Dear Pleasant Valley Families,
December is a time of reflection and goal setting for me. The opportunity to celebrate holidays with family, embrace the coming of winter (and the hope for snow on the valley floor!), and look ahead to a New Year are hopeful opportunities to take stock of where we are and where we are going. Allow me to share some thoughts about Pleasant Valley in the light of where we are and where we are going.
As I am sure you know, we are constantly trying to improve the culture and climate of our school. In order to maintain order and safety, we have 4 primary expectations to: Be Responsible, Be Respectful, and Be Safe, with Empathy. The Empathy piece is really important in helping students to be aware of the impact of their behavior on others. It is WHY we have the expectations that we do. While I believe most students know and understand these expectations, their impulsive nature sometimes gets in the way of following these expectations at school (and likely at home too!). It would be great if you could reinforce the need to follow these expectations to maintain safety and keep an environment that is conducive to learning while at school. The great work of most students should not be over shadowed by the poor choices of a few.
Attendance. Research is very clear that students who are here 90% of the time or more do better than those who are not. Currently, 74% of our students have been here 90% of more of the school days so far this year. Great job! I would love to see this number increase, and know the growth in learning will mirror the growth in attendance. Please ensure your child is at school whenever possible. So much of what they are learning is done in class that missing a day or two can be really tough to make up. Please allow teacher’s at least two days to gather missed assignments or assessments when a child is absent. The more they are here, the more they learn and that is a goal that would make for a great New Year’s Resolution!
Teachers focus a great deal of time with the skill of COMMUNICATION. Students who are Communicators understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively. They use a variety of communication modes (oral, written, expression in art form for examples), and effectively and willingly collaborate with others. To willingly listen to others, be able to clearly articulate our own thoughts, and to work together in a collaborative way is a difficult thing to do for some middle school students. Yet, it is a critical skill in a global society where more and more of the jobs our students will pursue involve high levels of working with others. Being a Communicator who is willing to both listen to others, and articulate their own thoughts is right in line with the culture work we are doing to prepare students for life beyond Pleasant Valley.
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the variety of holidays you celebrate at this time of year. Enjoy your family and the traditions you hold so dear. COMMUNICATE the values and expectations you have for your children in the family moments you can share together this holiday season. And….if you want to hope for some snow along the way, I’m all for it!
Empowering students to create a better world,