Monday Notes from the Head of School, 9/24

"The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values." - William Ralph Inge

Dear Palm Valley Families,

I recently had the pleasure of attending our first Parent Coffee of the year with our Preschool families on Friday. What a joy it was to listen to the various topics of interest and questions that many of the parents in attendance had. The rich conversations that ensued were so illustrative of the level of care and consideration that our parents have for their children and our great school. As a parent myself, I was struck by a couple of topics, one of which was about the academic approach of our Preschool program. While our philosophy at Palm Valley School is that play is the work of children and learning is happening all the time, sometimes parents get worried that their child will fall behind if they aren't pushed academically at an early age. I found this article to be particularly helpful in understanding the desire and the effects of pushing children into structured "academic" goals too early and why letting them learn to love school is age-appropriate and important developmentally in the long term. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I look forward to seeing more of you at the various grade level coffees scheduled throughout the fall. Additionally, please note that I will be hosting two "all school" coffees for parents and families of all our students to discuss large school-wide topics such as our progress on the current Strategic Plan (Vision 2020) and our plans for the future, including the next phase of strategic planning to pick up where Vision 2020 leaves us in two years. Join me in the MPR on Thursday, November 1st and Thursday, November 8th at 8:30 am.

I am thrilled also to announce our Gala theme for this year! Our 2019 committee has been working hard already planning for our most significant community and event fundraiser of the year. Held this year at the Ritz Carlton - Rancho Mirage, our theme is "Puttin' on the Ritz!" Be sure to save the date on your calendar now and join us on Saturday, March 2nd. Tickets will be on sale soon! Special thanks for all the work by our committee: Mary Gray, Audrey Kassinove, Eve Fromberg, Athena Brasfield, Courtney Fisher, Jodi Wiseley, Walter Gaines, and Andrea Turner who are meeting weekly to plan this fun night that supports our students and school. This year, we will feature a Fund-A-Need/Raise-the-Paddle for school safety upgrades. Our Administration and the Board of Trustees' Committee on Risk Management have identified several structural upgrades needed on campus to match our procedural and updated policies for safety and security.

Additionally, I am pleased to announce that we will be instituting a new award to be given to a Palm Valley community member at our Gala this year. The Gail Gorden Kocen Volunteer of the Year award will go to a member of the community who has demonstrated passionate care and dedication to volunteer efforts at our school. Gail was a tireless and devoted volunteer at Palm Valley for many years, having served as a room parent, class chaperone, fundraiser, donor, Parent Association President, and member of the Board of Trustees even beyond the graduation date of her two "lifer" sons. Her passing was unexpected and a huge loss for our community. Gail is a shining example of what volunteerism means, and it is a small honor in her memory to recognize those of you in our community who also exemplify the commitment and care to the service and support of our school community. A nomination and selection process is being established and will be announced soon. A representative from the Kocen family will be in attendance to give this special award. Thanks to all who gave gifts to this year's Annual Fund to both honor the legacy of service that Gail gave to us, and to help #FeedTheFire for current and future members of our community.

Lastly, if you have not yet heard about our Fall Festival, it is coming up this October! Our Annual Fall Festival is a great way to meet new families, faculty, staff, and students. This day is a time for our community to come together and have fun! This year, our Fall Festival is happening on Saturday, October 27thfrom 3 pm - 6 pm. There are games, booths, a costume contest, and activities for all ages and admission is FREE! We welcome all our students and families and remember, this event is open to the public, so invite your neighbors and friends to attend, too. Get your Halloween costume ready and RSVP today! We are still looking for volunteers to help make this a success, so please contact our PA President Sally Hawthorne at to sign up!

Happy Monday, everyone!


Susan Rice
Head of School