May 2018 Principal's Message

posted May 18, 2018, 5:04 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated May 18, 2018, 5:04 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Dear Walnut Acres Parents,

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to you and thank you for the many ways you worked to make the Walnut Acres faculty feel very appreciated last week! The flowers, the lovely meals, the door decorations, and the cards were all beautiful ways to make staff feel spoiled. Accolades as well to the parents who helped to provide the staff with a unique surprise last Monday…a faculty lounge make-over! Take a peek in the faculty room to see the remarkable improvement created by a few furniture shifts, along with some elbow grease and caring collaboration. 


Three teachers have officially announced their retirements. Ellen Bellendir, 4th grade teacher; Rohnda Datzman, K teacher; and Robin Louchis, SDC teacher, will be leaving us this year. We are saddened by their departure but enriched by the many children and adult community members they have touched, and we wish them all happy adventures as they start new chapters in their own lives. Our retirees have written good-bye notes to the Walnut Acres community which you can enjoy under the Current News section of our website.   

Longtime Instructional Assistant for 1st and 3rd grade Patty Kim is also retiring, and Jennifer Davis, Instructional Assistant in kindergarten, is resigning as her family leaves the community.

Upcoming Events

You are invited to take advantage of a community service opportunity this week (5/14–18) in the form of our annual Darcie Jones Book Drive. (Darcie Jones was the parent who started the drive in 1994. The event was renamed in her honor when she passed away in 1996.)  Model for your children how to select a new or gently used book and encourage them to do the same. As always, collected treasures will go to children at Meadow Homes.

On 5/19, Northgate education foundation PEAK (Partners for Educational Achievement K-12) and the Walnut Creek Education Foundation are co-sponsoring a Walnut Creek celebration of schools at Macy’s in downtown Walnut Creek from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Events will include a teacher/student fashion show, student musicians, student art, and Macy’s promotions throughout the day. For further information, check out the PEAK website here.

Our annual Open House Festival will be held on Thursday, 5/24, from 5:00-7:15 p.m. Bring the family to enjoy a pizza dinner, entertainment, specialty rooms, and your child’s classroom. Visit next year’s grade levels, as well, to get a taste of life in 2018-19!  Do remember that this is a time to visit with this year’s teacher. At Back-to-School Night in the fall, you will have an opportunity to hear from your child’s 2018-19 teacher. During the Open House, our neighbors, Walnut Acres Children’s Center, invite you to stop in to their Open House from 6:00pm-7:30pm. 

Ordinarily our Open House Festival is our last event of the year, but there is a new treat in store for us! On 6/1, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Walnut Acres will host our first-ever International Celebration Event! Bring your children to enjoy trips to 30 different countries. As children get their passport stamped at each country they will be able to learn about a new culture, enjoy a tasty treat, and play a game or complete a small craft or art project. Come have some fun celebrating diversity with us!

Winding down and prepping for 2018-19

School Site Council volunteers: We need 2 parent volunteers to serve as School Site Council (SSC) representatives for 2018-19. The SSC is comprised of parents and staff members who work with me to develop, review and evaluate school improvement programs and school budgets. I send out a ballot as the school year ends if I can get 2 or more volunteers now. Please e-mail me if you would be willing to make a commitment for each first Thursday of the month from 3:00-4:00 p.m. and call if you have questions as you consider serving. In case you are wondering, the ballot cannot be online according to regulations, which is why the ballot is sent home for your vote.

Last day of school: Note that our last day of school is Thursday, 6/7, with dismissal at 12:30 p.m.Only bag lunches will be served on that day. If you would like your child to have a bag lunch on the last day of school, you have until 5/31 to place your order by phone 925-682-8000 ext. 86210 or email

Reminder to pay fees: And speaking of lunch, please pay negative lunch balances by the end of the year. In that same vein, turn in any overdue library books if you have any outstanding at this point.

Heading Into Summer

I offer you one last thank you for all you do to work as a team with staff guiding every one of our children to begin realizing their potential! I wish you a safe and happy summer.

Speaking of safety, the link below is provided by our County Office of Education. The link is to a toolkit with information on topics like e-cigarettes & vape pens, nicotine & drug addiction, and positive youth development:

I will look forward to seeing you and our children back at Walnut Acres for Jaguar Day on Tuesday, 8/14, and for the first day of school on Thursday, 8/16. 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. Remember that your child’s user name and password are valid all summer to access our online programs.

I wish you happy memory-making, parents. Here’s a little poem by Mrs. Roy L. 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

Lucky Walnut Acres Principal