Monday Notes from the Head of School, 1/28

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Dear Palm Valley Families,

As January comes to a close, we have so much to celebrate. Last week, we held our January "Buddy" assembly. Much like a regular Friday assembly, but we sit with our buddies and experience student and faculty announcements and cheer on our Seniors as they ring the gong for each college acceptance. I have come to love these buddy activities and events for many reasons. Seeing our youngest Firebirds watching so intently those Seniors running to the front of the gym to ring the gong is inspiring. These kids really practice our value of "responsibility to self and others" in those moments of mentorship with their buddies, and it's an incredible thing to see. I encourage you to join us for any of our Buddy activities throughout the year, we love having parents and families join in on the fun!

It is with great pleasure that I am announcing nominations for the Gail Gordon Kocen Volunteer of the Year award. As many of you know, Gail Kocen was a pillar of our community. A long-time parent, she and her husband Bryan, have two sons (David '17 and Sam '15) who graduated from Palm Valley School as lifers. She was a former Room Parent, a Parent Association President, and most recently served as the President of the Board of Trustees. The impact of Gail's leadership and volunteerism at Palm Valley School will be felt for years to come. She was an inspiration to many, and a tireless volunteer to the school for many years and in countless ways. To honor her name and spirit, and to recognize the myriad other parents who give their all to support our school, we have established this award in her name. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for all the volunteer work they do at Palm Valley School, you can nominate them here. Whether you drive carpool for field trips and away games, put together snacks for classroom celebrations, or volunteer to be Room Parents, Parent Association members and officers, and even our Board of Trustees - you are an important and invaluable volunteer who help make our school such an incredible place. The online nominations are open through FridayFebruary 15th and a committee will then select the winner to be announced and awarded at the Puttin' on the Ritz Gala on Saturday, March 2nd. A perpetual plaque will be hung in the Administrative Offices to reflect the annual winner. Please consider nominating someone today!

I know that you have received calls and emails about our Annual Fund and I want to thank those of you who have heard the call and given. We are a school that has struggled for years to reach a strong participation percentage and this year, our goal is to push beyond that boundary. In my personal experience in Independent Schools, and in reading and learning about our peer schools, many reach the 90-100% participation level each year with ease. Participation in the Annual Fund is a standard request in schools like ours; it's a critical part of our operating budget and covers many of the important programs and extras that tuition doesn't cover. The most successful independent schools are those that have the support and backing of the community and participation in the Annual Fund is one of the ways we ask for that support. Our overall parent and family percentage this year currently sits at around 40%, a statistic that we report and use in a variety of ways from accreditation to grant applications. Please help us to reach a higher percentage that truly demonstrates how much our parents and families do to support our school. Every donation matters and counts in participation. You can make donations anonymously, or give them in honor or in memory of a loved one. While our Annual Fund will continue all year, this is the last week of our Class Competition to challenge every class to reach 100%. Whether you can give $10, $100 or $10,000 - we need and appreciate your support! Please consider giving this week to earn your spot at our Family Ice Cream Social this Friday afternoon at 3:30 pm in the MPR. Give online here or visit the Business Office to give in person.


Susan Rice
Head of School