Principal's Message

Photo of Stuart Caldwell, principal
3/15/20

Friday Letter: Celebrations & Extraordinary Times

I know that this letter is coming out late. I’m sure that you all understand that, in light of the current
circumstances for our district and many in our state and nation. This week’s letter was planned to be one
of celebration. It still is.
• It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory
when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate
your leadership. Nelson Mandela
• Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods. So let us
celebrate the struggle! Stevie Wonder
• Life is too short not to celebrate nice moments! Jurgen Klopp
This past week was full of celebrations. Here’s a bit of a public reminder for all of just what some of those
things were:
1. Our PTA was reconstituted. We now have a full PTA Board who are committed to supporting our
teachers and staff. This group came together under the guidance of the PTA’s District 33
leadership. Please look for more communication from this wonderful group of our Parent
Partners.
2. 31 of our parents were honored at the Board Meeting on Wednesday. These parents had all
completed the Factor Parenting classes. I wrote about this last week but it bears pointing out that
this event was so extraordinary that our County Administrator, Dr. Torres and our Board took the
extra step of public recognition at our Board meeting.
3. Five of our Woodworth-Monroe special education staff were recognized by the board for their
extraordinary services with our students in special education. Those staff members include four
of our teachers, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Rowe, Mr. Blanco, Mrs. Obregon, and one counselor, Mrs.
Domecena. Woodworth-Monroe had more honorees than any other school in our district.
4. Ms. Johnson and Mr. Kumabe presented on how we are implementing our district’s Theory of
Action. Mr. Kumabe did a great job! With all due respect to him and his efforts, Ms. Johnson stole
the show. She was amazing and her mother and sister were in the audience to witness the same.
Ms. Johnson was the first to volunteer to have her class filmed with the idea of helping everyone’s
learning. I know that she won’t be the last from our school, as we have amazing teachers doing
great things all across campus.
Finally, I want to take a moment to celebrate something unique. Friday was among the more
extraordinary days in my career in education. To provide some context, I still remember exactly where I
was during the events of 9/11. I was in a classroom at Brookhurst Junior High in Anaheim when a
neighboring teacher called me over to see his television. The news was striking and shocking. This
Friday’s events were equally shocking but for different reasons. People were a bit on edge, wondering
about their families and our district’s response to the containment strategies being implemented by other
districts and schools across the state and nation.
Woodworth-Monroe TK-8th Magnet Academy
There were quite a few things to celebrate as the news slowly unfolded about our
district’s decision to shutter for the next couple of weeks. The thing that stood out to
me on Friday was the fact that our teachers – who were aware of the developing news
of school and district closures – were still bringing their A-Game. They were teaching our kids like they
do every other day. They exhibited calm, practiced professionalism throughout the day. Leadership calls
for us to be calm and reasoned in the face of great challenges. Our teachers and staff did a wonderful job
of doing just that in the face of the uncertainties of Friday. This approach helped our students and
families to understand our difficult decision to shutter the schools for the next two weeks. It kept our
campus calm and focused.
This past weekend I found myself working with district staff on our plans for the coming weeks. I also
found myself working to help my own family prepare to have our children at home for the next several
weeks. My wife and I went to Costco to purchase our usual weekend things and to try to make sure that
we had some store of basic supplies. We showed up one hour early and found ourselves to be about
number 200 in a line of well over 500 folks. The Tustin Costco had police present to make sure that
things stayed orderly. The staff were only letting a certain number of folks in at a time and then the
process turned similar to surfing San O (e.g., one person out, one person in). Though it was orderly, it
was evident that things are different now. I spoke to many parents who are wondering what they will do
with their kids at home out of school. We are all dealing with these challenges now!
I’ll share further that one of my brothers lives and works in Seattle with his wife and two small children.
He shared that Seattle is running about two weeks ahead of everyone else in the unique circumstances
caused by the pandemic. He shared that folks have calmed down a lot. They have realized that commerce
has continued; that stores still have stocks of necessities; and, that things are accessible. Folks are having
to adjust to things like Social-Distancing, but they are adjusting and moving forward. We will too!
I am so very proud of all of you and the heart, professionalism and caring that you bring to our students,
families and each other.

It’s great to be a Mariner!
Stuart Caldwell
Principal, Woodworth-Monroe TK-8