On Tuesday, we opened the doors on Valley School's 73rd year. Younger students were greeted by an enthusiastic 8th and 9th-grade welcoming committee before making their way to their new classrooms. During the year's first Chapel assembly, Head of School, Dr. Jon Strecker, greeted students and introduced them to the Valley Core Values: Cultivating Wellness, Seeking Wisdom, Embracing Integrity, and Building Community. After Chapel, the hallways were full of smiles, giggles, and welcome-back hugs. We're looking forward to a wonderful year!
In preparation for the upcoming school year, Valley School faculty and staff spent several days in a professional development workshop with experiential trainer and author, Nate Folan (http://natefolan.com), who teaches techniques for facilitating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the classroom and wider community. Teachers are especially interested in applying what they learned in their workshop to the process of introducing students to the Valley Core Values. The Valley Core Values represent the strategic common language for the concepts that our SEL programming and initiatives are aimed at developing in children.
This summer, Valley School sixth-grade teachers, Sarah Fichter and Jessi Yates, traveled to Greece with Classrooms Without Borders (https://classroomswithoutborders.org) to explore ancient Greek and Roman ruins, learn about the how the Holocaust affected Greece and its citizens, and immerse themselves in contemporary Greek culture. They spent 20 days abroad and have returned excited about the ways in which they plan to incorporate their experiences into their classroom curriculums this year.
Valley School science teachers, Carole Wright and Brandon Snyder, traveled to Wyoming this summer to participate in the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS). Their attendance was made possible through the generosity of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Safari Club International. While nestled in the Granite Creek Canyon just east of Jackson, WY, Ms. Wright and Mr. Snyder learned alongside educators from all over the country. Workshops focused on outdoor skills, sportsmanship, conservation, and environmental science. As you can imagine, our two enthusiastic science teachers absorbed everything they could to bring back to students at Valley School. Both of them found the region inspiring, rejuvenating, and awesome! Their week was capped off with a rafting trip down the Snake River. Always in search of adventure, Ms. Wright and Mr. Snyder also checked out the Great Salt Lake before flying home to Pennsylvania. Next adventure: school year 2019-2020!