News & Announcements

APC in Action

Due Friday, Oct 9 2020-2021 APC Grant Applications
Acalanes Parents Club will continue its APC Grant Program this year with a focus on creative solutions to enhance the educational experience of AHS students during distance learning, and with an eye toward ideas for when we gather again in-person. Teachers, students and parents are encouraged to submit a grant proposal by accessing the criteria and application form here. Email APC Grants Coordinator Catherine Habas with questions. To submit your completed proposal, email Catherine or deliver to the APC box in the office. 

Watch the replay of Friday’s Dons Dialogue with Principal Bell here.

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General Announcements

Canvas Support for Parents
Visit the Acalanes School District Canvas Support website to help with login, setup and more.

Monday, Sept 21 Student Academy Cohort Session
Tomorrow your student will attend their next Academy Cohort Equity Session. As in previous sessions, this Zoom link is on their Cohort Teacher’s Canvas page. If your student is having trouble logging into Zoom, please make sure they are following the correct link. You can check your parent portal on Canvas for this information too. 

High School Student Poll Worker Program
Is your student interested in working the polls this fall? Visit this link to learn more about the program, including how students can apply. 

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Acalanes Community Always (ACA)

The ACA Campus Clean-Up is scheduled for the first weekend of October. It will be terrific to get teams of students and parents socially-distanced in zones to help spruce up campus. While more details will follow, we are looking for zone captains to help out. Team ACA is also working on the creation of an Acalanes Alumni Network. As part of the effort, we are looking for “famous” alums (or ones with a great redemption story). Email Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano to let us know at

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Continue to Build Habits Supporting Racial Equity
Each week, we suggest you explore something that will help you become more educated and thoughtful in this area. September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month during which we recognize the invaluable histories, cultures and contributions of community members whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. For Week Five: Learn about Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer Felicitas Gómez Martínez de Mendez and how she helped pave the way for Brown v. Board of Education. 

Tuesday, Sept 22 from 7-8:30pm Register to Attend Book Club!

Join us online for a teacher-moderated discussion about the book How to Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Register for the event here. Don’t miss this important discussion, even if you haven’t had a chance to finish the book! Click here for the ‘Shortform’ book summary. Let’s meet online on Tuesday! 

Thursday, Oct 1 from 6:30-8pm Parent Racial Equity Seminar
The first in a series of six seminars with Dr. Lori Watson will allow parents to intimately explore issues of race and identity. Dr. Watson will respond to parent questions that have come up since her last parent forum. She will also address the teacher-moderated racial equity workshops our children have attended. Let’s continue to listen and learn! Register in advance for this meeting here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Interested in joining our committee? Have questions? Email us.

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From the Activities Director

2020-2021 Clubs Kick Off This Week!
Get excited! Clubs are the best way to connect students to campus right now. Please watch this quick video from Katherine Walton where she details everything you need to know about clubs this year. Encourage your student to check out the module in Canvas tomorrow to see the 43 clubs on campus and find out more about them. Club meetings will begin on Wednesday and students will receive a spreadsheet in their Canvas inbox this week with times, days and Zoom links.

Sunday (TODAY!) at 5 pm – Acalanes Game Night
Join us for game night! We will have three different games running simultaneously in breakout rooms. This is a great chance for your student to decompress, connect with peers, and have some friendly competition. Students were sent the Zoom link through Canvas, and it can also be found on Instagram – @ahs_dons – link in bio.

Monday, Sept 21 (TOMORROW!) from 7:30 to 9am or 1:30 to 3pm – Yearbook/APC Flags/Spiritwear/Class Shirt Late Pick-up
Come to Room 314 to get your items. 

Friday, Sept 25 from 9 to 10am During Academy – Student Equity Council Meeting
Encourage your student to join this open group, hosted by Katherine Walton, that dialogues about issues of equity on the Acalanes campus. On Friday, the group will discuss the racial equity lessons, plan programming, and hear more from Acalanes administration about the equity site plan. 

September Student Equity Newsletter

Applications Due Friday, Sept 25 – Pen Pal Program with Stege Elementary
Acalanes High School students and Stege Elementary School students can join in a pen pal program! We will match a student from each school to one another based on common interests. There will be weekly letters or emails to your buddy with different themes each week. Once you fill out the google form, there will be an expectations meeting at lunch via Zoom Wednesday, Sept 23. Interested students MUST be at the expectations meeting to participate unless you specify ahead of time that you cannot attend.

If I can ever do anything to help you or your student, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Katherine Walton, Student Activities Director

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Wellness Center

We thought we’d provide an overview for parents of Wellness operations during distance learning. During lunch, we offer various activities, like journaling, games, mindfulness practice, and more. We are still doing intakes and zoom or phone therapy. Students can access the Wellness Center during regular school hours but we do not pull students from synchronous classes. We can use Academy where a student does not need extra help or has not been tagged. We also meet with students after school. We do not typically meet with students during the early morning hours so as not to take away from sleep. However, for students who are early risers, we will meet with them at their request. Finally, please note that on 9/29 at 5:30 pm, Contra Costa County’s Tobacco Prevention group will present “Vape Pens and Teens: What Our Community Needs to Know”. You can register here.

Allen Choi, Wellness Coordinator
Casey Sasner, Intake Specialist

For updates, tips and advice, follow Wellness on Social Media: Instagram @acalaneswellness

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College & Career

All senior students should set up at least one appointment to discuss post AHS plans.  Students can book an individual meeting with Ms. Reicher here

Tuesday, Sept 29 at 7pm – Financial Aid Night
Join Tim Lenahan for an online presentation about college costs. The meeting link is
here, and you can review this helpful handout for details. Learn more about presenter Tim Lenahan.

Mark your calendars for Senior events:

  • Wednesdays and Fridays Senior Academy – Academy is available on Wednesdays and Fridays for all Seniors working on college applications. Students have been emailed the Zoom link. Please have students check their AUHSD gmail accounts for all communications from the CCC. 
  • Tuesday, Oct 13 at 7pm FAFSA Night – The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form allows students to request federal grants, work-study, and loans all in one application. Join us online to learn more. 

For Juniors: Tuesday, Oct 6 at 7pm – Class of 2022 Parent/Student Presentation
Lots of great college planning information. Hear from your Class Liaisons, as well as Wendy Reicher and Counselor Susan Martin. Watch your email for the Zoom link!

Check out the Fall CCC Newsletter for updates!

If you weren’t able to attend our webinar on “Navigating the College Admissions & Testing Landscape”, watch the replay here.

Freshman College Planning
Sophomore College Planning
Junior College Planning
Senior Checklist

Wendy Reicher/College and Career Advisor:

Wendy Reicher

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Progress Reports
Grades were updated in Canvas this past week. Parents should make sure they have observer status to see updates. Please encourage your students to use Peer Tutoring and use Academy time to check in with a teacher or counselor. 

For Seniors ordering transcripts, have your list of colleges updated on Naviance and pay the $5 fee for official transcripts on the webstore. Mrs. Finn, the registrar, will process requests. Please contact Mrs. Finn with questions. Students can review unofficial transcripts in Aeries.

California Scholarship Federation (CSF) is an honor society. The application period this semester will be Sept 15-30. Payment of $7 must be made on the webstore. All grades of “CR” last semester will count toward eligibility for the September application period. The application form is online. Students need to be logged in with their school account to fill out the form. 

Counselor appointments
We love talking to our students! Email is the best way to reach us. Counselors have appointment slots for students and will email them a link for signing up. We are trying to reserve the limited slots outside of class time for students. Parents can schedule a time when students are in class. 

Counselor Assignments Student last names:
A- Ed  Anne Schonauer
Ee-Kr  Christine Todd
Ku-Ros  Marissa Meadows
Rot-Z  Susan Martin

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School Nurse

Staying Vigilant About Staying Healthy
Even before we get the opportunity to physically return to school, we need to make “staying vigilant about staying healthy” part of our normal routine. There are a few new video resources on my google site

Covid Symptom Checklist
Staying vigilant about staying healthy in this new Covid-19 world means we all have to keep the symptom checklist in mind. If you have any symptoms or are at risk, it’s especially important to stay home and avoid in-person contact with others. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. 

School Immunization Requirements are still in place.
Please check in with your local pediatrician’s office, Primary Care Provider, or our
County Health Department (call 925-313-6767 for additional hours through September).

Flu Vaccine
Beginning in October, please have everyone in your family get a Flu vaccine. We all want to stay as healthy as possible, individually and collectively as a community. Reduced illness from flu will also ease the burden of illness from Covid in our hospital facilities.

Medical Forms and Medications at School
Please turn in any relevant medical forms your student might need for the 2020-21 school year. Those forms should be dated no earlier than June 2020. You can access forms here.

Still on Quarantine! Transitioning Back to School Routine After Summer Break

Here’s a great article on How To Be Stronger Co-Parents During The Pandemic

Please get in touch with me with any questions, concerns, and/or requests. I look forward to being in touch and connected!

Dvora Citron, RN, MS
Acalanes School Nurse Google Site
IG:  acalanesschoolnurse

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Legislative News

The November 2020 election will include two state ballot measures affecting education.  Prop 15 in particular is being hotly contested.  Stay tuned for more info. 

Proposition 15: California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act
This initiative would require commercial and industrial real estate property worth $3 million or more be taxed on current market value, raising as much as $11.5 billion in additional funding for schools and other local governments. It protects all homeowners and renters by maintaining tax protections for ALL residential property. This money would be allocated to schools (40%) and other local governments (60%).

Proposition 16: Repeal Proposition 209 – Restore Affirmative Action
This constitutional amendment, placed on the ballot by the legislature, asks the voters of California to vote on permitting the use of race, gender, and ethnic diversity as factors (but not decisive factors) in education including college admissions, government hiring, and government contracting.  California ballot measure to lift ban on affirmative action widely opposed by surveyed voters

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