Life at Valley

The Valley School Auction - Community at Work and Play

Events like The Valley School auction on November 7th, take the collaborative efforts of many parents and students. The annual auction has historically been a time that parents can contribute to the school in a wide variety of ways. The planning committee is at the heart of it all, organizing and firming up details that result in the event running smoothly. In addition, there were parents in each classroom that headed up the class art projects, including the one in the photograph above, class reps who sent auction communications out, parents who donated to the auctioned items, photo books that were created of all our students, sixth grade alumni who helped at the event, volunteers who set up and cleaned up, and all the parents who helped make the auction a success by bidding on the items.
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On Friday, October 30th, Valley School students and faculty participated in a traditional Halloween event, by parading around the block of our Madison Valley neighborhood. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors, including two neighborhood horses, lined the block to watch the procession. Students and parents look forward to traditions such as The Valley School Book Awards, the faculty Halloween Play, family outdoor camp, Friday all-school sing, Winter Extravaganza, Spring Art Show, buddies, fifth grade camp at Islandwood, and many multi-cultural celebrations throughout the year. Our Community Alliance of Parents (CAP) is creating new traditions, with our second community Carnival scheduled for May. At Valley School, we embrace childhood and recognize it is a time to cherish, not rush.
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Buddy Walks and Mosaic Towers

Pre-Kindergarten students have been creating their own pet rock characters, complete with colorful hair, googly eyes and facial expressions. When it was time to build homes for their pet rocks, Jill introduced her students to the book, The Wonderful Towers of Watts for inspiration. The book tells the story of "Old Sam" who created the towers of Watts in Los Angeles by incorporating pieces of tile, glass, wood, pottery and mirrors into a huge mosaic art installation in his neighborhood.

Coincidentally, Jill discovered a nearby home right here in our own Madison Valley which was also inspired by the Towers of Watts and the strange and beautiful artwork of Simon Rodia. Only problem, it was eight, uphill blocks away. Fourth grade buddies to the rescue! The two classes made the trek together and discovered our very own Towers of Madison Valley. This week the Pre-K students are building their own "towers" complete with pieces of wood, sticks and even tile.
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Colorful Dream Houses in Kindergarten

For a recent Kindergarten art project, students were encouraged to make their own dream house after we read The Big Orange Splot. In the book, Mr. Plumbean gets a big orange spot on his house but instead of painting over it and making his house look like all the other houses again, he adds to the splot and creates the house of his dreams. He inspires his neighbors to create the house of their dreams too and soon all of the houses on the block are unique reflections of the people inside them.

Kindergartners created their own unique houses by first drawing different lines to create the outlines of their houses. Then they cut out their creation and added areas of color with crayon. Next, the artists applied watercolors over the line and crayon areas, utilizing the watercolor resist technique. To finish, they glued their house to a background. What a creative community!
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Fall Educators Conference

On Friday October 9th, all faculty from The Valley School attended the NWAIS (Northwest Association of Independent Schools) Fall Educators Conference. We joined our association colleagues for a day built around Transformative Moments: The Journey to Inclusive, Welcoming Schools. There were over 1,000 educators in attendance, over 55 sessions to choose from, and lunch time meet-ups with those who shared an interest or role. Professional Development for Valley School faculty is designed in a variety of ways over the year, with this conference’s intention to bring us together with peers. Opening Keynote speaker MK Asante started off the day with a powerful story of his journey and how he overcame the odds he was born into. Drawing on his own life, he inspired the audience to seek out the heeling, redemptive power of art, education, and personal inspiration. The attached photo is the graphic facilitation of his speech by Maketa Wilborn.
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Celebrating 30 Years in Style

On Saturday, October 3, a warm and wondrous fall day in Seattle, Valley School celebrated its 30th anniversary! The campus buildings were open, including the new upper school classrooms for third through fifth grade, the remodeled administration building, and the new library resource center in the lower level of the Big Room building. There was live music provided by Bakra Bata Steel Band (alumni parents Michael Schantz and Ceda Clemmons), and speeches by Alan Braun, Head of School, Pat Overy, Founder, and Victoria Mabus, President of the Board. And of course, there was birthday cake! Current families, alumni parents and alumni students as well as current and former faculty were in attendance.
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Curriculum & Coffee Anyone?

Gillian Toledo, our new Curriculum Coordinator, thinks she has the best job in the whole school. She is working with teachers, students and parents to help document, communicate and refine the teaching and learning at our school. This year, with the help of our wonderful Valley teachers, she will create a comprehensive curriculum map to document key ideas, skills, content and assessment types for all grades. These curriculum maps will help us communicate some of the amazing things we do so well at Valley and to learn more about opportunities for enhanced alignment and improvement in the future. Be sure to introduce yourself if you see Gillian anywhere on campus. Rumor has it she loves to talk about learning over steaming hot cups of coffee.
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The Most Smiley Sound

Ask a first grade Valley student to show you her “most smiley sound” and you should hear the long e sound, loud and clear. You will also see a wide, bright smile spread across her face. Our youngest writers are learning how to make certain sounds with their mouths and then connecting the sound to its corresponding symbol. The Wired for Reading program is part of the foundation of our literacy learning at Valley School. This program helps our youngest writers become more independent, confident writers and readers as they learn to recognize each sound and its corresponding letter. So, if you ask Erica, our first grade teacher, how to spell a word like “see” with a long e in it, don’t be surprised if she simply flashes a huge grin your way.
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Full S.T.E.M. Ahead!

Last Thursday-yes, that's right, on the second day of school, Valley School 5th graders tackled their first of many S.T.E.M. challenges. S.T.E.M. stands for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics” and Laura Maier, the 5th grade teacher, couldn’t wait to present this challenge to her new students. Their job was to save Fred, a tasty gummy worm, from an imaginary body of water using only 5th grade brain power, four paperclips, one gummy life preserver, and one plastic cup. The catch....they could not touch Fred with their fingers! Ask a fifth grader how they managed to keep Fred safe and how he tasted post-rescue. Hooray for S.T.E.M. explorations… and gummy worms too.
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A Renewed Campus

On Tuesday, September 8th, Valley School hosted their annual back to school Ice Cream Social. This year it also included a ribbon cutting to officially open up the new Upper School classroom building. Alan Braun, Head of School, recognized the many individuals that made this dream come true. More photos of the new upper school building and the remodeled administration building, as well as the history of our building project can be found on the building project tab under news and events.
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