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					A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

All children have a right to an unfettered start in life through a good education. At The Valley
School, we do this by honoring the proven developmental stages of childhood, understanding
individual differences and helping children in all areas of development including the cognitive,
social, emotional, creative and physical spheres. Our educational challenge is to create an
exciting intellectual atmosphere while still emphasizing basic skills acquisition.

Upcoming Events
Apr. 18-22            Spring Break (no school)
Apr. 25               Schools resumes
May 30                Memorial Day (no school)
June 8                Last day of school, fifth grade graduation; family picnic at 11 a.m. (no after school care)
Sept. 7               Back to school! First day ends at noon (11:15 a.m. for pre-k and kindergarten)
Sept. 22              Adult potlucks for all grades , 6 p.m.
Oct. 6                Curriculum Night for all grades, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7                Staff In-Service Day (no school)
Oct. 13-14            Parent/teacher conferences (no school)
Oct. 22               Gala and Fundraiser; 415 Westlake
Oct. 29-30            Millersylvania week-end

Parking Cautionary Tale: A Letter to All Parents
Dear Valley Parents,

Please! Please don’t park on the opposite side of the street from school! Yesterday, driving back
from a field trip, we returned to a crowded pick up after school. I knew not to park across 31 st
from the school but thought it would be okay for just a couple of minutes. The car in front of me
did the same thing. There were no other close spots to park, and I didn’t want to walk a half
block. Watching for traffic to stop, I kept the kids on the driver’s side from opening the back
door, but I didn’t see the child on the passenger/sidewalk side (my own child) open the door,
then proceed to dash between cars and across the street. My heart stopped as it happened so
fast. An oncoming car narrowly missed him. Everyone is okay, but I know of two places where
flowers are placed on a regular basis where it wasn’t okay.

John Bernhard, Valley Parent

Note: Rob has designed a colorful and hard-to-miss Parking Violation Warning that you will
find placed on your windshield if you park in a non-designated spot! Thanks for your
cooperation with this important school policy. For the safety of your children, please be sure
all those who bring children to or from school know not to park across any street bordering
the school.

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

The 2011 Gala & Fall Fundraiser
Great news! The 2010 Gala team has agreed to lead the way again this coming fall. Lisa Bontje, Mary
Anne Martin and Margaux Huchting will co-chair with assistance from Gina Anstey. They have already
booked last year’s venue, 415 Westlake, for Saturday, October 22, which is a bit earlier than usual.
This means the co-chairs are looking for volunteers to join the team THIS SPRING! Are you creative
and inspired by little artists? Consider leading your child’s class art project for the auction by getting
started with ideas and implementation plans before we leave for summer break. Other opportunities
to join in the planning fun abound too! This will be another great party and fundraiser with your help.
Please contact:
Mary Anne (, Lisa (, Margaux

How did Valley use the $109,700 raised in the 2010 G a l a ?
The tremendously generous donations were used to purchase $37,000 of technology equipment:
8 teacher Mac laptops
12 student Mac laptops (for the fourth and fifth grades) with recharging storage unit
3 video cameras
1 Smartboard (in Meeting Room)
Supporting software including Windows applications and “Kidspiration,” a visual organizer

Fifth grader Spencer describes the effect of the new technology in his classroom, “Rob was looking
ahead when he picked Mac computers. They are faster and live longer than our old Dells. With Macs
we can use all the Windows programs. Valley limits our exposure to technology, so we don’t get

they will have lasted longer.” !
enveloped by computers. In the future, we will be able to use Macs for more diverse projects because

The remaining significant donations, after very minimal party costs, went toward financial
aid to help our families afford tuition.

Academic and School News
Fifth Graders are Inundated with Middle School Offers
We are delighted to report that our upcoming graduates have had a highly successful year in middle
school admissions. All grads were accepted to top choice schools including Billings Middle School, Bush
School, Forest Ridge School, Lakeside School, Northwest School, Seattle Academy, Seattle Girls Middle
School, Seattle Public Schools, and University Preparatory School. We know our grads will all thrive in
their new educational habitats next year. Congratulations!

How does Valley give special support for fifth graders and their families?
   • In the fall we organize a Middle School Information Event when fourth and fifth grade parents
       can chat informally with alumni representatives from several area schools
   • Laura, Rob and Gail meet with individual parents to suggest middle schools to investigate for
       their children.
   • Rob has now visited many middles schools to familiarize himself with their programs and to
       introduce himself to their admissions and administrative staffs.

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

     •    Camille Hayward, director of Lake and Park School, tutors fifth graders for the Independent
          School Entrance Exam required for most private schools, with
          significant underwriting from Valley.

Two parents recently reflected on this experience:
   • “I do so want to thank all of you for all your help with this process and this important
       transition. I don’t know how we would have managed it all without your guidance and
   • “And thanks so much for helping me with the decision! ...and for everything that you and the
       Valley have done for the kids over the years. We feel so much gratitude towards the school
       on many levels...”

Dale Roper and Cindy Monte Take Charge of Third Grade during Maternity Leave
Veteran second grade teacher Dale Roper, who stepped into fifth grade in early November when Laura
Maier began her maternity leave, is now teaching in the morning during Erica Simonds’ maternity
absence in third grade. Cindy Monte is in charge of third grade afternoons as she brings her enrichment
skills to their thematic units. Thank you to Dale and Cindy!

Community News and Information
And Welcoming Ms. Macey Ann Simonds!
Congratulations to third grade teacher Erica and her husband, Jason, on the birth of their daughter,
Macey Ann, on March 3, two weeks earlier than anticipated. Erica taught school that day until after
lunch when contractions finally seemed urgent enough to suggest a trip to the hospital. Weighing in at
6 pounds, Macey arrived just three hours later, safe and sound.
Welcome to our second baby of the 2010-11 school year!

Millersylvania in March: A Note from Parent Leaders, Maggie Orth and Damon Smith
Thanks to everyone, Millersylvania was a great success this spring! Parents bonded in the kitchen, and
kids certainly enjoyed the mostly sunny weather.
We (Maggie and Damon) have only two more years as Valley parents. Next fall we will be looking for
four parents to train to take over the Millersylvania mantle. Parents with older kids, or with a spouse
who can handle the kids alone, are best for this role. Keep an eye out for announcements next fall!
Many thanks to this year’s campfire entertainers, Rachel Kessler and Mark Wurfel. Next year we will be
soliciting ideas and help from parents to improve the structuring of campfire and skit time. So let us
know if you have any thoughts!
Next Fall- Millersylvania will be October 29th and 30th.
Maggie Orth  
Damon Smith  

Rainier Valley Food Bank: Successful Drive Celebrating 100 Days of School
During February and March, Valley School families contributed to a special food drive in honor of the
first 100 days of school. At a Friday meeting in mid-February, Marie Raker, former Valley teacher and
parent, presented information about the Rainier Valley Food Bank where she volunteers. The goal was
to gather at least 100 items in several categories. The challenge was met and more! More than 500
containers of beans, rice, cereal, canned goods and baby supplies piled up in the meeting room for
Marie’s return to accept our donations on behalf of RVFB a month later.
The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

To make this a more hands-on experience, the kindergartners went to the RVFB on March 25 to see
where all our donations went. Lindsay reports, “The staff first gave us a tour including inside the giant
freezer, then they put the kids to work stocking shelves, bagging beans and bagels and taking down
boxes. The children LOVED it. They were eager and able little workers, and knew they had really
helped people. It was a very rich experience for them and for me as well.”
Internationally Renown Harlem Quartet Visits The Valley School
Valley students were regaled with a truly special musical experience on April 4 when The Harlem
Quartet came for a short concert, many thanks to Mina Person, grandmother of Phillip and Luke. We
are enormously appreciative of their sharing time and talents with Valley.
From their website: The Harlem Quartet, praised for its "panache" by The New York Times, is currently the
resident ensemble in the New England Conservatory of Music's Professional String Quartet Program. Its mission
is to advance diversity in classical music while engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and
presentation of varied repertoire, highlighting works by minority composers. Over the last two years they have
given concerts at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College, the White
House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and now The Valley School during their recent visit to

Kudos to Valley Upper Schoolers from Symphony Musician and IslandWood Participants
Fourth and fifth grade teachers received this personal thank you note after a visit from a Seattle
Symphony musician this spring after visiting dozens of elementary schools.
“I’m the trombonist who recently visited your classes from the Symphony. I was struck by the
atmosphere at the Valley School. The word "egalitarian" comes to mind. Discipline, if any, was totally
transparent, and yet it was the most wonderful atmosphere of politeness, enthusiasm, and preparation
for my visit. Admittedly, this is a small and private school, but whatever they're doing should be copied
by others if at all possible, in my humble opinion. What stood out was a presumption of equality
between the teachers and students that in no way precluded an expectation of courtesy.”

And as Rob reported from the fifth grade overnight environmental camp, IslandWood:
“At a debriefing meeting with teachers, the other schools presented many examples of our kids' knack
for diplomatically solving social conflicts for other schools, and the kindness that we demonstrated and
extended to other folks at camp. IslandWood instructors also extended their appreciation of our
students’ positive participation, a model for the other children. I am very proud of the way they
presented themselves and completed their work"#!

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

Classroom Snapshots: Spring Thematic Units
Pre-K with Jill & Kathryn: Horses

Pre-k has been studying horses. Jill reports that the children:
    • drew and painted horses.
    • learned new horse vocabulary.
    • talked about the smallest and tallest horses.
    • made our own stick horses to ride around campus.
    • read great horse books and wrote some of our own!
    • visited Viva Yo, our equine neighbor across the street.
    • fed and groomed Viva Yo!
    • learned “cowboy songs,” most notably, Gene Autry’s “Back in the Saddle Again.”
    • And we rode ponies right here in the playground!

Kindergarten with Lindsay and Seana: Flight
Our “Things That Fly” unit is a huge hit. The children have been thinking, doing, creating and talking
about big ideas such as flight, lift, thrust and glide, without even knowing it! Lindsay explains, “The
mainstay of our dramatic play is a GIANT airplane (Kindergarten Airlines), and a hot air balloon ready
to whisk the kids away up high in the (pretend) sky. The kindergartners are
    • comparing and contrasting how and why different things fly. (It is baffling to realize that
         something as small as a hummingbird AND as big as a jetliner can both fly!)
    • making different paper airplanes to see which ones go longer, farther or faster.
    • flying kites.
    • dropping parachutes made of plastic bags off a high place to see how the air gets dragged under
         and over the chute to help it “fly.”
    • analyzing why a rocket powered with baking soda and vinegar failed to launch.
    • discovering that hypotheses don’t always go the way we thought they would.
    • brainstorming solutions.

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

First Grade with Suzanne: Annual Greek Invasion

The Ancient Greek gods and goddesses made their annual visit to the first grade, and this time they put
on a play! With props and costumes fashioned at home, the first graders explained “How the Gods and
Goddesses Came to Be.” Throughout the weeks leading up to their performance, the students learned
about Greek myths as well as daily life in Ancient Greece.
Many experiences contributed to the richness of the unit, including
     • writing books about the gods.
     • imagining new constellations.
     • creating papier mache amphora vases depicting scenes from the myths.
     • hearing the story of Odysseus and his epic journey home to Ithaca.
     • painting favorite characters.
     • building block temples; learning to distinguish Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.
     • experimenting with both Archimedes’ Screw and with his discoveries about density and water
Second Grade with Connie: Budding Egyptologists
Following their introduction to Ancient Greek mythology in first grade and Ancient Roman mythology
earlier this year, the children are thrilled to discover another set of mythological characters designed to
make sense of our universe.
     • The students are creating beautiful sarcophagi, books of the dead, and amulets. As the final
          activity in their study of Ancient Egypt, the children will take on the role of priests and
          priestesses of Anubis and mummify a Barbie or Ken doll, a process they observed closely when
          they mummified apples using table salt.
     • Equally exciting is a whole new writing and number system to learn. Each child has his/her own
          cartouche. Hieroglyphs are both beautiful and funny – a duck is the symbol for the word son!
          Did you know that the Egyptians had a base ten number system and hieroglyphs for fractions
          based on the Eye of Horus symbol?

Third Grade with Cindy and Dale: Washington State Explorations
Exploring the rich history, geography and culture of Washington State has kept the third graders
engaged during the last month. Activities included
    • making a map to highlight the students’ favorite places in our state.
    • creating “ABC” books of Washington.
    • molding volcanoes (and erupting them!)
    • illustrating the song “Roll On Columbia.”
The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

    • producing travel brochures that appeal to various audiences.
This study provided opportunities to hone research skills, writing, and historical discussions. The unit
culminated with a presentation at “The Valley School Branch of the Washington State Tourism Center.”
Tourists were invited to enjoy displays, writings, apple tasting, volcano viewing, and to leave with a
souvenir “Evergreen State” bookmark as well as a deeper appreciation for all the wonders of

Fourth Grade with Mary: Early American Colonists Arrive
This annual exploration of the American colonial period integrates all disciplines as we immerse
ourselves in the beginnings of our country. Concentrating on the period from the early 1600’s to the
late 1700’s, students learn about survival and daily life of a newly established colony and examine the
various attitudes and uprisings that led to the Revolutionary War. Fourth graders have sewn samplers,
created dioramas to illustrate colonial occupations, conducted research on important people of the era,
and are rehearsing a script for a colonial documentary film that we will make. Finally, we looked
forward to sharing all of our knowledge on April 14, Colonial Day. On this day, students dressed as
colonial children, participated in a typical Colonial style classroom, and invited The Valley School
community to walk through a Colonial Museum.

Fifth Grade with Laura: Myths, Electronics, Fundraising for IslandWood!
The fifth grade recently studied the stages of the myth cycle, examining
     • the obstacles that the hero and allies encounter that make the quest more difficult, but
          strengthens their character.
     • the main character’s trials during their reading of The Secret of Platform 13.
The class underwent a different set of trials with electricity, which involved
     • Laura’s husband, Matt, who brought in some interesting electric elements for open-ended
     • determining whether various elements in parallel and/or series wiring would produce brighter
A final quest was raising funds to support the annual fifth grade trip to IslandWood, an environmental
camp on Bainbridge Island. Students and parents spent hours
     • measuring, filling and decorating jars with ingredients for soups and desserts.
     • baking treats.
     • binding cookbooks with favorite 5th grade recipes.
All obstacles were overcome, and the two day sale was a huge success.

Extracurricular and Summer Camp Offerings
After School Programs: Continuing Success
    • Italian Class: First grade mom and Italian native, Annalisa Gironi, conducts her introduction
         to Italian through games, songs and more. She meets with a group of parents and young
         elementary children on Wednesdays in the library.
    • Mandarin: This Sponge School class was a big hit at Valley last year for the early elementary
         ages and continues with a new instructor this academic year on Tuesdays.
    • Chess: Parent Sally Bock coordinates the Thursday afternoon chess class for third, fourth and
         fifth graders with chess master, Bill Schill.
Please look for information on how to join after school classes next fall.
The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

Valley Teachers Join Forces to Offer Camps during First Week of Vacation: June 13-17
Please Note: Checks for camps given by Valley teachers should be made out to The Valley
School and given to the teachers, NOT to the office. Thank you!
    • Pre-K teacher Jill Rufsvold is enrolling current pre-K children (and newcomers as room allows)
        in a hands-on science camp. “We’ll spend the week getting messy, testing cause and effect,
        and the exploring the question: “What happens if . . . ?”
        Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: $250
    • Connie Backstrom and Lindsay Eicher welcome children currently in grades k-1-2 for Fantasy
        Adventure Island Camp for five days of treasure hunting, ship building, adventure songs and
        some good natured “hornswagglin!” We will search for treasure, create artifacts, treasure
        maps and much, much more. You won’t want to miss it!
        Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: $300 Childcare available from 1 to 4 p.m. (Fee varies.)
        Deposit by May 15
    • Fourth grade teacher Mary Louise is offering a camp devoted to artistic discovery and
        expression for third, fourth and fifth graders. According to Mary, “Kids will explore a variety
        of artistic mediums and forms of expression to illustrate their ideas. We will study some major
        artists of our time, poets, as well as study a bit of Shakespeare. Finally, we will present a
        "museum" of our discoveries where parents will have an opportunity to view our creations and
        watch a performance.”
        Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: $250

Former State Teacher of the Year Brenda Schultz Invites Valley Students to Three More
Weeks of Camp
   • Island Arts and Crafts Camp for those who just completed grades 2-4
        Get ready to set sail on a Pacific Island adventure. We will play and sing along with the
        ukulele, cook island treats, do some traditional bead work, make Mwars (flower
        crowns), perform a play based on a traditional island legend and more.
        June 27-July 1
   • Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: $250 A check in the full amount saves your child's spot.
        Space Camp for those who are currently in grades 4-6
        Countdown to Space Camp! Get ready to blast off into adventures in aeronautic science. You
        will train like an astronaut in your mission groups. You will learn about microgravity,
        aerodynamics, and rocketry through fun hands on activities that will culminate in a virtual
        July 18-22
        Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost: $250 A check in the full amount saves your child's spot.
   • For The Love of Books! for those who are currently in grades k-2
        Celebrate a different author each day through Read-A-Louds, skits, arts and crafts, songs,
        games, and many other fun activities. Some of the authors that will be highlighted during this
        week include Eric Carle, Mem Fox, Leo Lionni, Tomie De Paola. and Robert Munsch. Instill a
        life long love of books in your child!
        August 8-12
        Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost: $250. A check in the full amount saves your child's spot.
Contact Brenda at for information on how to enroll.

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:
A Newsletter for Members of the Valley School Community
April, 2011 Edition

Camps at Lake and Park School
   • The Maze, the Minotaur, and the Matador Camille Hayward leads this class as children
       further, or begin, their understanding of Greek mythology by coming to know one myth in
       depth. We will look at the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, define the difference between a
       maze and a labyrinth, create our own minotaurs out of clay, learn of the early history of Crete,
       and explore fine art links to this heroic tale and tragedy.
       July 5-15
       Hours: 10-2 Ages may vary. Cost: $500
       A check received by June 17 for the full amount secures your child’s spot.
       The Owl and the Pussycat—A Little Lear for Young People We look at Lear’s
       narrative poems and nonsense, make our own “beautiful pea-green boats,” pretend to be the
       “Jumblies”--all while coming to know a Victorian author whose humor and whimsy still
       resonate with children today. All of the arts are incorporated into this week of effortless
       immersion into poetry.
       August 1-5
       Hours: 10-2 Ages four and up. Cost: $250
       A check received by July 15 for the full amount secures your child’s spot.
   • Punch and Judy at the Shore This is a workshop for children based on the classic puppet
       play and its history. Participants will take parts as performers in presenting the traditional
       show to an audience. The day is long to provide for time to build and costume a papier mache
       puppet. Class led by Camille Hayward.
       Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ages may vary. Cost: $400
       A check received by Aug. 5 for the full amount secures your child’s spot.
Note: Contact Camille Hayward at Lake and Park School to sign up: 206-721-3480 or

Message from a Valley Alumni Parent: Opportunity to Host French Teenager!

Dear Folks,

I am the assistant coordinator for United States Meetings and Discoveries this year. I was wondering if
anybody would like to host a French teenager again this year. The dates are July 8th through July 28th.
There is a $300 stipend, the kids are fully insured and there is a chaperone who will stay in Seattle.
Please contact Christine Knorr, (

Thank you, Ellen Taft (

The Valley School, 309 31st Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
P (206) 328-4475; F (206) 328-5877
Email:; Website:; School Blog:

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