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ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons

September 9, 2020

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources

WALNUT, CA—C.J. Morris, Castle Rock, Evergreen, Maple Hill, Quail Summit, and Vejar Elementary Schools earned the 2020 California PBIS Community Cares Award for outstanding support to students, families, and communities during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Maple Hill Elementary produced several outreach videos featuring the “Making Lemonade Out of Lemons” school closure theme.

“We wanted to support our families with weekly messages of encouragement, read-a-louds, and suggested activities to promote social and emotional wellness,” said Principal Kelly Morris.

In one video, staff members suggested fun stay-at-home “opportunities” including exploring nature, dancing, playing board games, learning family traditions, and even having a backyard picnic.

“Let’s seize the day - better yet squeeze the day!” Morris exclaimed.

Evergreen Elementary fifth grade students wrote letters to assisted living facility residents during the first weeks of quarantine.

“Hopefully you’ll get to see your friends and family soon,” offered one caring 10-year-old who said she was keeping busy reading Harry Potter books, playing with sisters, and watching TikTok videos.

“I understand that you might not be happy and you can’t travel or eat at your favorite restaurants,” said 11-year-old Kyra Chen.

“You should always stay positive and try to have a good time!”

“The seniors loved receiving the letters and some wrote the children back!” said Principal Trina Dreyer.

Vejar Elementary hosted online weekly spirit challenges, family activities, and sent daily text messages.

Families stayed connected while posting first day of school photos in a shared Google folder for the August 10 challenge.

“We are working to make sure we continue to recognize the positive moments from our students and celebrate them during distance learning,” said Principal Whitney Prenger.

This school year will include virtual student shout-outs, birthday celebrations, Bitmoji postcards, and monthly assemblies recognizing Valuable Vejar Vaqueros for demonstrating respect, responsibility, and safety.

“We also look forward to providing virtual classroom visits and school tour footage to get our students acquainted and excited to return as soon as it is safe to do so!” Prenger said.

C.J. Morris Elementary staff members rallied together to provide supplies to students and families to support distance learning.

“We strive to be global citizens while implementing PBIS in conjunction with our IB Attributes,” said Principal Fayroze Mostafa.

“It truly takes a village!”

Quail Summit Elementary shared daily wellness activities and strategies to help students handle the stress of living in quarantine.

“Schools really need to think outside the box, now more than ever, when it comes to COVID-19,” said Principal Frances Weissenberger.

Castle Rock Elementary concentrated efforts on maintaining the sense of community built throughout the year.

“Students and staff alike were mourning the loss of one another and the connectedness we shared,” explained Principal Jen Alcazar.

“We focused on helping all our Knights demonstrate perseverance and grit while at the same time building faith that things would eventually return to normal.”

The school posted messages of hope and inspiration on social media platforms using photos, videos, and student highlights.

Homebound students were also challenged to reach out to others who might be struggling with kindness and empathy.

“They responded with love, compassion, and action doing what they could to uplift one another and by sending messages to essential workers,” Alcazar added.

Shown:

Six Walnut Valley USD elementary schools have received the 2020 PBIS California Community Cares Award. 

Maple Hill Elementary staff sent students “Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons” video. 

Evergreen Elementary 5th graders penned caring letters to seniors living in quarantine. 

Challenge Accepted! Vejar Elementary families stayed connected during distance learning by sharing online photos. 

Castle Rock Elementary delivered messages of community, kindness, and empathy during pandemic

C.J. Morris Elementary staff members distribute distance learning supplies.