Monday Notes from the Head of School, 3/4

"If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney

Dear Palm Valley Families,

What an incredible weekend this was. Our Annual Fundraising Gala took place on Saturday at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage and by all measures, it was a huge success! We are so grateful for the efforts of this year's Gala committee: Dr. Athena Brasfield, Lindsay Davis, Mary Gray, Eve Fromberg, Audrey Kassinove, Miguel Gomez, Walter Gaines, Courtney Fisher, Jodi Wiseley, and Andrea Turner. These folks met weekly leading up to the event and put together everything from decor to ticket sales to acquiring items and more. It was a lovely evening and I am so grateful for their help and yours! We were able to raise almost $50,000 in the Raise the Paddle for Safety and Security measures this year. Thank you to everyone who bought seats, tables, raffle tickets, glow necklaces, Casino bucks, underwriting, ads, and more. It truly takes a village and this community is incredible in how we support these students through fundraising. From the bottom of my heart, a sincere thank you! As a note, our online auction is still running, so you still have an opportunity to help us out this year. There are some incredible items still available - don't miss out!  Please take a look at these great items and bid, bid, bid!

Another success at this year's Gala was in honoring Gail Gordon Kocen, beloved and longtime member of our community. Gail was a PVS Parent, Volunteer, Donor, and Trustee. She was a tireless volunteer and completely committed to the success of our great school. We established the Gail Gordon Kocen Volunteer of the Year Award this year to honor her memory and the example she set for us all in what volunteerism means. I was so pleased to present our two award winners this year David Mulé and Kathy Laule. Both of these wonderful people have dedicated many hours to serving the community of Marywood and/or Palm Valley Schools. Their generosity in freely giving their time, talents, and support is incredible. The slate of nominees this first year for the award was also impressive and included some extraordinary people that deserve recognition as well: Brian Mauerman, Christa Jones, Colin Kirkpatrick, Eve Fromberg, Jason Huskey, Cherise Sonderman, Leslie Scheil, Mary Gray, Cindy Habibipour, Sally Hawthorne, and Sharon Denyer. Congratulations to all the nominees and to our outstanding award winners. A plaque with award winners will be hung in the Administrative Building.

I am pleased to announce a new tool that we will be introducing for all classrooms K-12. We are the newest member of the PenPalSchools collective. PenPalSchools is an incredible new program that will allow us to facilitate both our efforts in project based learning, but also to achieve our mission of helping students contribute to our global society. PenPalSchools is an online forum that connects content areas of all kinds. Lessons and materials are available for students and teachers to choose from, in both academic and other areas such as social-emotional learning, technology, digital citizenship, environmental concerns, news headlines, and more. Then, the 300,000 students from 150 countries interact on that topic. They can grade others responses, and they receive feedback on their own. This is an easy and familiar way to teach kids about digital citizenship while they are engaging with the perspective of students from our global learning community. Entering into a classroom in the global sphere allows students to engage in conversations and discussions on a broader level beyond our own classrooms. This is a protected forum and only approved students, teachers, and administrators can see what's posted. There is a lot of information for parents as well to engage and see what students are learning. I highly encourage you to check it out and learn more here:

We have a slate of incredible offerings for our Parent and Family Education Series this spring. Whether you are interested in learning more about Early Childhood Resources, the NoBully program at PVSRaising Responsible Children, Diversity and Gender Identity, or How to Finance your child's College Education - we have great events planned with knowledgeable presenters and rich content. Each forum is designed to have both a community learning aspect and a Q/A session. We hope that you will take advantage of attending these sessions, most are free or with a small charge. By clicking on the links above, you can register today. Our community is stronger when we learn and grow together. I look forward to seeing you at one or all of these great events!

Lastly, we are so grateful for all families who have turned in their enrollment contracts for the 2019-20 school year. We are preparing for another incredible year with our returning students and families, and will be welcoming many new ones! As a reminder, if you have not yet turned in your enrollment contract, please do so as soon as possible, as the deadline was last week. We need those turned in to estimate our staffing needs and scheduling of classes for the fall. We were made aware that a few families did not receive theirs in the mail, so if you did not get yours - please contact the Business Office this week to have it resent. We look forward to our continued partnership in helping your students reach their academic potential and being their best self!

Thank you for all you do! Have a great week!

With gratitude,

Susan Rice
Head of School