W.L. Valentine Elementary School

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Colleen Shields » Colleen's Corner

Colleen's Corner

Colleen's Corner- December 2014

Hour of Code

A Great Success!

We live in a world surrounded by technology. We know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. Only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and fewer students are studying it than a decade ago.

That’s why our school during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14) joined the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code. Last year, 15 million students tried computer science in one week. This year, we joined students worldwide during the last two weeks to reach 100 million students!

We had rave reviews from our students and teachers during this opportunity to teach these foundational 21st century skills. I’ve included some of our teacher’s comments below. If you would like to check out the Hour of Code programs available for your child see http://hourofcode.com/us.

A few of our teacher’s comments:

My fourth graders did The Hour of Code on Friday. They absolutely loved it! They worked collaboratively when they got stuck on a level and were motivated to move from one level to another.  Many students said they would continue the games at home and asked if we could do it again next week.  Many of my students completed the basic games in less than an hour and moved on to the more advanced levels. I think it was a great experience!”

“The students loved it.  Many of the kids took off with the coding.  Others were frustrated but it was a good frustration. It required them to draw upon their perseverance and problem solving skills.  I had feedback from parents too, who were excited that we were giving the kids the opportunity.” 

“Yes, my class did participate and most of the students LOVED it!  A handful felt intimidated but when paired up with more confident peers these students were fine. Several of them went home and continued there. It was fun!

“My students participated on Monday.  There were glitches, but we were patient, and they did the Angry Birds coding.  A few went home with the website and did some more on their own.  Some of my students advanced to the Frozen coding assignment and enjoyed the challenge it provided.”

Happy Holidays

Colleen's Corner- June 2013

Dear Parents:


I hope you are enjoying the beautiful California sunshine and warm- not yet too hot- June days! We are busy at Valentine finishing our work to wrap-up the school year while also getting ready for the upcoming 2013-14 school year!


Valentine is also hosting again this year several summer school programs including the PTAffliates Summer School, Chinese Summer School, Special Education Summer School Program and our Valentine Math Project. We will be a busy school site until late in July. Our playground surface will be repaired and then resurfaced in late July through August. Access to our playground will be limited during construction and during the curing process. Please remind your students to honor any signs to stay off of the playground this summer. We want our playground to be in great shape when we start the school year in August.


We have a few PTA chair positions to fill for the upcoming school year. Please consider joining our incredible group of parent volunteers next year. It is a great way to get to know other parents at our school and to support all of our students' education! Please read Caroline Howell's message below for more information.


A beautiful, well-cared for campus is an important component of school safety. Students, families and staff feel a sense of community, belonging and respect when the school campus is well maintained. Valentine is very fortunate to have a special group of parents who take special care of our campus- our Gardening Angels.  Ruth Roberts and Kelly Wilkniss have been the inspiration and hard work behind the Gardening Angels here at Valentine for several years. During school vacations they can both be found at Valentine digging, planting, designing, and building! In addition to the regular maintenance of our gardens, Ruth and Kelly have planted and painted the fountain garden by the teachers' lounge, bricked the ground and placed a bench and pots by the Little Theatre, added two benches to the campus, planted and built the library Viking garden, added the benches and pots by the dedication brick wall display, assisted the Girl Scout troops with the tiles, metal flowers and garden box by the fifth grade, planted the rose garden by the science room entrance and during winter break built the brick wall and bench by our Valentine marquee. Wow! We are sad to say goodbye to Ruth Roberts as her youngest child moves on to the Middle School. Ruth, you have left Valentine with beauty that will live on for many years! Thank you!


Have a great summer!

Colleen's Corner May 22, 2013

Wow! Thank you so much for your generous support during our Jog-A-Thon. All of the funds raised will be dedicated to purchasing classroom sets of Ipads. Our fourth grade students collectively raised more than $6,000! Our fifth grade students demonstrated the true spirit of giving by raising close to $5,000 for our school for technology equipment that will be purchased this summer for use by our kindergarten through fourth grade students next year. A very special thank you to all of our fifth grade students and their families for continuing to support their elementary school as they get ready to move on to the middle school!


Speaking of moving on to middle school, you could feel the excitement Monday on the playground in the morning before school as we started our final full week of school for this year!  We are also busy planning for next year.   


Please mark your calendars with all of the Important Dates listed below for the 2013-14 school year!


Colleen's Corner April 16, 2013

Dear Valentine Parents and Families:

We hope you had a restful and relaxing Spring Break. It is always a great week for all of us to recharge our batteries as we prepare for the final months of schools. It was great fun this week to return to chicks hatching in our kindergarten classrooms!

We have several busy months ahead! STAR testing for second, third, fourth and fifth grade students will be held the week of May 6th- 10th.  Make-up tests are scheduled for May 13th and 14th.  It is always challenging to schedule the make-up tests for students from all four grades so we greatly appreciate if you can avoid scheduling any medical or dental appointments for your children during the week of May 6th- May 10th.

The Pilot Test for the Smarter Balanced Assessment is scheduled for May 13th through May 24th. Our students in 3rd and 4th grade will be taking the English Language Arts pilot test and 5th grade students will be taking the Math pilot. These exams are computer-based assessments. Each classroom will be taking the assessment either in the computer lab or using a classroom set of iPads. When we have finalized the schedule, your classroom teacher will be notifying you of the planned testing dates although we anticipate some changes in the schedule as we implement this new assessment.

A special thank you to Katherine Zweighaft, our PTA Cultural Arts & Assembly chair, for arranging an assembly for our students with Heal the Bay, an organization dedicated to keeping our oceans safe, healthy and clean. Our students were able to see pictures of sea life taken by our presenter Doug from the Antarctic, Midway Island and the Hawaiian Islands. We also saw photos of plastic around the necks of birds and on our beaches in those same locations. Our students had great ideas when asked, "Where does all the plastic come from? and What can we do to stop it?"  Ask your children about what they learned at the assembly and their ideas for how they can help keep our oceans safe, healthy and clean.

 Common Core: What's it all about?

The new California Common Core State Standards Initiative will greatly impact the learning of all of our elementary students as they progress through their years as students at Valentine ES, in middle school and high school. Our staff has been working hard this year to learn about the Common Core Standards and to plan for instructional and curriculum changes that are a part of our implementation of these new standards.  Each week, we will share information with you from the Parent Guide available on our website and from sources our staff has been studying. We can all learn together!

This week we will start with mathematics.........

The Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice describe mathematical proficiencies that all students will develop. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies” including problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and making connections.

These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

·      Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

                        Find meaning in problems

                        Analyze, predict and plan solution pathways

                        Verify answers

                        Ask themselves the question: “Does this make sense?”

·      Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

                        Make sense of quantities and their relationships in problems

                        Create coherent representations of problems 

·      Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

                        Understand and use information to construct arguments

                        Make and explore the truth of conjectures

                        Justify conclusions and respond to arguments of others 

·      Model with mathematics

                        Apply mathematics to problems in everyday life

                        Identify quantities in a practical situation

                        Interpret results in the context of the situation and reflect on whether the results make sense 

·      Use appropriate tools strategically.

                        Consider the available tools when solving problem

                        Are familiar with tools appropriate for their grade or course ( pencil  and paper, concrete models, ruler, protractor, calculator, spreadsheet, computer programs, digital content located on a website, and other technological tools)

·      Be precise.

                        Communicate precisely to others

                        Use clear definitions, state the meaning of symbols and are careful  about specifying units of measure and labeling axes

                        Calculate accurately and efficiently

·      Look for and make use of structure.

                        Discern patterns and structures

                        Can step back for an overview and shift perspective

                        See complicated things as single objects or as being composed of several objects

·      Look for and identify ways to create shortcuts when doing problems.

                        When calculations are repeated, look for general methods, patterns and shortcuts

                        Be able to evaluate whether an answer makes sense


Colleen's Corner March 13, 2013

We are very pleased to announce that Valentine has been selected to participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Pilot this spring. Our assessment window will be May 13th- 24th. Our school is one of a limited number of schools in the country selected to pilot the Smarter Balanced Assessment this spring. This is a unique opportunity for us as we will be directly involved in the development activities for this multi-state assessment that will be administered to our students and students in approximately 21 states starting in the 2014-2015 school year.

Schools throughout the Smarter Balanced member states were specifically selected for participation in this pilot and, like us, will administer the online computer-based assessment to students in grades third, fourth and fifth.  For our school, students in third and fourth grade will take the Pilot Assessment in ELA (English Language Arts) and our fifth grade students have been selected to take the  Pilot Assessment in Mathematics. The assessment will take place May 13 - 24 and will take about three hours of your child's time. The assessment may be administered over multiple days or sessions. Participation is voluntary and confidential, and your child's grades will not be affected by his or her participation.

This is a very exciting opportunity for our school. Students will be able to try out the new, online testing software and innovative test items that will be representative of some of the items on future Smarter Balanced assessments. We believe that students will have a positive experience and an opportunity to influence the development of future Smarter Balanced assessments. It will also provide us with the opportunity to see how well our students are able to use the technology required to participate in the assessment.

Additionally, the pilot has been designed to assist the Consortium of 21 states to gather data about
* the implementation of the online software;
* how the assessment items function and their technical quality;
* the effectiveness of test administration materials; and
* areas for improvement prior to the 2014 field test and 2015 operational administrations.

If you would like more information about Smarter Balanced, please visit the Smarter Balanced website at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/. If you do not want your child to participate in the pilot or if you have any questions regarding your child's participation, please contact me at

Colleen's Corner  March 6, 2013

A special congratulations to three very awesome and incredible Valentine Volunteers who were awarded the Honorary Service Award at the San Marino PTA Council's 83rd Annual Founder's Day Awards.

Yvonne Chen

Jasmin Tsai

Elizabeth Schmidt-Saldebar

It's not possible to share all that these three women have done to make a difference at Valentine. We would like to share just a few of the ways they have given so much to our school and community.


            Yvonne Chen grew up in San Marino, attending Carver, Huntington and San Marino High School. Yvonne graduated from UCLA and then went on to law school. Yvonne is the mother of two very active boys- a sixth grader at Huntington and a third grader at Valentine but she still finds time to be very involved at Valentine, Huntington and in our San Marino community. Yvonne always has the best interests of ALL students in her work for our school community- she works tirelessly on so many school-wide programs that benefit all of our staff and students. Yvonne was PTA President and has served for many years on the Valentine PTA Board, she is a member of the San Marino Junior Alliance, National Charity League Juniors of San Marino, San Marino Garden Club, San Marino Schools Foundation, San Marino Public Library Foundation, Huntington Middle School PTA Board and Cub Scouts Pack 354 and Boy Scouts Troop 359. We don't know how she does it all but we are thankful she is able to devote so much of her time and energy to our Valentine community!


            Jasmin Tsai hails from Chile, South America, and went on to graduate as a Trojan from USC. Jasmin is a very busy mother of three children- a fourth grader at Valentine and two middle school children at Huntington. Jasmin is an avid volunteer at both Valentine and Huntington. The list is long of the many volunteer leadership roles that Jasmin has spearheaded at Valentine. Jasmine for several years was responsible for our awesome Traffic Circle Volunteers who greet our students every morning with a smile. Jasmine was the Lunar New Year Committee Founder, PTA Auditor, Parent Party Silent Auction Chair, School Music Program Chair, Parent Party Lucky-Ring Co-Chair and Curriculum Lab Chair. At Huntington Middle School she has been the Asian Food Chair for the Hauntington Breakfast. In the community, she is a member of NCL, the Junior Social Hospitality Chair and volunteers for the Chinese Club, Boy Scout Troop 359, School Foundation Trustees and PTA Council. Jasmin loves to work quietly behind the scenes, but her positive, warm presence is felt greatly by so many in all that she does!


            Elizabeth Schmidt-Saldebar attended school in San Diego and went to Converse College in Spartenberg, South Carolina. After college, Elizabeth moved to Pasadena. She partnered with her mother and now owns and operates "Margie's" boutigue in San Marino. This busy shopkeeper and mother of a Valentine 5th grade student and San Marino High School sophomore has always been very involved at our school and in the San Marino community. Elizabeth was an active and involved member of our Valentine PTA Board for several years and was the Chairperson for Valentine's Parent Party and Valentine's Fall Fair- our two most involved and important fundraisers of the year. Elizabeth has also been in charge of the Fashion Show for the Pasadena Junior League, President of the National Charity League Juniors and on the Vestry at Church of Our Savior. Elizabeth always puts her heart and soul into whatever she does and brings a positive "let's get it done" attitude and energy to every project- inspiring us all to give our all!

Colleen's Corner  March 6, 2013

Just 60 days of school left....this weekend we spring forward with Daylight Savings Time.......This year is racing by!!


Please mark your calendars for our Open House on March 28 where our classrooms will be buzzing with projects and excitement. Classrooms will be open from 6:30-7:30 PM and our fabulous Art Festival will be in the Little Theatre from 6:00-7:30 PM.


Our school will celebrate Earth Day on April 21 with many fun activities planned for our students during Lunch Recess.


We will have a May Day/Student Choir/Student Performances combined celebration that promises to be memorable and new on Friday, April 26.

Our May Day Celebration will be our kick-off event for our upcoming year of celebrating Valentine's 75 birthday! And not to forget..... our marvelous city turns 100 on Saturday, April 27.


Finally, I would like to thank Lynn Ericksen and Celeste Allen for putting on a spectacular Back and White Parent Party. The entire event was wonderful and raised money for our school. Thank you for attending and supporting.

Colleen's Corner- February 12, 2013

We are very pleased to have our new music teacher, Joan Reeve Owens, starting music classes here at Valentine this week.  We will have music classes on Monday morning and all day Wednesday and Friday. Kindergarten, First and Second Grades will have weekly 40 minute music sessions as individual classes for the first seven weeks starting this week and finishing on March 29th. Our Third, Fourth and Fifth grades will begin weekly 40 minute music sessions after Spring Break for the remaining seven weeks.

We are also very excited to announce that Mrs. Reeve Owens will be directing our very own Valentine Intermediate Choir on Wednesday mornings from 7:45- 8:25. All fourth and fifth grade students are invited to join. Informational flyers will be coming home with fourth and fifth grade students this week. Our first choir session will begin next Wednesday, February 20.

Our fourth sandbox has finally arrived on the playground! All age levels are enjoying the opportunity at recess to dig, build, and create! We are accepting donations of sand toys in the office to distribute among our four sandboxes. Small sand shovels, sand forms, and buckets are the most popular tools.

 Our kindergarten classes were learning about the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month and writing about their own dreams for our community. Here are some of the dreams and words of wisdom from our kindergarten students:

 everybody would have enough money........no one would touch sharp things.......no guns at school.......the world will be peaceful.......all animals can be safe.......no guns will kill animals.......no bad meteors.......no bad guys shoot people.......no one will smoke cigarettes.......people will be nice in the whole world.......people won't be hurt by fire.......when it is foggy you won't get hurt.......no rain to play.......no bad guys in the world.......no sharks.......everybody is safe.......flowers will grow.......all animals have a safe place to live.

Have a safe and restful Presidents Weekend. 

Colleen's Corner- December 12, 2012


A huge THANK YOU to all of the parents, staff, and students who worked so hard to make our Winter Music Performance: December Nights, December Lights so successful.


Our PTA Program Chairs, Stephanie Giardina, Diana Glasse, and Genny Sanchez, dedicated many hours starting early this fall planning, meeting, organizing, gathering props, recruiting volunteers......so many tasks go into making our program a success! The set design this year was a phenomenal display of lights created by Terry Dobson, Gus Navarrete, and Michael Giardina. Each panel was created by hand- with holes drilled for each individual light and then each bulb was secured by glue. After creating the panels, Terry, Gus and Mike spent two evenings hanging the panels and stringing the lights in the Huntington Auditorium.  


In the office, Jeanne Lipps and Jennifer DeLaTorre designed, typed, and published our program, which included the names of over 80 student narrators, 20 dancers, 50 instrumentalists, 23 actors and 21 soloists! Kimberly Ransom, our music specialist, conducted all of the auditions for the narrators, dancers, instrumentalists, actors and soloists which included more than 200 students being selected for these special roles in the musical! These are just a few of the many tasks involved in putting together our musical performance! 


A special thank you also to Kimberlin Wagner, Haroon Elgabalawy, and Harrison Porter who stepped in the day before the program for two of our narrators who were ill and learned their lines in just one evening. We weren't able to include their names in the program and wanted to be sure they were recognized for their contribution.


Today our students had the opportunity to enjoy a lively assembly scheduled and sponsored by our PTA Cultural Assembly Committee titled, "A Gaelic Gathering: Irish Music and Dance". The performance featured musicians and dancers who shared Ireland's rich cultural heritage through traditional tunes and dances including instruments and songs unique to the Irish culture. When the performers said it was time to go, several students protested- wanting more! A special thank you to Susan Zweighaft for coordinating this wonderful fun learning opportunity for our students. 


We have a new American flag at Valentine- displayed each day on the flagpole at the entrance to our school. The family of Mary Grace Suxin Hu, a fifth grade student at our school, donated our new flag. This flag was flown over Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on January 6th, 2012, which was also Mary Grace Suxin Hu's 10th birthday. Please read more about the history of our new flag in the article below. Thank you for this special donation!  


Colleen's Corner:  December 4, 2012

We are still in need of a few more parent volunteers for our Winter Music Performance on Thursday and Friday afternoon at 1:00 PM and Friday morning at 9:00 AM. Please contact Stephanie Giardina at mikegiardina@yahoo.com if you would be available to assist our students at either of the performances.


Wow! What fun it was to see such a great turnout at our District Showcase Event for the PTA Reflections Contest last week. The Board Room at the District Office was packed with parents, community members and students. What a wonderful tribute to the artistic talents of our students. We had 40 entries from Valentinestudents. First place winners were judged along side first place winners from Carver ES. Valentine students won first place overall in 10 of the 11 categories. These 10 students will move on to the next level in the National Championships. Check out the names of all of our participants and winners in the article in this newsletter onValentine Reflections.


A huge thank you to Krista Diaz, teacher and parent at Valentine, who organized the PTA Reflections Contest for our school. She spent many hours organizing and promoting our program, setting up for the Showcase and displaying our students' work in the Little Theatre. Thank you Krista! Please stop by and view our students' art work, writings and photography in the Little Theatre windows.


Our PTA Allocations Committee met last week under the leadership of Caroline Howell to review the requests and proposed projects submitted by parents and staff to be funded by PTA. We also had a chance to review all of the materials and projects funded by our PTA last year through Allocations funds. We are indeed fortunate to have such a generous group of parents supporting our school! We also decided to establish a Kindergarten Playground Task Force to study our current playground facilities and recommend a plan for improvement for the upcoming years. If you are interested in serving on this Task Force please contact our office and we will forward your name to our Task Force Chairs.


We are looking forward to seeing everyone at our Winter Music Performance- "December Nights, December Lights" on Thursday and Friday. Our students, staff and parent volunteers have been working very hard to get ready for our big performance!


Colleen's Corner:  November 27, 2012

Our Winter Music Program is just around the corner! The excitement is definitely in the air as our students are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to perform for their families and our community. This year our program provides our students with an opportunity to learn about four different ways that many families celebrate in December through song, dance, and games. 

 The title of our program is "December Nights, December Lights" - Celebrations All Across the Land.  Our students will be singing songs from Hanukkah, La Fiesta de la Posada, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Student narrators will be sharing stories they have learned about each celebration and some of our students will have the opportunity to accompany our Kindergarten students by playing both marimba instruments and the glockenspiels.  Information on performance apparel for our students can be located on our website under News and Events as well as this newsletter under Winter Performance!

 A special thank you to our Maintenance Department, under the leadership of Ian Corrie for all of the many ways that they support our programs and keep Valentine looking so beautiful! This summer our parking lot was repaved and several sidewalks repaired. Our PTA purchased benches for the Kindergarten Circle. The benches were assembled and installed by our maintenance crew who also relocated our concrete pad for the benches and made several other safety improvements to the pick-up locations. Just this month, we requested an addition to the sidewalk between Huntington and the Kindergarten Circle so that all of our students would be able to walk directly to the Huntington sidewalk without having to cross in front of cars at the driveway to the circle- and within a few weeks- a new sidewalk was installed!  The windstorm last year reminded us all of the importance of the tree maintenance program that our district has implemented for several years. Last week many of our trees had a haircut and this summer we had extensive maintenance performed on the trees that provide us with such great shade in the Big Toy area.  Most important of all is our custodian Alberto Arellano who works tirelessly every day to keep Valentine sparkling clean and safe for all of our students!  I have worked in many schools and never met a better custodian than Alberto Arellano- the best of the best!!

We have also recently added a large sandbox to our playground. It has been so crowded with students at every recess that it reminds me of the beaches on a 100 degree day! We have decided to add several more sandboxes to better meet the demand to build, dig and design at recess. (The sandboxes are covered each night to keep out any animals who might mistake it for a large litter box!) We want to thank our PTA for purchasing two Box Hockey sets for our playground. The fifth grade students have learned the rules for Box Hockey and for the first few weeks will be the only students playing at recess.

A Thanksgiving message.......

 Dear Valentine Families:

 I love Thanksgiving- and not just because the food is always so delicious! Thanksgiving provides us with the opportunity as a community and within our families to reflect on all that we are truly thankful for in our lives.  The list could go on for pages ....here are a few of my own thoughts of gratitude......

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with a such a caring group of staff members and parents who truly try to always do whatever it takes to provide a learning environment for our students that allows them to become the very best that they can be!

 I am thankful for our generous parents and community members who support our school financially in so many ways with contributions to the Schools Foundation, PTA and our school whenever a need arises.

I am thankful for our School Board members: Nam Jack, C. Joseph Chang, Chris Norgaard, Lisa Link and Dr. Jeng Yen for the many, many hours they volunteer as school board members  guiding our district and keeping at the forefront always the best interests of our students.

I am thankful to our School Superintendent Loren Kleinrock for his active role at Valentine, visiting our classrooms and playground, attending our monthly PTA meetings, and joining our many PTA and staff events.

I am thankful every day for the opportunity to work at one of the most beautiful campuses anywhere with the best students in the world!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Colleen Shields

Colleen's Corner
November 20, 2012

One of the unique opportunities that students at both Valentine and Carver enjoy is access to our Science Lab as part of our Elementary Science Program. Our Science Lab program started here at Valentine over 25 years ago through the efforts and vision of one of our Valentine parents, Madelon Peck. Madelon recognized the challenges faced by classroom teachers to conduct in-depth hands-on science experiences for students in their classrooms. Our elementary teachers are responsible for teaching many subjects each day which makes it challenging to set up activities in the classroom, clean up in time for the next subject, purchase and share all of the materials for a grade level, move equipment between classrooms and keep the carpet and student desks clean during messy explorations! Madelon loved science and decided to begin by assisting her own child's teacher by taking on many of the responsibilities listed above to increase the number of hands-on science activities available for students.  The program grew as Madelon started working with grade level teams. Soon notebooks were being created for every grade identifying and describing the in-depth hands-on activities for each grade level that aligned with our science instructional materials.  In the beginning, Madelon came to classrooms to assist but as the program grew, Room 15 became our dedicated Science Lab. Eli Moreton, one of our current 3rd grade teachers, joined Madelon as the project grew to include all grades at Valentine. During the remodel of our building, the Science Lab became a rolling cart that traveled to classrooms until our present Science Lab Room was finished and ready for students!

Our current Science Lab Program has evolved over the years but remains true to the vision inspired by Madelon Peck when she first volunteered in her child's classroom.  Our teachers in grade level teams meet at the beginning of the year to create a schedule for teaching each of the science concepts at their grade. The teachers identify the hands-on science activities from the grade level notebooks that will be taught in the Science Lab. Our Science Lab Coordinator gathers and purchases all of the materials needed, sets up the equipment, prepares any handouts or charts, and organizes the steps of the activity including any technology included in the lesson.  Every classroom is scheduled every other week for a science lab session that is aligned with the science instruction taught by the teachers in their classrooms.

Our Science Lab Coordinator started as a volunteer position. As the program grew to include all of the grade levels, it became a staff position funded over the years by both district, school and PTA funds.  Science Labs are scheduled on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday . Diane Baca has been our Science Lab Coordinator since the Fall of 2011. Diane has been offered a full time teaching position at a school closer to her home, so she will be leaving Valentine after this week. Diane has done an excellent job at Valentine and she will be greatly missed.

We are very pleased to announce that Dana White will join our Valentine staff during the hiring process as our Computer Lab Coordinator starting Monday, November  26th.  Dana White is a certificated teacher who has substituted at Valentine and worked as our Computer Lab Coordinator for several weeks this fall. She will be implementing the lab sessions already scheduled for each grade level.  Dana knows our staff and students from her time in the Computer Lab and as a substitute teacher. I am confident she will make a great team member in the Science Lab with our teachers. If you have any questions about our Science Curriculum, please contact me @ cshields@smusd.us.

Colleen's Corner
November 14, 2012

Congratulations to Claudia Boles and Rusini Haris-Rosen for an extremely successful Book Fair last week. It was quite impressive to see our Little Theatre turn into a beautiful jungle complete with the sounds of wild life mixed with the squeals of delight from our students at all of the wonderful books available to them! A special thank you to all of our parents and families who so generously supported our staff requests for books for the classroom.  We had a wonderful team of volunteers all throughout the week - rain or shine- helping our families select and purchase books.

 Our third annual Veterans Day Celebration was also a great success last week. A huge thank you to Jenny Yessaian and Colleen Carroll for helping us organize this event and providing the absolutely beautiful bouquets of flowers for each of our Veterans. Our students love the opportunity to sing for our Veterans and enthusiastically wave their American flags amidst a sea of children and staff dressed in red, white and blue. This year we also had our students write thank you letters to our Veterans. Six of our students were selected to read their letters at our celebration. Each year, the number of Veterans joining us has grown and we so enjoy the opportunity to introduce each Veteran and the students who are so proud to have a family member or friend join us. This year we welcomed the following Veterans:

Jim Phelan, US Navy  1969-1971

Stephen Rogers, US Navy  1970-1980

Tim Grizzell, US Navy Seal Officer  1992-1999

Richard Anthony, US Army   1966-1968

Harold Ray, US Navy   1958-1969

Bob Mason, US Navy  1964-1972

Bernard Fipp, US Navy  1964-1969

John Giddings, US Marines  1967-1969

Luis Rivera, US Army  1970-1971

Robert Hill,  US Army  1953-1955

Harry Sayers,  US Army  1953-1955

Steve Sherrill, US Air Force post-WWII


Please join us at our PTA General Meeting tomorrow in the Little Theatre. I will be introducing some of our new staff members and sharing information on the new Common Core Standards and Assessments that will be coming soon.

Colleen Corner's   October 24, 2012
Dear Valentine Families,

Halloween is just around the corner as is our long time tradition of starting the day with our Costume Parade on the playground led by Mrs. Lipps. All of our students are invited to wear costumes to school for the parade. Please be sure to have your child bring a change of clothes- we only wear our costumes for the parade. Parents are welcome to view the Costume Parade and cheer for all of our fun and creative outfits!


We will be celebrating Veterans Day at school on Friday, November 9th. The highlight of our ceremony is honoring our friends and family members who are veterans. If you have a friend or family member who is a veteran and would be able to attend our ceremony, please contact our office. We will need to know the name of your veteran, branch of armed services, dates of service, rank at the end of service, theatre of location of service, any other information that we could share during the introduction and if any special accommodations including parking are needed. When we introduce and recognize the veterans who are in attendance, we also enjoy introducing the Valentine students who are related to the veteran, so we will also be asking you this information.


A reminder that students will not be in school next Monday, October 29th. It is a professional development day for our staff. We will be joining with the teachers at Carver to learn more about the new Common Core Standards and to share technology and student engagement strategies. We look forward to a great day of learning!


Colleen Shields, Principal

Colleen's Corner   October 17, 2012

Dear Valentine Families:


Last week, our students were so excited to see the rain and feel that fall was finally here! Our wonderful Valentine Pumpkin Patch is always such a great way to bring students, parents and staff together to kick-off the harvest season. A special thank you to all of our parent volunteers who helped to make the Pumpkin Patch such a success this year.


We also had great news last week when the Department of Education released the API scores for all of the schools in our state. San Marino School District is once again the top scoring school district in the state of California- ten years in a row! We are very pleased at Valentine to announce that our API (Academic Performance Index) scores have increased for the past two years- up by 15 points from the 2009-2010 school year! We are proud of the hard work of our staff, students, and parents as we continue to strive for academic excellence.


This week our students have had the opportunity in their classrooms to review the Safety Rules at Valentine. I have posted the cartoon/video that I created to share with students and parents our most important safety rules on the playground and in the hallways. You can view this video/cartoon on our school website. Go to the About Us tab and click on Principal's Message.


Colleen Shields, Principal

Colleen's Corner   March 25, 2012

On behalf of the entire Valentine staff, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for the MANY ways our students and families demonstrated their gratitude for the caring and hard work of our teachers and staff during Staff Appreciation Week.  We loved the notes from students and parents, flowers, gift cards, and out-of-this world food. I see daily the commitment and many hours our staff devote to making sure Valentine is a special place for all of our students and it's a true joy to see the smiles that a flower, a special note, or a delicious meal brings to the faces of our staff.   We were all touched by the special thank you in the San Marino Tribune from our Valentine parents. Thank you, thank you!!

Please join us this Thursday evening for the Valentine Open House and Art Festival.  Our teachers have been very busy getting our classrooms ready to display your child's learning this year. Classrooms will be open from 6:30- 7:30 PM.  Our fifth grade band will perform at 6:30 PM in the courtyard. Artwork created by all of our students will be on exhibit in the Little Theatre. Our new website will go live for the first time during Open House. Please be sure to visit the computer lab to see our new website and the new computers purchased this fall. Your child will be able to demonstrate for you what they have learned and created in the computer lab this year.  

Have a wonderful spring break next week!