Dear Freshwater Families,
I hope that you have all been enjoying a fun-filled summer and are getting ready to shift gears as we begin another school year. The teachers have been working hard preparing their classrooms and lessons for your children, and a special thanks to John Andrae for all of the time and effort he has devoted this summer to making our school and grounds look beautiful as we prepare for another great year at Freshwater.
I am happy to share that we have made significant facility improvements at Freshwater this summer, and the majority of our Prop 39 Clean Energy Act projects have been completed. We had a new 39 kW solar array installed above the Kindergarten wing and were also able to procure a new roof for that wing in the process. Adding these new solar panels to our existing ones will bring us closer to “net zero” energy use, and we will start to see those savings immediately. In addition to installing new LED lights in all of our rooms, we also replaced our failing 61-year-old water heater in the kitchen with a new tankless on-demand water heater. Finally, this fall we will replace our old halide lights in the gym with new LED hi bays, further reducing our energy demands.
Though these Clean Energy Projects have upgraded our school, there are still significant facility upgrades and renovations that need to be made at Freshwater School. Our last general obligation bond was passed in 2000, and our current Board of Trustees recently refinanced those outstanding bonds at an extremely low rate which will save the District’s property owners approximately $35,000 over the next eight years. We are planning to work with an architect this fall to develop a School Facility Needs Analysis for our entire campus to identify the major repairs and upgrades that need to be made. Based on the results of this analysis, the Freshwater School District will then consider placing a general obligation bond measure on the June 2018 ballot in an effort to provide our students with an even better learning environment by making repairs and upgrades to our existing school facilities. We will provide updates as we continue to work on making new improvements at Freshwater School.
When you return to school you will notice a few new faces on campus this year, so please introduce yourself and extend a warm Freshwater welcome when you meet them. We are excited to introduce Business Manager, Jessica Farley; Afterschool Program Director, Kelly Monaghan; Music Teacher, Anna Pinsky; and First Grade Teacher, Carrie Hurst, who will be Mrs. Cookman’s long-term sub while she is on maternity leave this fall. We are still firming up our final hires, but we also welcome Melissa Vasquez who will be aiding in Mr. Pierce’s class, and Katie Lohrke who will be aiding in Ms. Holmberg’s class this fall. We are thrilled to have these new staff members join our “Freshwater Family” as we begin another school year.
I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the Freshwater Community Club for its continued support of Freshwater School. Our school campus and programs continue to improve largely due to their ongoing generosity. This year they have donated $15,000 to our Technology Fund and $10,000 to our Athletics Program. Thanks to their generous donations, our students will continue to benefit from technology upgrades in their classrooms and sports equipment and supplies for our athletic program. Thank you Community Club for continuing to enhance our classrooms, programs, and campus at Freshwater School!
School resumes on Tuesday, August 29th, and we will continue our traditional red carpet welcome for our students. It is always an exciting day to see all of the smiling faces of our new and returning Freshwater Dolphins eager to find their friends, teachers, and new classrooms. Freshwater School is such a special place to work, learn, and grow, and it is truly an honor to be a part of the amazing staff and community here. Though we continue to experience regular staff turnover each year, we are somehow able to maintain that intangible quality that makes Freshwater so special. Maybe it’s having the consistency of Suzie Nickols on campus for the past 54 years that sets us apart from other schools; she truly is an inspiration and I am so grateful for her sustained commitment to making Freshwater the special place that it is!
As usual, there will be many opportunities for parents to get involved at Freshwater this year. In addition to volunteering in the classrooms, our families are invited to work in the garden & kitchen, as well as attend School Site Council, Board Meetings, Community Club, and Freshwater Educational Foundation meetings. Please check the bulletin each week for notices about these opportunities. If you would like additional information on any of these programs, please call the office or make an appointment with me. Thanks again for all that you do to make Freshwater the incredible school that it is, and it is my pleasure to work with you again this year.
I will look forward to seeing you on the red carpet Tuesday, August 29th!