Dear Chaparral Parents,
As always, October went by in a blur, and we leap right into the holiday season! We had several exciting activities in October that could not have been so successful without a tremendous amount of work from our teachers, staff and PFC.
First of all, I would like to thank our wonderful parent volunteers for organizing and successfully implementing our annual fundraisers, our educational school activities and our annual Fall Festival. As I write this message, I know that our Fall Festival is scheduled for November 2 and our students are counting the days until the festival is here. These fun family activities are some of the moments in children’s school lives that they remember most, but more importantly they are the experiences that build confidence and self-esteem through our strong, engaged school community. The staff and I are very appreciative of all that our parents do to help improve the school by fundraising, organizing our school and family activities, volunteering time in the classroom or for projects at home, and again as part of our PFC and advisory groups.
Working together as a Community Unified Building Success for all students at Chaparral (CUBS) continues to be our focus and vision as a school community. The focus each year in October is to encourage our children to make healthy choices in their lives now and in the future. October brought us many activities to illustrate making positive choices through International Walk to School Day and Red Ribbon Week.
We want to give the City of Calabasas a very big thank you for partnering with us to teach and keep our students safe. Through the City of Calabasas, we enjoyed a very successful International Walk to School Day where our Mayor pro tem Lucy Martin and Councilmember Fred Gaines participated with us and spoke to our students about how important walking can be to our health and to our environment.
Red Ribbon Week is a yearly event organized by our staff and PFC. This year our theme was Love Yourself! Think of All the Things You Can Do! On white hearts with red ribbons, staff and students wrote ways they personally make healthy choices. I am sure you saw the 600+ red and white hearts placed on our school fence by our students and staff. We are confident that when students develop a strong sense of self with a positive self-image, they will make the right choices to become the successful adults they have the potential to be. You can read more about the week’s events in this issue.
During the month of November, we focus on giving thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, and we spend time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. I am thankful that each morning I get to greet our students and their families as we begin each day. I am profoundly grateful to be the principal of Chaparral. I am especially thankful and proud to share that all of Chaparral’s teachers and some of our classified staff attended training in October on the reading and writing workshop model. They chose to give up their valuable weekend time with their own families for this important training. In this workshop model, students select from five authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring. These choices are: Read to Self; Work on Writing; Read to Someone; Listen to Reading; and Word Work.
We believe as a professional learning community that workshop classrooms produce productive, highly engaged students who are developing a true love of literacy. Additionally, workshop classrooms include the following benefits for students:
- students develop independence, stamina, and accountability
- less time consumed by classroom management leaves more for instruction
- the framework adapts flawlessly to National Common Core Standards and our district-adopted curriculums
- school-wide literacy achievement improves
- behaviors of independence transfer to other content areas
This reading and writing workshop format will be a work in progress. It will take time, patience, hard work and determination by all of us as we work through the process of first learning and teaching the structure and important strategies and then beginning to implement them. We are confident that over time this model will enable teachers to choose individualized goals, assign strategies, monitor progress, and provide just-in-time instruction to meet the needs of every student. Please join me in thanking our staff for giving that additional time and for being willing to begin this journey on behalf of all students at Chaparral
Finally, Character Traits continue to be an important part of our education at Chaparral. This month, students will be completing lessons and writing about the character trait of Caring. A caring person is supportive and responds to the needs of others with kindness and compassion. Caring people do kind things, are helpful, share with others and work to say only kind words. Caring people live the Golden Rule and treat other people as they want to be treated, putting themselves in the shoes of someone else. The world is not always fair, but a caring person is fair in the way they treat people by being considerate of their feelings and solving problems together. I think the students do a good job of showing respect and appreciation for things they like, want, and enjoy doing. My hope is that we will help them continue to appreciate and show respect for things that aren’t just for them personally – that the character traits of respect and caring translate to positive behavior that extends to those around them. We will continue to work on caring by showing respect and appreciation for: friends, parents/guardians; Chaparral staff members; special people in their lives; the environment; a community that cares about them; and a school that cares about helping each individual succeed.
This month as we give thanks, let’s all work together to model the character traits of Respect and Caring for all of our students and staff. As a unified community, we will continue to work together to provide a well-rounded education that values the emotional development of all
Enjoy your family traditions and times with family and friends this month. Hopefully, you will have some relaxing times together and share conversations with those you love. I wish everyone a safe and healthy Thanksgiving break.