A Message from the Principal 4/19/18

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/19/2018

Hi Folks,

At yesterday’s staff meeting Nicholas Zefeldt, Instructional Technology Coordinator for Contra Costa County, came and trained staff in Common Sense Media’s Educator tools for digital literacy. All staff enjoyed the training and plan to implement lessons in class shortly. Are you familiar with Common Sense Media? I have always enjoyed the site for picking family movies. They provide a clear synopsis with attention to violence, sex, drugs, product placement and messages that allows parents to make choices aligned with the needs and wishes of their families. I highly recommend it. As I was perusing the site I came across this article about 4/20 and thought it might be interesting to parents.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/what-parents-need-to-know-about-420

I was surprised by how much my own children knew about the “4-20” holiday and in reading the article above have come to understand that in the last year, as public opinion has swiftly shifted , mainstream advertising online is incorporating pot jokes in ads. Regardless of your personal views on cannabis, it is important to have tools to speak to your teen or tween about their health and safety. On that note, I had the opportunity to hear Ralph Cantor, retired high school science teacher and now drug educator speak at a Berkeley middle school about how to talk to kids about marijuana. He has a fact-based non-judgemental approach that I found very helpful. This attachment is a little dated, but pages 10-11 focus on Ralph’s work and could be useful to parents as we move into 4-20. I figure we can always benefit from more information.

https://bhs.berkeleyschools.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/parent-tips-drugs-alcohol.pdf

Students in grades 3-8 are scheduled to begin state testing in the last week of April and first week of May. If you are opting your child out of testing, please do so in writing ASAP. Please don’t plan any unnecessary absences during that time. Make ups are complicated and stressful.

Planned parenthood will present an education program for students in grades 5-8 including: HIV prevention, human sexuality, hygiene and health in late April and early May. If you are opting your child out of sex education, please do so in writing ASAP.

The Batizado originally scheduled for May 9th has been postponed to next fall. I know this was disappointing news for some families. The reasons for this are financial. Ken would like to do a ceremony recognizing kids’ achievement (including belts and visiting Capoeira masters), but we had not budgeted for this for this school year. Given our current finances, it made sense to roll the costs of the event into next year’s field trip funds and have the event in the fall. Thank you for your understanding.

I mentioned in an earlier dispatch that the Acalanes high school district has decided to no longer accept inter-district transfers. This is unfortunate for our school as Canyon residents matriculate to Acalanes and doing so without their cohort of peers feels unfair. The decision making behind this process appears to be financial in nature as Acalanes has a funding structure whereby they get no additional funds from transfer students. The Canyon School Board is making a motion to have this detail in the funding mechanism changed at a state level so inter-district transfer students would be able to carry ADA funding with them wherever they attend school; we have no idea what will happen. If you would like to learn more about school funding in California, you can read this report: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_913MWR.pdf
I think this is important information for everyone to have so that parents can begin thinking about high school options for each student now. If you are an inter-district family, it will be helpful to cultivate relationships with parents whose children attend your local high school so that you have access to key information as each city’s process has different timelines and hoops to be jumped.

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets for the Speakeasy on Saturday, it is not too late! Our little school appreciates all your support. Purchase tickets online here: https://canyon.k12.ca.us

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 03/14/2018

Hi Folks,

Last night the Board met. Thanks to Lisa Lenher, Peggy Lynch and John Heylin for attending. Gloria presented the second interim budget report which compares the budget to actual spending. I am attaching a copy here for you to read. I think the broad strokes are that often the school has needed 60-70 grand annually to close the budget gap. For the last couple years, for a variety of reasons, we have not had such a large budget gap. This year we have a very large budget gap because of spending needs in a million directions: tree trimming, propane costs, increased pension liability costs, Esperanza’s retirement, etc… Gloria’s forecast is that due to the projected increase in our mandated retirement contribution we will most likely need around 80 grand a year for the next few years.

Given that we have not asked CEF for much money in the last few years, urgency around fundraising had understandably dropped off. I am confident that as a community we will be able to find some sustainable fundraising practices that will not run parents ragged and can preserve our wonderful little school. Our initial push is of course the Speakeasy on April 21st followed by a “buy a tile” project later in the spring. The Speakeasy sounds like it is going to be great fun; tickets go on sale soon!

I understand that tension around the budget gap has caused stress and division in the community. The bottom line is that this was just a nutty year with expenses coming out of the woodwork. We do not forsee this kind of budget gap happening again. If we want to preserve our school community, we need to stop pointing fingers or blaming anyone or anything. We need to focus on what is good and right, be kind to each other, and do our best to fundraise in the ways we can…

That said, there are still five Giants tickets left! Please send in a check made out to CATSS if you would like to go! When the last ticket sells, we will have quickly made $400 for CATSS:)

Also, last night the Board approved the 18-19 calendar. I have attached it here. It is very much like this year. One thing we are trying out for next year is creating a reverse minimum day for November 1st. Many people expressed how hard the morning after Halloween is, and given that it is a Thursday next year, it would be sort of a weird Staff Development Day. School will run on November 1st from 11-3. Aftercare will function in the morning that day. This is the conference week; Parents can bring their kids in any time between 8 and 11 and drop them at aftercare and morning conferences will be offered.

Today is Pi Day AND National School Walk Out day. For Pi day students have been measuring the circumference of pie plates. Rio will share his research on Pythagorus at assembly. 678 students made signs and walked out at 10 am for 17 minutes in protest of gun violence (picture attached). Their protest was languid, but I was glad to see them organizing and taking a stand.

If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the survey, please do it! https://goo.gl/forms/GUu9rruS674SKN5h1 We really need your feedback to continue to improve our program.

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 01/04/2018

Dear Canyon Families,

Welcome Back! Jim Peterson came in today and as part of Eurythmy with K12, he led the whole school in a “Ringing in the New Year” celebration. The older kids were a little stand-offish at first, but by the end they were all fully participating:)

The new year is an exciting time in school. Children return after vacation knowing the routines and eager to get back to work. Randy, from Soul Shoppe, will be back on Friday to work with the kids on the “Stop & Breathe” program. He will also be coming to the February 8th CATSS meeting for a night of adult education about social and emotional learning. This has been triple confirmed. We are looking forward to it.

Peter Eichelberger will be coming in next week to share internet safety tips with students in grades 3-8. Judy will show an internet safety video called Safeside Superchick to students in K12.

There is a staff development day on Monday, January 29th (no school for students). We will be waxing the floors that weekend and would love any help moving furniture out of classrooms after school on Friday. Please email teachers directly if you can help.

Esperanza has retired! It is a big deal for our school but we have worked hard to create a smooth transition for the kids and the community. If you have not already purchased tickets for her retirement party, it is not too late! Contact Ramona for more information. The information is below. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Can you forward the invitation information? Who told you about Canyon School when you first came here? Can you make sure that person and any former families gets the invite? It is hard to keep up with former families and staff and we want to make sure everyone is included! We have a paid list; there are no physical tickets. You can check with Lucia or Ramona if you want to confirm that you are on the paid list.

Also, I sent out an email yesterday with all the details, but we need three more paid participants by Friday to run the after school Spanish program next week. We hope there will be three more kids as many people have been clamoring for an after school Spanish program.

Upcoming dates:
1/5/18 Soul Shoppe Stop & Breath for kids (in school)
1/9/18 Board meeting 7 pm
1/11/18 CATSS meeting 7 pm
1/15/18 MLK day no school
1/20/18 Esperanza’s Retirement party
1/26/18 K12 Field trip
1/26/18 End of semester
1/29/18 Professional Development, No School for Students
2/8/18 CATSS meeting with Soul Shoppe, parent information night
2/9/18 K12 Field Trip to BACT
2/9/18 PARENT NIGHT OUT COSTA RICA FUNDRAISER
2/13/18 Board meeting
2/19/18 No School
3/2/18 Read Across America Day
3/13/18 Board Meeting
3/14/18 Pi Day
3/16/18 K12 Field Trip
3/29/18 WOMEN’S HISTORY NIGHT
3/30/18 minimum day, no aftercare, dismissal 12:35
4/2-6/18 Spring Break, NO SCHOOL

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 12/05/2017

Dear Canyon Community,

Great news:
I hope you all had a wonderful week with your children. I am certainly grateful for the bridge reopening, but mostly for this wonderful community that pulled together to support one another during such upheaval. Thank you for making it work for almost SIX months!!

Our own alumnae, Clara Holland, entered and WON a Costa Rica Outward Bound photo contest; the first place prize was a $300 scholarship to Outward Bound which Clara has graciously donated to Canyon. Thank you Clara! We can’t wait to see the picture. Rumor has it, prints may be for sale at the art faire!

We had a former parent lodge a complaint with the California Department of Education about our snack program. These things require serious legal attention and we take all complaints seriously. Our school handbook states that our snack program is optional. If parents feel compelled to participate, they should know that they have a right to opt out of the snack program. Just let your room parent know that you would like to opt out and send in your child’s own snack. The legacy of having a shared snack was created to both distribute the responsibility of remembering to pack it (do it once monthly for the class and don’t worry the other days) and to build community in the way that sharing food does. It is our intention that a shared snack reduces parental burden and supports a cohesive community.

Upcoming dates:
All three classes will be on field trips Friday, December 8th. Mark your calendars! Friday, February 9th is a parent’s night out. The 8th graders will babysit (a Costa Rica fundraiser) and parents can go have a little adult time— stay tuned for more details…

Volunteers:
A huge thank you to Erika McDaniel and Maggie Harper who have volunteered to watch the last children picked up on Friday, December 15th. Lunch will be served at noon, pick up is at 12:35 at the latest. Please be prompt getting your children. I am sure Maggie and Erika will be eager to leave, and the kids always look a little sad when they are the last ones here at pick up. Thank you also to Lisa Gaiser and Jorgen Jensen who have kindly offered to serve lunch at the art faire.

Ruby and others on the CATSS board will be finishing two year terms this year and the CATSS board is actively seeking new Board members for next year. Please consider participating in the CATSS board as it is a great way to both learn about and support the culture and traditions of the school.

Healthy CA Survey:
In the next few weeks, your child (grades 3-8) will be asked to take a survey at school. The California Department of Education requires schools and districts to ask students about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues, as well as questions about school safety and the learning environment. Participation in the survey is voluntary on the part of the student, and we hope you will give permission so that your child’s opinion and knowledge can be part of the information gleaned from the survey. The survey is anonymous. No names or any other identifying information is connected to the answers except for the name of the school. If you have questions, please contact Ramona or Lucia. If you wish to view the survey, you may do so at the school office.

Performances:
Our winter performances will be Thursday, December 14th at 7 PM. You are also welcome to attend the dress rehearsal at 8:45 that morning. Judy’s class will perform first. There will NOT be a book exchange after their show. Therefore, parents of K12 students will either reclaim their children for the remainder of the performances or take them home. After the 345 show, we will have another very brief intermission at which time families with young children may choose to depart. There will be no refreshments until after the final play. The next day all three classes will have parties.

Parties:
Classes will have book exchanges or gift swaps on Friday morning December 15th. Participation in these events is optional. But please let the classroom teacher know if you will not be participating or plan to be absent so that the teacher can make sure all children present receive a gift of some sort.

A reminder that the party to celebrate Esperanza’s retirement will be held on January 20th. Early bird pricing is available until winter break. Get your tickets now! Contact Ramona if you need an invitation.

Finances:
Parents who use aftercare who are not paying bills on time will see late fees on their bills. This is a self funding program and parents who use aftercare need to pay on time or speak to Camille about a payment plan.

Thank you to CEF for sending out their email this week. I have received some questions about what CEF pays for. CATSS fundraises for field trips, enrichment and community events. CEF fundraises for our budget shortfall. California has one of the lowest rates of education funding in the nation. We know that some people can not afford to give each year. Contributing to CEF is entirely voluntary. However, my understanding from CEF is that they have received pledges for 20% of the amount of money that needs to be raised for this year. If CEF is not able to raise the necessary funds, we will be forced to lay off all the support staff (Lily, Sequoia, Steve, Camille), and if that is insufficient, then we will have to reduce our numbers by revoking inter district transfers until we could get to just two classrooms. These are dire steps, and I hope we will never have to do any of these things. Canyon has no parcel tax. CEF is funding the school’s basic operational shortfall. I don’t want to scare people, but if you have been on the fence or unclear about the value of this contribution; please know that it is essential to the functioning of the school.

Best,
Lucia

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 11/01/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

It was such a treat to see so many of you in your Halloween finest. A huge thank you to all who volunteered so much time to make such a wonderful tradition come to fruition. The school portraits are posted in the foyer. They are GORGEOUS! Please have a look, order a portrait package and support the school.

Upcoming dates/events:
Soul Shoppe will be providing a parent education night Thursday, November 9th. This workshop is starting at 6:30. There is no school Friday, 11/10 for the Veteran’s day holiday. Tuesday 11/14 is Opera a la Carte at 9 am.

Mark your calendar:
11/09 Soul Shoppe PARENT education night 6:30 pm
11/10 No School
11/14 Opera a la Carte performance @ 9 am
11/17 minimum day (no aftercare)
11/20-24 No School Thanksgiving Holiday Week
12/03 Art Faire
12/14 Winter performances
12/15 minimum day (no aftercare)
12/18-1/02 No School Winter Break

Aftercare Update:
Aftercare has hired John Holland to build shelves outside building C to better house art supplies in an easily accessible way. Late payment fees have not been enforced, however, if parents continue to pay late aftercare will be forced to assess late fees. Aftercare would like to purchase a kiln with the goal of having a pottery component in aftercare. Camille is wondering if we have any potters in the community who could help by offering advice in the selection of a good kiln for our site. Camille has determined where it should go and how it should be housed– we just need to select it and purchase it. Wendy Avolino is our new kindercare teacher. She grew up in Canyon and in the process of moving back. Our after school enrichment classes have been well received and well attended. We attempted to run an after school spanish class, but did not have the enrollment to get it off the ground. There was some confusion about the price– my understanding is that the more students that sign up, the lower the price can be. There was an initial price predicated on 13 kids enrolled, but with fewer than 13 the price was raised to reflect the instructor costs. We will try again to run the program in January.

General Safety:
Please discourage children from running across the parking lot when people are pulling in and out. It is best to drop kids at the walkway and then go park the car. We recently learned that we should be collecting additional information from drivers on field trips. Please provide a photocopy of your driver’s license and declaration page of your insurance in addition to completing the Canyon School Field Trip Driver Information form. Judy, Camille and Wendy, the new Kindercare teacher, have spoken to all students in K12 about staying away from the gate by the play yard and the potential danger of Pinehurst Road.

Visual Art Curriculum:
As you know all students have visual art with Esperanza on Wednesdays. Below is a brief informal synopsis of our art curriculum. Also, I have attached a brief one-pager on Los Dias de los Muertos taken mostly from the Oakland Museum of California. We use the OCMA curriculum to learn about this regional celebration.

Semester 1
Color and Composition – (mostly 2D work on paper)

Semester 2
3D Design – Last year was paper mache, this year is wire sculpture, which may include some paper mache and various clay media with the armature being wire instead of cardboard…

At various points during the year do stand alone projects that relate to a specific activity or event, for example over the next few weeks we will be creating materials for the Dia de los Muertos ofrenda. In December and May we always do set design and some work on props.

The four part lesson structure is as follows:
Opening – This is where the skills are addressed and contextualized. During this time we may look at examples of an artist whose work is relevant to our subject. (In K12 this period includes singing and informal Spanish language as well)
Drawing journals- Into to the lesson with a drawing technique, such as value scale, contrast, proportion, perspective, folded in. (We usually use our wonderful class set of prismacolor pencils but they will use charcoal, graphite sticks, pastels, and pens at various times)
Main Lesson – So far this year lessons have included color wheel, color theory (warm / cool, complements, analogous, etc) in both torn and cut paper collage and paint.
Free Exploration of the Media – This part allows kids who have longer attention spans to continue to work on their piece from the main lesson, so you may not see a “free piece” from each week. As the kids get older there is more time spent on contextualization, cultural significance, or focus on a particular artist or theme in art. For example we may feature artists such as Basquiat during Black History, Frida Kahlo or Ruth Asawa during Women’s History month, Egyptian art when studying Egypt etc.

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 8/30/17

Dear Families,

We had a fantastic first day of school. Thank you so much to the CATSS board for putting on such a lovely welcome coffee! I was able to capture a brief video of the K12 parents saying goodbye; I posted it on the Canyon facebook page if you would like to see it. The Kindergarteners and new students settled into the routines quickly and integrated well.

Each classroom has been busily establishing routines and supporting the children to re-acclimate to being together. It is a treat to get to hear them tell each other what has been happening since we were all together last. The children all did boundary walks to learn (or remember) the guidelines for safe movement around campus. Ask your student what they remember about the boundaries and safety expectations.

The children got to meet their new buddies in the assembly at the end of the day. We will be making sure to set aside time for 345 students and 678 students to do morning walks with their K12 buddies consistently this year.

The staff has been busy over the summer preparing for the year. We had a staff training from Soul Shoppe so that all the adults in the Canyon community would have a common understanding of social emotional learning and use consistent language with the students. Randy, from Soul Shoppe, will be back Tuesday, September 5th for the first of three student workshop days. You will find information about this up-coming workshop in your mailboxes. Our Soul Shoppe parent education night is scheduled to be Thursday, November 9th from 6:30-8. Don’t miss it!

Friday is supposed to be a very hot day. We plan to do water-based buddy activities in and around the creek on Friday afternoon. Feel free to send kids in bathing suits or clothes that are fine to get wet. We are also requesting cool refreshing snacks and additional treats (COLD fruit, healthy popsicles, etc).

We can always use help with lunch and recess. If you’d ever like to volunteer to help with lunch/recess duty, you can earn a free lunch:) Contact Ramona if you’re able to help out.

Please check backpacks for welcome letters or additional information from teachers.

Can’t wait to see you all again tomorrow!

Best,
Lucia

A Message of Welcome from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 08/17/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

I hope you have had a wonderful summer full of long days, great books, and delightful family adventures. We at school are hard at work getting ready for the return of the students on Wednesday, August 30th. Teachers have been setting up their classrooms, planning units of study, learning new curriculum units and getting excited for the new year.

Last year we initiated an intentional focus on social emotional learning and school climate. We brought in Soul Shoppe, which was very well received by the children. We are continuing this effort by having summer professional development with Soul Shoppe, a parent information night in the fall, and workshops for all students throughout the year. Creating and maintaining a safe and welcoming learning community is paramount in a thriving school environment.

Having witnessed the events in Charlottesville this past week, I see pervasive despair about the recent uptick in blatant displays of racism, bigotry and white supremacy. The only way to effectively combat hatred and ignorance is to call it out by name and teach students (and each other) to identify and oppose bigotry and oppression in its many forms. We know from research, and from history, that being passive in the face of oppression only emboldens the oppressor. I hope you will join me in strengthening our actively anti-racist, inclusive community. Our children need to learn the history of this country, so we can in the words of scholar Brene Brown, own our story and write the ending ourselves. In order to transform this nation, we must recognize its legacy of white supremacy and work together, as a united community striving for peace, harmony, and justice for all.

Staffing:
I am pleased to report that in addition to all of the beloved Canyon staff returning for the 2017-2018 school year, we have also hired Steven Day as our new 678 classroom teacher! Steven comes to us from the Oakland schools where he has taught middle school for 6 years. He began his teaching career through Teach for America in New Jersey and brings many skills and talents to our faculty.

New Families:
We have new students and families joining us in each class. Please take the opportunity to strengthen our community by introducing yourself to new children and their families. If you are a new family, welcome!

Calendar:
We have made slight adjustments to the academic calendar. Fall conferences will be held the last week in October, as we are trying out a semester system, and thus report cards will be sent out in January and June. The October conference will give parents and teachers an opportunity to communicate about hopes and wishes as well of concerns well in advance of the marking period. Parents and teachers are also free to initiate meetings at other times.

You will note that January has several long weekends which staff will use for professional development and families can use for planning a getaway without missing class.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. I look forward to hearing the children’s stories when they return. It is lovely to have a break for quiet work and reflection, but schools are a place that are at their best when they are full of children. I eagerly anticipate their return and yours.

Warmly,
Lucia Sullivan

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/27/2017

Dear Canyon Families,

I am thrilled to let you know that in order to support our collective desire to have the healthiest school climate, I have contracted Soul Shoppe (http://www.soulshoppe.com) to provide classroom based anti-bullying training. They will provide their first workshops on May 8th. They will do workshops (targeted to the age groups) in each classroom in the morning. They will stay and provide additional programming in the afternoon. I plan to have them do additional workshops next year, as well as a parent night at a CATSS meeting in the fall.

As you may know, our water fountain filters need to be replaced, and until the new filters arrive (I believe CATSS ordered them last night), the water fountain is not operating. Please send your child to school with a reusable water bottle that can be refilled at the sink.

CATSS is buying new tables for the multipurpose room. Can someone go to Costco to get them? We need 6. Please connect with Ramona about
The details.

I’ll be in Fairfield next week for four days of Restorative Practices Training. I will be checking email regularly but will not be in the building. I look forward to sharing what I learn with you.

We all know what a busy time of year this is. Below is a list of upcoming dates you may want to mark on your calendar.

Warmly,
Lucia

Upcoming Dates:
May 1 author visit 1 pm
May 4 Hearing screening
May 8 Soul Shoppe presentations in classes
May 9 Board Meeting
May 11 K12 Camping Trip
May 12 Costa Rica Departure
May 16 Kayak trip 567 (who wants to come with me? So fun!)
May 24 Costa Rica Return presentation (7th grade parents may want to come)
May 25 Family Science Night
May 29 Memorial Day no school
May 30 Kindergarten Orientation/Step up Day
May 31 Capoeira Sharing at Assembly
June 8 Spring Performances
June 13 All School Picnic
June 13 Board Meeting
June 15 Graduation
June 16 Last day of school (ends at 12:35, no aftercare)
July 8 and July 30 Summer work days

A Message from the Principal

by Lucia Sullivan on 04/19/2017

Dear Canyon families,

As you know the bridge to Moraga has been closed indefinitely due to concerns about its seismic stability. We know this creates a great inconvenience for many people and we will make an effort to share short cut tips that are successful for others navigating the same detours. Rachel Berger and Jenn Lynn have some ideas about getting kids over the bridge. Please contact them directly if you’d like to collaborate with them on this. Also, Sarah Keller had some alternate route information which I will paste at the bottom of this email.

The Informational Technology committee met yesterday and began work on the development of a new district technology plan, with tasks including but not limited to migrating from a server to cloud storage, developing a district vision around educational technology use, creating an equipment replacement cycle and the development of a curriculum trajectory related to technology skills.

Yesterday we also began our CAASPP testing. Students in grades 3-8 complete computer adaptive tests (this means the problems get easier or harder based on their answers) and performance tasks in Math and English Language Arts. Students in grades 5 and 8 are also tested in Science.

On thing parents have been asking for is a more robust google calendar on our website. A huge thank you to Sarah Keller who has volunteered to do this for us. Let’s work together collaboratively to ensure that she gets field trips, performances, camping trips and any major events that should be on a public school-wide calendar.

Speaking of which, Ken Pitts, will be having the students offer a Capoeira sharing performance at our school assembly Wednesday, May 31st at 1 pm. For anyone who has wondered about what happens in Capoeira, this will be a wonderful opportunity to observe the students’ progress.

The walkathon is this Saturday!! This is our biggest (and only) fundraiser. For those who may be new to the event, it is also a lovely social event, and a great opportunity to get some exercise. Remember to bring $9 for the taco truck lunch. I look forward to seeing you all there!

The Science Fair will be May 25th. Students in K12 will continue the tradition of the Invention Convention. Students in 3-8 will work with Sequoia and staff at school to create a showcase of their learning in Science throughout the year. So, parents of older kids will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of our Science Curriculum. Further information will be forthcoming.

Finally, as we begin to develop a hiring process to look for a middle school teacher after Esperanza retires, I would love parent volunteers who would like to participate. Please contact me if you are interested.

Warmly,
Lucia

A Message from Esperanza

by Esperanza Surls on 02/23/2017

“To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn,
and a time to every purpose under heaven,” 
– Pete Seeger via Ecclesiastes

Dear Canyon School Community,

As you may have heard, I have decided to retire next year. As the news has spread, I have received many questions about my reasons for leaving. The short answer is that so many things are going so well. Now that our beloved school has such a competent and visionary leader and staff, I feel comfortable leaving the bulk of the work in their capable hands.

As I pass into the winter of life, I find I have to work hard to maintain the stamina for all the things that I want and need to do. I am very fortunate to have both my parents nearby, but they are at an age where they will need more of my time and energy. I have a high school student at home, three grandchildren, and the promise of more to come. I find that I need more time to devote to my practices of visual art, music, and writing. I am also looking forward to having more time to travel, garden, and to simply roam the hills.

Despite the many things I am looking forward to after my retirement, I have no intention of severing my ties to Canyon School. It has been an important part of my life, and the life of my extended family since I arrived here at age 11 and truly loved school for the first time. I was a student rep to the school board as an 8th grader. I was employed here as a teacher’s aide in 1975-76, a cook in 1979, a teaching assistant in 1989, and as a teacher since 1990. My brothers and sisters, three of my children, and several of my nieces and nephews have attended our beloved school. I plan to continue as the Wednesday art teacher, to be a backup sub, and to serve on various committees. I will leave templates, examples, and curriculum guides for the middle school and art programs.

I am grateful to be part of this wonderful institution which has provided me with so many decades of joy and purpose.

Love,
Esperanza