November 2011

posted Nov 13, 2011, 1:49 PM by Anna Saunders   [ updated Nov 13, 2011, 1:58 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Dear Parents,

It is fitting during this season of thanks giving, that our PFC Strategic Planning Committee has recently completed an updated wish list to serve our students. Hours of discussion by Strategic Planning committee members, teachers, and staff led to the creation and prioritization of the wish list. My thanks to all parties for their thoughtful deliberation - with special thanks to Erin Jordahl and Katherine Stahl for their consistent leadership. The major facets of the wish list request are maintenance and development of technology, extension of counseling services through the end of the school year, and 21st Century coaching support, including writer’s workshop substitutes. You may check out the current wish list requests on the PFC website. Priority request recommendations for funding are being presented for approval at the Tuesday, 11/15/11 (tomorrow), 7:00 p.m. PFC meeting, along with my presentation of “PFC Dollars in the Classroom”.  Click here for the meeting Agenda.

Specifically, teacher poll results strongly distinguished maintenance of current technology as the highest priority for fund expenditure. Printers break, LCDs need expensive $400 lightbulb replacements, and older computers have difficulty handling new online material. It’s not very exciting, but replacement of appropriate hardware is pivotal to support student learning. Adding to our technology support is the second highest priority for financial assistance from strategic planning monies. We want to expand our student computer access, and explore new technologies, such as iPad, online programs, and applications to discover if these tools could be valuable to support 21st Century learning.

Our third request for strategic planning funds is to maintain our counselor in place through the entire school year in order to provide lunch bunch services, crisis support, referrals, and guidance to teachers, parents and students who seek assistance. Our fourth priority is funding for 21st Century presentation/coaching support, including substitutes to support our ongoing writer’s workshop coaching. Our goal is to deepen our understanding and our ability to provide deep, rich, meaningful learning to students in order to prepare them for their future.  

While we work at Walnut Acres to provide a deep learning experience for our students through the development of 21st Century strategies and practices, the district is also moving forward to provide targeted service to students. During your parent conference next month your child’s teacher will give you the new MDUSD Report of Student Progress. This report is designed to provide consistent communication about student progress that is based on multiple sources collected over time with emphasis on most recent evidence of student progress toward standard mastery. You will receive a letter from your child’s teacher introducing the new Report of Student Progress as well as an annotated progress report template, a Question and Answer information sheet, and a blank template of the report card for your child’s grade level. You may also click to the links above for the introduction, annotated report and Q & A. By reviewing these forms you will familiarize yourself with the new Report of Student Progress so that your conference time may be focused on your child’s progress this trimester rather than an explanation of the new report format and structure. You are welcome to contact me if you have further questions about the structure of the new Progress Report and join us at the PFC meeting when I will briefly review the new Report of Student Progress.  

I wish you and your family a lovely Thanksgiving season. Enjoy one another and the many blessings in your life, especially the beautiful children that you share with us every day. As I give thanks this season I will honor the parents who work so hard in so many ways to support our children, the teachers who are willing to take a plunge in new directions to support student success, and our wonderful kids, including the exuberant second grader who came bouncing over to me on the playground before school recently, threw his arms open wide, and broadly smiled as he announced, “I love school!”  Amen!

Happy Thanksgiving, Walnut Acres families!


Colleen Dowd