John Baldwin Elementary School

Programs Funded by CEF

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CEF Supports Art Education

Your Cougar Education Fund donations build creative thinkers.

In recent years, school curricula in the United States have shifted heavily toward common core subjects of reading and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up. This is why CEF continues to pay for an Art teacher at John Baldwin.

Developmental Benefits of Art

Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children.

Language Development: By elementary school, students can use descriptive words to discuss their own creations or to talk about what feelings are elicited when they see different styles of artwork.

Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Visual Learning: “Parents need to be aware that children learn a lot more from graphic sources now than in the past,” says Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University. “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.”

Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives.

Cultural Awareness: Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.

Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.


CEF Supports Physical Education

Your Cougar Education Fund donations build strong and healthy kids.

The Physical Education program at Baldwin focuses on physical fitness and wellness, movement skills and knowledge, social development and interaction, self-image, and individual excellence.  One P.E. Specialist, with the assistance of a CEF-funded P.E. Instructional Assistant, coordinates and provides instruction twice a week for students in grades 1-5.  Lessons include activities involving small groups, teams, partners, and individual activities. The Presidential Challenge is implemented in grades 1-5.  The Fitnessgram occurs in 5th grade. 


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CEF Supports Our Science Program

Your Cougar Education Fund donations build inquisitive minds.

The twenty-first century poses many challenges to our students and to our schools. We need to educate students to be effective thinkers and build the skills they will need to compete in this global world. In science this involves inquiry based experiences, critial thinking and the ability to comprehend expository text. Our students need to problem solve and apply the content they are  learning to real life situations. I’m proud the families of John Baldwin Elementary not only understand this challenge, they help their children meet this challenge. Our students are fortunate to have such a generous parent community,

Through the Cougar Ed Fund, science is made a focus of your child’s education. Because of CEF, Science Specialist, Teresa Pierce is able to see 4th and 5th grade students twice a week. She can provide rich, hands-on activities and also teach the difficult task of reading, comprehending, and note-taking of expository text. Cultivating effective reading and writing skills is crucial for students throughout their academic careers.

The Cougar Ed Fund also provides support to teach inquiry labs to students in 1st through 5th grade. Twenty-first century learning is happening in science! Students are exposed to the multiple resources Mrs. Pierce is able to find through various staff development, workshops and science conferences and the wonderful equipment she has been able to amass through CEF fundraisers.

Because of your continued commitment to the Cougar Ed Fund, the students of John Baldwin will continue to have a solid foundation in science.

CEF Supports our Music Program

Your Cougar Education Fund donations build an appreciation for music by paying for a credentialed Music teacher.

The music instruction approach used by Music teacher, Rebbecca Jaffee, for the TK-5th grade general music classes is from an Orff-Schulwerk perspective.  The Northern California Orff-Schulwerk Association wonderfully describes the Orff approach as “weaving together the strands of speech and poetry, movement and dance, singing, drama, improvisation and playing musical instruments. Classes take place in a non-competitive atmosphere where joy, play and exploration lead naturally to the pleasure of making music with others.”  Through fully exploring elemental music, learners can make music truly their own. 

In addition to the rhythm instruments and barred Orff instruments that are used in all of the general music classes, Third graders are introduced to the recorder

TK – 3rd Graders have a 45-minute music class once every other week, and the 4th and 5th graders come once a week.  It’s not much time, but Mrs. Jaffee does her best to fit in a lot of music making!

Fourth and Fifth graders are offered the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through a once a week “pull-out” program.  Interested students may choose to learn the flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion, or violin.  In these classes students are introduced to music reading, instrumental techniques, and ensemble playing.

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CEF Supports Reading Intervention


Your Cougar Education Fund donations build lifelong readers.

Reading intervention at John Baldwin is a highly effective and powerful program for readers who need some extra support. The goal is to help students reach their grade level expectations in reading. This program serves approximately 70 students in grades K – 5.  Classroom teachers recommend students they feel could benefit from some extra small group time.  The Reading Intervention teachers are in constant communication with the teachers in an effort to directly support what teaching is going on in the classroom. In primary grades, the focus is fluency, phonics, word attack, self- monitoring, written responses and comprehension work.  Most of the service provided for primary students is done in the classroom, usually pulling groups to the side and reading along with them.

We also work with students individually in an effort to build their confidence and their skills.  In upper grades, Reading Intervention teachers typically “push in” to the Reader’s Workshop that takes place in the regular classroom.  The focus is on demonstrating higher level comprehension skills and applying these strategies to their own books by utilizing their Reader’s Notebooks. 

We meet with the children in very small groups, or often times one on one. Students are constantly assessed and sometimes exited if grade level expectations are met.  More than anything, the Reading Intervention teachers strive to create lifelong readers who are confident in their skills and take on a joy of reading.

Click here to learn more about CEF's Fundraising events and programs

The John Baldwin Cougar Education Fund is an affiliate of the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation. For more information, visit

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