Weekly Notes from Head of Upper School, 4/29

Dear Upper School Families,

I hope everyone is staying healthy through these challenging times.  If you have questions for teachers about distance learning assignments, projects, or you simply want to check in with your students’ classes, don’t hesitate to reach out and include student advisors as well.  Communication is key during this difficult time.  In addition to class projects and assignments, Advanced Placement exams add to this busy academic time.  End-of-the year event information is upcoming, so please keep your eye on Palm Valley communications.

Senior Decision Day
May 1st is National Decision Day for seniors around the United States.  The list below includes the decisions for the Firebird Class of 2020.  It will be updated weekly for our Firebirds, and we wish them the very best as they move on to the next chapter of their educational journeys:

Shelby Armor-Bates College
Sydney Armor-Middlebury College
Angus Gregg-Columbia College Hollywood
Claire Jenkins-University of California, Berkeley
Luke Langlois-University of Southern California
Hannah Makkai-University of Southern California
Lawrence Nelson-Harvey Mudd College
Brennan Nick-Stanford University
Charles Schnell-Emory
Trey Tadevic-University of San Diego
Josh Tyer-Laguna College of Art and Design
Castiel Yu-University of California, Santa Barbara
James Zheng-University of California, Davis
Wilton Zuniga-Johns Hopkins University

Congratulations to seniors with their college acceptances:
Shelby Armor - Chapman University, University of Oregon, Sarah Lawrence College, Bates College, Occidental College, Bryn Mawr
Sydney Armor - Allegheny College, Bates College, Dickinson College, College of William and Mary, Middlebury College, Hamilton College
Shayne Davis - California State University Channel Islands, Humboldt State University, Virginia Tech, University of Oregon, University of Puget Sound
Angus Gregg - Columbia College Hollywood, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Sacramento, University of San Francisco
Claire Jenkins - Florida Institute of Technology, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Davis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, UC Berkeley
Luke Langlois - University of Utah, University of California San Diego, University of California, Santa Barbara, UCLA, George Washington University, USC, UC Berkeley
Hannah Makkai - University of Denver, Lewis and Clark College, Loyola Marymount University, University of Oregon, University of the Pacific, University of Puget Sound, Cal State Monterey Bay, University of San Diego, Occidental College, San Diego State University, USC
Lawrence Nelson - Harvey Mudd College
Brennan Nick - Georgetown University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, USC, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Stanford
Jenna Pace - Weber State University
Charles Schnell - Belmont University, Biola University, Indiana University Bloomington (Jacobs School of Music), Pepperdine University, Texas Christian University, Emory, University of Michigan
Trey Tadevic - University of Arizona, Cal State Long Beach, University of San Diego, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of California, Santa Cruz, San Diego State University
Josh Tyer - College for Creative Studies, Otis College of Art and Design, Laguna College of Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta, Woodbury, Cal State Monterey Bay, Art Center
Renee Vazquez - Humboldt State University
Castiel Yu - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of California, Santa Cruz, University of California, Riverside, University of California, Davis, University of California San Diego, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of California, Irvine
Doreen Yuan - University of Oregon, University of Arizona, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta
James Zheng - University of Oregon, University of Portland, Seton Hall University, University of San Francisco, Seattle University, University of California, Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz
Wilton Zuniga - Luther College, University of Portland, Seton Hall University, University of the Pacific, Wisconsin Lutheran College, University of Pittsburgh, Brigham Young University, University of Florida, Johns Hopkins University, University of Utah, University of Colorado, Boulder

Supporting Palm Valley Students
Thank you to all families who have contributed to Palm Valley through the Richard Brooke Foundation.  We appreciate and value your contributions.  Over the next few days, please consider a gift to support PVS students, faculty, and programs that mean so much. With the loss of three Spring fundraising events, your gift will ensure that our school can continue to thrive in this time of challenge.  The Richard Brooke Foundation, who are already major donors at the PVS, generously offered us an opportunity to match any donations received until May 1, 2020 - up to $50,000!!  We recognize this is a difficult time to ask for additional donations, but every dollar counts, every gift makes an impact, and we want to DOUBLE your generosity with this matching grant. Even if that means turning in your contract and deposit, or taking care of the majority of your tuition in May or June.

A big thanks to the Richard Brooke Foundation and those families and community members who have already donated to the school. It is your support in this time of need that will fuel us into a successful next school year. #TogetherWeGive CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

Graduation Survey
Palm Valley is now under the Riverside County Health Department order for campus to remain closed through June 19. As such, we are currently making a few changes to the structure for the end of the year activities, and of course, for our awards and our graduation and promotion ceremony. We remain committed to providing the most fulsome experience for our students that is possible given the circumstances that remain out of our hands. We are particularly proud of our students, who see their sacrifices this year in a positive light that serves the community's health and safety. However, it's important to acknowledge that many are mourning the loss of important milestones this year. We want to do what we can to celebrate them and all their accomplishments. As such, we currently have tentative plans for a virtual promotion and graduation ceremony this spring and to have a physical, rescheduled graduation ceremony for our current seniors and their families in late December of 2020 to reunite on the campus and be together for a celebration and small ceremony.

We are still working on the details of a virtual celebration. However, we really want your input to make this event very special and meaningful. Please take a moment to complete this survey to share your thoughts, ideas, and give input for how that event might take place. We are planning on a combination of live/interactive and pre-recorded footage to showcase our speakers, choir, and our 5th, 8th, and 12th grade students in a format similar to our traditional graduation. Please take a moment to give your thoughts about this in a survey found here.

Contracts for 2020-2021 School Year
Contracts for next year are out.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.  Scheduling for next year’s classes will begin soon, and it is important that contracts are received for scheduling.  Dr. McLachlan and Abby Sturgeon will be reaching out to you directly to answer any questions for next year.  Upper School class scheduling for the Fall will commence soon for students who have contracts turned in, so please have those contracts signed and submitted as soon as possible.
AP Exams
This year students will be taking their Advanced Placements exams from home.  AP exams are scheduled for the weeks of May 11 and May 18.  AP teachers have received the schedule for all AP exams and will continue to share that information with students.  On exam day, students will receive an invitation sent to their email accounts to complete their AP exams.  Over the next two weeks, students will be provided with all necessary information for successful exam completion.

Video Project for Social Media
If you would like to help promote the school by sharing your experience with #PVSDistanceLearning thus far, please send a short selfie video clip (up to 15 seconds) to our Director of Admissions and Marketing, Abby Sturgeon at asturgeon@pvs.org. Please note that Abby will use these video clips to share on social media and show off how skilled our student body and teaching staff is by moving to virtual learning - we are still one of the only local schools offering this program! Please include the following in your video clips:

1. Your Name
2. Your Grade
3. Favorite Part of PVS Distance Learning (ex. the creative projects the teachers are providing, your favorite virtual class/subject, how easily your teachers/classmates have transitioned to online learning, collaborating with your classmates, etc.)

 If you'd like to participate, please send Abby the short video clip via email.

Upcoming Dates:
05/11-05/22-AP Exams


Dr. Kurt McLachlan
Head of Upper School