Montessori Education Week was celebrated last week at River Montessori in Petaluma with “Watch-Me-Work” parent visiting day taking place on Friday. Parents were fully engaged in their student’s lessons when they came into the classrooms and students took on the role of teacher and taught their parents concepts they are acquiring in class. It’s a very special event that River Montessori Families look forward to each year.

Last week, Petaluma Junior High seventh-grade science students went out to the Walker Creek Watershed and worked on watershed and habitat restoration in partnership with the Bay Area STRAW Project. Students participated in lessons given by STRAW Project speakers before they went out for their hands-on work. This is part of their ongoing study of ecology and what they can do to impact their environment positively.

Mrs. Kasper’s third-grade class at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School was proud to join forces with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an organization that funds research for children diagnosed with cancer. The students partnered with the nonprofit to host their own lemonade stand during lunchtime, donating all the proceeds to the national organization. According to Angela Stiveson, public relations representative for SVES, the founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Alex Scott, was diagnosed with cancer herself at a very young age. It was her idea to hold her own lemonade stand to help give money to doctors to help find a cure for children battling cancer. “By following her courageous lead, the third-graders at St. Vincent Elementary are learning that they, too, can help other children who need them, and be a part of making our world a better place. They are making a difference one glass of lemonade at a time,” shared Stiveson.

Congratulations to McKinley principal Matthew Harris for being selected to receive the Excellence in Education award as part of the Community Achievement program coordinated by the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce and the Argus-Courier. Harris was informed of the selection at Friday’s school-wide Character Assembly. The Mustang students and staff, along with Harris’ wife and children, celebrated the surprise announcement. It was a special day for all. Harris will be presented with the honor at the upcoming awards ceremony on April 20 held at the Sheraton Petaluma.

According to principal Jeff Williamson, one thing that energizes teachers and brings excitement to the classrooms at Old Adobe Elementary School is when teachers can purchase quality materials for their students through a partnership with Riley Street Art Supplies, in Santa Rosa. Williamson shares “this synergy of the teachers and staff developing quality art instruction is one more reason why Old Adobe is a place where art comes to life.” We cannot wait to see what these Roadrunner artists put on display for all to enjoy.

(Maureen Highland is a Petaluma mother and executive director for the Petaluma Educational Foundation. She can be reached at