Weekly Notes from Head of Upper School, 5/20

Dear Upper School Families,

It has been my pleasure and honor to work with your children this year. Without a doubt, Palm Valley Firebirds represent the best of what young people offer today. Their ideas, their curiosity for learning, their dedication to each other, and their desires for a better tomorrow are admirable and visionary. There are two remaining weeks of school left, and soon students and teachers will enjoy some well-deserved time off.

Semester Grades
Reach out to teachers over the next two weeks if you have any questions/concerns/challenges.  Due to the unusual learning circumstances, communication is imperative. Please don’t hesitate to check in as the semester will end on May 29th, and final grades will be posted.

Senior Decision Day
May 1st was National Decision Day for seniors around the United States. We are pleased and proud to present the decisions for the Firebird Class of 2020. 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
Shayne Davis-Humboldt State University
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
Jenna Pace-Northern Arizona University
Charles Schnell-Emory
Trey Tadevic-University of San Diego
Josh Tyer-Laguna College of Art and Design
Renee Vazquez-California State University, San Bernardino
Castiel Yu-University of California, Santa Barbara
Doreen Yuan-Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta
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 Barbara, 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, Northern Arizona 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, Cal State San Bernardino
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, University of California, Riverside
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

Congratulations Class of 2020!  The plan for this year’s graduation ceremony is a physical commencement ceremony on Friday, July 31st.  Keep your eye out for more news in the future.

Contracts for 2020-2021 School Year
Contracts for next year are out and are due back by June 15. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 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
AP exams will finish up this week.  The college board implemented many changes this year, but students rose to the occasion.  Thanks to the AP teachers this year who did a phenomenal job preparing students for their exams.

Class Schedules for 2020-2021
Students will soon be receiving a google form with options for their classes for next year.  This google form is used in the scheduling process as a starting place for next year’s classes.

Locker Clean-Out and Chromebook Drop-Off
Wednesday, June 3, and Friday, June 5 will be the scheduled days for locker clean-out and Chromebook drop-off for Upper School. Students will be scheduled during this time to maintain social distancing protocols. Masks will be required while on campus. You will receive an email with your scheduled time for locker clean-out and chromebook return the week of May 25. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent keeping a scheduled pickup appointment, please contact Dr. McLachlan directly.

Voluntary Study Participation-Virtual Learning
Professor Bailenson, Director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and Professor of Education at Stanford University is doing a research study on the use of virtual reality and its behavioral and psychological impact on people.  They are seeking families with VR headsets to fill out this survey: (https://stanforduniversity.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8G3LCFOXQo4OJkF)

If you choose to participate, you will also have an opportunity to join the second part of the study involving four short questionnaires over a period of eight weeks. We will compensate the participants of the second part with a $30 Amazon gift card. The results of the survey will be kept confidential.

Upcoming Dates:
05/25-Final Exam Week
05/28-AP Exam Week 2
05/29-Last Day of School
06/03 and 06/05-Upper School student locker clean out and drop off of Chromebook

Dr, Kurt McLachlan
Head of Upper School