1. The greatness of a successful team can be found in the greatness of individuals who make up that team.  Brenda Lycan, our Mission Federal Credit Union Success Maker recipient for the month of April, is an exceptional team member at Walker.  Currently the Lead Teacher at Walker’s Child Development Center (CDC), Brenda excels in multiple roles. Ms. Lycan has been a preschool teacher for over 30 years now, including 10 years as a preschool administrator.

    Brenda was nominated and recognized for this honor by her colleagues, who work alongside her every day. She teaches preschool students brilliantly, preparing them for an educational journey that will span to their adult years.  As the lead teacher, she works with parents, teachers, and community stakeholders to create conditions for students where they are learning, growing, and experiencing success.  

    In the past two years, Walker Elementary has transitioned from a K-5 school into a PreK-5 school, serving over 100 preschool students.  Brenda played a critical role in seeing this shift become a reality at Walker. Due to budget cuts at the state and district level, we recently learned that the CDC at Walker will be phasing out.  While there are plans to grow the state preschool, this news was devastating to our school community. Brenda relays, “Even in the face of adversity, Walker has come together and been a family.” She adds, “It’s a wonderful feeling.”

    Part of Brenda’s secret is that she loves her work. “I love seeing children every day; their smiles; how they grow.” Brenda shares, “I also love seeing how well our parents are doing with their children, despite the challenges many of them face.”  When Brenda is not working with preschool students, families, or staff, she can be found reading, learning about essential oils, or preparing for her new role as grandmother!

    Congratulations, Brenda!  In honor of Brenda’s efforts, she will receive $100 in resources to enhance her preschool classroom environment. 

  2. On 4/8/2019, we launched a new traffic plan to increase safety and improve efficiency.  This was only launched after exploring multiple options and consulting experts. While limitations still remain, including an inability to influence the timing of the stoplight on Black Mountain and Hillery Drive, we persist with a plan that comes closer to achieving our objectives. 

    Arrival in Detail

    For those who walk or bike to school:Note that the main gate opens at 7:30am.  Students should wait at the front gate until they are welcomed in by a staff member. Use sidewalks and crosswalks to enter campus from either Hillery Drive or Black Mountain Road.  We line up on the blacktop behind the classrooms. At 7:30 am, students at the front gate will be escorted in by one of our teachers. Teachers retrieve students on the blacktop and enter classrooms at 7:45 am.

    For those who choose to accompany their children into the school: First, find parking off site. Currently, the best options for off-site parking can be found on Hillery Drive, Rickert Road, or Black Mountain Road. The front parking lot is designated for staff-use only.  As you walk with your child to campus, be sure to use sidewalks and crosswalks to ensure zero contact with motorists.  Our student-led safety patrol facilitates crossing at Hillery and Rickert every arrival and dismissal for your convenience and safety.

    For those who choose to drive on campus and drop off their children off for school:  Students should not be dropped off before 7:30 am, when supervision staff comes on duty.  Enter the front parking lot entrance as before.  Make your way, in a single lane, all the way to the back parking lot. At the designated drop-off zone, ask your child to exit on the right side of the vehicle.  We may have volunteers to help expedite this process.   It is important that drivers do not exit the vehicles or allow children to exit on the left side.  Once children are safely out, you will make a sharp left-hand turn, follow the single-file line, and exit the school through the front parking lot.  You must make a right-hand turn onto Hillery Drive.

    For those who participate in before-school programming: If you drop your children off before 7:15 am and must walk in to sign them in, then you may use the limited parking along the eastern fence of the back lot.  If you arrive after 7:15 am, then you must park off site and walk into the school.

    If you are late: Our campus gates are locked at 7:45 am for the safety of our students.  Should you arrive late to school, find parking in the surrounding neighborhood, proceed to our main office.  Our incredible office staff will help your child get to class with a pass.

    Dismissal in Detail

    For those who give permission for their children to walk or bike from school:  Students must be in the third, fourth, or fifth grade AND have express written permission from their parents to walk or bike home from school. If students are younger, but have siblings in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades, then they can be granted permission to walk or bike with written consent of the parent.  Our front gate will open at 2:15 pm, indicated by a school bell. Students will exit campus through the main gate or the gate on Black Mountain Drive.

    For those who choose to walk into school to pick up their children: After parking or walking from off campus, enter our main gate (or the gate on Black Mountain) and proceed to the blacktop behind the school.  Our main gate opens at 2:15 PM, at the conclusion of the school day.  On the blacktop, you will find you find your child lined up with their teacher.  You may exit the campus through our main gate, or the gate on Black Mountain.

    For those who choose to drive on campus and pick up their children after school: Note that students should not walk unaccompanied to your car.  Instead, drive onto campus and towards the drop off area in the back lot.  There, you will make a left turn and be directed into a lane (#1-6).  You will pull all the way forward and park your car.   This is two-minute parking only.  You will exit your vehicle, find your child lined up on the blacktop, return to your car, and exit campus.  This will require you to merge into the single lane exiting our campus. When exiting the school, only right hand turns are permitted.

    If your child is in an after-school program:  If you pick up your children after 2:45 pm and must walk in to sign them out, then you may use the limited parking along the eastern fence of the back lot.  If you arrive between 2:15 pm and 2:45 pm, then you must park off site and walk into the school.


    Can You Help?

    One of the best ways we can increase safety and efficiency is to increase the presence of our volunteer adults, the Walker Safety Squad!  We need adults in specific locations, including the drop off zone, the front parking lot, and the Black Mountain gate.  If you can volunteer one time a week, for twenty minutes, sign up HERE.  

    As you may have creative ideas to help improve our procedures, we welcome those.  Simply stop by the main office and place them in the "Traffic Solutions" suggestion box.

  3. TheMission Federal Success Maker Award honors staff members who create conditions for students to experience success.  LuAnn Wherry creates conditions of success every single day. In her role, it looks like teaching a group of fifth graders to take leadership in safety at arrival and dismissal.  It looks like helping students in conflict find peaceful solutions on the playground. And it looks like helping scared or injured students find safety with the nurse or counselor.  

    LuAnn has worked at Walker for five years and loves what she does. LuAnn leads our recess and lunchtime playground supervision.  Additionally, she leads our morning and afternoon safety patrol team. In her words, “I like mentoring kids, especially 5th graders who do safety patrol. Kids are going to make a difference in the generation to come.”  LuAnn wants to be a part of positively shaping that next generation.

    LuAnn was nominated for this award by her colleagues who see her in action on a daily basis. One colleague, impressed with LuAnne’s dedication, shared about her extraordinary service on a day we hosted a BBQ on a rainy day. “I remember that this was one of our rainiest of days and accommodating the hundreds of visitors/diners presented a major challenge. LuAnn worked diligently for 7 1/2 consecutive hours, assisting with planning, seat and table arrangement, and safety considerations. Her effort was appreciated and extremely valuable.”

    When LuAnn is not crossing students or supervising whole playgrounds, she can be found working on herPampered Chefbusiness, cooking tasty meals, reading novels, and working on outreach missions at her church.

    In honor of LuAnn’s commitment to the success of students, she received $100 to purchase additional equipment for our student safety patrol.  Congratulations, LuAnn. Thank you for helping Walker students experience success!


  4. Heading into Read Across America, a nationally observed week of celebrating reading, our vision was:

    • To see students grow in their love for reading;

    • To see students introduced to stories, authors, and community members whose love for reading/writing has transformed their lives/personal trajectories; and

    • To see students recognized for their growth in reading.

     With this vision in mind, we:

    Saw stories come alive!

    Our students were treated to interactive story-telling, theatrical performances of Dav Pilkey’s “Dog Breath” (Pre-K-2nd) and “The Paper Bag Princess" (3rd-5th). Walker's PTO sponsored this amazing experience, facilitated throughLiterature Comes to Life.


    Introduced students to authors

    Authors Scott Sussman and Henry Herz hosted separateauthor assembliesfor our students. They read aloud excerpts of their award winning stories and shared insights into the writing process.


    Brought in compelling community readers

    Each of our classrooms welcomed leaders from the community into their classrooms. San Diego’s District Attorney, a city council member, two police officers, and a team of news anchors were just some of the leaders our students got to meet.  Once in the classroom, community leaders shared about their personal connections to reading. Then they read aloud one of their favorites from childhood. What a treat!


    Capitalized on opportunities to bring in additional resources

    We celebrated two generous gifts that will fuel our love for reading.  Barnes & Noble Mira Mesa generously hosted a holiday book drive for our school, yielding over 1,000 new books for our libraries.  Additionally, City National Bank granted us $4,000 to purchase much-needed books for our classroom libraries. We are beyond thankful!


    Honored student growth

    Individual students were honored as Students of the Month at our monthly Walker Awards. This month, in light of Read Across America, many students were honored for recent growth in reading.


    Facilitated Reading Fun!

    This year we hosted activities that engaged our striving readers in good, old fashioned fun and competition. In two examples of fun, students burned calories and made memories at theReaders Only Dance Party.  Additionally,classrooms competed in a Dr. Seuss door-decorating contest.


    Reading isn’t just something we celebrate for one week at Walker.  Reading is a rewarding activity that we take on daily. What are you reading today?

  5. Candice Cisneros is being honored for her commitment to helping kindergarten students at Walker experience success.  While she is thriving as a teacher, she knows what it's like to struggle as a student.  In elementary, learning to read did not come easy for her.  As the academic years went by, Ms. Cisneros did enough to get by in school, but she did not feel especially successful.  In her words, "I remember the moment [as a student] when I decided 'I want to be the teacher that I would need.'"  Today, she is living that reality.

    Ms. Cisneros is in her fourth year of teaching and her second year at Walker.  Each year, she has been asked to teach a different grade.  And, while this makes her a well-rounded elementary teacher, she looks forward to growing roots in a particular grade level and mastering that curriculum.  Ms. Cisneros enjoys teaching at Walker because, "We have a positive learning environment here. Teachers and children here are friendly and positive." 

    Ms. Cisneros was nominated by colleagues who have witnessed her work with students.  According to one, "Candice is open to a variety of methods and strategies to reach all learners.  She is flexible and collaborative with a variety of staff.  She uses principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to ensure access for all students."  

    As a Mission Federal Success Maker Award recipient, Ms. Cisneros will receive $100 in supplemental classrooms supplies of her choice.  Congratulations, Ms. Cisneros!