Principal Rebecca Lofton's 2020/2021 Welcome Letter
Dear Valley Oaks Families,
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year. As I start my sixth year at Valley Oaks, I look forward to continuing with the work we began last year and watching the students thrive at this amazing school. I am incredibly proud of our outstanding faculty, the challenging and rigorous curriculum we provide, and the unique opportunities available to our students. Valley Oaks has again received top ratings from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and our students are accepted into colleges and postsecondary programs all over the country.
One of the constants in education is the ebb and flow of staff and Valley Oaks is no exception. We do have a few staffing changes for the coming year. First, we welcome Eric Smith as our Assistant Principal. Mr. Smith will be solely focused on Independent Study and all things related to Valley Oaks. He resumes this position with a wealth of knowledge and experience and I am thrilled to have him back. Sadly, our wonderful math teacher, Terese Abelli-Amen, has decided it is time to leave teaching and focus on her health and her family. She has been such an important and central part of our school and has touched so many students in a deeply profound and heartfelt way that it is very difficult to say goodbye. We will all miss her and wish her the very best. We are actively looking for a replacement for Ms. Abelli-Amen to guide our students through mathematics. We are fortunate to have Ms. Garcia, Ms. Halsey, Ms. Kesseru, and Ms. Parker, who will continue to provide the very best instruction to our students.
The staff continues to work on a variety of options designed to support our students as they think about their post-high school life. Increased familiarity with the use of technology as students pursue their education will be critical to their success in the future. While we are beginning the year with social distancing which is keeping us from being on campus, we are hopeful that at some point in the future, we will be able to meet face to face. Our teachers have spent time preparing for on-line instruction so that our students will experience that same rigor we are known for.
Following the tremendous success of our Digital Portfolio Night prior to the implementation of distance learning, we will again be helping your students create a portfolio of their work to share with you at our Back to School Night in May. We also recognize the importance of collaboration as integral to student growth and continue to develop opportunities for students to work together in many of the subject areas. However, the regular student-teacher meetings are at the heart of the learning we design for students of Valley Oaks. Our experience supports the growing amount of research that shows a blended approach is most effective, with online opportunities and collaboration supporting the learning that takes place during teacher-student interactions.
Currently, we have about 40 students enrolled at Valley Oaks, representing grades 7 - 12. Our expectation is that each student coming to Valley Oaks is serious about graduating from high school and that many will continue their education after graduation. Valley Oaks offers an opportunity for our students to reach this objective in a uniquely personalized manner. As a staff, we work hard to ensure that courses are appropriate to meet the goals of the student and that all requirements for graduation and post high school education are met. To accomplish this, we expect each student to understand his/her academic responsibilities. These include consistent attendance, meeting a commitment to complete work on schedule, high standards for the work completed, and completion of the required community service hours each semester. Students are expected to be active and conscientious participants in their learning. Our small size fosters close connections between teachers and students, and our goal is to help every student to be successful!
Parent involvement is a critical component for student success at Valley Oaks. Providing an environment that is conducive to daily studying is essential. We would also invite all parents and guardians to become actively involved in the school community. There are numerous opportunities for parents to contribute to our school including membership in our site council and attendance at district committee meetings. Feel free to contact staff when you have questions or concerns related to your child. Working together, I believe that we can foster real success for all of our students. I look forward to a wonderful school year and getting to know each of you.
Principal, Valley Oaks School