October 2012

posted Oct 10, 2012, 10:00 PM by Anna Saunders   [ updated Oct 10, 2012, 10:00 PM by PFC Webmaster ]

Hello Walnut Acres Parents,

During our development as a 21st Century learning community we will maintain and enhance activities that encourage both critical/creative thinking, collaboration and communication, while maintaining our focus on the life skills. Our goal is to prepare our children for the dynamic, fast-paced, technology-driven world they will enter as young adults, and our assumption is that all our students will successfully grow their brain power as parents and teachers work together to support learning. Intelligence potential used to be considered genetically coded and therefore set and fairly intractable by birth, but current brain research clearly indicates that brain power grows according to experience. (I hope you saw our brain power display in the office.) We are working to evolve our educational program to maximize learning and actively engage our students through strategies that promote problem-solving, engagement, open-ended questioning, and student ownership of learning. 

We have a couple of new community service activities to help us support our students’ growth. ARF-trained dogs will be joining us to listen to some of our students read (with parent permission) through a program called “All Ears Reading”, and CCCSWA (the County Waste Authority) will work with us to help our students become more environmentally aware through expansion of our “Wastebusters” recycling program. We have also again instituted our ROP program in which Northgate high school students, exploring a teaching career, join us 4 hours a week to work in classrooms.  Our own 4th-5th grade leadership groups, Student Council and our Student Newsletter committee, will begin meeting this month.   

The folks at the district office are our partners in building student brain power.  They are not always seen as active partners in our educational efforts because they work behind the scenes, but their support is vital to our school functioning.  Dr. Steven Lawrence, MDUSD Superintendent, has created a new format this year to connect to the school/parent community. He will meet regularly with parents who represent our leadership groups within each feeder pattern. The purpose of the meetings is to increase the opportunities that the Superintendent has to speak with a broader group of parents and address concerns that parents on leadership teams (PTA, PFC, School Site Council, ELAC) have around district issues.

The dates for Northgate feeder pattern meetings are Wednesdays on 10/10/12, 12/12/12, 2/20/13, and 5/8/13. Jane Moler is our PFC representative to the meeting and Julie Stokol is our School Site Council representative. If you are interested in joining our representatives as they attend the Superintendent forums, please contact me.


As I close this newsletter, I want to share a valuable message directly from the Walnut Creek Police Department. As of last year, all cell phone 911 calls in Walnut Creek are routed directly to the Walnut Creek Police dispatch. This direct routing means shortened response time for 911 calls made on a cell phone. In a recent special E-news I stated that cell phone calls in Walnut Creek are routed to the Highway Patrol. I apologize for the misinformation!


Police department staff also remind us all that we need to follow the signage on Cedro that indicates “No Parking” and “No Stopping”. For those of you concerned about drivers following safety rules on Cedro, I have asked Lieutenant Edwards to encourage officers to drive by during our drop-off and pick-up times to help us hold ourselves accountable for student safety. Lieutenant Lanny Edwards (Edwards@walnutcreedpd.com) is our Sector 3 liaison with the Walnut Creek Police Department and you are welcome to contact him with further safety questions or concerns.


It really does take a village…So, with thanks to our community colleagues, at ARF, at WCPD, at Northgate, at CCCSWA, at the district office, and with heartfelt gratitude to you for dedication to Walnut Acres as a PFC leader, volunteer, and loving parent, here’s to all of us as we work together to grow our children’s brain power! 


Yours in community collaboration,

Colleen Dowd