School opens on Monday!
Greetings Maple Valley and what a wonderful time it is to return to school!
We are doing some very exciting things this year to help our students reconnect with a love of learning and spending time with peers and staff once again. It has been a tough thirty months and we are setting a theme for the year of JOY & FUN. While the Covid virus is still with us, the health impacts have lessened as people have developed immunity. This is allowing us to joyfully return to our normal mode of operations allowing celebrations, gatherings and recognitions that we had to put on hold. We are thrilled to be returning to a much more normal way of doing things once again. Our Open Houses were very well attended last night and it was fantastic to have our community back with us again!
To help our kids be connected and excited about their school experience, we are incorporating a couple of major initiatives at our elementary and secondary levels. Our elementary is going to return to our Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) which focuses on student assets and positive behaviors with recognition, ROAR tickets and celebrations. Thanks to a generous donation from a local organization we will be expanding our raffle awards for kids who earn positive choice tickets. They will be in drawings for wonderful prizes. Positive role modeling is one way of encouraging our students to be their best selves. We are thrilled to bring this back and expect lots of fun and excitement. I will likely get some pasta dumped over my head, or glitter or even to get taped to a wall for a little bit, but if it inspires and delights our kids, I am eager for the fun!
At the Jr./Sr. High School, we will be starting an Advisory time each day. This is a time when we will be working to build community. Students will have an assigned teacher advisor who will be with them for years to guide and support them as an unconditionally supportive adult. Students will develop class based hobbies and engage in social projects like games and competitions for fun. They will also work on time management, goal setting, post high school planning, and developing school spirit activities and fun. Additionally, they will be trying out our Pilot year use of TRAILS which is a program developed by U of M to help students develop emotional intelligence and self-management. These areas have been sorely strained by the limitations of Covid on social development and positive mental health.
It is time for us to make lifelong memories for our kids and put some fun into the learning experience. When I talk with students I worked with 25 and 30 years ago, the things they really remember are the human connections and experiences that brought them a sense of belonging, fun and joy. For too long now that has been in short supply, so we are going to celebrate our kids, our district and our traditions with vigor! We invite you to the fun whenever you can join us for athletics, band, drama, choir and other school events!
Please remember to watch closely as kids begin to move around our buildings once again. Check closely for pedestrian and bike traffic to keep our students safe. Buses will be out on routes and will need space for our students to safely exit and enter our buses. Thank you for your vigilance in keeping our students safe as we return to our routines.
It is a festive time to be in the Valley!