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It was a very big Monday for Valley Vista School-#8217;s -#8216;principal-#8217;


The first day back from spring break was quite a day for Alafair Birmingham. She was Principal for the Day on Monday at Valley Vista Elementary School. She led the assembly, ran a school tour, supervised recess, emailed other elementary principals, spoke to photographer Scott Manchester from the Argus-Courier for the Kid Talk column, lunched with Miss K (Principal Emily Kleinholz) and Miss K's mom, and observed a lesson taught in first grade. What an action-packed day on campus.

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The fourth and fifth grade PEAK Pals at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School are sponsoring a Spring Food Drive for COTS. Students are collecting non-perishable food items this week to help those less fortunate in our Petaluma community. The schoolwide goal is to collect 300 items.

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The students in Ms. Crandall's fourth-grade class at McKinley Elementary School were finishing up biography reports the week before spring break. Each student chose a famous American that they felt made a difference in the world. As they researched, they focused on the life-shaping element of the person -#8212; influential people, events, obstacles and achievements. In addition to telling their life story, the students also had to write about the character traits the person possessed that enabled him or her to succeed despite the obstacles they faced.

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Several weeks ago, Lincoln Elementary School students were required to do a book report as if they are on the Food Network. The reports involve math by calculating the recipe to feed more than four people said principal Sandra Doyle. The recipe is shared with the class and students use their imagination when doing the presentation by pretending to create the recipe using paper items and play spices, combining the "ingredients" into pots or casserole dishes. When the presentation is done, the class samples the real recipe. Reports go on throughout the week, and students turn in their own recipe along with five family favorites. The recipes are combined and shared with each family as a bonus.

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Another fun pre-spring break day was when Dunham Elementary School students were able to enjoy their campus' new outdoor classroom setting. Students spent some time doing classwork while embracing the warm weather we all enjoyed mid-March.

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Recent St. Vincent de Paul High School graduate and current Dairy Princess for District 3, Francesca Gambonini visited students at both Grant Elementary and St. Vincent de Paul elementary schools this week. She shared information on "Where Milk Comes From" with the young students. The sixth-generation dairy girl who studies Dairy Science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, finds it exciting to teach the young students about how milk is a healthy and an important part of everyone's day. She shared that the most common question from the young students during her visits is, "Do you live in a castle?" She always happily replies, "Yes, and with a lot of cows."

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The Valley Vista Vikings are celebrating the school's annual Science Fair Showcase Thursday. Students are sharing their creative projects with friends and family in the campus multi-#8208;purpose room from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There are some awesome young scientists in our local schools.

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Kenilworth Junior High students were successful in their recent Jeans for Teens drive on the eastside campus. According to principal Emily Dunnagan, the students collected 166 pairs of jeans that were donated to an organization that distributes them to teens who are homeless.

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Dunnagan was also happy to share news of Isaac Raya, a history teacher at Kenilworth, who received an Eduwin Award last week at the state CUE -#8212; Computer Using Educators -#8212; Conference in Palm Springs. Raya had a cheering section of fellow Kenilworth teachers at the event congratulate him on his honor.

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Learn about transition kindergarten at McKinley School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 12. Contact Patricia Souza at 921-8499 or psouza@petk12.org for more information.

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(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and development manager for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at schools@arguscourier.com)