December 2011

posted Dec 5, 2011, 6:40 PM by Anna Saunders   [ updated Dec 5, 2011, 6:40 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Happy December, Walnut Acres Parents!

I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving break and plan to join us at the PFC Holiday Party on December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ledesma/Sendaydiego home. All parents welcome.

We have completed our first trimester of school and that means it is conferences time. I hope that all parents are taking advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher and learn about your child’s progress during these first 13 weeks of school. Please note that we have early dismissal for the next two weeks so that teachers have adequate time to conference. The early dismissal schedule is in place from December 5-16 at the following times:

Kindergarten (late slip) 12:38 p.m.  Every day (Early Slip starts at 8:15 a.m.)

1st – 3rd grade 12:59 p.m.              Except Wednesdays  (Pick-up is 12:29 p.m.)

4th – 5th grade   1:06 p.m.              Except Wednesdays  (Pick-up is 12:33 p.m.)

Arrange for your child to be picked up after school in a timely fashion, please.

In order to make the most of your conference time, I highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Report of Student Progress that teachers will be using to document your child’s status toward standard mastery. An overview of that new progress report, as well as an annotated report template, and common Q& A related to the new report, are all available on the district website. Link here if you would like to study those documents now. If you are familiar with the report template and the rubrics used for noting standard status, then you and your child’s teacher will be able to spend less time discussing the components of the new card and more time in dialogue about your child’s progress.   

If you have input about the new progress report, you are welcome to share it with me or a teacher and we will be happy to pass it along to the district. The large committee of teachers who developed the report template will be reviewing their work this spring once they have seen it implemented over a period of time.

Last year, I wrote about ways to prepare for and participate in your child’s conference and I’ll reiterate those strategies briefly:

  • Begin by talking to your child about their challenges and successes at school.
  • Get their perspective on their daily life at Walnut Acres.
  • Write down questions and concerns…and appreciations…so that you remember to share your thoughts and questions in the midst of your busy teacher/parent conversation.
  • Take notes during your meeting if you are getting a lot of novel information  
  • Ask what you can do to support your child’s learning at home
  • Remember that teachers have a limited amount of time for each conference. Ask for an opportunity to continue your conversation on another date if necessary.

I hope your conferences are valuable to support you in supporting your child!

As the new year begins, the district’s budget needs will be reassessed given the status of our state’s finances. If you are interested in updated data on this topic or the effect of the CVHS charter petition, you may link here to the video of the 11/12/11 meeting and accompanying PowerPoint. The charter petition has now been appealed to the Contra Costa County Office of Education. The County Board has scheduled a public hearing regarding the charter petition on December 7 at 5:30 pm at Pleasant Hill Elementary School.

Although 2012 may seem far away, it is right around the corner and I want to pass along information about three parent workshop series that are being offered through Adult Education. “Loving Solutions: Parent Project Junior” and “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen”, as well as “Anger Management”, begin with the start of the new year. Check out these workshops on the district website (link here) to see if any of these offerings might meet your current family needs.

Before we all move busily on to 2012, allow me take a moment to wish you lots of wonderful family time during this upcoming special holiday. Enjoy your beautiful child and remember that while in tough economic times you may not be able to offer your child the latest gizmo, it’s your precious time, your shared laughter, and your loving energy that your child needs. Pick up any psychologist’s article and you will be bombarded about the pivotal role you play in developing your child’s self-confidence, ability to take risks, and attitude about facing the big world independently. So take advantage of this wonderful time together - cuddle up on a cold, blustery day, listen to your child share secrets and dreams, as well as fears or anxieties. Relish your moments together, and whisper Shel Silverstein’s words in that oh so attentive ear, “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Here’s to happy memory-making and dream-building,

Colleen Dowd