Parent Letter

Dear Village School Parents:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's been another great week at Village School. Your children may have had lots to say about meeting a beautiful guide dog named Camry, her companion, and a representative from the Braille Institute during Monday's special assembly. Many thanks to our faculty and staff Diversity committee and, in particular, Lesly Ordonez and Eric Wlasak for coordinating the visit! Or your students may have talked about our amazing mathematicians, who were recognized that same morning: fifth graders Leo, Anna, Alex, Lily, and Henry participated in the Excellence In Mathematics Tournament in Culver City last Saturday. The tournament comprised individual and team components, and drew more than 180 students from across LA County. Our students represented Village incredibly well and spent the morning tackling some challenging math problems. Thanks to Mr. Johnson and Ms. Byfield for chaperoning – and for all that you do to encourage VS students' passion for math.

With regard to educators who inspire, we're attracting some outstanding teachers to Village School; I am thrilled to announce faculty joining us next year:

  • 5th Grade Teacher: DeAndre Deas has spent the last few years teaching 5th Grade in Florida. He earned his BA in education and Master's degree at the University of Florida.
  • Innovation and Academic Technology Coordinator: Christine Eaves has taught at St. Matthew's here in the Palisades and, most recently, at Laurence School in the valley. Christine earned her bachelor's degree in education from Arizona State University, and her master's in Educational Technology from Pepperdine.
  • Librarian: Suzann Hall comes home to Village School where she taught 3rd Grade for four years. Suzann earned her bachelor's degree from Emory University in Atlanta and her master's in elementary education from George Washington University.

While we will indeed miss Keith and Jayme Johnson and Stephanie Walker enormously, we wish them all great success as the move on to the next chapters in their lives. In the meantime, we'll be sure to thoroughly enjoy these last months of 2016-2017, sharing collegiality with these outstanding educators who have brought so much to our community.

We'll have more to share when the decision for 2nd Grade has been made – as with each opening, we are very impressed with the caliber of candidates who are drawn to Village School and we are committed to taking the necessary time to make the most informed choice in order to best serve our students.

And speaking of outstanding individuals, VSPA President Sheri Green will step down after three years in this key leadership role. We will have opportunities to celebrate Sheri and the massive amount of love and attention she has devoted to her position – not that she's finished yet! – during the next months. In the meantime, I want to announce the great news that Sam Firestone has agreed to serve as the next VSPA president, beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year! The Firestone family has given of their time, energy, and thoughtfulness ever since coming to Village School and we are indeed grateful that Sam has accepted the invitation to lead our extraordinary Parent Association – Village School truly has the most fabulous volunteers!

Other items on Tuesday's VSPA meeting agenda included a special presentation focusing on brain research, from our own Tim Critelli (first grade). His continued dedication to life-long learning reflects the energy and commitment we so appreciate and admire in our faculty and staff. His presentation deepened our understanding about how the brain works and how teachers can incorporate research- based best practices into their own classrooms to enhance student learning.

I want to say a giant "thank you" to our community service leaders Kristin Chapin, Jessica Terpstra, Jennifer Wallace, Mary Genow, Judy Konkoly and Jen Morton! In February, TK-3rd Grade families assembled meals to feed 500 people locally, through the Westside Food Bank. On April 12th, they plan to support a global enterprise, Rise Against Hunger, with a target of putting together 10,000 meals (dehydrated) for people living in developing countries who lack access to nutritional food. The goal is ambitious and everyone is welcome; we encourage families with children of any age to join us in the gym on the 12th.

Our 4th-6th Graders packed duffle bags with items to ease the plight of foster kids who are sheltered in emergency facilities; Hope in a Suitcase is such a worthy cause and we know that the items – and the incredibly touching notes written by our students – meant a great deal to these youngsters in need. We'll know shortly what our 4th-6th Graders have chosen as their next community service project – ideas under discussion include social justice, child safety and animal welfare.

The countdown to the Totally '80s Gala on May 13th begins immediately upon our return from spring break. We are having a lot of fun researching fashion from that era and are looking forward to seeing everyone there! It's not too late to donate to the auction; if you have questions about the auction please contact Karie Fleischmann or Masha Lichtenberg. For questions about the party, please contact Sam Firestone or Britten Wadler.

Mark your calendars for: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the ERBs, Wednesday April 12th at 8:30am in Swarthmore Library. Join Barbara and Caroline as they answer all of your questions about ERB testing: what the test is, why we use it, and what we do with the results. While most relevant for parents of 3rd and 4th graders, anyone who has questions about our standardized testing program is welcome to attend.

Don't forget to reserve space in Spring Enrichment classes before Spring Break. The upcoming session begins April 17th and we have lots of exciting opportunities for students to participate in the fun. New additions to the schedule include Ceramics Studio, Peaceful Ninjas, Art Smart, Secret Agents, Mexican Fiesta Cooking, Mini MineCrafters and many others! Visit our Enrichment page online to enroll. Contact Gricelda Gamboa for more information ggamboa@village-school.org.

This is my last letter before Spring Break, but we'll see you at the parent-teacher conferences on Thursday or Friday next week; childcare is available for students while parents are meeting with teachers.

Have a wonderful, fun, relaxing spring break!

Best wishes,

Nora Malone

Head of School

PS: Don't forget – invitations for Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day are going out soon; remember to submit the form to us with your Grandparents' or Special Friends' contact information so that we can mail invitations.

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