Kenwood Press

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Glen Ellen Telegram: 03/01/2015

Glen Ellen Telegram

If you listen carefully you’ll hear all the signs of spring in Glen Ellen: song birds, wind in the trees, folks sniffling from their allergies! And, you might hear the rustling of paper as Dunbar students are madly turning the pages of their books.

There is a whole lot of reading going on as the “Dolphins” are near to wrapping up their annual participation in the nationwide event, Read Across America. For more than a month, all of the students log their nightly reading minutes and pages to help “read” the Cat in the Hat across the country to Glen Ellen. If the students reach their reading goal, Dr. Seuss’ iconic character will arrive at the elementary school on Friday, March 6, for the culminating event, and to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. On that Friday students are treated to a day of great fun visiting with the Cat and enjoying being read to by community members, parents, and other volunteers while munching on popcorn. The school can always use volunteer readers for that day so if you have 30 minutes to an hour to spare, please contact principal Melanie Blake at

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) famously said, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” It seems that these Dunbar Dolphins will go far because they don’t focus on reading only during this event. Reading is heavily supported all year and throughout all grades, but there are several progressive programs that are on-going and laser-focused on reaching the district’s reading goals.

A targeted language arts program called Grade Level Proficiency Project has now been in place for the 2nd/3rd grade classrooms since 2012, and the results have been astonishing. Second graders went from 17 percent reading at grade level to 45 percent, in just the first five months of the program. This year the program expanded to include 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students. Principal Melanie Blake reports that “to help support this momentum, the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood donated iPad mini’s for use in kinder classrooms as practice toward becoming familiar with the technology that is being used in these progressive programs.”

Another reading program that is now in its third year is Schools of Hope. Teacher Renea Magnani was the first Dunbar coordinator and she explains that the program “initially targeted 1st grade students who were identified as reading well below grade level, but it has now expanded to other grade levels.” The Schools of Hope program is sponsored by the United Way via the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, with site coordinators helping to organize and train volunteers. The current volunteer coordinator at Dunbar School is 4th/5th grade teacher Nora Alexander-Short. She says, “We are always looking for new volunteers willing to make a difference in the reading literacy of our students.” According to the website, a Schools of Hope tutor must make a minimum commitment of 30 minutes with a student once a week during the school year. After going through an orientation and training, volunteers work with kinder through 3rd grade students in literacy-based skills, and complete a tutor log at the end of each session. Interested adults can contact Nora via or through the Dunbar School office at 996-6070.

Buzz from Around the Bend

Mark Perry
Tragically, Glen Ellen lost a native son and rising star just days ago. Architect Mark Perry was killed in a vehicle accident near Petaluma on February 21. He is survived by his wife Tracy, baby daughter Alanna, and his parents Tom and Ellen, all of whom live in Glen Ellen. Mark was an alumnus of Dunbar School and former teacher Mike Witkowski was stunned and devastated upon learning the news. “We recently saw him and the baby walking in the regional park; this is so sad,” he said. If you didn’t know him personally, you certainly saw his work. The newer house on the small triangle plot of land at the beginning of Robertson Road was his creation and residence. The family is planning to set up a scholarship fund but as of writing this we don’t yet know the details.

In happier news, Glen Ellen’s Emma Handron has been named to the dean’s list at St. Bonaventure University where she is an undeclared student. This Franciscan university in New York was founded in 1858 and is known for it’s world-focused, value-based, liberal arts education.

The Glen Ellen Veterinary Hospital wants everyone to know that they have extended their special on dental work. All dental work for your pets will continue to be 25 percent off through the month of March.

Next month I’d like to focus on the new regional park (North Sonoma Mountain) and other old/new favorite hiking spots – please send me your reviews and stories of how to properly enjoy spring in our little hamlet!

Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email, or call 996-3352.

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Community Calendar

Al Anon meeting
Funky Fridays concerts at Hood Mansion
Oakmont Farmers Market
Sierra Garden now open near Oakmont
GE firefighters annual BBQ Dance
Solar viewing and star party at observatory
Help raise funds for Trione-Annadel
Help raise funds for Trione-Annadel
Kenwood Community Church service
Kenwood Hometown 4th of July - pancakes, parade, shindig!
See it all during fireworks hike

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