Weekly Notes from the Head of Lower School, 5/13

Dear Families,

As you know, in the fourth quarter, Lower School teachers are providing assignments and activities that promote reinforcement and mastery of foundational skills students need to succeed at the next grade level. Instructors are also providing mandatory and optional assignments and holding whole class, small group, and one-to-one virtual meetings to support and instruct your students.

In terms of grading, there is a wide variety of approaches. Some schools are using pass/fail grades, some are issuing grades based on the time spent in the classroom before Distance Learning began, and others are not grading at all, but simply promoting every student. Even universities are changing grading policies in the face of this new reality.

After much thought and consideration about what is best for our Lower School community, I have decided to change the report cards for the fourth quarter from letter grades to a narrative format. Teachers will note students’ growth and include suggestions for the summer. Many families and students are experiencing added stress due to the current situation, and it is important to be sensitive to everyone’s emotional health and allow flexibility. This is the best way to evaluate students in the midst of the pandemic. The PVS Lower School will return to traditional summative and formative assessment and grading when all our students return to classrooms. 

As a result, we will not be awarding Fifth Grade Honor Roll students for the second semester. To qualify for High Honor Roll or High Honor Roll, students need to earn a specific grade point average, with no Cs, in all classes, for both quarters in the semester. 

Looking ahead to next year, we will begin offering Spanish in the Lower School and continue weaving Global Studies into the classrooms. Learning another language broadens students’ global awareness and sets the stage for global competency. Students acquire a broader perspective and gain insight into their own language and culture. The goal of our Spanish Curriculum in lower school is not primarily fluency, but overall exposure and introduction. This course prepares our students extremely well for their middle and high school foreign language experience.

Our virtual Lower School Talent Show will air on Friday, May 22nd at 3:00 pm! Here is a link to a flyer with all of the details: Click here Please note, submissions should be sent to me in Mp.4 format, be no longer than three minutes, and received by Tuesday, May 19th.

As per Dr. Sherman’s email on Monday, I will be making appointments for parents to come to campus to return school-issued devices, library books, library bags, textbooks, and other items. and retrieve your student’s belongings after the end of school on June 2nd and June 4th. We will practice safe distancing protocols and have a no-contact system to do so. Drop-off and pick-up  information will go out in next week’s e-blast.

I enjoyed speaking with Lower School students over the phone this week. If you haven't signed up for an appointment and would like to schedule a time for a call, please do! Being mindful of parents’ needs, I’ll be scheduling these with you via this document: phone call sign up You can sign your child up for a quick call on a specific day and time. The information in this document is confidential and will only be seen by me.

Due to COVID-19, Palm Valley School has delayed the date of contract rescission from May 1 to June 15, 2020, for tuition agreements for the 2020-21 school year. I will be contacting families this week to check-in and answer any questions you may have going into the new school year. Please know that you can email me, fisher@pvs.org or Abby Sturgeon, asturgeon@pvs.org at any time to have your questions answered.

It is hard to believe the end of the year is upon us! Our final day of school is now May 29. I know this year’s school year closing routines are different, so please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.


Francene Fisher
Head of Lower School