Principal Update with Survey Link
Mon, Feb 22 4:06pm

Dear Walnut Acres Families,

The district office has informed principals that we are planning on returning to some form of on campus instruction in the month of March, depending on county Covid 19 metrics and union agreements. I have heard rumors naming specific dates for this return, but as of today no date has been confirmed at the district level. Please be assured that as soon as I am told of the official return date, I will inform you. It is my goal to keep you informed with accurate and confirmed information as I receive it.

On Saturday morning, most families in Mt. Diablo Unified School District should have received an email requesting online registration information to plan for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The registration form provides you the choice of one of two options for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.  It is imperative that we receive 100% of these registrations back by March 1st. This required online registration form must be completed for each student enrolled in any school within the Mt. Diablo Unified District.

The information will be used for the purpose of assigning students to an afternoon support teacher, either in-person or online. While families may have the option to switch to a different model at a later date, this information is being collected with the intent to use it for planning and afternoon session assignments.

For each student enrolled, families can choose one of two options for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year:

Option #1: Student continues with distance learning in the morning and then comes to the school site for “in-person” support in the afternoon two days per week. 

Option #2: Student continues with 100% distance learning and will not receive on-campus support. 

In response to community input, in both options, students will keep their currently assigned teachers in the morning time slots. It is possible that students may see a different teacher in the afternoon for support. 

If you did not receive a unique and individualized “family-specific” registration survey on Saturday, you may click (or type) this link https://rebrand.ly/mdusdReturnToSchool to access the “general” registration survey.  

Please note that finalized schedules will be released once there is agreement with our labor partners. Please contact our school office or email us at 925-939-1333 if you have additional questions.

The most common question I have received this weekend was "What does the afternoon of the hybrid model look like?"  As of today, no hybrid schedule has been set. However, the idea is that all students will be able to stay with their teachers for distance learning in the morning, and those enrolled in the hybrid model will be in person on campus in the afternoon. I will have a better idea of what this time will look like once there is an agreement between the various unions and the district on how this time will be used. Below is a draft of a suggested hybrid model  that Dr. Clark presented in November.

These are some things we have completed to prepare for school reopening:

  • Painting of arrows, social distance markings and dots on the ground

  • Student lines (on the blacktop) painted with dots six feet apart. Some room numbers have been moved so that classroom lines do not intersect

  • Drinking fountains in the classroom have been covered with a plastic bag to let students know there is no drinking from the fountain. Students will be asked to bring a water bottle. A water station will be available out on the playground. Sinks will still have running faucets for washing hands.

  • All classrooms are set up with student desks six feet apart (to fit only half the class). Extra furniture is stored in the MUR.

  • A few of our teachers have dual seat desks (two seats per desk). They will use labels “A” and “B” to create seats for “A” cohort and “B” cohort. 

  • An 8 by 8 sticker of “Wear Your Mask” has been hung on classroom doors. 

  • Signages of stay 6 ft apart have been posted around campus.

  • Bathrooms stalls/urinals and sinks have been marked off or closed to make sure students can maintain physical distance. 

  • Every classroom is equipped with soap and/or hand sanitizer and paper towels

  • PPEs are packed and ready to go for every classroom. PPEs include adult and student cloth masks for those who need one, teacher face shield, hand sanitizers, and disposable masks for those who need one

  • Every teacher has a sneeze guard. Our special education teachers have 3 sneeze guards, one for them and two for their instructional assistants. 

Supports for our Students

During distance learning, we continue to monitor student attendance, academic and social emotional well being. One of the simplest ways to stay connected with our students and families is to take daily attendance. The teachers, office staff, or I would call parents to follow up with absences.  In a few cases when attendance is a problem, I would personally send parents a letter and meet with them personally to provide support.  If the problem persists, these families are sent to the District Attendance Review Team, where more intense attendance intervention is provided and accountability is monitored and enforced. The court may be involved if attendance does not improve.

The CARE Team consists of the principal, resource teacher, school psychologist, speech pathologist, counselor, school nurse, and the reading and math intervention teacher when needed. Teachers are welcome to attend these meetings if they have a concern for a student. The purpose of the team, which meets monthly, is to assist teachers with strategies and ideas to support students (academic or/and socially/emotionally).  We also may identify services that could help the student if needed. Students are assigned to one of the adults on this team who closely monitors his or her progress by checking in with the teacher periodically.

There are times when we invite parents or they wish to meet with us to discuss student progress or lack of progress. A Student Success Team (SST) meeting is such a meeting when parents can join us to discuss areas of concerns, strengths, as well as areas of need.  Goals are set and intervention plans created to help students make progress. The team may meet again if there is no improvement. 

If a student is in dire need of counseling service or is in a crisis, district counseling is available. Although Joanne Finn is no longer assigned to work with students directly except in crisis situations, she is available for a consultation with students and families whenever there is a need.  She has presented at our past PFC meetings this school year on how to help children deal with anxiety. Our school psychologist, Preet Sohdi, is also available to see students in emergency cases. These two individuals can also provide outside agency contact information.

The district also continuously provides many parent trainings to address common student and family mental health concerns.  See below.

Mental Health Webinars

To promote wellness, answer questions, and address common student and family mental health concerns, MDUSD has assembled a panel of mental health professionals to host this webinar series that is free and open to all. The panel consists of MDUSD mental health staff, including school counselors, school psychologists, social work specialists, behavioral health specialists, and college and career advisors.

The next webinar will take place on Tuesday, February 23rd at 5:00 pm. Click this LINK to view upcoming topics, watch previous webinars and register to virtually attend. 

One to One Time

We are now able to have individual students meet with their teachers for limited in person connection. It can only be one student with one teacher, no small groups at this time. We are limited to four students on campus at a time and a maximum of 16 students per day. Your student’s teacher will contact you if they believe your student would benefit from this additional time. 

Incoming TK-5th Grade Transfers

The application period for TK-5th grade transfers is February 10th - March 10th. For students entering grades TK-5 whose families want to request a school other than their resident school please CLICK HERE. Click on the large blue button under “Transfer Information” at the top of the page.

If you have a student entering 6th grade in the fall, the transfer application period has already passed. Late applications are being accepted at this LINK

Teachers and Staff Received Covid 19 Vaccination

Many of our teachers and staff members received their first vaccination this past week. I had a wonderful experience at the Oakland Coliseum mass vaccination site on Saturday.  It was really an incredible feeling seeing so many educators in their cars receiving their vaccination. Many tears of joy flowed. It was really a great moment. 

We have been living with this pandemic for almost a year now, and I'm just thrilled that we are on the verge of returning back to in person learning.  Hopefully, everyone who wants the vaccine and has not received it yet will get their turn very soon. 

Stay calm and Jaguar on,
Principal Luong