Monday Notes from the Head of School, 1/8

"An investment in education pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Dear Palm Valley Families,

Welcome Back and Happy 2018! I hope that each of you had a few weeks of rest and celebration with beloved friends and family. I was lucky enough to spend some time at home, but also here at school with other Administrators working together over the break. As I have been fulfilling the duties of Admissions Director these last few months, I have had the pleasure of giving tours and meeting new families interested in our school. Over the last two weeks, we were fortunate to have many families, both locally and from out of the area, visit our school and even sign contracts to start this spring or next fall as Firebirds. It's been a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them in that phase of their journey at Palm Valley School and I look forward to what their future here will bring! Our school is continuing to grow and that is very exciting to me.

That said, it is with great pleasure that I want to introduce to you our new Director of Enrollment Management, Shannon Markel. Shannon most recently comes to us from Toledo, OH, where she and her family currently live. Shannon is an experienced Admissions Director and Enrollment Management expert in Independent Schools. Like many of us, she began her career as a teacher, teaching 3rd through 5th grades at the Willows Community School in Los Angeles, and progressed to Administration. She holds a BA in Business and Economics from Mount Union College and an MA in Elementary Education from Lesley University. Her career in Enrollment Management has taken her to experiences in both Urban Independent Schools (The Washington Market School and Claremont Preparatory, both in New York City) and in more Rural area markets (Maumee Valley Country Day in Toledo, OH and The Foreman School in Litchfield, CT). Her depth of knowledge regarding Independent School Admissions - best practices in using local demographics and marketing, data management and utilization, recruitment strategies, and much more, will be invaluable to the continued growth that Palm Valley School hopes to attain over the next decade.

When Shannon first reached out to me about the position in November, she wrote: "...I pride myself on my organizational skills, my attention to detail, my ability to learn and master new technology and databases, and my effectiveness as a communicator. Throughout my career, I have worked closely with parents, faculty, and staff, and other school Directors to make the enrollment experience seamless and enjoyable for parents and children. I have also had the opportunity to organize countless admission and recruitment events. I enjoy working with feeder schools to build relationships that will create a lasting positive impact on enrollment. I have effectively collected, tracked and analyzed data to identify enrollment trends and make predictions, and I can honestly say that I enjoy this aspect of my career as much as I enjoy working with families and building a school community." As someone who is passionate, experienced and knowledgeable about Independent School education, Shannon is going to fit right in with our already stellar Administrative team. She will start her new role in July and we are very excited to have her whole family here with us! Welcome, Shannon!

This month is very busy at Palm Valley School, so I just want to highlight a few upcoming events. On Saturday, January 21st, from 1 pm-2:30 pm we will have our first ever Toilet Training Class taught by our amazing Toddler Teachers, Kaira Beach and Jennifer Traub. In addition to being on Faculty at our school, these ladies are also parents. They are both very dynamic teachers and knowledgeable in the areas of child development and toilet training for babies and toddlers. We already have 30 community members signed up, but there is space for more! This is a great way to introduce other families to our school, share a free resource for new parents, and to have an opportunity for us to roll out our new (coming this summer or fall) Infant Care Program. If you have an infant or toddler at home or know someone who does and might be interested, please reach out and share the link found here for the Toilet Training class. The course is free and open to the public!

Our last of three Open Houses will take place on Sunday, January 28th from 1 pm-4 pm. This is a great way for prospective families to check out our campus and facilities, meet our faculty and staff, and learn about our curriculum and programs. However, it's also a great way for current families to learn more about the next grade level up, meet teachers and administrators in other grades/divisions and to become acquainted with the programs offered in other areas of the school. Particularly if you have children in Pre-K, Grade 5, or Grade 8 who are moving Divisions next year, this is a wonderful opportunity to see and learn more. The Open House will offer hands-on activities in every classroom and Faculty who are available to talk about their classes and to answer any questions that you might have. Please invite your neighbors, colleagues, and anyone with school-aged children, but I also hope to see each of you there! You can register for free here or just show up to join us!

Lastly, our 2018 "Casino Royale" Gala will be taking place on Saturday, February 10th from 6 pm-11:30 pm at the gorgeous Tamarisk Country Club. The evening will feature cocktails, a casino, dinner, auction, a raise the paddle and more. Additionally, you can stay for dancing and martinis with the DJ in the After Party! So far, we have sold 175 tickets and are quickly nearing capacity. If you are planning to attend, I strongly urge you to buy your tickets soon before we sell out! This annual event is our most important fundraising event. It allows us to come together as a community with a common goal of supporting our students and programs through philanthropy and fundraising efforts. It's not too late to purchase tickets or even a table.

Additionally, we are still in need of auction items, sponsorships, and underwriters for the event. This is a great way to support our wonderful school through a donation of any goods or services that your business may be able to offer - or through the purchase of a sponsorship or program ad that will market your business or personal message to the Palm Valley School community and beyond! Please support this event through your attendance or donation. To purchase tickets, tables, program ads, or sponsorships, you can do so online here or by calling our Business Office at 760-328-0861. To make a donation of a service, good, or discount through your business, please contact Courtney Fisher at Thank you for your consideration and for your continued generosity and support of our students and community.

I am wishing each of our Palm Valley Families a healthy, happy, and productive 2018! Let's make it our best year yet!

Susan Rice
Head of School