Co-Presidents’ Message

Co-Presidents’ Message

It’s hard to believe that next week is the last week of school! Just a reminder that there will be no school on Monday since it’s Memorial Day and no finals this semester. Peer Tutoring is still available to help students with essays, projects or tests for next week.

Our Community Can’t Be Canceled efforts made it into the New York Times article highlighting the AHS Kresnak family’s double graduation. The campaign is going strong with the following updates:

  • Friday, May 29 at 6pm Let’s Celebrate Our Seniors with 2020 Dons, Forever Strong! Ring the bells for our seniors during their originally scheduled graduation date & time.
  • AHS Performing Arts Finish Strong Distance learning hasn’t stopped AHS creativity in the world of Drama, Choral and Instrumental Music with fantastic end-of-year performances. Hats off to all the PA teachers and students!
  • Home Delivery of Dons Show Up Spirit Thanks to student officers and class liaisons, each class has received some sort of spirit item drop-off to remind students that Dons spirit doesn’t take a break during distance learning!

We want to extend an extra special thank you to our outgoing APC Board Members Meg Fellner and Traci Reilly and outgoing 2020 Class Liaisons Kathy Hemmenway, Kat O’Donnell, and Ellen Seiler who will be closing out their tenure as Dons but will join the Dons Alumni family. These rock-star volunteers have collectively served Acalanes for over fifty years and their legacy of volunteerism is appreciated by us and the entire Dons community.

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

It’s hard to believe there are only two weeks left in the school year! If you’re looking for a way to remember someone special (e.g, teacher, coach, student), the AHS Legacy Wall of Bricks is a perfect way to do so. Bricks are on sale until tomorrow night for $200. See info in our APC fundraising section for more information.

The Community Can’t Be Canceled Campaign last week focused on our wonderful teachers and resilient seniors. Up this week is a signing ceremony for senior athletes. Highlights include:

  • AHS Teacher Appreciation Coffee Gift Cards Thanks to your donations, APC was able to provide each teacher with a $20 coffee card to say thanks for ALL their extra work during distance learning. Our long-standing Teacher Appreciation Coordinator Emma Bishopp spearheaded the effort, going above and beyond with hand-written thank you notes for each teacher.
  • We Love Our Seniors Week Who knew cap and gown pick up could turn into a Shelter in Place silver lining? Seniors dropped by campus last week to pick up their cap and gown and were warmly welcomed back to campus by over thirty social distancing teachers and staff cheering them on along with a yummy ice cream sandwich. Seniors went home with a goodie bag thanks to our Senior Liaisons!
  • AHS Collegiate Sports Celebration & Recognition on Tuesday, May 19 Join the live Zoom call hosted by Acalanes Boosters recognizing our amazing senior student athletes who have been recruited to play their sport at the college level. It’s a great way to show your Dons spirit! Details on the Acalanes Booster website.

This week, we’d like to extend a special thank you to APC Newsletter Editor Sarah Ortman who has seamlessly published over 80 issues every Sunday for the past two school years. We also appreciate the numerous hours that Diane Archer and her APC Volunteer Services Team log to manage the Acalanes and President’s Volunteer Service Awards program. We look forward to recognizing the service award winners soon.

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

Happy Mother’s Day to all the special Dons Moms! Our families and community are fortunate to have so many supportive, engaged moms supporting all things Acalanes – especially Moms who are working hard to recognize their seniors. 

The second Dons Dialogue Webinar was as equally successful as the first and we appreciate the almost 200 parents who took the time to participate. If you missed it and would like to check out the content, you can find a webinar video here.  

Principal Bell provided an overview of the current plan for the Class of 2020 Graduation during the webinar and the good news is there will indeed be a live graduation on campus! While it won’t look the same as graduations in year’s past, our seniors will have the chance to walk across the stage and receive their diploma on Thursday, June 4. We are fortunate that Mr. Bell and his leadership team have figured out a way to let our seniors safely walk while so many schools across the state have migrated to a postponed or virtual graduation. 

The Community Can’t Be Canceled campaign continues in earnest with the following efforts:

  • AUHSD Food Drive The drive met and exceeded every expectation raising over $16.5K along with a donation of 4,500 pounds of food (2,800 from the AHS food bins). AUHSD was the TOP fundraising team in the area thanks to you opening up your wallets and pantries to support the effort. 
  • Lafayette Community Foundation Matching Grants Program LCF has raised a record $45,000 in the month of April which includes AHS family donations! This will allow LCF to award more than $120K in grants to nonprofits in the next several weeks. 
  • Paint the Town Blue Cowgirl Parade! Tomorrow, May 11, the Farmyard Darlings will be “Painting the Town Blue” by parading through Lafayette on horseback arriving at The Coop 32 at 12:30pm followed by stops at Zoonies (horses love peppermint) and Diablo Foods. While practicing social distancing, you can check out their twist on Community Can’t Be Canceled!

Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the talented AHS student winners of the Project LPIE. From photography to essay writing and so much more, you can check out the student award winners here

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

As we embark on our last month of the school year, we continue to be so proud of our incredible Acalanes community and all the ways Dons students, teachers, admin and families continue to Show Up! Has your student received any fun mail lately? Huge thanks go out to Jill Perlman and Tina Gullberg from our Attendance Office for stuffing and mailing out Community Can’t Be Canceled stickers to every single Acalanes student! We hope it put a smile on their faces and reminded them that we are all still thinking about them.

We have received so much gratitude from our local Lafayette businesses who have appreciated the ongoing efforts of support from our Dons families. We encourage you to continue to think local first when shopping for gifts and meals for Mother’s Day and spring birthdays in the coming weeks. See below for other ways we can continue to spread our Acalanes spirit throughout our community.

Don’t miss the last APC Dons Dialogue of the school year this FridayMay 8, from 10-11am when Principal Bell will provide an update on the Student SIP Survey, Graduation, Summer Registration and more. Register here and email us your questions in advance! See you then!

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

Thank you to our amazing Dons community! Along with our partner schools in the district, in just one week we raised over $6,300 towards our goal of $10,000 and donated thousands of pounds of canned goods to our neighboring communities as part of the AUHSD Food Drive. There is still time to give! Donation bins are located near the Main Gym and online donations can be made here. Our Dons families also pushed Lafayette Community Foundation $4,600 closer to their $25,000 matching campaign goal. You can still support their effort here.

This week’s Community Can’t Be Canceled effort focuses on supporting Lafayette businesses who are still “open” while their brick and mortar stores are closed.

  • Let’s Celebrate Moms, Grads and Dads! Many local boutiques (think Amphora Nueva, Farmyard Darlings, Lemon, Luck, Venture, etc.) may appear to be closed but owners are happy to pull items, gift wrap and deliver them right to your doorstep. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, now is a great time to view a selection of gifts from our Lafayette retailers on the Lafayette Chamber’s website.

In addition to Principal Bell’s Dons Connection email to parents and students, he is also creating brief distance learning updates via video as well. You can check out his most recent videos here.

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

The first APC Dons Dialogue Webinar was held this past Friday with almost 100 participants. Principal Bell shared some valuable information and the AHS admin team was on hand to answer questions live throughout the forum. If you were unable to attend, click here for a forum video. Feedback was tremendously positive and the next Dons Dialogue has been scheduled for Friday, May 8. More details to follow.

We have received parent inquiries regarding how to give back to members of our community who may be struggling as a result of Covid19. This week’s Community Can’t be Canceled Campaign focuses on how to do so with a few options below:

  • AUHSD’s Food Bank Drive Acalanes will have donation bins to support the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties placed at the front of the Main Quad where urgently needed donations of canned and dry goods can be dropped off. Monetary donations can be made here.
  • Lafayette Community Foundation’s (LCF) COVID-19 Community Matching Campaign LCF has joined the Community Can’t be Canceled effort with a commitment to increase grants to local nonprofits addressing immediate community needs. Now through April 30, LCF will match up to $25K. You can learn more and donate here.

Be sure to check out new and ongoing distance learning programming in the Wellness Center and College & Career Center below. There are numerous options for both students and parents to engage. This week’s highlight:

  • Wendy’s C&CC Weekly Parent Check-In Informal forum with Acalanes College & Career Advisor Wendy Reicher will provide parents a chance to ask any questions via zoom meeting related to the college admissions process, volunteer and internship opportunities, Naviance training, summer program options and more.

We hope your families remain safe and healthy.
Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Presidents’ Message

Last week seemed to be one full of many silver linings. Our Dons community showed up for one another time and time again, in many cases as part of the new Community Can’t Be Canceled campaign started by Acalanes Leadership and expanded between AHS, APC, the Lafayette Chamber and many other community support partners.

The most visible sign of Community Can’t Be Canceled (CCBC) has been the ongoing Let’s Paint This Town Blue effort which displays our unity and spirit. Campaign posters were hung all around town and neighborhood spirit was on display with countless creative home decorations. AHS families also participated in Lafayette To Go to support local restaurants. Feedback from the Lafayette Chamber was positive and restaurants were tremendously appreciative of the increase in orders. You can find lots of inspiring images @ahs_dons on Instagram. Our AHS and town spirit is such a refreshing reminder of how we continue to support one another despite being separated.

The Class of 2020 Seniors woke up Friday morning to Graduation congratulations lawn-signs that magically appeared overnight thanks to the efforts of senior class liaison Tori Heffelfinger, Co-Head Liaison Gayle Burleigh and a team of thirty volunteers. While seniors have yet to graduate, the decision was made to get the signs out early to let seniors know they will be celebrated throughout spring.

Please join us for this Friday’s APC Dons Dialogue from 10-11am. We are excited this event will move forward in a virtual format. Principal Bell will provide an update on Distance Learning and we’ll get an update from AHS Wellness and Leadership. The last part of the meeting will be set aside for Mr. Bell to answer parent questions. Please email us your questions in advance. An email blast will go out next week with call-in details.

Finally, a few highlights for this week:

  • Acalanes Wellness Center is now connecting with students by providing real-time, online programming. Check out more info in the Wellness section.
  • Give Back Students are needed NOW to help support AHS teachers and staff with Zoom Babysitting & a new Video Library. Students get volunteer service hours for their efforts. See more on the CCBC page.
  • Peer Tutoring is up & running virtually! See details in Peer Tutoring page.

    We hope your families remain safe and healthy.

    Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano
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Co-Presidents’ Message

What a month. What a week. What a day. We imagine that you are like us in processing the most recent news that distance learning could continue through the end of the school year. While it’s not a complete surprise given what’s happening in the world, it doesn’t make the impact of this possible reality any less jarring–for us as parents, and certainly for our students.

Our hearts especially go out to the Class of 2020 seniors and their families. There is no doubt they are feeling robbed that the spring quarter of their senior year may not play out as they had hoped and expected. We know that Katherine Walton, our amazing leadership teacher, along with help from senior class officers and parent class liaisons, are pulling together to explore creative ways to make sure senior traditions are kept intact one way or another but that doesn’t replace the loss and sadness many seniors may be feeling. We will communicate out to senior families as decisions are made regarding upcoming senior events.

While upcoming Acalanes and community events may not be the same as initially hoped and planned for, the Community Can’t Be Canceled campaign can be a silver lining during this unsettling time. The campaign, initially created by Acalanes leadership students to bring students together during Shelter in Place, has expanded beyond Acalanes to include the greater Lafayette community. The campaign is working to unite us all and use this time apart to come together. APC is excited to be part of this effort and will share ways in which AHS families can get involved.

The campaign kicks off some creative efforts this week with Lafayette to Go, a way for each class to support local Lafayette restaurants on a different night of the week. Later in the week, Let’s Paint This Town Blue! gives Dons a chance to show their spirit by decorating their homes, mailboxes & driveways. Finally, the Acalanes Athletics “Zoom Off” challenges Acalanes athletes across all sports to compete in a team spirit video competition. More details are provided below. Hopefully, there is something of interest to all students.

We hope your families remain safe and healthy.

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

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Co-Associate Principals’ Message

Wonderful Dons Community,

What a month this has been. We started March excited to plan the Spring and are ending it dealing with something none of us have ever experienced. We know how hard this has been for all of us, especially our students. If you have not already, please follow @ahs_dons on Instagram and our Blueprint Online to help stay connected. We are proud to see what our community is doing right now to take care of one another in these unprecedented times.

Please take the next week to take care of yourselves, we look forward to connecting after spring break.

Go Dons,
Andrea Powers and Mike Plant
#communitycantbecanceld #DonsShowUp #LoveLafayette

Also, here’s Principal Bell and Associate Principals Andrea Powers and Mike Plant wishing all Dons students a safe and healthy spring break. Watch their message here.

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Co-Presidents’ Message

First of all, we hope this email finds you all safe and healthy. While our content is limited, we believe communication continues to be one of the most important ways to connect to one another while Shelter in Place keeps students, teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family members physically apart. A special thank you to our APC Communications co-chairs Kristen Labrosse & Heidi Hambidge who along with editor Sarah Ortman who have worked to make the APC Newsletter such a valuable resource to our parent community now and throughout the school year. 

Earlier this year, APC paid for teen motivational speaker Mike Smith to host a student assembly for sophomores and juniors along with a working group of students across all grades. The positive feedback was tremendous. Leadership teacher Katherine Walton sent a recent email regarding Mike Smith’s current video Rooted in Love, a call to action for all of us, in this unprecedented time, to find ways to build community, take care of one another, and stay rooted in love. It’s a terrific 5-minute video to sit down and watch together as a family. 

Finally, in case you missed it, the district sent out an email regarding student wellness by sharing guidance regarding the value of keeping family schedules consistent and highlighting resources for students during this unsettling time. The Wellness Center section of the APC newsletter will continue to provide additional guidance so you may want to check it out each week.

Please reach out if you have any suggestions for content or other ideas for this newsletter at president@acalanesparentsclub.com

Sending our extended Dons family a large virtual hug!

Dawn Brightbill and Sarah Cusumano

 

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