May 9, 2011

posted May 9, 2011, 8:27 AM by Katherine Stahl   [ updated May 18, 2011, 10:32 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Dear Parents,

As you shuffle deadlines, meetings, chauffeur duties, and summer preparation plans, I must heighten your stress just a little by reminding you that our district is seeking your valuable input on two fronts:

First, what do you think of the idea of more autonomy for high-performing schools? How about a focus on 21st Century learning by the district? Those are just 2 ideas in the newly crafted draft for an MDUSD Strategic Plan. Consider attending one meeting to hear the plan explained and provide your accolades, concerns, and suggestions as the board prepares to refine the plan. Click here for meetings times and locations and a draft of the Strategic Plan.

Second, budget meetings presented by Dr. Lawrence, are continuing, but the 3rd meeting in the series is postponed until the state 5/13 or 5/16 May revise. The session will provide a review of the Governor’s May revise information and a summary of community input (from the 2nd meeting) for both cutting the budget and enhancing revenue.  Click here for meeting times and location.

Now that I’ve added to your calendar, let me take a moment to share two other messages that may help you ease your stress, and dare I say it…relax?

First, we have an opportunity to celebrate student learning on May 26th with our Open House Festival from 5:30-8:00 p.m. The family-focused event will feature a 21st Century Learning center (so that parents can learn about our 21st Century exploration), an Art Gallery, our specialty rooms and our classrooms. Please join us for this delightful annual event designed to show off student learning and provide a good time for all!

Second, I am including a copy of the verbal presentation to parents that I offered at the volunteer party in April. The text below was written by DJ Cronin and adapted, with much respect and appreciation, by me - to you. It is particularly appropriate as we celebrate the mothers in our community who dedicate their time to our children…

You Make a Difference in the Dash

Life is short. Our planet has been here for millions of years - our universe billions, but we are here individually for only a little while.

On our headstones will be etched the date we were born and the date we died. And in between those two dates there will be a simple dash.

Yet what matters are not those beginning and end dates. It is the dash in between the dates that’s crucial. That little dash. That's our life. That represents the short time we have, here, to make a difference, or not.

Now, making a difference means many different things to different people.  To some it means making a large pot of money, to others it is about gaining power, to still others it might mean earning fame or notoriety.

But for you, the volunteer, what you do during that dash is most significant.

As a volunteer you give time. Time. The most precious resource in our lives.

Look at the dash. How many hours are in there? It's not billions. It's not infinite. The hours we are given cannot be printed, like money, they cannot be created or duplicated or cloned.

Once you give an hour of your time it is gone forever. You can’t get it back. That hour you just gave volunteering you will never have again.

We can put a value on things that you give, but we can never put a value on the time that you give. How can you put a value on something that is priceless?

As a volunteer you bring energy, and support, and hope to our school community. You bring your skills, creativity, experience, vision, leadership, and inspiration every day and I am so grateful. But you leave with your skills and your talents intact, maybe even honed by your Walnut Acres experiences.

Your time, on the other hand, you simply give away to us everyday. You choose to donate this most precious, finite commodity in the known universe. Your gift of time is simply and utterly magnificent.

So today, I take a little time out to thank you for the amazing "time in" that you so generously give for our children. In the name of all our kids, thanks for your time!

Colleen Dowd, Principal