Dear Walker Families, Welcome Back to Walker! I hope you had a fun and rejuvenating summer, filled with precious family time. I certainly did! I enjoyed family time in the river, the ocean, the woods, and in the sun. It was refreshing, relaxing, and exciting, and now I cannot wait to see your wonderful children on Monday, August 29th!
Please remember that school starts at 8:20 and ends at 12:30 for the first day. Also, to ensure school safety, we will continue to lock all side doors between 8:20 – 2:45. If you arrive later than 8:20, you may enter through the front door only. Thanks in advance for remembering to sign in and out at the office if you arrive later than 8:20 and before 2:45.
This past week, staff returned to school and we have been collaborating, learning, and planning together. One area of focus for us was determining more effective ways to teach to a variety of learners. This year will be offering “differentiation blocks” for math and reading. During these differentiation blocks, grade-level teachers will collaboratively place students into groups based on their ability levels. During these differentiation blocks, students may change classes and receive more specific and targeted instruction delivered by a different teacher in their same grade. We believe this model will provide a stronger and more effective way to educate all students. Please feel free to ask me or your child’s teacher if you have questions.
Another focus during our in-service week was our upcoming school-wide goal of reading 1,000,000 minutes at home! Please continue to encourage your child to read at home every night. (You may also include minutes that you read to your child.) Your child’s teacher will have a log for you to record the minutes. Please be sure to turn in your Summer Reading Log to your child’s teacher so we can have a great kick-off toward our goal! If you need a new Summer Reading Log, please stop by the office and get one from Cheryl, our amazing Office Manager.
We greatly appreciate parents and families volunteering time in our classrooms! As you know, the first few weeks of school are crucial for establishing a strong classroom and school culture. We kindly ask that family volunteers give us a few weeks with your children to build responsibility and independence before volunteering in classrooms. Please connect with your child’s teacher about times to volunteer after the first few weeks of school have begun. Also, please talk to Cheryl about filling out a volunteer form prior to volunteering.
Finally, we have some new teachers at Walker this year! As you probably know, our wonderful Morgan Cottle, has taken a position with the ESD and he will not be returning to Walker next year. Alexi McCullough, our former 2nd grade teacher has taken Morgan’s position, and we couldn’t be happier! Alexi is thrilled to be teaching the older students, since the majority of her 7 years teaching experience has been in the intermediate grades.
While we will miss Morgan (and Cassius) greatly, we are very excited about our new staff! Please join me in welcoming our newest pack members, Amy Doss and Beth VanZee to our wonderful 2nd grade team! Amy taught for 13 years in the primary grades. She has also been a TOSA, a reading coach, a math and reading intervention teacher, an educational therapist, and a consultant for students with learning differences. Beth VanZee has 18 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings. For the past 8 years, Beth worked at Bellview as a Special Education teacher. We are so lucky to have teachers with such great experience joining our staff!
I am excited to see you all on Monday morning, and I wish you the very best school year!