Life at Valley

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Trip of a Lifetime

That's how Kindergarten teacher Lindsay describes her 11 days of cruising the Svalbard Islands, north of mainland Norway, in the high Arctic (81 degrees latitude). Lindsay reports of not being prepared for the breathtaking scenery and the amazing wildlife. She saw polar bears feasting on a whale carcass, arctic foxes scaling high cliffs looking for bird eggs, puffins in flight, reindeer grazing on the tundra, beluga whales breaching in perfectly flat seas, walruses hauling out on sandy beaches and countless birds. She spent time hiking the rocky, mossy, Arctic terrain, exploring the flora and even swam in the frigid arctic water! She heard massive glaciers calving, saw icebergs that were bright blue in color and made friends with people from all over the globe! Lindsay is looking forward to sharing her new knowledge and experience with us all, but especially with her Kindergarten class.

Preparing for the Start of School

There are many types of approvals you need to secure before occupying a new building. Yesterday, Valley School founder, Pat Overy provided her own stamp of approval after touring both our new upper school building (grades three through five) as well as the renovated building which will house administration. In both buildings, natural light filled rooms and clean use of color and form promise an educational environment that will spark creativity, encourage collaboration and inspire both students and faculty alike. Construction equipment has begun to move out, a new blanket of wood chips makes the playground inviting again and classroom pets are beginning to find their way back to their Valley School classroom homes.

Medieval Revelry

Third Grade went back in time to 1276 visiting the village of Camlann in Carnation. They saw typical village buildings and learned about the daily life of a medieval villager. They saw the Forge and learned how a blacksmith heated and shaped iron to make pots, pans, and arrow heads. They ate a ploughmans lunch on a 'trencher' (a piece of bread used as a plate) while Roger, the tour guide, played the lute to them. They also got to meet Murial the sheep, who provides the wool for the village spinner and weavers.
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