in this situation, but I’m sure the board and the district will find a replacement. Executive Director of Instructional Support, Jennifer Sachs, and Executive Director of Special Education, Dr. Wendi Aghily, will be stepping in as liaisons between the Board and the staff at this time.  Chief Business Officer, Dr. Lisa Gonzales, and Associate General Counsel, Cesar Alvarado, will also continue to provide support and direction in their areas of responsibility.

In terms of schools reopening, Governor Newsom has postponed his delivery of the guidelines on how schools should reopen (or not). I think he finally has begun to understand the complexity of the fiscal, logistical, and educational planning that districts must go through to ensure people will be safe if schools reopen. Yes, that means we need clear guidelines, money, and safety supplies. MDUSD leaders, along with some teachers and administrators, will work out the details of various scenarios (full distance learning, hybrid model, or regular school) on how schools may reopen or not, and they hope to have clearer expectations by late July. I have signed up to be on the Educational Committee. I will communicate to the community and staff as more information becomes available.

Over the summer, the custodians will be completing their deep cleaning of the school. The Walnut Acres Children Center will be on campus with a smaller number of students. In addition to using their building, they will also be using classrooms K1 and K3.

Parent Survey (State of Technology End of Year)

If you have not already, please complete the 5 minute survey by June 4. It was sent to you on Konstella. Your feedback is valuable in helping us understand your needs and ways for us to improve on delivering distance learning.

Report Cards

Your child’s teacher had either included a hard copy in your child’s bag of belongings that you had picked up during Pick up Drop off. Some teachers emailed parents the report card. If you did not receive a copy of the report card and would like one, email me LUONGL@MDUSD.NET.

Summer Resources

This year, due to budget reduction and Covid 19, there will be no teachers facilitating the summer reading program. However, you can check out our school website for a list of free resources that your child can access over the summer. Click on “Classes,” then “Intervention Support.” Scroll down to “Documents with Resources” and select “WAE Summer Resources 2020.” In addition to these resources, we encourage students to keep up with their reading over the summer.

Top 10 Recreational/Educational Activities for Kids in Contra Costa County with Social Distancing by Bryan Cassin Administrator, Alternative Dispute Resolution

When we think about summer fun with our kids, often we think of swimming pools, amusement parks, playgrounds, museums, and many other fun spaces that are typically filled with people. Given the presumed guidance to maintain social distancing through the summer, parents will need to be as creative as ever in setting up fun activities. Here are my top ten recommendations for local exploration this summer:

  1. Westwind Drive In Theater, 1611 Solano Way, Concord, CA 94520
  2. Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, 5175 Somersville Road, Antioch, CA 94509
  3. Rock City, Mount Diablo State Park
  4. Las Trampas Regional Wilderness Park, 18012 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583
  5. Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, 2701 Isabel St, Richmond, CA 94804
  6. Lafayette Reservoir
  7. Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline Park, 245 N Court St, Martinez, CA 94553
  8. Heather Farms Park, Rose Garden, 301 N San Carlos Dr, Walnut Creek, CA 94598
  9. Big Break Regional Shoreline, 69 Big Break Road, Oakley, CA 94561
  10. Tilden Regional Park, 2501 Grizzly Peak Blvd, Orinda, CA 94563

Many thanks to our community for an adaptive and compassionate response to a school year of unique and unprecedented challenges. As your first year principal in the crucible of the Covid 19 pandemic, may we reflect upon the gifts and losses we have come to know and value the spirit of community in all we do. I look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Be safe and healthy, 
Principal Luong

Principal's Message - May 17, 2020

posted May 17, 2020, 3:16 PM by Vice President Communications

End of Year Drop Off & Pick Up Schedule
During the week of May 25th, we have scheduled times for each classroom to pick up their student’s belongings and return library books, technology, etc. Only one parent per family is allowed on campus and unfortunately, no students.

We will be observing social distancing and ask that everyone wear a face mask. Please be safe by picking up and returning your items and leaving campus as quickly as you can. We miss you, but it is not time to say hello and chat yet.

Please visit these locations on campus:

  • In front of your student’s classroom(s) – pick up bagged student belongings Teachers may either include the report card in the bag or they will email it to you

  • In front of office – pick up student medications (if you have any)

  • Library – return library books

  • Room B-6 STEM lab – return technology (Chromebook if you checked one out)

  • Side music room at the MUR- return musical instruments (4th and 5th Graders)

Each classroom has been assigned a specific date and time to have their pick up/drop off. Your student’s belongings will only be available during this window. The schedule can be found below.

Tuesday, May 26

10:15- 11:15 4th-Buckingham
12:45- 1:45 4th-Arenson
1:45- 2:00 gap

2:00- 3:00 4th-Myers

Wednesday, May 27

9:00- 10:00 1st Grade Proctor
10:00- 10:15 gap
10:15- 11:15 1st Grade Beuchotte
11:15- 11:30 gap
11:30- 12:30 1st Grade McGoldrick
12:30- 12:45 gap
12:45- 1:45 1st Grade Andrada

Thursday, May 28

9:00- 10:00 Garcia Roy (TK), Erdiakoff (K), Ayllon (K)
10:00- 10:15 gap
10:15- 11:15 (K) Archibald, Kading
11:15- 11:30 gap
11:30- 12:30 2nd grade- Jones/Gerbacio
12:30- 12:45 gap
12:45- 1:45 2nd grade- Cowles/Ng
1:45- 2:00 gap
2:00- 3:00 Nicki Clarke

Friday, May 29

9:00- 10:00 Doug Marttila and Kristen Reamy
10:00- 10:15 gap
10:15- 11:15 Kaitlyn Diebel
11:15- 11:30 gap
11:30- 12:30 Amanda Graves
12:30- 12:45 gap
12:45-1:45 Chrissie Cattalini
1:45- 2:00 gap
2:00- 3:00 Mia Carella

Monday, June 1, Fifth Grade AM

8:00- 9:00 - Homeroom #1-10
9:00-10:00 - Homeroom #11-20
10:00- 11:00 - Homeroom #21-30

Last Couple of Weeks
Instruction will officially end on May 29. Teachers will continue to provide direct instruction or Zoom meetings until May 22nd, but teachers will provide assignments for students to complete independently through May 29. During the week of May 26- 29, teachers will be working on report cards and bagging up student belongings for pick up. On June 1- 3, teachers will be participating in professional development, staff meeting, and closing their classrooms. The last day of school is June 3.

Report Cards
The third trimester was done with distance learning under shelter in place directives due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of you had to juggle between doing your own work while also being a teacher for your children. We thank you for your hard work in supporting your children with their learning. We recognize that it takes a lot of effort and energy to stay on top of the virtual teacher Zoom sessions, check in office hours, maintaining passwords and switching back and forth between various online platforms, and helping your children with the school assignments. We also understand that not all students have adult help at home and life circumstances may affect student work quality or assignments not being completed or partially done. Hence, the district has instructed teachers to mark N/A (not assessed) on the report cards instead of giving a grade. N/A marks will be issued not as a reflection of performance but of the inability to collect the student work necessary to accurately assess due to the unique learning circumstance. Teachers will also be providing a narrative in the comment section.

“Moving On Up” Parade
We will be celebrating three big events with one awesome parade at 3:00 on Monday, June 1, Mr. Grebe’s retirement, 5th grade “moving on up” celebration and TK-4th grade “moving on up” celebration. The teachers and I are working on the details and will share the plan with you soon on Konstella and Schoolloop.

First Day of School
At this time, state and health officials have made no changes to the first day of school for 2020-2021. Our first day is planned for Thursday, August 13th. We will continue to provide you information as it is made known to us. Please continue to check the district web site at mdusd.org for updates.

Sincerely,
Principal Luong

Principal's Message - April 21, 2020

posted Apr 21, 2020, 9:58 AM by Vice President Communications

Happy Earth Day, Jaguar families. For those of you who have gone on the “Heart Hunt,” how many did you find?  I am happy to hear from teachers that students have been attending the virtual classroom meetings and engaging in distance learning. Parents, you are doing a great job being on top of the teachers’ office and instructional hours.  Make sure to check in with your child’s teacher if you have questions. Also, if you need tech support, tutorials are available on our district website. Look under “Parent and Community,” click on “Parent Portal” and then “Elementary Resource” under the “Distance Learning Parent Information.” Below are the new district guidelines for distance learning. The document highlights the responsibilities of the teachers, students and parents/guardians, as well as the grading practices for elementary school.

Student Information” and “Non-Return” Forms 
"Student Information” forms will be available on the homepage of our website starting 4/27/20. These forms are available to parents to share the strengths and educational needs of your child with school staff as we place children in 2020-21 classes. We do not accept specific teacher requests, but we try to honor insights that parents offer regarding a child’s learning style or emotional needs. The “Student Information” forms will be accepted through 5/8/20.

We are also posting the “non-return” forms to the News on the homepage by 4/27/20. If you will NOT be rejoining us at Walnut Acres for the 2020-21 school year, please let us know by completing and returning the form as soon as possible. Your courtesy will allow us to better predict and accurately plan for attendance needs in the new school year!

Be calm, be safe, be healthy,
Principal Luong


_______________________________________________________

_ Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Distance Learning From April 13, 2020- June 3, 2020

Pacing and/or Recommended Focus for Curriculum

April 13- June 3, 2020: Our intent is to support students and teachers during this time with Phase 2 of Distance Learning and to Extend Educational Opportunities in accordance with state guidelines. 

Phase 2 of Distance Learning will give students and parents opportunities to interact and engage with digital learning, access resources to support the academic and social-emotional needs of all students, and advance opportunities to learn in a supported manner.  

Office Hours: 60 minutes per day - An opportunity for students to connect with teachers for individual or group instruction via Google Meet, Zoom or other platform. 

Instructional Time: Teachers are providing instructional activities, content, and assignments for students to complete, using the following suggested total student activity time each day: TK/K 1 hour/day, Grades 1-3rd   2 hours/day, Grades 4-5th 3 hours/day

Distance Learning Definitions

Asynchronous Learning - Learning that occurs in different locations and at different times, but the content remains the same. This could all occur virtually and include student learning and/or professional development for teachers.

Synchronous Learning - Learning that occurs with participants learning together at the same time using common content, activities, presentations, etc. This could all occur virtually and could include teachers instructing students, teachers training other teachers, etc.

Instructional Time - Whole class/small group using Google Meets, Zoom, or other tools to provide direct or face-to-face instruction. Instructional time can still be an asynchronous learning opportunity where the teacher provides instruction using videos, web-based tools, activities, and assignments that can then receive feedback from the teacher. Instruction in this case is defined as opportunities to interact with digital learning.  This could include providing live instruction, posting videos of direct teaching from others, providing direction on assigned work, and giving explanations for assignments.  Between April 13 and June 3, 2020 new content should be introduced based on the essential standards in the scope and sequence and teacher discretion; However, students should not be “graded” as we would normally do if school were formally in session. Instead, teachers will monitor progress toward mastery of the essential standards. This is an opportunity for our teachers to expand their knowledge and become comfortable using a new platform to engage and encourage our students academically during this time. Teachers are asked to be creative, innovative, and work to support parents who are also feeling the pressure to advance the academics of their children.  

Google Meet or Zoom Check-Ins (multiple students) - The purpose is to provide teachers and students the opportunity to “check in.”  It is the opportunity to see if students need anything and for the children to connect with each other.  You could consider this also a social emotional check-in. This may occur in small groups and may include instruction.

Office Hours (via email, Dojo, Konstella, Google Hangout, Zoom, etc.) - The purpose of office hours is to have a way to allow students/parents to reach out to their teacher personally for help. Your child’s teacher should have provided you with a schedule of his/her daily office hours.

MDUSD Distance Learning

General Guidelines:

  1. Teachers make contact with every family and confirm that digital work can be completed at home and that the student has access to a device and internet. Teachers may use a spreadsheet, or some other digital means, to track who has been contacted and when. Teachers should notify their site administrator of students with whom contact has not been made.  

  2. If internet access is not available, assistance is offered and provided with the following resources:

    1. Internet Essentials website information

    2. Comcast Free Internet 

  3. It is recommended that teachers utilize an online platform or a structured distance learning plan in support of distance learning. Typical examples of online platforms are Seesaw (TK-2) and Google Classroom (TK-12). Teachers may have a common Google Classroom for their team, if they choose, to put resources or assignments on, but assignments should then be assigned in their individual classes. 

  4. Teachers will design the sequence of learning based on a) where students left off and b) what students need to know before the end of the year in order to prepare them for the following class.

  5. This new learning will focus on the most essential of the essential standards which represent a minimum of what a student must know to go on to the next level/reach high levels of learning. See TK-12 ELA Priority Standards HERE

  6. Resource teachers, speech teachers, PE teachers, paraeducators, ELD teachers, PT and OT providers, librarians, and site administrators can be included as co-teachers in Google Classroom as a way for the specialty teachers to give content/information to students.

  7. It is suggested that all teachers post assignments weekly.  Teachers should review submitted work, giving feedback as appropriate. The intent is to provide feedback to students on progress toward essential standards, not apply grades to the work.

Assessment and Feedback

This is not business as usual for instruction and feedback. Stress related to COVID-19 will negatively impact student academic performance. Student academic performance during closure is more likely to reflect racial, economic, and resource differences. Teachers have been asked to provide high quality instruction remotely, for which most students have not had experience in how to engage with.  

The following grading practices are being recommended and presented to the Board for approval:

Grading Elementary

  1. Standards-based rating continues. Any area where a standards-based rating can not be given, students should receive a NA- Not Assessed.  

Student Responsibilities

  1. Set up a quiet place to work, know your log in codes

  2. Review teacher’s schedule and be on time to virtual class meeting if one has been scheduled for the day

  3. Do your best to listen to your teacher and participate as if you would at school

  4. Ask questions if you need help or clarification

  5. Each day you must complete the “Must Do” assignments. Your teacher will be monitoring your progress based on these assignments.  

  6. Know the due dates to assignments

  7. Turn in your completed “Must Do” assignments weekly to your teacher 

  8. You may complete the “Can Do” assignments

  9. Communicate and ask for teacher help during office hours as needed

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

  • Communicate with classroom teacher during office hours as needed

  • Support student to complete work assigned by teacher through the digital platform

  • Help student keep track of assignment due dates

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Principal's Message - March 23, 2020

posted Mar 24, 2020, 6:43 PM by Vice President Communications

Hello Walnut Acres Families,

Being apart under “social distancing” does not stop us from sticking together.  The live auction on Friday night exhibited our strength to remain focused on the future and on our students as the PFC raised $173,000.  Thank you everyone for your tremendous generosity.  I would also like to express my gratitude to our incredibly hard working and amazing auction team: Veronica Velilla-Weisner (Auction Lead), Anna Halverson and Holly Guy (Co- Leads), and the other 23 team members and everyone in the community who made this event a success! Your philanthropic actions are truly valued.

I hope you are well.  Things are moving and changing rapidly every day.  The staff has been told to stay off campus and to work from home. I continue to go into school on most days to check on the safety and security of the site, and provide food service to students within our school feeder pattern.  I will make time available each week for teachers to check in or to retrieve materials from their classroom. 

Last week, the teachers union and the district came to an agreement on how teachers will proceed with instruction and learning during school closure, through April 13.   I am sharing some of those decisions made with you here:

“The recommended amount of student activity time to be provided by the teacher is listed below.  This time is for learning, connecting, engaging, and supporting students through digital content and instruction to ensure maintenance of learning starting the second week of closure:

  1. TK-Kindergarten       1 hour daily
  2. 1-3rd Grade                 2 hours daily
  3. 4th- 5th Grade             3 hours daily
  4. 6th- 12th Grade           4 hours weekly per content area”

Teachers are working diligently to connect and support students.  Along the way they are researching and gathering ideas and online materials while navigating this changing schema of how best to deliver instruction.  Some of us, including me, had to quickly learn how to use certain technology. While our teachers are required to give these many hours of learning daily, it does not mean you have to require your child to commit to study for this many hours.  We understand this may be a very difficult time for some families, and not all children have adult help at home.  This is an adjustment for everyone.  So, do what you can and communicate with the teacher if you need support.  Furthermore, we understand that some families may not have internet or a tech device at home.  If this is the case, please communicate with your teacher so we can provide your child with a Chromebook to use at home.  There is a contract agreement for this check out system.

Thank you to the families who participated in the survey, “Walnut Acres State of Tech,” that was sent out Thursday evening of last week via Konstella.  We appreciate your understanding that last week was our first week attempting to provide distance learning.  Your feedback, particularly the comments, is very helpful and we will keep this in mind as we move forward in planning for future at home assignments.  Based on the survey, parents indicated that the volume of assignments was: 56% Just right, 13% Too much work, 13% Not enough work, 5% Not focused on doing the work right now, and 13% other.

I have asked teachers to check in with students via email, Zoom, Google Meet, or other means of communication. This week, teachers will be communicating with you a time they will be available each day to check in if needed.  We are here for you, so let us know how we can help.

Be safe and healthy,

Principal Luong

Principal's Message - January 27, 2020

posted Jan 27, 2020, 9:26 AM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Jan 27, 2020, 11:33 AM ]

Dear Walnut Acres Families,
How fast January is going by.  Hope your 2020 is off to a great start.  Below are some reminders about ways you can help our children be safe, Kindergarten registration, and the PFC Survey. 

Walnut Acres Pick-up and Drop-off Rules for Student Safety 
Please drive s-l-o-w-l-y, especially on rainy days.  To keep our students safe while being dropped off and picked up at our busy site, the following rules are in place: 

  1. Parents will drop off and pick-up students only at the yellow, unloading zone curb. There is no parking at this curb. (This rule is designed to maintain the flow of traffic at busy times of day.) 
  2. Passengers are to exit vehicles on the curbside. (This rule is designed to keep children safe and car doors attached to cars.) 
  3. Parents will not double-park in turn-about. (This rule is designed to maintain traffic flow and ensure students are not walking between unloading vehicles to get to sidewalk.) 
  4. Parents will not drop-off or pick-up students in the staff parking area. (This rule is designed to ensure that students are not walking across a busy pathway and between unloading vehicles to get to the school sidewalk.) 
  5. Parents will not park in teacher-designated parking spots and avoid handicapped spots, unless handicapped. (This rule is designed to ensure that teachers have a place to park and vehicle access in our very confined parking lot. It will also ensure that we remain handicapped-accessible.) 
  6. Parents or a designated adult will supervise play after school. (This rule is designed to protect children from harm or abduction.) 
  7. Parents will observe that children play on blacktop, field, and play structures, NOT behind classrooms or sheds. (This rule is designed to keep children viewable to keep them safe and avoid high noise levels and distractions to classes in session.)

No Dogs on Campus
This is another reminder to leave your four-legged family member at home.  In addition to allergy concerns, we cannot be certain how a dog would “act out or react” and the situation could spiral quickly out of control.  Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

KINDERGARTEN & TK REGISTRATION FOR 2020-2021
TK and Kindergarten registration day will be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 in the school Library. Registration is by appointment only. Appointments can be made after Kindergarten Orientation the evening of February 3, 2020 through SignUpGenius.

Kindergarten Orientation
Orientation for parents of incoming Kindergarten and TK students will be held at 6:00 pm on Monday, February 3rd. Registration appointments will be open after Orientation at approximately 7:00 pm at signupgenius.com.

Students born between 9/2/2015 and 12/2/2015 are eligible for TK.  Students born between 9/2/2014 and 9/1/2015 will be registered for Kindergarten. (Students born between 9/2/2013 and 9/1/2014 will enter 1st grade, even if they have not attended Kindergarten). Please check out our Walnut Creek Acres Elementary website for more info.

No Playing on the Big Playground After Kindergarten Dismissal
After picking up your kindergarten child during dismissal, please do not hang out or play on the big play structure and playground as first through fifth graders are still in session until 2:30 or 2:40.  We would like to keep the noise level to a minimum. Furthermore, PE classes may take place on the blacktop. You may wait for your child at the picnic tables or in front of A-1 and A-2. Thanks for your cooperation. 

PFC Survey
If you have not already, please complete the PFC survey but clicking HERE. The results of this survey will assist the PFC in making budget and fundraising decisions as well as the best ways to communicate to the families.  Your input is important. 

Important Dates:
1/28 Fourth and Fifth Grade Instrumental Music Performance, 6:30- 7:15PM, MUR
1/30 Third Grade Performance, “Go Fish,” 7:00- 7:45 PM
2/03 Kindergarten Orientation, 6:00- 7:00PM, MUR
2/04 Kindergarten Registration, 9:00- 11:00AM, 1:00- 3:00PM, Library
2/10 No School for Students, Teacher Work Day
2/14 and 2/17 No School, Presidents Holiday

Principal's Message - December 16, 2019

posted Dec 16, 2019, 8:29 AM by Vice President Communications

Season’s Greetings to You and Your Family, and Best Wishes for the New Year!
I wish the entire Walnut Acres community a peaceful, restful, and joyous holiday season.  May you enjoy spending time with your loved ones, and along the way, be able to do something special for yourself.  Most importantly, remember to take care of yourself as the holidays can be a stressful time.  Take a break and read with your children, cook with them, take a walk, or play board games and card games.  These precious moments build memories and fun for all.

Read-A-Thon
Thank you families and friends for your generosity and enthusiasm for reading. We raised about $34,000 and this money goes toward funding school programs and hiring personnel.  Congratulations to Ms. Beuchotte’s first grade class and Ms. Buckingham’s fourth grade class for raising the most money, and, consequently, earning an ice cream party. A special thank you goes out to M’Lissa Fleming and Carolyn Bargagliotti for leading this successful fundraiser and making it fun with a western theme.  Teachers and students displayed great school spirit by dressing in western gear on the last day of the Read-A-Thon.  Yippee-Ay-Oh!

Caring
How appropriate that our character trait of focus for December is “Caring.”  Two student activities that demonstrated caring for others are the Toy and Clothing Drive and the donation of our Lost and Found clothes.  The Girl Scouts created the posters for our annual Toy and Clothing Drive that were displayed around the school.  All donated goods and toys went to the families and students of Shore Acres Elementary School in Bay Point. Stephanie Balistreri, mom of Ella, spent many hours sorting and driving these donations to personally deliver them to Shore Acres.  Thank you to all who donated.  Thank you all for your care! 

The Student Council sorted and donated the school’s Lost and Found clothing to the fire victims. We appreciate the Student Council’s effort, care, and leadership in taking care of others, and also for cleaning up our Lost and Found bin.  Thanks to Faye Mettler, who is also one of our science teachers, for working with the Student Council. 

Spotlights on Our Learning
One of the most exciting parts of my job is being in the classrooms to experience firsthand when teaching and learning are happening. I love talking to students about what they are learning and doing. These moments are important because they remind me why I’m doing the work I do.  I would like to share some instruction and learning highlights that have been happening at Walnut Acres these past couple of weeks:

TK-K- One important component to reading is learning about letter names, sounds and putting them together to make a word. That is what our TK and K students are learning.  Teachers call this segmenting and blending sounds. Some students do this out loud because they need to hear it, while others can do this silently. 

1stgrade- The first graders are doing a great job using the base 10, subitizing numbers, and explaining their mathematical thinking. It is wonderful to hear students discuss about what they are doing and how they are solving the math with each other. 

2ndgrade – Teachers coordinated a day of fun and learning about various holidays when students from all 4 second grade classrooms were assigned to be with students from other classrooms.  They rotated through all four classrooms playing games, reading, engaging in arts and crafts activities. 

3rdgrade- Can you drop and egg and not break it? Ask the third graders and they will show you how.  Students designed and built an apparatus that could prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from a height of over six feet.  You should have heard all the excitement during the egg drops. 

4thgrade- Students sang beautifully at last Thursday’s grade level performance of “December in Our Town.”  It was wonderful to see families, grandparents, and everyone there.  Our MUR was full.  Thank you to the fourth grade teachers and Judy Ryken. Good job everyone!

5thgrade- I wish I had teachers who could scaffold instruction and show me how to do things as well as the teachers we have. As a part of the writer’s workshop, students learned to do research about their topic, take notes, sort their ideas into categories, write a flash draft, and that is just half way through the writing process.  Students are working on writing an opinion paper.  In pre-algebra, students could concretely see how one side of the equation equals to the other side by using manipulatives. Maneuvering the manipulatives around and balancing the equation helped students solve for the unknown variable.

Hour of Code- Students, TK- 5 grades, were motivated and engaged in exploring ways to create and design with coding.  I’m impressed by their ability to design a scenery with graphics that could move, change background, blink, and make sounds. The best part is they did not need my help.  I was actually learning from them.

Science Fair Kick-Off Assembly: Wow, what an amazing presentation by Michael Meneghetti, a retired science teacher and the husband of our science teacher, Julia Meneghetti. The performance was like a magic show, only we know there is no magic.  It is purely science? 

Early Dismissal for Dec. 16- 20
Please note for Friday, 12/20, TK and K dismissal time is 11:17AM, while 1st,2nd, and 3rdgraders are dismissed at 12:59, and 4thand 5thgraders are dismissed at 1:10.

Warmest Wishes,
Principal Luong

 

Upcoming Events
12/16- 20 Early Dismissal (See schedule above)
12/18 Sing Out, “Caring,” Wednesday, 8:00- 8:30 (3-5 grades), 8:30- 9:00 (TK- 2 grades)
12/19 TK-Kindergarten Sing-Along, 10:00, MUR
12/23- 1/06 Winter Vacation
1/07 Return to School on a Tuesday
1/09 School Site Council, 3:00- 4:00, Library

Principal's Message - November 21, 2019

posted Nov 21, 2019, 7:19 PM by Vice President Communications

Happy Thanksgiving Walnut Acres Families!

Today, I reflected on the beauty of Autumn, as I stood in front of the School, and watched the yellow and red leaves falling about the picnic tables while the students walked by.  I am so thankful on this Thanksgiving holiday to be your principal.  The Walnut Acres community is truly special. Thank you for everything you do for our school.

Minimum Days Schedule During Parent/Teacher Conferences for Dec. 9- 20:

Parent-Teacher conferences will be held December 9-13 and December 16-20, 2019. We will have early dismissal both weeks. Please see the chart below for each grade level’s dismissal times.

Parent Teacher Conference

The parent teacher conference is an opportunity for you to meet with your child’s teacher and learn about how your child is doing both socially and academically. Ask questions about your child’s strengths as well as areas for growth, and ways you can help your child.  This is also a time to share any pertinent information about your child’s home life with the teacher.  Remember, conference time is limited, so ask the most important questions first.  You can always ask to have another meeting with the teacher if necessary.  It’s important that you have regular communication with the teacher regarding your child’s progress.  Finally, share with your child what was discussed. 

PFC Fundraising

Each year, the PFC fundraises approximately $400,000 to support our school programs.  Much of this money is donated by families like yours.  What is this money used for? More than 80% of the money raised is used to pay for staff salaries, such as our reading and math specialists, the STEM teacher, vocal music and science teachers. All these programs are unique and important to Walnut Acres; they bring rigor, innovation, and extra support for our students. The remaining funds pay for operating expenses, curriculum support, and campus support.  So, please help us meet our goal again this year by donating to the PFC if you have not already done so.  Thank you so much to those who have already donated. 

Important Dates:

11/18- 12/2 Read-A-Thon
11/25- 11/29 Thanksgiving Break
12/2- 12/5 Toy & Clothing Drive
12/12- 4thgrade performance, “December in Our Town,” 7:00pm
12/18- Sing Out, “Caring,” 8:00- 9:00
12/23- 1/6 Winter Recess
1/7- Return to School

Principal's Message - October 14, 2019

posted Oct 14, 2019, 9:39 AM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Oct 14, 2019, 10:18 AM ]

Happy October Walnut Acres Families!
Excitement is in the air! Please join the staff of Walnut Acres for the Halloween Parade on October 31 at 8:15am, on the playground blacktop. All parents are welcome. Please keep costume weapons and sharp objects at home. Costume mask should only be worn during the parade. The kids will be just too cute to talk about. Great photo opportunities! Hope to see you there!

This past weekend we had a wonderful Community Service Day: about forty school members and community partners rejuvenated the outdoor area by staining, cleaning, planting, and weeding among other things. We also centralized the placement of our emergency supplies to the shed marked with a red cross on the playground. We greatly appreciate your help! A special thank you goes to Caroline Clerempuy and Justin Trana for spear heading this important event.

Sing Out
The Sing Out will be on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 8:00- 9:00 (8:00 3rd-5th grades, and 8:30 TK-2nd grades). We will be celebrating the life skill “Responsibility.”

Car Line at Drop Off
As drivers, please respect the car line in the parking lot. It is unacceptable to cut the line. Do not leave your car unattended in the car line. This can cause back ups into the street causing frustration and unsafe driving conditions. Also, do not park in the no parking
zones on the street parallel to the carline. This further backs-up the car line and the entire street. Pedestrians should use the marked crosswalk to avoid potential complications with automobiles.

No Dogs on Campus
This is a reminder to leave your four-legged family member at home.  In addition to allergy concerns, we cannot be certain how a dog would "act out or react" and the situation could spiral quickly out of control. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

CA ShakeOut
Walnut Acres students and staff will participate in this earthquake drill on Friday, October 18 at 10:25am. As a part of our safety plan, we hold monthly safety drills. During this drill, students will practice, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” For Everyone Drop to the ground, take Cover under a table or desk, and Hold On to it.

Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
The Parent Advisory Council to the Superintendent (PAC) is comprised of parent representatives from each school. They meet with the Superintendent and other district staff on a monthly basis during the school year to help implement and monitor the elements of the Local Control Accountability Plan.  In addition, members also work
together to:

  • Identify common needs and goals among the parents/guardians of students enrolled in Mt. Diablo Schools and facilitate strategies to increase efficiency and effectiveness
  • Provide the superintendent with feedback and insight from the parent’s perspective on school process, policies and initiatives to ensure that the needs of parents and their families are included as decisions are made in the district
  • Serve as an advisory group that makes recommendations, encourages brainstorming, and provides opportunities for parent involvement on committees and task forces
  • Facilitate communication between and among the parents and parent organizations from different district schools and serve as a forum for sharing innovations and best practices from around the district

All parents are welcome to attend one or all the PAC meetings, which take place on Oct.17, Nov. 14, Jan. 16, Mar. 19, and May 21, 3:30- 5:00, at the Willow Creek Center on 1026 Mohr Lane in Concord. Childcare and light snacks are provided at all meetings. Please attend a meeting and represent Walnut Acres.

Future Events and Activities
10/15    PFC Meeting, 7pm, library
10/21-10/25 Fifth Grade Camp at Walker Creek
10/18    District English Language Advisory Council (DELAC)- 5:30pm, Willow Creek Center
10/ 24   School Site Council- 3:00- 4:00pm
10/25-26 CUYT 3rd/4th grade show “The Lion King”
10/29    Picture Make Up Day
10/30    Sing-Out 8-9am
10/31    Halloween Costume Parade - 8:15am
11/4- 11/8 Scholastic Book Fair
11/11    Veteran's Day - NO SCHOOL
11/19    PFC Meeting - 7pm, Library
11/18-12/2 Read-a-Thon

Principal's Message - September 17, 2019

posted Sep 17, 2019, 8:30 AM by Vice President Communications

Happy September Parents and Guardians, 

We are off to a good start to the school year. The students have become reacquainted with school routines and procedures. The teachers have worked diligently to build a caring and safe community, establish academic and behavioral expectations, and connect with every student. The newly completed reading and math data from student assessments will assist classroom and support teachers in understanding student abilities, assessing strengths as well as areas for growth. Teachers also use this data to deliver differentiated instruction, and provide extra support for students not yet meeting grade level expectations. 

Every Day Counts 
Help your child receive at least eight hours of sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive at school on time everyday. When a child is late, s/he may miss many important information, direction, and instruction given by the teacher. This leaves the child not knowing what to do when s/he arrives late. Furthermore, for some classroom, this is the prime time when the teacher works on community building, when students can check in with each other as well as with the teacher to go over the daily schedule, check in how everyone is feeling, and what everyone’s goals are for the day. If this time is lost, it can cause students to feel disconnected to the classroom community and team. 

Absence
Please consider planning family trips during school holidays. No independent study assignments can fully replace the true experience of learning like at school. Independent studies are available if the student will be out of school 5 or more consecutive days. Please allow teachers at least 2 weeks notifications to create the work required. If your child is sick, report the absence by calling 925-682-8000, ext. 7242 or report the absence online at http://waes-mdusd-ca-schoolloop.com 

Keeping our Children Safe 
We need your help and cooperation to keep our students safe. When visiting the school during school hours, please check in and out at the office, obtain and wear a visitor’s sticker. When the school bell rings at 8:00, please make your way off campus. The playground needs to be emptied as PE classes begin. Especially on Wednesday after school, please sit at the tables in the courtyard until dismissal if you arrive early. This routine allows classrooms to have quiet space until class has ended for the day. Furthermore, although primary grades are dismissed at 12:30 on Wednesdays, upper grades are still in school until 12:40. All students need to be supervised by their parents if they play on the playground after school. 

If you and your child walk or bike to school, practice the following safety tips: Make eye contact with drivers, look left-right-left before entering the street, use crosswalks, bike on the right side, with the flow of traffic. 

If you drive to school or/and pick up your child, please slow down, yield to all pedestrian, avoid talking on the cell and making U-turns in the middle of Wiget and Cerezo Drive. The drive-thru is an idle free area for drop offs and pick-ups only, not parking. Idling is harmful to our air quality and our health. The Student Climate and Parent Safety Handbook contains information about the drive-thru procedures. Lastly, reserve handicap parking and blue zones for individuals with disabilities. 

Up Coming Events 

9/17 & 9/18: Picture Day
9/25: 8:00-8:30am Sing Outs Grades 3rd-5th /8:30- 9:00am Grades TK-2nd - “Respect” All are welcome (MUR) 
10/2: International Walk to School Day (Thank you Carolyn Bargagliotti & Meg Gibson Keese for heading this event)
10/12: 8:45-12:00pm Community Service Day (Thank you Caroline Clerempuy & Justin Trana for heading this event) 

Yours truly, 
Lang Luong 

Principal's Message - August 2019

posted Aug 9, 2019, 8:05 AM by Vice President Communications

Dear Families and Students of Walnut Acres,

 

Welcome back to the 2019-20 school year!  I hope you had a restful summer and are ready to begin another great year. Thank you to the families who attended the Meet and Greet the Principal in July.  It was a pleasure meeting everyone.  

 

There are changes to the staff. Please welcome Beth Beuchotte (1stgrade), Doug Martila (SDC), Preet Sohdi (psychologist), Deanna Nixon (librarian), and Nicki Clarke (SDC).  Chloe Park (long term sub office manager), and Marika Reisinger (long term sub attendance clerk) have done an amazing job running the office. Amanda Graves switched from fourth to third grade while Mariteresa Arenson moved from second to fourth grade. Heather Garcia Roy will be teaching a TK-K class.  The TK-K team and I have thoughtfully placed students who can work more independently into this class since there will be two grade levels. Our first grade teacher, Melanie McGoldrick, will be out until the end of September due to health reasons.  We already have an excellent long-term sub that has agreed to take the job.  I will announce her name as soon as the paperwork has been completed.  We wish Ms. McGoldrick a speedy recovery.

 

A few other changes also occurred over the summer to improve our campus.  The district upgraded our Wi-Fi network, providing better access to more computer programs and software.  Thanks to the passage of the measure bond, there is now a new fence along the side of the school parallel to Ebano Dr.  Trees have been trimmed, classrooms cleaned, and floors waxed.  Thanks to your support and donations, we have purchased 8 flat screen monitors and 17 iPads for classroom use.  

 

We are excited to dive deep into math instruction and learning this year as teachers attended a math training on August 8 and 9 for our newly adopted math curriculum, Bridges.  We thank all of you for supporting us in this new endeavor.

 

I invite you to attend Jaguar Day, 8/12/19, 3:00- 7:00 PM.  This is a great time to meet other families, sign up to help with the Parent Faculty Committee events and activities, and find out your child’s class assignment.  But first, remember to update your personal information on the district Homelink if you have not already.  You can do this by visiting:https://net.mdusd.org/parentportal/LoginParent.aspx?page=default.aspx. You will not receive your child’s classroom assignment until your personal information has been updated.  Assistance with Homelink will also be available on Jaguar Day.  If you are a new family, or have a student who is enrolling at Walnut Acres for the first time, please go to the office through Monday, August 12 to get your verification code to enter your new student in HomeLink. You will need to show a photo ID (such as a driver's license) to receive the letter that contains your verification code.

 

Below are important dates for the month of August:

 

8/12       Jaguar Day 3:00-7 PM

8/13       New Student Brown Bag Lunch (Grades TK-5)      

8/15       Back to School Coffee 8:00 AM, First Day of School

8/20       PFC Meeting Library 7 pm                              

8/20       4th Grade Back to School Night 5:45-7 pm

8/21       5th Grade Back to School Night 6-8 pm

8/27       3rd Grade Back to School Night 5:45-7pm

8/28       1st Grade Back to School Night 5:45-7 pm

8/29       2nd Grade Back to School Night 5:45-7 pm

 

School starts on 8/15. I look forward to seeing everyone on campus!  

 

Sincerely,

Ms. Lang Luong

Principal

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