April, Message from the Principal

posted Aug 19, 2014, 12:50 PM by Jana Corral   [ updated Aug 19, 2014, 12:50 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Happy Spring, Walnut Acres Parents,


As the year marches on we are beginning to think about end-of-year activities and planning for the new school year.  With that in mind, I am requesting your participation in planning for 2014-15, passing along crucial MDUSD policy changes, and sharing exciting upcoming events.


Seeking Your Input


The upcoming April PFC meeting on Tuesday, 4/17, is crucial to discuss financial decisions that will impact your child's learning environment. Please join the 7:00 p.m. meeting in the library so you can help make those decisions! Also at the meeting, I will ask you to consider the 8 components of the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) and share your input as to how we should proceed to meet student needs here at Walnut Acres. Using the workshop approach, everyone will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the topics of Conditions for Learning, Student Engagement, and Pupil Outcomes. Your input will be used to help create our 2014-15 School Plan.  


Our Innovation Team is an integral part of 21st century planning. We are seeking parents who would like to join our teacher volunteers in planning innovation goals, discussing ongoing needs, and reviewing implementation progress. If you are interested in participating on the team which meets 3-4 times per year, please contact me at the office, 939-1333 or respond to this e-mail. You don't need to be a technology guru; we seek parents who would like to actively help us continue our transformative journey to becoming a 21st century learning community. 


Our Spring vacation is 4/21-25, and immediately following our return parents are invited to complete the "Parent Information Sheets" between 

4/28-5/9. Forms are in the office. While requests for particular teachers are not appropriate, parents are welcome to note any particular challenges their student has, and make suggestions about the kind of environment in which you believe your students will thrive. Notification of class assignments will be provided on Jaguar Day, Thursday, 8/21, between 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.


As you consider various summer activity options, Mrs. Galindo is wondering if families would be interested in summer technology classes. She is asking you to complete a brief 2-question survey. To take the survey to let her know if she should plan a summer technology experience for students, please click here. The survey begins with further information about this potential learning opportunity.


New MDUSD Policies


We will be reducing the number of students we place in K-3rd grade classes for the coming school year. Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes will cap at 29 students while maximum class size in 1st-3rd grade classes will be 28 students. The class caps will eventually reduce to 25 students per class, according to state requirements.


By the way, we have 19 kindergarten spots remaining for the 2014-15 school year. If you have a friend or neighbor who has an entering kindergartener, please ask them to enroll now.


Along with class size reduction, there is a new MDUSD Intradistrict Transfer Policy. The 9/15 deadline for removing intradistrict students will now be in effect only during the student's first year at our school. Once that 9/15 deadline has passed, the student is considered a member of our school community and cannot be transferred to create space for another student through 5th grade.  If students seek an intradistrict transfer for middle school or for high school, they need to reapply for that status though the district.


Upcoming Events


Today some of our students are beginning to take the Smarter Balanced assessment. Over the next 6 weeks 3rd-5th grade students will spend about 6 hours per student taking the ELA and Math portion of this new, second-generation assessment. Please note that there will be no assessment results for parents or school. Instead, the field test will be used to "test the test". For further information, please check out the explanatory letter on our WA website homepageor go to the CDE website.   


Tomorrow is our Distinguished School visit. I'll let you know how we fare, but meanwhile, enjoy the 2 pink DS banners created by our 1st-5th grade students. I told the children that I wanted to give everyone a chance to have a voice on our visit day, so children who wanted to write a comment on our banners did so over the course of a few days. 


To thank all our wonderful volunteers we ask you to join us on Thursday morning, 4/17, at 8:00 a.m. so that we can show you our appreciation for your dedicated support of our children. We will begin our Volunteer Appreciation Event with our Sing-out. It will be a bit crowded in the MUR, but it will be a fun way to include the children. Following the Sing-out, the children will return to class and we will shift to the grown-up, more roomy, portion of our thank you. Please join us if your schedule will allow!


As I wish you a happy Spring break, I can think of no better way to close than to share the words of a jubilant and confident kindergartener as he expressed his appreciation for you and the work you do to support student learning. I quote the student below with translation support. :)


"Dear Peris (parents), Thank you for doing stations (Thaunke for doong stashinse). I love you. You love me. And the world does too (And the wrld dus too)."


I wish you lots of laughter and heartfelt hugs during the break with your amazing children!



Colleen Dowd,

Walnut Acres Principal