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When your child begins a new school, you might find that they quickly become fluent in a language that is foreign to you. If you need help interpreting your child’s excited chatter about their days at Valley School, or if you want to quickly familiarize yourself with the terminology you’ll likely encounter during your family’s Valley School experience, this Glossary is the tool for you.

Have we missed a term you and others would like to understand better Let us know! 

List of 48 items.

  • Aftercare

    A Valley School childcare option for K-3rd-graders that runs during the school year, Mondays through Thursdays, from Lower School dismissal time (2:45 PM) until Upper School dismissal time (3:45 PM) at a cost of $6/day. Parents can arrange for their child to attend Aftercare by emailing Candy Springer at cspringer@valleyschoolofligonier.org
  • Alumni Brunch

    An annual gathering of Valley School alumni. This event usually takes place in November and serves as a wonderful opportunity to visit with former classmates and teachers. Even retired faculty make guest appearances! Those interested in attending should contact Katelyn Bruzda, Director of Admissions and Alumni Relations, at kbruzda@valleyschoolofligonier.org.
  • Annual Fund (or, Valley Fund)

    A yearly fundraising effort whereby Valley School collects unrestricted donations that support our mission by providing resources for students and faculty that are not covered by tuition. Gifts made through Valley Fund are essential to maintaining the excellence of the educational experience for all Valley School students. You can contribute to Valley Fund here.
  • Athletics

    7th and 8th-grade physical education in the form of general and sport-specific practice and play. Focus is on the development of team concepts, including the competitive values of winning and losing, sportsmanship, and participation. Compulsory sports include field hockey, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.
  • Auction & Art Show

    An annual event that brings the school community together to celebrate our students’ visual art achievements and raise vital funds that support their educational experience at Valley School. For more information, please visit our events page.
  • Board of Trustees

    Valley School’s Board of Trustees acts as a steward of the school’s long-term sustainability by ensuring financial stability and providing strategic counsel in fulfillment of our mission.
  • Caldecott Collection

    A collection of Caldecott Medal and Honor books within the Valley School library, and established in memory of former student Maggie Elder, who passed away on February 22, 2012. The Caldecott Medal was established in 1937, and is given annually by the American Library Association (ALA) to the artist who has created the most distinguished picture book of the year. It is named in honor of the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph J. Caldecott. Most years, the ALA committee cites several non-winning books worthy of attention; these are known as Caldecott Honor books.
  • Cathey Family Young Adult Center

    A room within Valley School’s library designed specifically with our oldest students in mind, and utilized to foster intellectual curiosity, positive academic collaboration, and a healthy student culture. A favorite reading, studying, working, meeting, socializing, and relaxing space for Valley School’s young teens.
  • CEI

    An acronym for “Committee for Equity and Inclusion,” a group of Valley School faculty and administration members charged with supporting the school’s Statement of Inclusivity.
  • Class Ambassadors

    A committee comprised of individuals who support and represent the school by promoting positive school culture and image, assisting with special events, and maintaining lines of communication between the Valley School and our families. This dedicated group of individuals is a wonderful asset to our school community. 
  • Clubs

    Opportunities for students to explore their interests and express their creative passions outside of traditional academics. Student interest may drive club specifics, and past offerings have included Environmentalism, Fly Fishing, Outdoor Activities, Beading, Community Service, Board Games, and Quiz Bowl. Clubs meet every other Friday throughout the school year.
  • Curriculum Night

    An annual evening event at the beginning of each school year during which Valley School families can hear from school faculty about their pedagogic approaches, course objectives, curricula, and student expectations. Lots of information comes from this night; don’t miss it!
  • Daily Uniform

    The required dress code for Valley School students varies by grade level and season. For a full description, please log in to myValley’s Parent Portal. Click on the “Resources” tab and then select the “Uniform Information” tile.
  • Dress Down Day

    Special days on which Valley School students may attend school in regular street clothes, according to a designated theme. See Valley School’s calendar.
  • ELA

    An acronym for “English Language Arts.” Both Lower and Upper School students take ELA classes, though Lower School students will often refer to these as simply, “Language Arts.”  
  • ERBs/ERB Week

    The ERB (Educational Records Bureau) is a nonprofit educational organization that oversees the development, administration, and scoring of assessment tests for more than 1,600 independent and public schools. Though the assessments are not actually called “the ERBs” you will often hear them referred to that way. “ERB week” is the week during which the multiple-choice ERB Comprehensive Testing Program is administered at Valley School. The assessments are designed to provide information about a student’s performance in several key areas (depending on the grade level), which may include listening, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, word analysis, writing mechanics, and mathematics. The test provides results that help us gauge the efficacy of our academic programs and, in turn, inform our pedagogical methods. 
  • Electives

    Courses outside of Valley School’s core curriculum available to 7th and 8th-grade students by choice. Offerings span the visual, musical, and performing arts.  
  • Fall Tournament

    A day of high-spirited soccer and field hockey competition between Valley School and multiple regional middle school teams. 
  • Family Coffee

    Topic-driven morning meetings that pose opportunities for Valley School administrators/faculty and families to discuss matters relevant to student experiences, child development, school programs, and education, generally—over a cup of coffee and a few breakfast treats! See Valley School’s calendar for dates.
  • Float

    Valley School participates annually in the Fort Ligonier Days festivities by entering a colonial-themed float in the parade contest. During the first trimester, Upper School students can choose to take an elective course devoted to researching the history of Fort Ligonier, and conceptualizing and building a float that meets the requirements of the Fort Days parade theme. Many a first prize ribbons have been brought home by Valley School! 
  • Founders' Day

    A day in September when Valley School children, faculty, and invited guests gather to celebrate Valley School’s founders, General R.K. and Mrs. Constance Prosser Mellon. During a morning ceremony, students learn about the Mellon family’s contributions to Western Pennsylvania, and the Ligonier Valley region, specifically. Additional time is devoted to honoring current regional philanthropists, altruists, benefactors, and volunteers for their “good works.”
  • Golf Tournament

    Valley School’s largest annual fundraiser, the Friends of Valley School of Ligonier Golf Tournament & Auction was established in 2004, and is held every September at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier. For more information please visit the events page.
  • GrandFriends Day

    An opportunity for Valley School children to share—and maybe even show off—their Valley School experience to some of their favorite people. We know how much grandparents and other loving adults can mean in the life of a child, and we relish hosting these special people during a school day each May.
  • Green & Gold

    Valley School’s colors! 
  • Lower Field

    The athletic field located on the east side of Linn Run Road and utilized mostly for Upper School athletics practices and Lower School Sports Day activities. 
  • Magic Forest

    A wonderous realm of exploration and discovery! Before crossing the bridge to enter, Valley School children and teachers must first recite an oath promising to protect and respect the Magic Forest and all its inhabitants. Ask your child about this enchanting place!
  • myValley (Parent Portal)

    Valley School’s secure third-party online platform designed to enable families to view school calendars and resources, manage tuition-related matters, and browse their child’s schedules, assignments, and curricula.
  • myVSOL

    A secure third-party LMS (learning management system) through which Valley School Students access Google Suite in order to email and check their assignments and grades.
  • Owl's Nest

    Many students outgrow uniform items while the clothing is still in good condition. Owl's Nest is a collection of gently-used Valley School uniform clothing, available to all Valley School families free of charge. To donate to or shop Owl's Nest, please email Candy Springer at cspringer@valleyschoolofligonier.org.
  • Parent Portal (myValley)

    Valley School’s secure third-party online platform designed to enable families to view school calendars and resources, manage tuition-related matters, and browse their child’s schedules, assignments, and curricula.
  • Photo Shoot Day

    Several times each year, a professional photographer spends a day on our campus capturing images of “life at Valley School.” We use the resulting photographs to populate the website, our Admissions materials, The Wheel, regional billboards, and for other marketing purposes. Families are notified before Photo Shoot Days, and may choose to opt out if they prefer their child does not participate. Valley School administration members accompany and direct all photo shoots.
  • Rec Night

    Themed Friday-night hang-outs designed by Upper Schoolers for Upper Schoolers. Our 8th-grade students act as event planners, and our 5th-7th graders just show up to enjoy themselves. Rec nights serve as fundraisers for the 8th-grade class trip. They’re always a blast, no two are the same, so our students never want to miss one!
  • Settlement Project ("Settlement")

    A long-term, hands-on learning experience that is an integral part of our 5th-grade social studies curriculum. In the classroom, and outside in the Valley School forest, students discover how people survived and thrived thousands of years ago, and then work in small groups to create their own unique settlements. Each group must demonstrate that their settlement includes all five traits of a civilization: cities, complex institutions, specialized workers, record keeping, and improved technology. One of the most important lessons from the Settlement Project is learning how to work together. Throughout the project, students build skills related to collaborating, compromising, and communicating effectively.
  • Ski Program

    An opportunity for Valley School families to purchase discounted ski lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rentals at Hidden Valley Resort for designated Friday afternoons and evenings in January, February, and sometimes—depending on the weather—March. Transportation and supervision are not provided.
  • Specials

    Classes that are not part of the core curriculum, but which Valley School students take multiple times per 6-day rotation: Spanish, Science, Art, Music, Technology, Library, and Physical Education.
  • Spiraled Curriculum

    A curriculum format in which key concepts are presented repeatedly, each time with greater depth and complexity, or in new applications, enabling students to build continuously on previously acquired knowledge.
  • Spirit Day

    Special days on which Valley School students attend school in non-uniform clothing with a Valley School twist! Spirit wear or green and gold are appropriate. See Valley School’s calendar for our Spirit Days schedule.
  • Spirit Wear

    Clothing that celebrates your school spirit! Valley School branded items or green and gold colors will do the trick!
  • Sporting Clays Shoot

    Held in June at Highlands Sporting Clays, this event is an opportunity for our adult community to come together at the end of the school year to enjoy the beauty of our Laurel Highlands and an opportunity to take on one of the country’s top-ranked sporting clays facilities. For more information, please visit our events page.
  • Sports Class

    Physical education for grades K-6. Classes emphasize physical fitness, sportsmanship, locomotion, fine motor skills, and sport-specific skills, along with the joys of movement and play. In grades 5 and 6, more time is devoted to learning skills, rules, and strategies required to play competitive soccer, field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse.
  • Sports Day

    An end-of-the-year, fun-and-games, all-school extravaganza! This is the day that Valley School Green and Gold teams face-off against one another in potato sack races, three-legged derbies, water balloon tosses, tug-o-war challenges, wet sponge relays, giant ball battles, and other classic games. Shrieks, cheers, and giggles galore! Every student plays, and every spectator loves it!
  • STEM

    An acronym for “Science -Technology - Engineering - Mathematics,” and a reference to classes and educational experiences that emphasize the interrelated nature of these disciplines. 
  • Upper Fields

    Athletic fields located on the west side of Linn Run Road and utilized for Upper School athletics practices, games, and tournaments as well as Sports Day activities. The entry road for the Upper Field is just across from the Valley School entry road. Parking is available.
  • Valiant

    Our Valley School mascot, Valiant the Owl!
  • Valley Core Values

    Cultivate Wellness, Seek Wisdom, Embrace Integrity, Build Community. Derived from our founding mission, these four Valley Core Values act as our guiding compass. By fostering students’ character development—academic, social, and emotional skills—they lend to a better future world for us all.
    Valley Core Values
  • Valley Fund (or, Annual Fund)

    A yearly fundraising effort whereby Valley School collects unrestricted donations that support our mission by providing resources for students and faculty that are not covered by tuition. Gifts made through Valley Fund are essential to maintaining the excellence of the educational experience of each Valley School student. You can contribute to Valley Fund here.
  • Warm Weather Dress

    Valley School’s uniform during designated warm-weather months, generally consisting of navy, white, pink, or yellow polo tops and khaki or navy shorts or skirts, along with sneakers. For a full description, families should log in to myValley, click on the “Resources” tab, and then select the “Uniform Information” tile.
  • The Wheel

    Valley School’s family and alumni magazine, published once annually, and available online at https://issuu.com/valleyschoolofligonier.

Valley School of Ligonier

Address: 153 Lupine Lane, Rector PA 15677
Mail: PO Box 616 Ligonier, PA 15658
Phone: (724) 238-6652  Fax: (724) 238-6838
In an environment that is safe, challenging, nurturing, and disciplined, Valley School provides a balanced and strong program of study for a diverse group of children. Our goal is to stimulate in each young person lifelong habits of moral behavior, seeking wisdom, and doing good works for others.
© Valley School of Ligonier. All Rights Reserved.