Head of School Letter

Annual Report 2020-2021

Dear Walden Community,

In August of 1999, I stepped onto the Walden campus for the first time to interview with Tina Riddle, our beloved Pre-K Director, for the associate teacher role. At this time in the school's history, we had purchased and remodeled the North building. We were preparing to move into the newly designed Dewey-inspired classrooms, Walden's first dedicated art salon, and a library that occupied half of the building. 

Like any construction project, there were obstacles and opportunities along the way. I watched the community weather everything from installing a brand-new soil donation from San Marino High School to a delayed opening in my first year. The fifth- and sixth-grade classes relocated to Alverno High School until the building could open and took the city bus to Walden weekly to mentor classes. At the same time, I was broadening my pedagogy by being regularly inspired by my new faculty's expertise, dedication, and commitment to bring to life Walden's mission to elementary children. Throughout my 23-year tenure at Walden, I have grown and become a better learner, teacher, and leader through the contributions of others.

Within this Annual Report are stories that capture the voices and narratives that defined the 2020-2021 school year. You will read about our Director of Curriculum Kelli Dawn Holsopple's work with faculty to reimagine the Walden curriculum through iterations of changing public health guidance. You will hear from the parents who worked hand in hand with the school to uphold and reimagine beloved Walden traditions. This culminated in a graduation ceremony on the South yard to honor the lessons our Class of 2021 learned inside and outside the classroom. You will also hear from 20-year veterans like me who have developed their voice by bringing the mission to life for our students every day. 

Walden is defined by our past stories and our future potential. This Annual Report highlights the courage, creativity, and compassion that the Walden community experienced last year. Reflecting on the first few months of the 2020-2021 school year in which we provided two campuses—one in-person and one virtual—for faculty, students, and families reminds me of an essential truth that has remained present from those very first days in the Walden community. Relationships, experience, adventure, effort, and connections to the broader world through a lens of diversity, equity, and justice will remain essential facets of a Walden education, whatever the challenge. It's inspiring to see!

I am so grateful to the Walden community past and present for shaping the school we are today. I am also thankful for all of the students and their teachers who undertake each day to create habits, skills, and ideals that will genuinely last a lifetime. Read on to nurture pride within yourself for being a part of the Walden community.  



Terra Toscano
Head of School