The Puma Pride

Week of June 8, 2020

Message from the Principal

Hello, Willow Dale Families,

I hope this message finds that all our families are well. It is hard to believe that this is the last week of school. Within this newsletter, you will find dates, times, and procedures about the end of year activities.

This end of the year brings a mix of emotions since it will be so different than those of years past. Distance learning has been challenging for everyone. Given the events that transpired over the last few weeks, these have been the hardest for our students, families, teachers, and administration. While virtual classroom meetings have provided opportunities for discussion and support, these cannot replace the physical classroom where administrators, teachers, staff, and counselors are available in-person to meet the needs of our students, and especially to give hugs when necessary. Please know that we are all here, albeit at a distance, for any student or family that needs us during these difficult times.

Willow Dale has a rich history of valuing diversity, through respect, kindness, and in celebrating the uniqueness of everyone. Our community made a commitment over ten years ago to prioritize a positive culture, which includes purposeful, age-appropriate instruction, and discussions about diversity, racism, bigotry, and bullying. As a “No Place for Hate” designated school for the tenth year in a row, this year, the projects that the entire school community participated in, validate that we must continue with and include more instruction on these issues.

We are fortunate to have supportive families and a community that has reached out to see how they can support our school and community. Our Counselors, Mrs. LaRose and Mrs. Zemitis have provided an overview of the projects we participated in, as well as resources in tandem with our school librarians, to assist our families in engaging in a meaningful discussion surrounding racism. Yesterday, CNN, in partnership with Sesame Street, hosted a Town Hall: Coming Together on Racism. The Town Hall provides guidance for parents to facilitate discussion, answers to questions from children, and elementary age-appropriate explanations about racism. This link will take you to the CNN website that includes several videos of the Town Hall.

Although Willow Dale is a loving and strong community, we all need each other to lean on during these difficult times. Please reach out to me or any of the staff if you or your child(ren) need support. Together we can make a difference.

We look forward to seeing our fifth-grade students on June 12 and K-4 students on June 15. The final communication for the year will be sent on the morning of June 12. Enjoy the remainder of your week.

All the Best,

Dr. Perkins

Mr. Julius

At Willow Dale, we are committed to the No Place For Hate promise!

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Willow Dale is a No Place for Hate School!

Willow Dale will be designated as a No Place for Hate school for the 10th year! Each year we design and participate in school-wide activities to promote the promise of the No Place for Hate program (treating everyone fairly, being kind to everyone even if they are not like you, respecting diversity and bullying prevention.)

This year our projects were:

  1. Teammates - Classroom teachers read the book Teammates by Peter Golenbock and led a discussion about how "Jackie Robinson became the first black player on a Major League baseball team when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, and how on a fateful day in Cincinnati, Pee Wee Reese took a stand and declared Jackie his teammate. " This true story illustrates how one very courageous man broke the racial barrier in the Major Leagues and what it truly means to be “teammates.” After the discussion of segregation, Jackie's importance to the Civil Rights movement, and PeeWee's courageous acts of being an ally, students watched a short video about being an upstander and then practice and role-play the six bully BUSTER strategies outlined by Michelle Borba.

2. I Walk with Vanessa - Classrooms viewed the book I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoet. It is a beautiful wordless picture book that powerfully illustrates bullying and the positive effects of being an ally/upstander and how it just takes one person to lead others to join in and help the target. The project was a nice follow up from our first project about being an ally/upstander and giving students the tools for noticing when a classmate is in need of support and ways to be supportive and be an upstander for the classmate.

Willow Dale considers this important partnership with the Anti Defamation League a priority as we strive to create physical and emotional safety in our classrooms where students can be themselves and express their personal feelings about sensitive topics. The principles of what the No Place for Hate program stands for and promote are at the forefront of our nation right now, with the tragic murder of George Floyd. To support conversations with your children about racism and the events happening in our nation currently, our librarians compiled a list of many excellent books in the link on race, racism, and resistance.

Our partners at the ADL also provided resources that may be helpful at this time.


Adult Resource Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations about Race and Racism As a society, public conversations about race and racism have increased in volume and intensity. Here are some suggestions and strategies for having classroom conversations with young people about these issues.

Adult Resource How Should I Talk about Race in My Mostly White Classroom?

Strategies for discussing race and racism in classrooms of predominantly white students.

Adult Resource Establishing a Safe Learning Environment Here are some tips for establishing an environment in which young people can discuss sensitive issues safely and productively when challenged to explore and articulate their personal feelings about sensitive topics in the classroom.

Adult Resource Moving from Safe Classrooms to Brave Classrooms Classroom guidelines established around a framework of safety don't always help those who feel marginalized to be brave enough to express strong feelings and ideas. Learn how to create brave spaces instead of just safe ones.

Fifth-Grade End of School Year Events

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June 12 Homeroom Order and Schedule

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5th Grade Map

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K-4 End of School Year Events

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June 15 Homeroom Schedule for Drop Off & Pick Up

  • Teachers will be available to wish their students goodbye at the times listed

  • If you have students in multiple grade levels, come by at the time that is most convenient for you.

  • See the Procedures below.
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Map Grades K-4

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Drop-Off and Pick-Up Procedures

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Last Day of Distance Learning: June 12

Willow Dale Elementary School

Willow Dale Elementary School creates a safe and caring atmosphere focusing on growth through innovation, risk-taking, and character development in order to foster the success of all students.

#WDPuma Pride