While not every site visit includes a walk, every single one is worth a mention! It’s time to talk about two other visits I made when I was in California not too long ago! Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School and Nixon Academy of Multimedia Arts Production were the two stops rounding out my Valentine’s Day visits.
Stop 2 of the Day
Yes, really! As I was in Irvine for Stop 1 (Santiago Hills Elementary) of the day, I hit another adopter in town, Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School. There I had a 10:30 a.m. visit to the classroom of Esther Lau.
A fifth grade teacher, Ms. Lau had received her Walking Classroom materials through a direct purchase in November of 2017. Another fifth grade teacher at the school, Christopher Rhodes, had been implementing the program since the school’s initial purchase in 2014.
Located in Irvine, Tarbut V’Torah is a Jewish community day school, with a sprawling 21.5 acre campus that includes modern facilities and playing fields. The campus is separated into a lower school, serving students in grades TK-5, and an upper school, serving students in grades 6-12, with the upper school sitting up a hill above (literally!) the lower school. Led by Head of School, Dr. Jeffrey Davis, Tarbut V’Torah was founded in 1991, and serves nearly 500 students.
Inside . . . then Out!
After signing in at the office, I was led to the classroom by a staff member. Each of Ms. Lau’s class of about 15 students was at standing desks while she checked their journals. As we had limited time for my visit, the students quickly got their WalkKits. They cued up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (4-#64, Combined-#123), a podcast to which they had listened once before, and we got moving! We headed outside, walking around an open courtyard, then heading up to a large field around which we walked twice before the podcast drew to a close.
After this, we made our way back to the classroom, where the students quickly looked over the comprehension quiz. As it was nearly time for their next activity, I shared some Walking Classroom items for Ms. Lau and the class, then stopped by Mr. Rhodes’ class to drop off a little something for him as well.
I found my way back to the office and signed out, just in time to hop in the car for a nearly 30-mile northeast drive to my next destination.
Stop 3 of the Day
The final stop on my Valentine’s Day voyage was a 12:30 p.m. visit to the classroom of Kristina Whiteman at Nixon Academy of Multimedia Arts Production. Located in Cerritos, the school has been a neighborhood staple for 42 years. In fact, Ms. Whiteman herself had been a student there!
Originally known as Pat Nixon Elementary School, the school has twice been recognized by the California Department of Education as a California Distinguished School, in 2004 and 2008. Since becoming a magnet school in 2010, it has made the California for Business Education Honor Roll several times and been a recipient of the Golden Bell Award by the California School Board Association. Serving nearly 800 students in grades K-6, Nixon Academy is led by Principal Melinda A. Ortiz.
As the time was fairly close to the students’ lunch period, this visit was more of a meet and greet opportunity. A fifth grade teacher, Ms. Whiteman has been using The Walking Classroom for over three years, having first received her program materials through a purchase in March of 2015. As her class size has grown over the years, she had recently purchased additional materials, funded by a grant for which she had applied.
I signed in at the office, where two students met me. This friendly pair served as my guides, leading me to outside and then to the classroom. A welcome poster with a class photo in the center and student signatures surrounding it, greeted me on the door!
I entered the room to a warm welcome. The students decided they wanted to first share with me a video they’d made to get the grant which had provided the recent funding. It was amazing!
Then, it was “Q and A” time, and there were a lot of questions . . . about the program, about Mrs. Fenn and the podcasts, and even about me! Soon though, it was time for lunch. I remained to speak with Ms. Whiteman and a fellow teacher. We welcomed the students to pop back in with their lunches if they had any additional questions or just wanted to chat. Several students came in for some conversation and lingered until the lunch period was over.
Time to Go . . .
Once all the students had returned to the room after lunch, we quickly wrapped up the visit with a group photo and some Walking Classroom parting gifts. I bid them a fond farewell, then I hit the trail, making my way to my hotel.