Monday Notes 9/11, Message from the Head of School

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

Dear Families,

Welcome back to our first full week of school! It's already been a wonderful start to the year. The energy that the students bring to our campus is palpable, and I love hearing about their summer adventures. Today is a day filled with great energy and excitement for the work that we do here each day, but as it is also September 11th, we are also solemn with remembrance. Our students were out at the flagpoles this morning on campus, lowering our flags to half mast in remembrance of those who lost their lives. While many of our students were not yet born in 2000 or were too small to recall the way that day felt, it's important that we do not forget and that we talk about it. I hope that you will share your memories of that day with your children and how the events of that day, the losses we endured, and the response that followed has shaped our country in numerous ways - even now. Our hearts and thoughts are with those families that lost loved ones in the attacks or the rescue response that followed. #NeverForget

In addition to remembering 9/11 today, our hearts and thoughts are also focused on the devastating happening with the Hurricanes and Earthquake down south. A student, 9th grader Erik Bearman, came by my office last week and asked what we were going to do to help. One of the things that I love most about this community is how giving our families and students are. I immediately started to work with Erik on a plan. We announced on Friday at the assembly last week that we would be doing a drive for several important items to help children, adults, and families in need. We are partnering with two organizations that provide basic supplies for those affected by Harvey, Irma, and other natural disasters. Students were asked to bring new, unused, and still packaged socks, underwear, and diapers in all sizes to help children and adults in families who have lost everything. We will be collecting those items at the assembly on Friday, September 15 of this week and we hope to "fill the stage" in the gym with kindness and donations to help others. Our students recognize this need and their "responsibility to self and others, " and this is just one way we can help. Please join us for the assembly and be sure to send in your donations if you feel so inclined. Teachers will also store items in classrooms if you wish to send early - they can all be brought up for Friday assembly.

Last, but not least - some good news to celebrate! Did you know that this is Palm Valley School's 65th year of providing excellent education to students in the Coachella Valley? As such, we are kicking off our Annual Firebird Fund campaign with a bit of flair this year! Three new giving categories have been added to celebrate our founding in 1952 and the last 65 years of excellence. By now, you should have received a letter from our Firebird Fund chair, Kimberley Yang, that outlines the reasons why our Annual giving campaign is so important. The gifts that you give to this effort comprise between 4-6% of our annual operating budget and allow us to do all the "extra" things beyond a basic education that your tuition provides. The Annual Fund supports our students, our faculty, and many programs on campus that would otherwise not exist. This year, we are offering three new acknowledgments for your generosity that will stand the test of time for another 65 years and beyond! These new categories are:

Bronze Firebird gift ($650) - An engraved brick added to the courtyard or entrance of a Division of the school that bears a message and our 65th Anniversary logo.
Silver Firebird gift ($6,500) - An engraved plaque on a wall installation that will be placed in the Administrative building and will bear our 65th Anniversary logo.
Golden Firebird gift ($19,520) - An engraved medallion that will be inset into the "Founder's Circle" outside the Administration building and will bear your message and our 65th Anniversary logo.

Special thanks to those of you who have already given your gift for the year and particularly those who purchased the 65th Anniversary recognitions. Our goal this year is to increase family participation to as close to 100% as we can. Every gift counts! Please remember that these and any other Annual Firebird Fund gifts are tax-deductible and truly do support the school in many ways. Every gift will be acknowledged in our Phoenix newsletter as well. We are grateful for the generosity of our families. However, be sure to act now and get these special category recognitions as we will only be selling them this fall! Additionally, they are limited in number, so please let us know if you are able to support us in these ways. You can also give a gift in honor or memory of a loved one, student, faculty member, etc. by logging on to our website and giving a gift online:

Thanks for all you do to support our student and school. We truly have the best families in the valley - it's great to be a Firebird!


Susan Rice
Head of School