The month has pretty much got past me and I have still not addressed you with my usual monthly communication. By the time you get done reading this, I hope you understand why... so much is going on. I love my job!
I first wanted to thank PTA organizer extraordinaire, Vanessa Berastain for planning our first Unity Through Diversity Fair on April 5. The event was tremendously successful as the community came together 400+ strong. Shamefully, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support for this event. Due to the fact it was the first event of its kind held here on our campus, my expectations were very conservative. I should know by now not to underestimate this community... or Vanessa for that matter! What a wonderful evening! Thank you to everyone who visited, but especially to those who hosted a booth and shared a little about their culture. That night epitomized community!
You may remember, a few weeks ago I asked if any Pine Valley families were interested in hosting some student’s from Iron Horse’s sister school in China. Thank you... the response was very positive. Seven Pine Valley families will be hosting 10 students from Hangzhou, China. I am very excited to announce that this Wednesday-Friday, April 24-26, these students will be on our campus shadowing our students and getting a taste of middle school... Puma Style! We are doing what we can to make this a learning opportunity for all involved and are happy to support IH and their sister school program.
Now that the weather grows warmer and Spring is in the air, it is time to think about STAR testing. Though Common Core will bring another (and hopefully better and more timely) assessment system, the STAR exam is still in place. Pine Valley testing will be conducted here from May 6-17. As usual, we ask that students eat a healthy breakfast and get plenty of rest. As long a students do their best, STAR scores can be meaningful as we learn academic strengths and areas of growth... not just for students, but as a school, as well.
As you know, I am often so proud of the accomplishments of students and staff here at Pine Valley. Prior to Spring Break this year, Pine Valley students were once again recognized for their efforts at the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair. Those honored this year were; Honorable Mention in Physical Science included Ishi Sharma, Artur Kashpershiy and Jackson Holder. Fourth place engineering honors went to Andy Wang and Ryan Wong. Third place physical science honors went to
Trevor Pollack and Andrew Dowling. Michelle Wang and Jeremiah John received second place physical science honors. Finally, Michelle Shi was recognized for her participation in the Broadcom Masters competition. Thank you Mr. Miller for your work with these students. Not only do we have much to be proud of in science, but 6 of our students were also recognized in the 2013 Dublin/San Ramon Women’s Art Club Art Contest. Congratulations goes to Honorable Mentions; Madison Garza, Chloe Tucker and Ingrid Lam. Third place went to Erika Martinez and second place to Grace Yu. Finally we want to congratulate first place winner, Maren Callaway!
This month’s positive recognition does not stop with students. With support from the San Ramon Rotary Club, every Spring, Pine Valley gets to recognize an amazing staff member that epitomizes the Club’s motto of “Service Above Self.” This year’s San Ramon Rotary Club’s honoree from Pine Valley is counselor, Julie Damgen. Also this year, The San Ramon Valley Education Foundation asked each school to recognize a “Shining Star.” This year’s 2013 representative for Pine Valley and recipient of our Shining Star Award is music teacher, Dan Rugani. Ms. Damgen will be recognized at a luncheon in June and Mr. Rugani at a dinner later this month. Thank you to all the staff and students who continue to do great things and make Pine Valley Middle School a place like no other.
Before I let you go, I just wanted to personally invite all of our community this Friday Night (April 26) to our music fundraiser, Dominant 7th. Come see our own Jazz musicians play alongside Michael Mullen and The Oasis Big Band. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased online at PumaPide.org or at the door. A night of professional Big Band music in our own auditorium... hope to see you there! All money raised from ticket sales and donations will go to the purchase of instruments.
I will be contacting everyone shortly in regard to next year’s registration process. Yes, that is right! As we wind down one year, another awaits.