Dear Families,

Welcome to our 2017-18 school year!  Every year at CSCA, we strive to build upon the foundation that comes from already knowing most of our students; we do this by continuing tried and true methods, as well as integrating exciting, new ideas that have come through reflection and collaboration.

New or continuing this year:

•             Chess Club will be offered on Thursdays, 2:30-3:45, from Sept 14-Dec 14 for 2nd through 8th graders.

•             Sol Acting Academy will be working with our whole class once a week from Jan-April or May.

•             We will offer choir this year during the school day, taught by Ms. Kathy.  You know her as our bookkeeper and admin asst., and she is also part                of a choir called New Mexico Peace Choir.  They just traveled to Vienna to sing for peace!

•             Exciting new field trips, attached!  Please return permission slip by Aug 17.

•             Many field trips align with our science topics for this year, plants, energy, space (in that order)

•             We will have an overnight camping trip (1 or 2 nights, each student’s choice) in partnership with Cottonwood Gulch (Bachechi Open Space).                    We are aiming for a weekend in May, more info to come.  As part of our field trips, we will have a practice DAY camp on Sept 21 at Bachechi                  Open Space. The cost for the overnight trip in the spring will be approximately $160-180 per person (adults and children are same price, cost is                same whether you stay 1 or 2 nights), due midyear to CSCA.  This overnight trip is not part of CSCA’s budget, nor is it funded by CSCA; we                    recommend that students consider earning this money within their family throughout the year or by doing personal fundraising (separate from                  CSCA’s school field trips).  Again, more exciting info to come about this memorable, end-of-year experience!

•             Fundraisers per trimester this year are popcorn sales first trimester, a new book sale with Usborne Books second trimester, and silent auction                   third trimester.  Thank you for your support!

•             A few fundraising restaurant nights will be scheduled soon for the year.

•             Parent Night Outs will be scheduled soon for Sept, Dec, Feb and April.

•             Spring Fling Dance is on again and will be scheduled, most likely, the Thur. before Spring Break, March 16.

•             Same full curriculum and schedule of math/literacy in the morning, and Spirit Time, specials, and writer’s workshop

•             More on specials: Monday will be PE day, Tue. will be both art and music every week, and Wed. will be science or social studies.  We are                         excited to offer both art and music every week, rather than alternate weeks as we did last year!

•             Art will be taught by Ms. Joan who is trained and experienced in the Art in the Schools program.  She has been preparing a rich curriculum                       with a variety of projects.

•             Elaine Bogard and Ms. Kathy will be volunteering to assist Ms. Val in Spirit Time with topics, which will be shared in the newsletter.

•             One of our Fall service projects involves working with Feed the Kids, a nonprofit organization which fills backpacks of food to send home with               kids in need for the weekends from their school.  We will be holding a food drive, beginning now through Sept 28.  I hope to send a menu of                     requested items soon from Feed the Kids organization, but I do know the menu involves individually packed, easy to open, nonperishable foods               and snacks such as mac and chz bowls, individually packed snacks like dried fruits or crackers, peanut butter, etc.  I thought it might be nice to                 know now that this is coming, as stores are filling their shelves with back-to-school snacks on sale.

This is YOUR community, and the evolution of CSCA is following your kids and your suggestions, as well as our own teacher observations and reflections.  Thank you for bringing your unique personality to our school community!  We are noticing and listening!

Our staff remains the same, wonderful team as last spring:


Holly Wu, director and primary teacher

Works Mon, Tue, Thur 8:45-4 and Wed 8:45-12:30 and remotely most Fridays


Val Sahyoun, teacher

Works Mon, Wed, Thur 8:45-4 and Tue 8:45-12:30 and remotely most Fridays


Joan Ellis, educational assistant and art teacher

Works Mon 8:45-12:30, Tue 8:45-4 and Wed 8:45-1:45


Christi Rein, educational assistant and extended care provider

Works as EA Mon-Wed 12:00-4:00

Extended care before/after school M-Th & most Fridays, as scheduled with Christi


Kathy Azar, bookkeeper and administration assistant

Works Mondays from 10:30-4:00ish



Primary Grades Highlights from Ms. Holly:

•             In math, we will begin the year with some informal performance-based pre-assessments for placing students into conceptual, balanced math                     groups.

•             We will implement folk tales for literacy in order to read, write, speak and listen.

•             We will be enjoying sensory integration experiences, inspired from the summer sensory camp such as making a speedometer for monitoring                      how our engine is running, various “focus movements,” tubs or containers of various touch experiences, and more.


Announcement and Reminders—


1.            Volunteers, background checks are due please.



2.            Wed, August 23, 1-4 pm: There will be a required volunteer training for ALL those that wish to receive the volunteer discount.  This will be interactive training beyond our past volunteer training experiences.  Volunteers will learn how to manage and interact with students in helpful ways, tips on how to support the classroom, Thursday chaperone scenarios and needs, and more.  This will help volunteers decide if volunteering is indeed a fitting role for you next year.  Volunteers, you will receive volunteer credit ($50) off August for attending this required training; otherwise, full tuition rate will be due for August.  Thank you very much for your commitment to what our kids need.  Please bring your calendars!

3.            Field trip permission slip (DUE Aug 17), field trip sign-up for volunteers, supply list, CSCA Family Handbook, CSCA Family Handbook signature page (DUE Aug 17).



Reminder of upcoming dates:

1.            August 16 at 9 am, school starts!  Bring school supplies, backpack, water bottle, lunch and snack.  Students dress ready to walk to and play at the park in the warm sunshine (comfy clothes and tennis shoes preferred).

2.            Wed, August 23, 1-4 pm: required volunteer training for those that wish to receive the volunteer discount


Upcoming Life in Our Classroom Thursdays at a Glance, chaperones TBA:


August 17                            Regular Class Day due to short week

August 24                            Soilutions Farm

August 31                            In-Class Service Project: create CSCA compost system

Sept 7                                   Regular Class Day (due to Labor Day off)

Sept 14                                 Botanical Gardens; 2:30 begin chess

Sept 21                                 Bachechi Open Space day camp program

Sept 28                                 In-Class service projects: Feed the Kids; garden car


With Enthusiasm for a Beloved School Year,


(505) 850-7916 school cell





Intermediate Updates from Ms. Val:


Welcome back to a fantastic new school year! I am so excited that we will be able to be in a small classroom with natural light instead of the board room this year. I am working to make the space feel comfy and conducive to learning. Math and Literacy will be taught with a balanced approach, and differentiated to meet individual student’s needs. We will also be integrating the “How Does Your Engine Run ” program that will help students become more aware of their bodies and brains and how to use simple movements to regulate themselves. I know most of the students are also excited to be in “the big kids’ class” and they look forward to the extra responsibility they have as leaders in a multi-age setting. Together with parents, I know we will make this a wonderful year of learning and growth.




Spirit Time from Ms. Val:


The first 2-3 weeks of Spirit Time will be spent getting back into the routine and having the kids understand the purpose of Spirit Time and how they can use it to re-set themselves mid-day. As always, we will begin with 5-10 minutes of quiet meditation time. Then the students can continue to meditate or choose something else to do quietly like read, draw, color, build, knit, etc. An optional lesson is then presented for those students who want to participate. For the first 2-3 weeks of school we will be reading and discussing books from the Free Spirit Learning to Get Along series. The book titles are: Know and Follow the Rules, Be Polite and Kind, Listen and Learn, Be Honest and Tell the Truth, Talk and Work It Out, and Try and Stick with It. These books will be used to help the students set the foundation for classroom norms. There are some activities that go with the books, so we may spend more than one day on each book. Even though most of the students are returning from last year, it is important for the new group to build community and be reflective about what did and did not work the prior year and generate ideas on how to improve. Community building needs to come from the students and not teacher directed. We will use the book series as a starting point for conversations, and the students will help develop our community norms and expectations with teacher guidance.




Art notes from Ms. Joan


I am really really excited to be working with our students in art this year.  Our very first project will be to create and decorate water bottle slings. The strap will be a blank canvas that our artists will decorate “comic strip” style.  If you do not already read some of the “Sunday Funny Papers” with your students, now is a good time to introduce them to a very simple form of storytelling.  Art and literature are friends. We are hoping to have enough quilt batting for all of them so that their water can stay cool through the trek to the park.  The slings will stay at school to encourage hydration at recess.

We will combine math and art by measuring their water bottles and doing the math to create a custom holder.  Please remember to send your student with their regular water bottle the first week, so they have good measurements to work with.

More fun art projects in the works!