November 2012

posted Nov 11, 2012, 8:31 PM by Anna Saunders   [ updated Nov 11, 2012, 8:31 PM by PFC Webmaster ]
Dear Walnut Acres Parents,

Your children continue to astound me and warm my heart. I am so lucky to be with them every day. While I brace myself for the potential of more devastating economic news, the children continue to light the way forward.  I am charmed by their enthusiasm, their eagerness, and their creativity.  Let me share a few examples of your children in action this week...

*    Our students have taken ownership of our augmented recycling efforts. They carefully compost their leftover food items every day and a few student volunteers at each lunch session carefully double-check the choices made by peers to ensure we are properly recycling. But our students are more than just adorable in their earnestness; they have actually lowered lunch trash output by 3 big bags of garbage each day!  Our kids are making a positive difference in the world in a very tangible way.

*    One of our teachers recently confessed that she was very hesitant about exploring the POW (ipad on wheels) for the first time with her class. She finally just decided that she needed to "trust the kids."  With that attitude she proceeded, found the experience enriching, and she proudly shared that the children "didn't let me down."  She explained that they had a wonderful experience learning together, and she is planning her next POW activity with much more confidence, assured that her students will be both patient and supportive as the class works to use the ipads as producers. 

*    The Student Council has to approve the use of Student Council funds to purchase golden lunchbox items for our 1st-3rd graders. (These are the prizes given out on Fridays to the class at each grade level that best models our 3 Be's- Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible - for that week during lunch.) That approval has always seemed pretty much a rubber stamp process in the past, but this year, there was a shift. The Student Council members wanted to know exactly how much money was spent on the toys, and eventually vetoed the authorization request because the "toys are too expensive and just fall apart anyway." However, they still want to support good citizenship at lunch among their younger peers so they are looking for other avenues to maintain the golden lunchbox program. How's that for practicing accountability and taking ownership?

*    A number of older students have been urging me to let them start a cartooning club. I told them we'd need to find an adult to supervise their club. They were very persistent and their tenacity paid off. Our wonderful Mrs. Galindo, who wants to support every creative technology idea our students have, took them in and reported to me that the students worked through their "Game Day" time and inspired her with their energy and focus on task. 

*    I was chatting with some students one day at lunch about making changes to our playground. I was impressed the next day when the girls brought me a visual plan for our playground renovation, complete with the ideas we had discussed, including a pool and an area for bowling. The plan is now on my door if anyone wants to take a peek at creativity in action.
I could continue enthusiastically with these examples of children thinking critically and creatively, working together and doing authentic good in the world, but I'll stop because I know my notes to you are always a bit too long. I just hope that as a school leader I do right by these wonderful learners you send our way every day. It is my intent to support our staff in providing opportunities for our children to continue to learn content and deepen their understanding of that content through real world experiences and opportunities that provide context and meaning for their learning.  

Just one more thought, the girl scouts are collecting coat donations for those in need from 11/13-16. Perhaps rather than checking closets for old coats yourself, your child could take ownership of that very worthwhile task this year.    
Yours in consistent effort to guide all our beautiful children to become all they can be! 

Colleen Dowd