Thursday, February 11, 2016

Washington Charter School  
45-768 Portola Avenue
Palm Desert , CA  92260
Allan Lehmann, Principal 

WCS Chatter
January 16, 2016

It is 2016 and we are off and running. Seeing the faces of our returning staff and families after the two- week vacation reminded us of what a big part WCS plays in our lives. Even the rain didn’t dampen our spirits, especially since California needs it so much. A reminder, on cloudy and blustery days, please be sure that your children are dressed for the elements. On cloudy and blustery days please be sure that your children are dressed for the elements. I worry when rain and cool temperatures are forecast and a child comes to school without a jacket.

Is the Work Getting More Difficult?
The simple answer is “yes.” As the school year progresses we are introducing many new concepts and also reviewing previously learned information, sometimes in a different format. 

At times our students and you may be frustrated because the material is being presented in a fashion that may differ from how you learned it. The difference is that we are now asking an ever increasing number of questions that probe into why your child comes up with the answer. We want them to justify their answer.  Although this process is part of all the curricula, lately I have heard more from parents in the area of mathematics. The currently adopted math standards require greater focus by teachers and deeper knowledge by students than previously adopted state standards. Your child needs to accurately calculate equations, understand concepts as opposed to just memorizing answers. They also need to solve real-world problems while demonstrating why the method or equation they selected is accurate. Here is an example of a math question using previously adopted standards to current standards.

Previously Adopted Standard                        
Each shirt cost $4. How much do 3 shirts costs?          
This question can be answered by a “count –all”              
strategy, in which you don’t need to know your                        
multiplication tables by memory to get the right answer.

Current Standard
Each shirt has four buttons. How many
buttons are needed for 7 shirts?
This question requires automatic recall
of multiplication tables to get the right answer.

Parking at Hope Lutheran
If you have parked at Hope Lutheran lately you have noticed that there are fewer parking spaces due to construction. More families are now parking closer to Lantana Avenue. I want to encourage families to use the gate that fronts Lantana. You may find this to be less stressful in the morning and at afternoon pickup.

Exterior Gates
For the safety of our school when you are waiting for an exterior gate to open, please do not ask a student to do this for you. Please wait until a teacher arrives at the gate to open it. 

Lockdown Drill
On Friday January 29th, WCS will have a lockdown drill at 8:30 a.m.  Prior to the drill Mr. Lehmann will meet with students to share the importance of practicing this type of drill. Our students practice and are quite proficient at evacuating the school when we have a fire drill or earthquake drill. 

The response by the school is based on a number of factors. Fortunately schools rarely need to be locked down, but when a school needs to be placed on lockout, we need to be prepared.  Below are some definitions that I hope will provide clarity and comfort.

* Shelter In Place:

This may occur when there is a chemical spill or toxic substance that is airborne and the wind may be blowing or shifting in the direction of WCS. Students and staff remain in the classroom. Air-conditioning or air exchange that comes from outside the classroom ceases or is restricted. Communication with classrooms will remain. We will take direction and rely on trained personnel in this area before releasing students.

* Lockout:

A lockout is a modified form of a lockdown and it is used when the threat to the school is outside the school grounds and not an immediate safety concern. In a lockout, gates and exterior doors are locked (this includes all classroom doors). Staff is often able to communicate using PA announcements, two-way radio and/or computers. 

* Lockdown:

A lockdown is our highest and most restrictive response. A lockdown is used when there is a direct and imminent threat to the school and is best described as, “locks-lights-out of sight.” A full lockdown requires all movement outside of locked rooms to cease. Exterior doors are locked, window coverings are drawn, students and staff are moved away from windows and are encouraged to hide behind furniture if possible. No one enters or exits the school and this condition is maintained until the all clear signal is given by the principal or designee. A full lockdown is the best practice first response for schools in an Active Assailant incident.

Congratulations to the Following Patriots of the Month
Sienna Acosta, Josiah Alvarez, Ian Amick, Jacqueline Beaty, Lauren Beaty, Tayla Berg, Liah Contreras Ramos, Drake Copeland, Ryan Eddy, Siena Estenson, Aaliyah Felipe, Parker Finnell, Isabella Fuentez, Hannah Gaertner, Eduardo Gonzalez, Ximena Gonzalez, Emmey Hanson, Frankie Hernandez Resendiz, Adriano Horna, Xander Howe, Jordanne Jackson, Juan Jimenez, Noelle Johnson, Jezel Lara, Daphne Le, Cheyanne Lee, Mina Leonte, Lyon Longstreth, Henry MacLean, Kaylee Medina, Eddie Miranda, Vincent Musial, Sarah Nguyen, Ilham Nur, Chanhwee Park, Mia Pejovic, Mikenna Pruette, Leyla Rizvanbegovic, Alexis Rodriguez, Mia Salazar, Tyler Sloan, Zack Smalaj-Blandon, Rylee Stendell, Madison Young

Upcoming Events
January 18   No School Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 21   Governing Board Meeting 3:30 p.m.
January 25   No School (Professional Development Day for WCS staff)
January 27   Patriot of the Month Assemblies (8:20a.m. and noon)
January 30   DSUSD Soccer Tournament
February 1   ELAC Meeting 8:15 a.m.
February 5   Walk Jog-A-Thon