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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!  

Raising Kind Kids

September 27, 2017

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources 

WALNUT, CA—Emotional intelligence expert Dr. Michele Borba opened up her parenting toolkit while speaking to over 1,000 Walnut Valley USD parents on Saturday.

“Parents, we need to be intentional about raising nice kids! Stop focusing on G.P.A.s (grade point averages) and more on developing kind kids,” said the internationally recognized educational psychologist, parenting expert, and best-selling author.

Borba took the stage as the keynote speaker during the District’s 1st annual Parent Symposium held at Diamond Bar High.

“When was the last time you saw a bumper sticker that read “Proud Parent of a Kind Kid”? she asked.

Borba was so impressed at the full-house audience in the gymnasium that she told the group to give themselves a round of applause just for showing up to the 8 a.m. event.

“I have never, ever seen a turn out on a Saturday morning like this. Walnut Valley has done something extraordinary here!”

Borba focused her 90-minute talk on raising “UnSelfie” kids, her newest title that addresses the nation’s empathy crisis and offers practical strategies to teach children to nurture empathy.

The decline in empathy, over 40% in college freshman over the past 30 years, has developed over time due to increased use of social media (looking at screens, not each other), a “racier and raunchier” culture, fewer solid role models for kids, and changes in parenting styles, Borba said.

How do we raise empathetic and kind kids in a self-absorbed world?

One way is turning down the “plugged-in” mentality, Borba said.

She suggests creating sacred, unplugged hours, such as breakfast or dinnertime, by getting in the routine of placing cell phones in a basket on the table.

“Parents make sure to put down your own phones too,” she urged.

Empathy is made up of nine habits that parents should be modeling in order to raise good, upstanding kids.

“Don’t try them all – just try one for the next 21 days. Not only will it help you, it will help your child,” said Borba.

One of the parenting expert’s favorite empathy habits is practicing kindness.

A good example is developing a family mantra and reminding children to say two kind things each time they walk out the door.

“It helps them develop a kind and caring mindset,” she said.

“If you say it enough, you become it.”

Borba’s keynote also included moral courage and teaching kids how to handle stress and anxiety.

She offered simple tips included deep breathing, yoga, and repeating a positive affirmation.

The Parent Symposium featured over 20 breakout classes led by WVUSD educators after the general session.

The engaging and thoughtful sessions ranged from Technology and School-Age Kids to Welcoming Newcomers to a Safe and Thriving School Environment and Preparing for College While Maintaining Your Sanity,

The District also provided free child care to 500 children while the moms and dads attended the premier event.

“I learned lots of good tips today on how I can make sure my son takes the right classes and balances his life, said DBHS parent Gary Shiroishi after the final session.

“The Parent Symposium provided us with different tools to better our children. So many things I can try!” Carmen Topete commented.

“Dr. Borba was amazing!” added Gauri Rao. “I loved that she said don’t go home and try all these things – just do one!”

“My take-away is to put down my cell phone more often,” said Christina Munoz, a Castle Rock Elementary parent.

“I need to remember to be more mindful. We have to slow down for ourselves and be role models for our kids,” said South Pointe Middle School parent Amy Noiboonsook after attending the Take Time to Slow Down session.

“It was amazing!’ It’s revamped my whole approach to parenting,” said DBHS parent Jeff Mitchell.

“When I pick my daughter up from her SAT prep class, the first thing I’m going to do is give her a hug. We’re in this together now.”


Acclaimed speaker and author Dr. Michele Borba takes the stage during the WVUSD Parent Symposium on September 23

Walnut Valley USD welcomes keynote speaker Dr. Michele Borba to 1st annual Parent Symposium. Shown: Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jeff Jordan, Castle Rock Elementary Principal Dr. Resma Byrne, and Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

Dr. Michele Borba highlights nine empathy habits featured in her latest book, “UnSelfie” during her keynote address. 

Over 1,000 WVUSD parents attend the 1st annual Parent Symposium held at Diamond Bar High School on Sept. 23. 

Dr. Michele Borba receives an “ALLmeansALL” t-shirt, the WVUSD 2017-2018 slogan. 

WVUSD educators offer engaging sessions during Parent Symposium.