Weekly Notes from the Head of Lower School, 5/9

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." - Cardinal Meymillod

Dear Families,

This Sunday is the time we take to honor our mothers, our “second mothers” and those special women who have helped shape our lives. I wish all of you a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Students in the Lower School will be taking standardized assessments at the end of May. Like most independent schools, Palm Valley students take the CTP IV and the WRaP Writing Assessment. These are given through the Educational Records Bureau, (ERB), which is an organization that provides admission and achievement assessment for public and independent schools around the world.

The Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP IV) is a rigorous assessment of high achieving students in reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, and mathematics. Verbal and quantitative reasoning subtests are part of the CTP beginning in Third Grade. The CTP IV helps compare content specific, curriculum-based performance to the more conceptual knowledge base found in reasoning tests.

First through Fifth graders will take the CTP tests the week of May 21st - 25th. Standardized testing is just one piece of the puzzle that shows student achievement. There is no way to study or prepare for the CTP IV, but teachers do work with students on test-taking skills, and review. Scores are sent home in the summer. I’ll be giving information on the WRaP assessment in next week’s email.

Students are working hard after school preparing for the production of Wiz of the West. Please join us for the performance on Saturday, May 12th at 3:00 pm or 5:30 pm. Tickets are $5.00 for students and $10.00 for adults. See Erika in the Lower School office to purchase yours.

Next week, students in Kindergarten through Second grade will learn about a new scouting opportunity for boys and girls. They will be bringing information home next Wednesday. In the meantime, you can click here for details: https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/lion/

Our Annual Spring Sing is coming up Thursday, May 17thThe students have a fantastic show planned for you. The performance will be at 8:30 am in the gym. Dress uniform is required.

Please join us for our first annual Flapjacks for Families on Friday, May 25thPalm Valley School families are welcome to join us for this pancake breakfast in the Administration building courtyard starting at 7:30 am.

As the year draws to a close, there are a few changes to announce: Mr. Ursin has decided to pursue other opportunities in education and will not be returning in the fall. He recently told me, "I'm grateful for the opportunity that I had at Palm Valley School. I am thankful for all of the people I have met along the way."

Mrs. Hendrick, who moved here from Utah to join Palm Valley School, will be returning there this summer due to a wonderful job opportunity for her husband. When she let me know she said, "Teaching at PVS has been a phenomenal experience, and I am so appreciative of everyone welcoming me with open arms. Thank you for all your help and support, and I have loved being part of the Firebird Family!"

We are very excited to announce that we have hired Mr. Noah Kelly to join the Lower School faculty in Third Grade next year. In addition to his Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts from Humboldt State University, Mr. Kelly has a Master's Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. He has taught in independent schools for several years and is coming to us from The Town School in New York. During his interview, Mr. Kelly said, "I love teaching 3rd Grade because children at this age have such surprisingly sophisticated and innovative ideas. We learn from them just as much as they do from us." I know he will be a great addition to our faculty and community.

Please join me in wishing Mr. Ursin and Mrs. Hendrick the best in their future endeavors. While it is always difficult to say goodbye, I look forward to the future and know it is going to be a fantastic year. Can you believe, we only have four weeks left?


Mrs. Fisher
Head of Lower School