Here is just a snapshot of some of the inspiring work that took place this summer that would not have been possible without funding from our 3-2-1 Fund!
We were able to extend admissions offers to many wonderful families this year. Did you know that fifty percent of our 3-2-1 Fund budget went to offer financial aid to families who need it? We are proud of the community support that allows us to offer a significant amount of financial aid to families who want to join The Valley School community!
Professional Development, Curriculum & Materials
Valley School Faculty members formed our first DEIA Cohort committed to improving our learning and efforts in the areas of Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity and Access at The Valley School. Teachers worked over the summer with Gillian Toledo, Director of Teaching & Learning at Valley, and Dr. Heather Clark. Dr. Clark currently teaches at the University of Washington, and Rainier Scholars, a local non-profit educational program. She conducts trainings for organizations that desire more diversity but realize there is something about the culture of the organization that may be hindering that goal. Ms. Clark’s training sessions explore the cultural shift an organization is experiencing, and are intended to empower the organization to understand their own cultural values, cultural norms, and the changes that happen when new people are introduced into their culture. Each teacher participated in a workshop and had time to work on a specific area of curriculum for the 2018-19 school year. Thanks to the 3-2-1 Fund, teachers were paid for this additional, important summer work. Some examples of these curriculum projects include:
- David Dunkley, our new music teacher, is updating and enhancing our All School Sing songbooks. He is compiling songs that will introduce our students to a diverse range of musical styles, sounds and musicians, while highlighting some of our old, Valley School favorites as well.
- Katie Rose, our Upper School Science Teacher, applied the DEIA lens to her entire science program and planned curriculum around presenting under-represented scientists and topics related to diversity in our science lab.
- Neurodiversity is the term we use to describe how we learn and think differently. Erica chose to explore this topic further, with a specific focus on learning differences as part of her 4th Grade Brain Unit. She researched and collected books about protagonists with learning differences and created lessons to go with these books.
- The aftercare program has big plans to find new ways to include the diversity of our families into monthly themes. Roanna and Louis plan to kick off the year with a bulletin board showcasing photos of our families and sharing their traditions and backgrounds within the activities she has planned.
- Laura, our 5th grade teacher, created a collection of books and lessons with an SEL focus (social and emotional learning) which also demonstrated some aspect of diversity, to use as read aloud books in her class meetings.
- Jill focused on her Five Senses theme in Pre-K. She found additional books and community members who can visit the classroom and share their own experiences from a perspective that would be different than people who have use of all five senses.
- Sofia reached out to guest artists from across the Seattle area who have diverse backgrounds to share their art and background with our students. She also planned amazing Art Museum field trips connected to her curriculum.
- In Kindergarten, Lindsay is applying her diversity workshop work to her colors unit, specifically sharing how various cultures around the world experience and celebrate color.
- Kevin Miller, a new Valley teaching assistant, spent his time learning about Valley school family demographics and how we can connect to local parks, museums, landmarks and other educational resources in this area. This compilation will help inform a 1st grade unit about our neighborhood and parks.
Finally the entire Valley School faculty and staff participated in two in-service trainings with Dr. Heather Clark. We focused on key definitions, learning frameworks, and Universal Design, a curricular approach to increase access to learning for all students. Heather is helping Valley navigate change, explore our culture, and strengthen a diverse, inclusive community through meaningful conversations and trainings. Heather will continue to work with faculty and staff throughout the year and will be meeting with parents as well. Stay tuned for more information about a family event later this year. We feel very fortunate to be working with her.
As you can see, your generous support of our 3-2-1 Fund is already making a positive impact on our entire community. We look forward to another successful year of community giving to the 3-2-1 Fund! The 2018-2019 3-2-1- Fund will kick off on September 10th. We look forward to your continued support.