June 2017 Message

posted Sep 13, 2017, 6:02 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Sep 13, 2017, 6:02 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Hello, Walnut Acres Parents:

As we say goodbye for the summer, I want to wish you and your family happy vacationing! To those of you with students graduating from Walnut Acres, thank you for your years of support and collaboration. On behalf of our school staff, we hope that middle school adventures will be joyfully memorable. 

For those of you with students continuing at Walnut Acres, here are our plans thus far for the 2017-18 school year:



Mr. John Paradiso, dedicated 3rd grade teacher, is leaving us to return to school. He will earn his school counseling credential over the next two years. We wish him all success in his endeavors.

Mrs. Cynthia Young, beloved 4th-5th grade vocal music teacher, will retire in June. We wish her happy days as she begins this new phase of life.

As previously shared with you, Mrs. Jackie Pine, respected Instructional Assistant (IA), will be moving this June and is resigning her post as reading intervention IA.

Shifting roles

Current kindergarten teache Ms. Mia Carella will move to B-4 to teach 3rd grade. She will not be replaced in kindergarten at this point because we currently need only 3 kindergarten classes.

Our large kindergarten class now moves to 1st grade, so we need five 1st grade classes rather than our current 4 classes. Ms. Rachel Proctor will join the 1st grade team to create that additional 1st grade class.  

Mrs. Sally Anderson will rejoin us full time as vocal music teacher, while Mrs. Judy Ryken will continue as choral music teacher on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings.  

New people and positions

Mrs. Mariteresa Arenson will join us as a 2nd grade teacher. She comes to us from Woodside, but she knows Walnut Acres well since her children attended school at our site. We welcome Mrs. Arenson to our school!

Thanks to our devoted PFC, we will replace our outgoing part-time reading intervention instructional assistant, Mrs. Pine, with a part-time certificated teacher to support English Language Learning and reading intervention. We are talking to candidates for that position currently.

Our supportive PFC is also sponsoring a part-time math intervention teacher position as a 2017-18 pilot program using Strategic Planning funds. We are talking to candidates for that position as well.

Summer Activities on Campus

Summer play

Weekly Camp Galileo summer sessions are offered from 6/19 through 8/7. Ms. Maria de Vera will be onsite camp director. The Galileo office will be in C-4 with classrooms in the D wing.

The Walnut Acres Children’s Center (WACC) will be in session from 6/12 through 8/11. Jaime Gonce, WACC Director, will work through the summer. WACC will use kindergarten classrooms for their summer program.  

Mrs. Judy Ryken’s Curtains Up! theatrical program will offer two afternoon summer sessions, from 6/12 through 6/30 and again from 7/11 through 8/4. Play practice will be in the MUR.                  

Summer work

M&O (Maintenance & Operations) will be working on our site this summer. The workers will renovate bathrooms in Wings A and C, complete some door repairs, and do miscellaneousconcrete flooring maintenance around campus.

Big news, hot off the press: M&O has also committed to removing the tanbark from the kindergarten playground and replacing it with rubberized flooring!

Our library will be painted this summer by M&O and we will use the remainder of 2015-16 Fund-A-Need monies to purchase more ‘comfy’ furniture now that we have finagled a small home for vocal music classes outside of the library.

Kindergarten Schedule for 2017-18

The Walnut Acres faculty voted to approve the request by kindergarten teachers to lengthen the instructional time for kindergarten students. The new schedule will remain intact for the first 4 months of school, with a noon dismissal on Wednesdays, then shift to a longer day for both early and late friends.

TK (transitional kindergarten) will not be impacted by the change in the kindergarten minutes. Their schedule will remain intact, with early friends in class from 7:55 through 11:17 a.m. and late friends arriving at 9:36 and leaving at 12:58 p.m. 

The new schedule allows our young students to get acclimated to school with a 3-hour-and-20-minute day session until January, at which time students will attend school for about 4 hours per day. With the extended time, children will be able to practice fine and gross motor skills as well as developmentally appropriate social skills through imaginative play and developing interactive abilities. The teachers look forward to extended time for these experiences interspersed with continued Workshop and Math Talk academic sessions. 

The new kindergarten schedule is as follows:

August-December (Winter Break) Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

7:55-9:36 Early Friends

9:36-10:30 ALL (Late Friends arrive)

10:30-10:50 Snack recess

10:50-11:17 ALL

11:17 Early Friend dismissal

11:17-12:58 Late Friends

January-June Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 

7:55-10:00 Early Friends

10:00-11:10 ALL (Late Friends arrive)

11:10-11:50 Lunch

11:50-12:00 ALL

12:00 Early Friend dismissal

12:00-2:05 Late Friends

Wednesday schedule (ALL school year)

ALL kids come at 7:55-12:00

Two Departing Comments

Please encourage your child to read every day. Whether they read books or ebooks or comic books doesn’t matter, just inspire them to read—perhaps by reading aloud to them or cuddling up with your own book and relaxing with a good read together! Yummy!

As you plan your summer please consider this short but sagacious poem by SARK:

How To Really Love A Child

Be there. Say yes as often as possible. Let them bang on pots and pans. If they’re crabby, put them in water. If they’re unlovable, look more closely. Realize how important it is to be a child. Go to a movie theater in your pajamas. Read books out loud with joy. Invent pleasures together. Remember how really small they are. Giggle a lot. Surprise them. Say no when necessary. Teach feelings. Heal your own ‘inner child.” Learn about parenting. Hug trees together. Make loving safe. Bake a cake and eat it with no hands. Go find elephants and kiss them. Plan to build a rocketship. Imagine yourself magic. Make lots of forts with blankets. Let your angel fly. Reveal your own dreams. Search out the positive. Keep the gleam in your eye. Encourage silly. Plant licorice in your garden. Open up. Stop yelling. Express your love. A lot. Speak kindly. Paint their tennis shoes. Handle with caring. Know that children are miraculous. Every single one.

May you enjoy a lovely summer of yesses and giggling and dreaming and hugging!

Your lucky principal,

Colleen Dowd