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PFC President's Message

March 23, 2017

posted Mar 23, 2017, 12:01 PM by Vice President Communications

Hi Walnut Acres Parents,

Thank you to those of you who came to our PFC meeting on Tuesday night, and for celebrating our wonderful auction success!  We are in great shape for meeting our fundraising goals for the remainder of the school year.  

We are now focused on finding the incredible volunteers who are going to help us have a successful year -  next year.  There are some vital positions open that we need to fill soon, before we finalize our 2017-18 budget.  

  • Treasurer (or Financial Secretary)
  • Online Auction (Lead, Parent Buy-In Coordinator) - plus LIVE auction can happen if a full team comes together
  • Carnival

The Deadline to fill these important roles is Tuesday, April 11th!  Since these roles are linked to our budget, if they remain unfulfilled, we will need to discuss budget cuts at our April PFC Meeting.  See the full list of nominations and open positions here.  All nominees will be voted in at our May PFC meeting, along with the budget for the 2017-18 school year.  

Attached is a rough draft budget that was handed out at the March PFC Meeting. This will give you an idea of how much funding we must cut for any unfilled position, as we cannot budget for any Fundraisers with open positions. (Note that Carnival and Auction have line items under both Income and Expenses.)

If you are interested or have ideas of who may be perfect for these roles, please talk to a current Executive Committee member or contact me directly at president@walnutacrespfc.net.

More details about the key positions can be found at the end of this message.

Thank you all for everything you do for our school. Your commitment is what makes our community such a wonderful place for our kids to grow up!  

In gratitude,

Cherise Khaund

PFC President 2015-17

***

In order for the PFC to continue funding vital services like our Reading Specialist, Teachers' Aides, Science Lab, Performing Arts, Technology, and more, we need to know how much money we will be able to raise next year.  In order to raise those funds, we need leaders and/or teams of leaders to take on some of our most vital fundraisers...  

Do you have financial and/or business experience that you'd like to share? There are three financial positions on the PFC Executive Committee - Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. Right now,  two of those positions are filled.  However, one of those volunteers is willing to take on either Treasurer or Financial Secretary, depending on what YOU would like to do.  If you like strategic planning and creating budgets, Treasurer is your job.  But, if you'd prefer to collect the money from our fundraising events, post it to the proper ledgers, and deposit it in the bank, then Financial Secretary is for you. The Treasurer needs to represent the financial team at monthly PFC Executive and General Meetings, whereas the Financial Secretary should attend, but availability for meetings is not a deal-breaker! Neither role requires a CPA. 

Either one is available - which do you prefer?

***

Did you like the Online Auction this year?  Did you miss the Live Auction? If you love the time-honored tradition that is the Walnut Acres Auction, we need you! Whether it is live or online-only, the WA Auction is most do-able if there is a small army of parents taking on the many different jobs. Some of the primary roles are filled (Donations Co-Leads, Kids Buy-In Party Coordinator, and Teacher Treats Coordinator) but two key positions, Auction Lead(s) and Parent Buy-In Party Coordinator,are still open.  The Auction Lead(s) oversee the overall Auction planning and execution.  The Parent Buy-In Party Coordinator will work with several different groups of parents who offer to host parties at their homes or other locations, such as the Annual Wine Walk or the Halloween Bash.  

In addition, if the Auction Team decides to hold a Live Auction, they will have the opportunity to plan the event from the ground up - from theme/logo and decorations, to menu and music, to hiring an auctioneer and securing a location, etc.  Luckily, the past Auction planners have taken excellent notes and some are still available on campus to offer guidance, support and lessons learned. But, we cannot commit our PFC budget to a Live Auction without a fully staffed team.

Are you ready to gather your group of friends and tackle next year's Auction?

***

Do you LOVE the Carnival?  We would hate for our kids miss out on our annual Fall Carnival, but we need a team of parents to make it happen. You and a few of your trusted friends can team up to take on the carnival.  You wouldn't be planning from scratch - some of the leaders of past carnivals are available to share their expertise and have made lots of notes including a timeline, vendors, a budget, and jobs that need to be filled on the day of the carnival. This is a great event for a team that is willing and able to do a lot of work during the first few months of the school year. But once it's over, it's over! The tentative date of the 2017 Carnival is Sunday, October 22.

January 2017 - Happy New Year!

posted Feb 8, 2017, 9:40 AM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Feb 8, 2017, 9:42 AM ]

Dear Walnut Acres parents,
 
Time sure flies.  My 2nd and final year as your PFC President is already halfway over! It has been such a joy to build community here with so many of you...
 
We want to make sure that all our wonderful PFC fundraisers and activities are in good hands to continue successfully next year, and so now is the time to tell us what YOU are interested in. 
 
Please take a minute right now to click through this short survey:
https://goo.gl/forms/vMesRihqEXRetmET2, to help us match your interests and skills with the ideal role for 2017-18. This doesn't commit you to a role, it just gives us a starting point for conversations, so click on anything that you may consider.  You can nominate others for positions there too!  
 
Our Nominating Committee will meet soon, and the more voices at that table we have, the more representation we'll get on our PFC across grade levels.  Just check YES on the survey to join the Nominating Committee, or let me know, and we'll set a meeting date during the school day or in the evening based on the group's availability.
 
We're attempting a transparent nominations process this year online, so click here to see the status of all positions.  Thank you to those who have already accepted nominations for leadership roles!  This list shows who is continuing in a role, who has been nominated so far, and which roles are completely open.  More than one person can be nominated for any role, and we'll add names as we receive them.
 
Your volunteerism is what creates more opportunities for our kids here at Walnut Acres, and it's a fun way to get to know other parents, too. There are even roles that can work for the schedule of those who work full-time.  Please respond ASAP to our interest survey.
 
Thank you for all that you do to make Walnut Acres a warm and welcoming community!
 
Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund
PFC President 2015-17

Nov 2016 - Thankful for Community Building

posted Nov 28, 2016, 12:45 PM by PFC President

Dear Walnut Acres Families,

As we enter the winter holiday season, I have been reflecting on how much community means to us.  From creating connections within your child's classroom, to organizing schoolwide events like Readathon and Buy-In Parties, to sharing with a school across our district in Bay Point, each of you make such a difference in our community.  I am so thankful to be among you!

Here are some wonderful opportunities for you to connect with our community now:

  • Read-a-thonReturn envelopes to students' classrooms by this Wednesday, Nov 30th.
  • Hour of Code:   December 5 - 9th, volunteer during your child's grade level hour.
  • PFC Holiday Party: December 6th, 7-9:30pm - celebrate with us!
  • Toy & Clothing Drive: December 5 - 9th - volunteer on site and/or driving items to Shore Acres Elementary.
  • MDUSD HOPE - sponsor homeless/foster families for the holiday - let's finish the list!

And, YOU can be a part of building community right here at Walnut Acres for the coming school year.  We need a Nominations Chair (or two), to lead a committee to help recruit and place PFC Board positions for next year.  With members from each grade level, the committee helps to match parent interests and talents with each of the open Board positions.  They meet in January-March, with a goal of filling all positions by the end of March.  Please let me know if you may be interested in joining the Nominations committee.  It's a great way to discover and connect the talents of our parents to the roles they can play in leading our next PFC team.

Also, please give a warm welcome to our new VP of Communications, Jill Ridlehoover!  Jill was voted in at our last PFC meeting, to replace Kristin Shopp who recently moved to London.  Jill has stellar experience and skills for this role, as she already writes our eNews, is a room parent, and is running our Read-a-thon.  Thank you so much, Jill, for contributing your time and talents!

Parent-Teacher conferences Dec 5-16th are a crucial way to connect with your child's teacher, so please remember to sign up.  The short days of school during those last few weeks are designed to create the space and time for teachers to meet with each of us parents, to ensure a strong partnership together in the education of our kids.

Finally, I look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with all of you at our PFC Holiday Party.  May your families enjoy this holiday giving season, spreading love and community near and far.

Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund

PFC President 2015-17

p.s. shopping for Cyber-Monday Click here for our PFC Amazon link that gives a % back to Walnut Acres!

August 2016

posted Aug 5, 2016, 11:47 AM by Vice President Communications

Greetings Walnut Acres families! 
 
I want to welcome you to the Walnut Acres Parent Faculty Committee (PFC).  As a parent of a child at Walnut Acres, you are automatically considered a member of the PFC.  The Walnut Acres PFC is dedicated to supporting the relationship between faculty, staff, and parents through fundraising, community activities, enrichment programs and communication.
 
The new school year is fast approaching and our volunteers have been busy planning for the 2016-17 school year!  I invite all of you to attend our first PFC meeting of the school year onAugust 16th at 7 pm in the Walnut Acres MUR.   This is a great place for questions, suggestions, and comments to be addressed as our wonderful principal Dr. Dowd always attends.  
Our New Parent Orientation begins at 6pm right before, enabling new parents to stay for the PFC meeting as well.
 
Don't miss Jaguar Day on August 18th, 3-7pm! There you can get your child’s class assignment, purchase spirit wear and yearbooks, pick up pre-ordered school supplies, sign up to volunteer, and donate to our Jaguar Fund.
We are proud to continue to acknowledge in our published Donor List those families who contribute any amount to the Jaguar Fund, the Walnut Acres education fund. 100% of the Jaguar Fund donations pay for teacher aides, computers, music, art supplies, reading specialist and more.
 
On Friday, August 19th we hold a new student orientation for grades 1-5.  Bring a brown bag lunch to enjoy while meeting students from your grade who will show you around!
 
And finally, on the first day of school August 22nd, parents are invited to our Back to School Coffee by the picnic tables after dropping your kids off.
 
Here's some more key information to get you ready for school:
  • Communication via Konstella - Konstella is our online parent directory, where we also list all announcements, events and signups all in one convenient place.  I highly recommend using their free mobile app!    Most people have been invited to Konstella, but please be sure to add Directory details (don't forget your spouse and other caregivers) and you can add your child's classroom when you find out on Jaguar Day.  (our enews summary messages will be sent this way from now on, so there's no longer a separate list to sign up for) .   Questions?  Contact Adam at directory@walnutacrespfc.net
  • For returning parents, you'll notice some new things this year:
    • There will be no Live Auction "gala" event.  We will still have our Online Auction, focused on Buy-in Parties and Teacher Treats.   Look for party signups at Carnival!
    • Our Jaguar Fund ask will be $650 per student.  This is a voluntary contribution, and remember that there's no need to carve out $ in your budget for a Live Auction event this year.  
    • Readathon and Book Fair will be held in the fall, just in time for holiday shopping.
    • We are adding Walkathon in spring 2017!  Thanks to Tracy Pajer and Brooke Giddings for leading the way for this new fundraiser that will focus on exercise and healthy lifestyles.
Thank you and enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation!
 
Sincerely,
Cherise Khaund
PFC President 2015-17
Acknowledge

May 2016

posted May 30, 2016, 8:12 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated May 30, 2016, 8:12 PM ]

Hi Walnut Acres parents,

Can you believe this school year is almost over?  Thank you to all parents who held leadership roles on the PFC Board this year!  If you missed last week's PFC meeting, please look for a little thank you for your "co-mint-ment" in your PFC folder at school this week. 

Please give a warm welcome to our new 2016-17 Executive Committee members: Elise Lewis as Financial Secretary and Brooke Giddings as Secretary!

Thanks also to everyone who joined our new PFC 2016-17 Board.   See the full list here who were officially voted in last Tuesday.  Welcome to our team!

It was especially heartwarming to see our Community Service position filled during the PFC meeting right before our vote by Jessica Johnson, as I know ShoreAcres and Meadow Homes really count on our long-standing relationship of giving.  Thank you for your generosity of spirit!

Our 2016-17 budget is now official.  See it here.  It is a winning compromise of the initial proposed options: raising Jaguar Fund to $650 (instead of $800) while protecting from major cuts by keeping a small Online Auction.   (you may review the full PFC mtg budget handout here.)

Please note the following key changes from past years:

  • There will be no Live Auction "gala" event.  We will have an Online Auction, focused on Buy-in Parties and Teacher Treats.   Kid buy-in parties will be offered at Carnival!
  • Our Jaguar Fund ask will be $650 per student.  Please keep in mind this is a voluntary contribution, and remember that there's no need to carve out $ in your budget for a Live Auction event this year.  
  • Readathon and Book Fair will be held in the fall, just in time for holiday shopping.
  • We are adding Walkathon in spring 2017!  Thanks to Tracy Pajer and Brooke Giddings for leading the way for this new fundraiser that will focus on exercise and healthy lifestyles.
  • There will be no Gift Wrap or Golf Fundraiser.

Our 2016-17 PFC draft calendar is now posted on our website here.  Event details are in the Konstella calendar, which you can link directly to your google calendar too.

I hope to see you all at Open House this Thursday night, where our wonderful students will display their work and talents!   Please pitch in to volunteer a short shift (click here) to set up or serve dinner - together we can keep those lines moving smoothly.

PFC Board members who are leaving your roles, please remember to meet up with the new person in your position before school is out to pass on any binders, USB drives and especially advice to them.

So much of Walnut Acres runs on the fuel of parent donations and volunteers, and it brings us together as a community in so many ways.  

Thank you all for everything that you do, and have an adventurous and rejuvenating summer!

Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund

PFC President 2015-2017

"Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can." - John Wesley

March 23, 2016

posted Apr 5, 2016, 11:58 AM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Apr 5, 2016, 11:58 AM ]



Hi Walnut Acres families,

 

I hope you all are looking forward to a fun Spring Break!  

Before you go, (or anytime before April 7th) your PFC Executive Committee would love your input... could you take just a few minutes to give us your thoughts on budget and roles for next year?

It will help us tremendously to have data from parents, teachers and our principal to create the best budget and PFC Board that we can for next school year.

 

1. Click here to answer a 2 question survey about your budget priorities for PFC funds.

2. Click here to state your preferences of possible PFC positions that may match up with your skills and interests.  (don't be shy, you're not committing to anything, just letting us know some possibilities)

 

Thank you!

 

Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund

February 22, 2016

posted Feb 29, 2016, 3:14 PM by Vice President Communications

Hello Walnut Acres Parents,
 
What amazing inventors and scientists our students are... Congratulations to all our science fair participants and winners!   Our students are learning to be generous and thoughtful of others too.  They collected SO many pennies - showing that every little bit adds up to a lot for children's health.  These experiences are all made possible by YOU.  Your participation in our PFC survey, at meetings, and throughout the school means so much.   A special thank you to all who have contributed to the Jaguar Fund - see our Donor's Circle list here - and remember it's never to late to give to Jaguar Fund.  
 
The PFC executive board is trying out new ways to keep you informed, and recently posted a PFC infographic on our website and around school.   Our thermometer on the school wall this year shows our current progress on fundraising for ALL efforts, including Jaguar Fund, Gift wrap, Auction, Readathon and Golf.  
 
I do need to share with you this latest news on our finances:
PFC savings funds (known as "Strategic Planning funds") have been spent each of the last few years to maintain valuable programs even when expenditures exceeded intake. The Strategic Planning Committee has now met and officially determined what PFC budget-watchers knew was coming: The savings account is too small to continue drawing from the account for next year's PFC budget. They recommend that the remaining funds be kept for a "rainy day" account.  That could mean inevitable cuts to the 2016-17 PFC budget, and/or an increase in fundraising.    We will need to think long and hard about whether we are willing to cut items like our crossing guard or counselor, that we have paid for via savings in the past.
 
The good news is, we have a dedicated and tireless Grape Gatsby Auction team bringing you great deals, unique experiences, and an incredible party!  
Here are a few fun ways you can pitch in right now:
  • Bid on experiences and sign up for parties at the Online Auction here
  • Going to auction?  Plan ahead for the big Live Auction items:  will your family vacation in Mexico, Disneyland, Monterey or the Sierras?  How about a date to Fly High in Napa, see the Warriors courtside, or sail on SF bay?  And which friends will you bid together with on chef's dinner at Flemings Steakhouse or the Beauty Bash for 10?
  • Never been to auction?  buy a newcomer raffle ticket and you could win two tickets worth $160 and enjoy the fabulous Grape Gatsby with us!  Buy before Tuesday 6pm - we'll pick the winner at the PFC mtg.
  • Lastly, do you own a business?  We have 2 sponsorship opportunities left this year to get your name out to the community: Readathon and Golf.  Readathon's new website will feature business logos and links on the main page plus all 600+ student pages too.  Golf has sponsorships at levels from $100-$450.
You are all invited to come to our PFC meeting Tuesday night (7pm, library, with tea and treats).  We'll share details of finances and fun, as well as our Hot Topic of Safe Routes to School, with an action plan from the City about pending improvements to our crosswalks and streets.  National Bike to School Day is coming up May 4th! 
 
I feel so fortunate to be a part of this tremendously talented community.  See you Tuesday night!
 
Sincerely,

 

Cherise Khaund
President
Walnut Acres Parent Faculty Club
"it takes a village..."

December 2015

posted Jan 12, 2016, 9:45 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Jan 12, 2016, 9:46 PM ]

Dear Walnut Acres Parents,

Welcome to our week of Coding, Celebrating and Giving!

This week, thanks to our PFC funded, innovative computer specialist, Ms. Patty Galindo, every grade level will get to experience the Hour of Code.  Parents are welcome to come and help out, and are needed especially today for Kindergarten and on Friday for TK.  Sign up here.

Tomorrow, don't miss our chance to celebrate YOU.  All parents are invited to our PFC Holiday Party, 7-9:30pm at the lovely home of Christina and Cesar Contreras.  Leave your kids home with a spouse or neighbor, and swing by to share in holiday cheer and thank yous for all that you do! 

And finally, let's not forget there are families less fortunate that could really use your gently used toys and clothes.  We have a longstanding partnership with ShoreAcres school in Pittsburg, where the families welcome us warmly and we unload the donations together.  Please leave your donations for the Toy and Clothing Drive all this week in front of the office, and sign up here if you are able to help sort on Thursday or drive the donations to ShoreAcres on Friday.

None of this would be possible without the tremendous community each one of you help to create here at Walnut Acres, through your volunteer time and donations.  Thank you!


Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund


p.s.  please remember to pick up your kids at early dismissal times this week.  Check the Walnut Acres website for times


President's Message October 26, 2015

posted Oct 26, 2015, 3:33 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Oct 26, 2015, 3:36 PM ]

Happy Fall everyone!   

As we settle in to the school routines, I'm reflecting on what a strong community of families we have here at Walnut Acres.  There are so many ways we come together to create positive, fulfilling opportunities for our kids...

Courtney Wasserman and Dara Schwartz ran Community Service Day, creating the opportunity for students and parents together to improve the library and beautify the school inside and out.  

Alix Alloco and Tricia Dila brought together the entire community to put on our fabulous Fall Carnival yesterday, even finding high school students to fill in open booth staffing spots and recruiting scouts to help clean up. Congratulations to Christina and Cesar Contreras, the lucky winners of the Romance Package raffle for Auction!  Everyone who purchased an Auction Ticket either prior to or during the carnival were entered into that drawing.

One parent told me that one of the reasons she so strongly supports the PFC is that her daughter, who was really struggling with reading, was helped by our school's Reading Specialist. She would have had to pay as much as $6000 for an outside tutor for this assistance, but instead, through the efforts of our PFC, the Reading Specialist was available for her daughter. The reading specialist is one of many important positions funded by the PFC and is just one example of how our our time and money provides so much for our students!

So, how can you join in?  Here are 3 easy ways:
1. Buy your Auction Tickets to the Grape Gatsby. Don't know who to sit with?  No problem, that can be decided later, and room parents can help organize and connect people too. The auction team has a new auctioneer, fresh items, and a fantastic party planned. You won't want to miss it!  

2. Give to Jaguar Fund. So far, 54% of WA families have donated to the Jaguar Fund and we'd love to get to 100% to show how dedicated our parents are to this school! Any amount is appreciated - you'd be amazed how fast even small donations add up.

3. Learn about our newest initiative: Reader's Workshop.
This innovative program has been launched schoolwide thanks to Principal Dowd's vision, our teachers' hard work, and parent funds.  
Parent Orientation Evenings are: 

Tuesday, November 3rd (Focus on K-2nd*) or
Wednesday, November 4th (Focus on 3rd-5th*)
7:00 - 8:00 pm in the Walnut Acres library
.
*Our awesome instructional coach and presenter, Nicole Padoan, welcomes you to either evening as your schedule dictates.
Want to see our progress towards our fundraising goal this year?  Check out our new PFC Fundraising Thermometer on the C building wall by the bike racks. You can help us add Jaguar Paws to the top by participating in our fundraisers: Jaguar Fund, Auction, Golf Tournament, and Read-a-thon.

Thank you all for all the time and energy you give to make this school community a heartwarming, positive place for our kids!
 "A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong."

Sincerely,

Cherise

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!

posted Aug 24, 2015, 9:06 PM by Vice President Communications   [ updated Aug 24, 2015, 9:08 PM ]

Can you believe summer is over already?  Welcome back to school everyone!   And a warm welcome to all families that are new to Walnut Acres.  

A big thank you to Marita Louw for leading Jaguar Day, and to every one of the volunteers that helped it all run smoothly and effectively.  If you missed it, you can still give to the Jaguar Fund online.  The Jaguar Fund is our biggest source of funding for the PFC, which pays for our crucial classroom aides, reading specialist, science, art, technology, drama, and so much more.  Every dollar you donate is tax deductible and adds up to an excellent educational experience for your child.

Thank you to Christina Contreras and Carolyn Jones for organizing the Parent Breakfast the first day of school!  After dropping off the children, it's so wonderful to take some time to rejuvenate and connect with each other.  Also don't miss the Ice Cream Social on Sept 11th - where families can kick back and enjoy free ice cream while making new friends.

Our newest initiative is the Online Directory at Konstella.com.  Please join!  It replaces our print directory with a Private Parent Community where you can connect to other parents, sign up to volunteer, and share ideas and photos, with either your child's classroom or school-wide.  Access it from your computer or a free mobile Konstella app.  

Back to School Nights are coming up fast, and are a key time for parents to meet the teachers and learn how to help your child have a successful year.  So check the calendar and plan ahead for who can care for your child during that time, so you can hear all the important news about curriculum, field trips, and classroom volunteering.

As parents here, you are all members of the PFC (Parent Faculty Club), so please don't hesitate to share your ideas, questions, and concerns with us.  Our mission is to come together as a parent community to support our students and school.  We are all volunteers who fit this into our already busy lives, but together we accomplish so much, and we have a lot of fun too!  

It's going to be a great year!

Sincerely,

Cherise Khaund
President
Walnut Acres Parent Faculty Club
  

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