I feel truly blessed to work with so many incredibly generous people who are so dedicated to serving the students and families of our school. Our week of the Book Fair and parent-teacher conferences was inspiring. With so many parents participating in various opportunities to support all students at Chaparral, it is easy to see why we call ourselves a unified community that builds success. We are indeed a strong community working for all of its students.
Book fairs have always been a favorite of mine. They reinforce how important reading is to school success. Please remember to continue to make reading a priority, even when life gets busy with holiday traditions. Take the time to read to your children about the holidays you celebrate, and encourage them to write about or keep a journal recording this holiday season. Writing thank you notes for the gifts they receive will support their writing skills and, more importantly, can teach them that expressing gratitude for the kindness and generosity of others is much more important than the gift itself.
As mentioned in previous newsletters, Character Traits are an important part of the education of our students at Chaparral and can be further reinforced during the holidays. Since school started, students have been taught about the traits of Respect, Responsibility and Caring. During the month of December, we will add the trait of Fairness. Just as with those who are considered to be caring, people who are considered to be fair live by the Golden Rule: They treat others as they want to be treated and work hard to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
This month, we need to put ourselves in our immediate neighbors’ shoes. The homeowners directly across the street from the school have submitted a petition to the City of Calabasas asking to have the portion of Liberty Bell directly across from the school become a preferential permit parking zone. They have taken this step to bring attention to a very small percentage of parents who choose not to follow the Golden Rule and who do not remember that being responsible for following all safety rules and procedures is kind and considerate and – most importantly – provides a safe community for everyone. The PFC has met with the homeowners, and it is my hope that – by working together along with the city – solutions can be found to provide additional enforcement and structures that will encourage all parents to drive and park in a safe manner each day.
I am asking that as individual members of a unified community, every driver continue to be vigilant about safety and about respecting our neighbors’ property (not blocking mailboxes or parking in driveways, no u-turns, double parking, or unsafe crossing of streets without crosswalks). We want our students and our neighborhood to be as safe as they can possibly be.
We can also model for our students the Character Traits of being Respectful, Kind, Considerate and Fair as we wait patiently in the drop-off line or at pick up, take turns parking carefully, and play (or drive) by the rules. When we follow rules, we teach that we are all accountable for our actions and for making good decisions.
As adults, we know that the world is not always fair. Even so, when things do not seem fair or when we are frustrated, we must continue treating people fairly by being considerate of their feelings, giving what we can to help them, and at times working hard to solve problems together.
If you do not already do so, make it a point this holiday season to create a holiday tradition where your family gives of themselves to a neighbor or a needy cause. Model living the Golden Rule. It can be as simple as sweeping your neighbor’s sidewalk, walking a bit farther to school to alleviate traffic congestion, writing a note or card to a friend you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, or making sure you smile and say hello to those you pass on the street. Pay something forward this holiday season and model to our students that we are a community where everyone matters and is cared for by each other.
Enjoy your family traditions and times with family and friends. Hopefully, you will have some relaxing times to read together and share conversations with those you love. Have a safe and healthy holiday season and winter break. I look forward to 2015 and all the blessings that the new year will bring to our Chaparral family.
With warmest regards,