June, Message from the Prinpal

posted Aug 19, 2014, 12:53 PM by Jana Corral   [ updated Aug 19, 2014, 12:53 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Hello Walnut Acres parents,


The closing of a school year is always a little bittersweet so students and teachers are spending some time together on these last days of the 2013-14 school year reflecting on and celebrating their learning journey. While we think of summer onset as a joyful time for students, this week of 'lasts' can be an emotional one as well, particularly for our 5th graders who are transitioning to a larger unknown. If your child seems moody, irritated, or just not quite his/her usual self, be sure to listen for the potential angsts and anxieties that may appear as change becomes imminent. Meanwhile, students are relishing successes together in classes and anticipating the carefree days of summer!


There are still some changes afoot at Walnut Acres. Notably, we are losing Marie Otsuka, much-loved 4th grade teacher, to the district. She will become a BTSA coach (a classroom teacher placed on special assignment to support new teachers) for MDUSD. She promises that she will return "home" after her stint as coach.


As I reported at our last PFC meeting, it is likely that we will add two combination classes in 2014-15. Combination classes are those that include children in two different grade levels. We may have a K/1st grade class and a 2nd/3rd grade class. The reality of the combination classes is dependent on our enrollment numbers. To add one more layer of complication to the situation, I have been informed by the district that while 2014-15 classes will start with populations of 28/29 students for 1st-3rd/K respectively, those numbers may increase to current maximum numbers of 31/32 for 1st-3rd/K respectively, in order to avoid overflowing students who move to our community. (Overflowing is the process of moving a student in the Walnut Acres attendance area to a neighboring school when we do not have room for the student.)


We will be watching our enrollment numbers carefully because they will dictate our classroom configurations. You can help us. If you know someone who plans to register at Walnut Acres, please encourage them to do so sooner, rather than later.


One more piece of enrollment news, we are adding a third SDC class to our site next year. The intensive autism class numbers are growing so we will have a K class, a 1st-2nd grade class and a 3rd-5th grade class. We are making some shifts to classrooms and specialty rooms, in order to accommodate the new SDC class, and the TK class that I have previously announced to you. I know you join me in welcoming these new classes to Walnut Acres!


If you are willing to help pack items on Friday morning (6/13) in specialty rooms that will be relocated, please call the office and let me know. Thanks to any volunteers who can give some time to our packing project! 


The much-anticipated air conditioning and heating upgrades at our site are underway, but work will intensify when teachers and students have departed. Much of Walnut Acres will become a construction zone, although we will maintain a couple of continuing summer programs. The day care program and the theater program will be in place at Walnut Acres. We are also offering a new summer option. Our own Patty Galindo, is starting summer technology classes to explore programming and robotics with our children. To learn more and to register, pleaseclick here. Summer programs will take place in the MUR and D wings, which do not need HVAC upgrades. Meanwhile, the Galileo Learning camp that we hosted last summer, and which we could not host this year due to construction, is alive, well, and available at Bancroft Elementary.


With summer upon us, the Walnut Acres staff will be taking some time off to refresh and renew, but our teachers will also be attending professional development days and collaborating in grade level teams as we organize for the 2014-15 school year. It is our goal to prepare our school to be worthy of our children, so we will relax and re-energize, then sneak onto our construction site to continue setting the stage for a great 2014-15 learning year.


Meanwhile, I wish you happy adventuring with your beautiful children this summer! Savor your time together, I can tell you from experience they will be grown and gone in the blink of an eye. Special good wishes to all fathers and father figures as we kick off the summer season! Thank you for taking on the unique role of dad. In the words of an anonymous admirer...


A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. 

A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. 

A dad is someone who holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail...


For sharing your patience, encouragement and faith in the potential of each special child in your care - I salute you!


Happy summering,

Colleen Dowd, principal