June 6, 2011

posted Jun 5, 2011, 1:54 PM by Anna Saunders   [ updated Jun 5, 2011, 2:00 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Dear Walnut Acres Parents,

As the rain pelts the office roof I write to you my final newsletter of the 2010-11 school year, with thanks for your consistent, proactive support and your amazing dedication to all our children. Perhaps the flexibility that this unusual weather requires of us is a good analogy for the flexibility that we must practice with the nebulous state budget and all of the unknowns that flow from it. For information about the latest proposed state budget and its impact on MDUSD, please visit the MDUSD website. 

We will continue to move forward with the pivotal support of the PFC whose leaders and members (all of you) provide such a wonderful umbrella for us to continue our growth as unscathed as possible by budget storms. Thank you so much for all you have accomplished this year to keep Walnut Acres students thriving! I want to especially thank the PFC Executive Committee that represents you all with passion, dedication and great creativity. Their leadership is inspiring and their effectiveness is an incredible gift to our community.

We do have a few solid updates for the 2011-12 school year that I can share with you in regard to personnel, programs and our facility:


Mrs. Scudero will start the year with us in 2nd grade, go out on leave in October (or whenever her first born makes an appearance) and work closely with her substitute after that point. Meanwhile, you all know that Mrs. Roy is retiring. (All are welcome to join us at her party today after school at 2:45 p.m. in K-2.)  Ms. Ireland will become the new third member of our loving K team and she will be replaced in 3rd grade by Ms. Hubauer, who will become Mrs. Bellendir this summer. Due to declining enrollment (unrelated to any budget issues) we will have 3 4th grade classes rather than 4, so Ms. Hubauer’s position as 4th grade teacher will not be filled.


While our 4th grade team is diminished in size, they intend to maximize their strength by taking on focus teaching areas for math, writing and reading in order to enhance differentiation. Flexible math groupings will continue with Mrs. Otsuka as teacher, while flexible groups for writing (taught by Mrs. Bangs) and reading (taught by Mrs. Aguilar) will be created. If you have an incoming 4th grader, please join the team at their Back to School Night so you can hear all about their plans to support your child’s success in learning.

Our 21st Century Learning journey will continue with gusto in 2011-12. I hope many of you had an opportunity to review the why, the what and the how of 21st Century Learning with a stroll through A-1 at our delightful Open House. (Thank you, coordinators, for creating a great evening of celebration for our community!) A-1 will remain open if anyone would like to tour the room with me this week.


With B-5 available due to our reduction in 4th grade classrooms, we are considering the development of a Walnut Acres design lab in which students would practice 21st Century skills of collaborative problem solving. We are playing with this concept over the summer and I will have more to share with you in the fall.  

Our solar panels will be placed on our site between 9/11 and 1/12. I am hoping that the loudest work will start during summer vacation and be completed before students arrive. All work areas will be cordoned off and all workers will wear appropriate identity badges. For detailed information about the solar program, click here.

I will look forward to seeing you and your children back at Walnut Acres on August 22nd for Kick Off Day and then on August 30th for the first day of school. Meanwhile, enjoy lovely family time this summer, remember to READ at home for FUN with your children EVERY DAY and review learning in entertaining ways, through board games, journal writing, family field trips etc. Click here for reading tips and remember that your children can use their user name and password to access Mathletics and Ed1stop on home computers.

I wish you happy memory-making, parents. Here’s a little poem by R. Peifer that I tweaked to start your summer adventures,

My dishes went unwashed today, I didn’t make the bed.

I took their hands and followed where their eager footsteps led.

Oh, yes we went adventuring my beautiful children and I, exploring all the great outdoors beneath the summer sky.

We waded in a crystal stream, we wandered through the wood, work from the office wasn’t completed today, but life was very good.

We watched a robin feed her young, We climbed a sunlit hill, saw cloud-shaped sheep scamper through the sky, and plucked a daffodil.

That my housework was neglected, that my ‘work completed’ box was bare, in twenty years, no one on earth will know, or even care.

But that I’ve helped my children to successful adulthood grow, in twenty years, the whole wide world may look and see and know.

Best wishes for a lovely summer,

Colleen Dowd