Principal's Corner Winter 2016
As we enter the mid portion of the school year following the December break I want to acknowledge the successful transition of our new teachers this year, and the combined efforts of the returning PVS teachers, along with the New Teacher Inservice Program provided back in August. New teachers across all grades have settled in well, and are establishing positive relationships with their students and PVS families, as well as with their teaching colleagues.
In mid January, Natanya Bowers, Third Grade Teacher, and I attended the Annual Conference of The Alliance for Public Waldorf Education (APWE), held at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA. PVS is a member of the alliance, along with fifty other public Waldorf schools across the country, and there is valuable work occurring on many levels being undertaken by alliance schools. One of the sessions I attended was a presentation by researchers from Stanford University’s, Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). Their year and a half study analyzed “growing a Waldorf inspired approach in a public school district”, and centered primarily on the Alice Birney, K-8, public, Waldorf school in Sacramento CA. Many of the findings regarding Alice Birney school could also be applied to PVS, and I encourage members of our school community to read the Executive Summary of the report at the following URL: http://rudolfsteinercollege.edu/events/stanford-study-released
Mrs Bowers attended Math workshops presented by Jamie York, an experienced Waldorf educator, who has delivered presentations attended by other PVS teachers in the past. I also took part in a workshop entitled, Thoughtful Integration of Technology in the Classroom, and learned about a middle school technology program, entitled Cybercivics that was implemented in the Journey School, a K-8 public Waldorf school in Southern CA. . Cybercivics is a program designed to meet the growing demand to equip young people with the skills to become ethical, knowledgeable, and competent digital citizens. It includes a prescribed curriculum for students in grades 6-8 that involves dedicating one hour per week of class time. We intend to bring a thoughtful and deliberate digital technology and media curriculum to our middle school students at PVS in the near future. For more information about Cybercivics, go to: www.cybercivics.com. The founder of Cybercivics, a teacher named Diana Graber presented the workshop. She has also created an organization called Cyberwise, intended for the benefit of both educators and parents regarding issues concerning digital technology and media. Cyberwise can be accessed at www.cyberwise.org . During our workshop we learned that young people are much more likely to experience sexting or cyberbullying than they are to hook up with strangers on line. There is a mobile app that came out in September, 2015 called Pocket Guardian, which is used to detect sexting and cyberbullying (sending or receiving) on mobile devices, that alerts parents or guardians of inappropriate behavior on their child’s smartphone, without invading their child’s privacy. To learn more go to; https://gopocketguardian.com .
We intend to send at least two teachers to the APWE Annual Conference next year, and beyond. For more information about The Alliance for Public Waldorf Education go to: www.allianceforpublicwaldorfeducation.org
The ninth year of PVS includes some historic student milestones that are worth noting. In June we will have our first group of eighth graders promoted to high school who have attended PVS since Kindergarten. In addition, members of the first eighth grade class at PVS (June 2012) are concluding their senior year of high school at different schools throughout the metro area. We intend to be in touch with as many of the seniors as possible to learn about their post high school graduation plans.
This marks the second year that PVS has supported students’ participation in the All State HonorChoir event in Eugene, sponsored by the Oregon Music Educators Association (OMEA). We are very grateful for the efforts of Ms. Goff, our Music Teacher, for making this opportunity for our students, and the support of parents who transported them to the event. PVS students who took part this year from Middle School were; Azalie Thompson, Isadora Baird-Appleton, Elizabeth McWaters-Adkins, Elliot Terzian, and Eryn Ehrman. Elementary students were; Eva Harrington, Ella Farrell, Odile Williams, and Miabella Wells.
Recognizing the importance of ongoing professional development and continuous learning, PVS supports teachers throughout the year, as well during the summer weeks, in workshops, conferences, and professional learning opportunities, locally, regionally, and nationally. Examples of events recently, and coming up include:
Month Faculty Event Sponsoring Organization
December Ann Marie Vitti Mathematics Coaching and Leadership Multnomah Co. Education Service District
January N.Bowers Annual AWPE Conference Alliance for Public Waldorf Education
January D. Forrer, E. Harris, F. O’Brien Music and Storytelling Workshop 8 Shields PDX
February L. Mello, M. Hill, S. Lloyd, M. Foby Early Childhood Conf. WECAN (Waldorf Early Childhood Assoc. of North America)
There are many significant happenings taking place at the board and organizational level at PVS, including a capital campaign feasibility study, searching for a new site, and lease negotiations with our landlord, The People of Praise (POP). The PVS Board of Directors (BOD) welcomes parents and guardians at their regular public meetings (see Calendar on website), and it was encouraging to have a strong turnout at the recent January (21st) BOD Meeting. In addition to learning about the research conducted by the Steier Group regarding a capital campaign at PVS, the audience heard a presentation by the Principal and a Board Member from Emerson School, another charter school in PPS, which has produced noteworthy accomplishments regarding issues of equity and diversity in their school community. We are grateful to the members of the board, along with many other parent volunteers, for their contributions to these important matters. In closing, I want to also thank the many parents, grandparents, guardians, and other family members who volunteer to support students and teachers in school, on field trips, at class plays, on library and park walks, and positively contribute to the mission of PVS.
Important Dates / Reminders
5 Winter Assembly
12 No School Staff Inservice Day
15 No School President’s Day
2 No School Teacher Planning Day for Conferences
3-4 Parent-Teacher Conferences End of Second Trimester
21-25 Spring Break
Mar.28-May 13 State Testing