Dear Pleasant Valley Families,
The YouthTruth Survey for students in grades 3rd-12th and for all stakeholders (parents and staff members) in the NUSD community begins next Monday, January 22 and will last through February 2. The YouthTruth Student Survey is a nationally recognized survey used in hundreds of schools and districts across the country, surveying hundreds of thousands of students. The survey asks students about their experiences in the school and with their teachers, including how engaged they are at school, the rigor of their coursework, and their preparedness for the future. Our school, other schools, and researchers may use such information for developing plans to help schools and teachers improve. For information about this survey, please visit http://youthtruthsurvey.org, or speak to me, Dana Sadan.
Students will take the survey in their classrooms. The student survey is anonymous and consists of 32 questions concerning school climate, academics, relationship with teachers and others on campus, safety, STEM, Project-based learning, etc. Parents can opt out of having their child participate in the survey by submitting their request in writing (email or letter form) turning it into the office.
Similarly, we are seeking input from parents. The parent survey can be taken on any internet enabled device, including computers, laptops, chromebooks, tablets, and smart phones. It is available in English and Spanish and will take approximately 20 minutes for a family member to complete. Parents/guardians do not need a login code to access the survey. On Monday you will receive a URL link from which you can access the survey. It is recommended that one parent or guardian from each household provides feedback. Again, we are hoping for 100% participation!! Your feedback is very important!! Thank you in advance for your participation.
School Site Council Update: School Site Council (SSC) met on Tuesday. Bonnie Barron, Principal at Lu Sutton, was a guest speaker. This year Pleasant Valley has joined other NUSD elementary schools benefiting from the MCF grant, and our teachers have participated in First School, Equity, and Data Team training. Bonnie Barron is leading this initiative with the elementary principals, and is especially passionate about the practice of a Culture of Caring from the First Schools training. Under her leadership, Lu Sutton has become school where a Culture of Caring is what they are all about and “who they are.” She spoke to SSC about what it means and how it has impacted the lives of her students, staff and community. Other topics addressed at the SSC meeting included the need to build more ownership and a stronger sense of community amongst all stakeholders in the PV community, and we also reviewed our By Laws. SSC meetings are public meetings, and everyone is invited to attend the meeting. We will continue to invite guest speakers to future meetings, and we hope to involve more parents as well. Come see what it’s all about! Our nest meeting is February 13 at 3:15Pm in the Staff Lounge
In this week’s Soul Shoppe Assembly - I’ve Got Your Back: From Bystander to Upstander, students learned to take the Soul Shoppe skills they’ve learned for themselves and apply them to supporting their friends and classmates as SuperAllies. They learned how to use a new tool -- Ally Words -- to help friends stop bullying, teasing, excluding, or gossipping, and choose the tools that will truly resolve their issues. Students learned the Four Steps to SuperAllyship:
1. Activate Balloon Vision (say it like a superhero - ACTIVATE: Balloon Vision!) When you notice a problem going down, look for the full balloons! Remember that everyone has a balloon and we can see that it’s full by the way they’re acting. While we can’t actually know for sure what people are feeling, we can use empathy and notice that they might need help.
2. Power Up - Sometimes OUR balloons might start to fill up when we see other people getting hurt. We may feel nervous or angry or confused. That’s why the next step is to power up! Stop and Breathe. Remember you have the power to step up and be an ally. Decide whether you need to get some assistance from a friend, a peacemaker, or an adult.
3. Choose a Tool - They’ve learned many tools to use in this situation! Maybe ask the person if they want to Check In or do a Buddy Breath. Or use Ally Words - if you see someone leaking right in front of you, step up and say, “Please stop. Do you need help? Do you need a friend?”
4. Follow Through - If you offer to help the people involved in the problem, it’s important to follow through on your offer. Follow through can look like a lot of different things. You can listen, or give ideas for how to resolve the situation. You can recruit other allies to be supportive, or offer calming reminders when needed. Sometimes the person needs more help than you can give or they’re not ready to receive help right away. It’s okay to let an adult know so they can step in.
Please ask your children what they learned at Soul Shoppe and ask them to demonstrate the Four Steps to SuperAllyship to you. Talk with them about their important role in the family to help others empty their balloons, and help them see their power to make their world a better place by showing empathy. When they (or you!) see people leaking their balloons, help them out by offering to Check In, do a Buddy Breath, or be a friend in some other way. If you see your child acting out or hurting someone, reinforce the language they’re learning by asking, “Do you need help? Do you need a friend?” “Is there something in your balloon?”
Storyteller Michael Katz will be here next week performing 3 assemblies on Monday, and will then holding workshops in 3rd grade classrooms on Wednesday Thursday, and Friday. If you have never seen him, I highly encourage you to take the time to stop by on Monday. He is an incredible storyteller and really captivates his audiences. The assembly times are: 8:50 – 9:25 for TK-2nd grades; 9:45- 10:30 for 3rd-5th grades; and 10:45-11:30 for the 3rd grade storytelling lesson. Thank you to PTA for making this event possible!!
Miriam Campos, our Food Service provider extraordinaire, retired earlier this month. We celebrated her at a staff meeting and were very sad to see her go, but we sent her off with best on her new adventure. This week our new Food Service provider, Jeanne Mathews, started at PV. Jeanne is very happy to be at PV, and she is grandmother to Joey E. in Mrs. CInelli’s 3rd grade. Please join me in welcoming her to our community.
I will be out next week from Monday - Thursday to attend conferences at MCOE and in San Francisco. Michelle Stephens will again cover for me while I’m away. Have a wonderful weekend and week, and see you next Friday!
Dana Sadan, Principal