Head of School Letter
Annual Report 2021-2022
Dear Walden Community,
“Surely joy is the condition of life.” This quote by Walden’s namesake, Henry David Thoreau, comes to mind as a surprising reflection of our 2021-2022 school year. Even though it was another hefty lift (Omicron did not make things easy), in true Walden fashion, we persisted and progressed. Walden faculty continued to grow in their practice, delivering our program with strength and intention. While ushering students and families back to full days of in-person learning and still offering a "Walden@Home" option for those needing quarantine, a highlight of the year was our California Association of Independent Schools accreditation visit on campus. After months of preparation and hard work by the entire staff, we were proud to showcase our commitment to childhood, academic excellence, innovation, and community engagement.
At a tearful Wednesday closing ceremony, one of the committee members commented about their experience on our campus during the three days. “Walden possesses an incredibly aligned culture across the faculty. Identity is celebrated in a myriad of ways across campus. Every constituency reported being seen, heard, and supported at Walden. The students, faculty, parents, and administration of Walden possess a joyful enthusiasm, respect, compassion, and a way of embracing and bringing to life the school's mission. I asked myself, if you came to my school’s campus right now, would you see this? Thank you for reminding me what is possible.”
We were thrilled to learn in July that we had been granted a maximum seven-year term of accreditation, which is a testament to the quality and excellence of the Walden experience and the dedication of our faculty and staff. This achievement validates our efforts and inspires us to continue striving to impact the lives of our students and the wider community.
Child-centered, student-driven performances retook place-before live audiences as we partnered with the local amphitheater at Farnsworth Park to showcase dance and song by eager Walden students at the Winter and Spring Sing. We finally brought our community together in person and online to celebrate The Power of W.E. in May. Our community celebrated Daphne Trager’s retirement after more than 25 years at Walden with speeches, alumni presentations, and a faculty flash mob. In true Walden fashion, the community raised their hands to help us refresh, restore, and refurbish the Barbara Martin Library after a three-year hiatus as a classroom/storage room. We were able to gather in person once again for year-end traditions, rites of passage, and celebrations; welcomed alumni back to campus for the inaugural alumni basketball game and the Class of 2016 reunion; and ended the year in a solid financial position due to fantastic Walden Fund and Parent Guild fundraising results. This also included announcing a transformational one-million-dollar gift to the Calleton Family Tuition Assistance Endowment and the newly added Margie and Robert E. Petersen Tuition Assistance Endowment.
Those who know me know I wear my heart on my sleeves. In a year of unpredictable moments, I found myself tearing up all too often. Indeed, joy is the condition of life. As you read through this annual report, I invite you to join me in feeling joy about where Walden stands today. I appreciate your support of Walden and look forward to a bright future.
Head of School