1. A pronounced strength of Walker's learning community is the continued commitment of volunteers who invest in our students.

    With this week's launch of "Walker Buddies," our learning community just got stronger.

    On Wednesday afternoons and Monday evenings, volunteers gathered together by local non-profit Hope for San Diego will welcome 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders for additional support and mentoring.  In a moving picture of altruism and sacrifice, volunteers will come from multiple corners of the city, including The Cambridge School, Redeemer Church, and Redemption Church.  Volunteers go through district-approved processes before working with students and commit to regular work with students at Walker.

    "I'm excited to see volunteers build relationships that will support struggling students academically," says Susie Fikse Executive Director of Hope for San Diego, who also states, "Our hope is that students get the extra assurance that they are seen and cared for."

    Students are strategically and purposefully invited to participate in Walker Buddies based on a variety of factors including grade and language abilities.  Principal Phillips is thrilled that some of the most deserving students will be getting additional supports that they need. "At Walker, our mission is to see students experience success through first best instruction, optimal challenge and targeted support."

    Walker boasts a beautiful, almost 50:50 mix of English learners and native English speakers. In this environment, students are learning in a safe space, where English is the conversational norm, from the playground to the classroom.  For students who are at the most beginning levels of language acquisition, we combine skilled teaching with additional targeted support.  Walker Buddies will function as one of these targeted support opportunities for students in grades 1, 2, and 3.

    Principal Phillips adds, "In this added program, emerging bilingual students on our campus will get the additional language practice and support they need to make progress."

    If you are interested in serving as a "Walker Buddies" volunteer, contact Karen Loftis in our main office by visiting or calling 858-987-5100.

  2. Meet Mr. Steve Hooper, this month’s winner of theMission Federal Credit Union Success Maker Award.  Each month, staff members are nominated by colleagues for taking incredible efforts to create conditions for student success at Walker.

     Mr. Hooper, a teaching assistant in Room 4 (CDC), has been in preschool education since 1989. His contributions up to this point have, no doubt, been significant.  But this year, the contributions are undeniably noteworthy.

     It all started with an art class at nearby Miramar College. Like most educators, Mr. Hooper is committed to improving his practice through professional development.  As a student and professional, Mr. Hooper was inspired to introduce a couple of different approaches to art with his students. They ended up taking those projects to places he had not anticipated.  “I find stuff that I want them to do.” he explains, “But they take it even further!” First, one art project. And then another. And then another.

     Finally, Mr. Hooper took initiative to create anart studio,utilizing space in the patio connected to his classroom.  This way, students would have maximum space to work, and an additional area to showcase art.  “They make amazing messes out here,” Mr. Hooper proudly explains. But he loves it because he knows that “Art fosters creative thinking skills.”

     These days, Mr. Hooper is regularly on the lookout for recycled materials and discarded goods that could be used to create the next preschool masterpieces.  Boxes of pinecones, fabric scraps, and palm frawns line the exterior wall, just waiting to become aesthetically pleasing. Mr. Hooper’s drive to see students learn and grow is extraordinary. In the words of a colleague, “Mr. Hooper definitely has a heart for children, which he shares daily.”  According to him, it’s pretty simple. “If they are having fun, then I am too.” After all, it’s pretty fun to see students experience success!

    As aMission Federal Credit Union Success Makeraward recipient, Mr. Hooper will receive $100 in tools/materials of his choice to propel future art projects in the preschool studio. Congratulations, Mr. Hooper!

  3. You may have already set some personal and professional goals for the upcoming year.  But have you taken any time to set goals related to seeing your son or daughter experience success in 2019? 

    If not, we've got you covered. Here, we are sharing 19 possibilities to jump start your thinking. 

    Research in effective goal setting tells us that consistent focus on a few goals yields the best results.  So why not select two to three of these goals, write them down, post them on your fridge, act on them, and celebrate the success of your child?

    Here are some possible resolutions that will lead to student success in 2019:

    I will express love and high expectations for my child each day before school. Our words matter.  Our children need to know that we love them.  They also need to know that we believe in their abilities and expect their best.  Consider developing a family mantra or a daily encouragement.  "Sanchez kids give their all, sometimes fall, but always get back up," or, "You are loved. You are smart. You are ready for this day!" are a couple of examples.
    I will make sure my child gets to school on time, every day.  We know that habits of success are developed at early ages and continue on for years.  It's difficult to locate a more important habit than showing up on time and ready to learn, every school day.
    I will check my child's notebook/backpack each day when they get home.Organizational skills are needed for students to experience success at higher levels of education. Many of our students need help using their planners, filing their papers, and taking good notes. You can play a role in this critical skill development.
    I will get my child to bed early, to ensure they able to maximize their learning the following day.
    I will visit the Mira Mesa Public Library and get a library card for our family.
    I will check out new books every other week for my child from the public library.
    I will communicate bi-weekly with my child's teacher about his/her progress.
    I will read with my child four evenings a week.
    I will attend a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meeting and volunteer for one event.
    I will create a warm, inviting, and calm reading area in my home.
    I will have more healthy foods and snacks available to help my child's brain grow.
    I will ask my child about their learning. Some ways to ask this include: "What are you working on as a reader?" or "What was the focus of your math lesson today?"
    I will visit the school's website and/or read "This Week at Walker" (via email) weekly to stay informed about school events.
    I will limit screen time for my child to create opportunities for play, exercise, relationships, and reading.
    I will learn about the additional resources to which my child has access.  In addition to the school library, our students have access to tools and resources, both online and offline, which support their continued learning.  Ask your child's teacher what specific programs and tools are available at their grade level.
    I will help my child prepare for tests. In every grade, students are assessed on skills.  Whether they are asked to learn high frequency words, spelling words, multiplication facts, or state capitals, you can play a role in quizzing, calming, and celebrating your child before and after tests.
    I will facilitate learning experiences on the weekends.  Many of our students learn best by doing. Taking them to historical sites, museums, nature trails, and unique outings can open up their mind and fuel a love of learning.
    I will find extra support if my child is struggling.
    I will find ways to celebrate the successes of my child this year.


    Which resolutions will take your child to the next level this year?  To which are you willing to commit?

    We are here to support you, as you consider making a deeper commitment to your child in 2019.

    Let's work together to see your child #experienceSUCCESS in 2019 and beyond!

  4. Meet Liz Hevener, this month’s winner of theMission Federal Success Maker Award.Each month, staff members are nominated by colleagues for taking incredible efforts to create conditions for student success at Walker.

    Technically Liz is enrollment specialist for our site. Her gifts and skills, however, have her contributing in numerous ways that make Walker an amazing place to be. For so many families, she is a safe, point of contact for our school. Being bilingual, she is able to meet families where they are at, and help them get what they need. Being compassionate, she communicates welcome and respect. Nominated asClassified Staff of the Yeartwice in her short tenure at Walker, Liz’s contributions are noticed by colleagues as well.  In the words of one colleague, “Liz goes above and beyond (and out of her way) to help emerging bilingual students navigate coming to a new school...she helps kids understand that Walker wants them and they’ll be successful in their time here and beyond.”  

    When Liz is not at school serving students and families, she can be found hosting parties and at her son Auggie’s soccer games.

    What she likes most about serving families at Walker is knowing that she is helping others and seeing students and parents happy.

    In honor of Liz’s efforts, she will receive $100 in tools/ items of her choice to propel future family engagement or learning. Congratulations Liz!

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