Blue Valley is a private, bilingual, international school that offers a rigorous American curriculum, yet is rooted in local culture and includes a strong Spanish program.
An Open Letter from Mrs.Urbina
Dear BVS Family
It is hard to believe how quickly the school year has passed and come to an end. I would like to thank you for your confidence, trust, and commitment to the mission of Blue Valley School. This was a very productive year and you, as our partners in education, played a vital role in making it a success! As you know, Blue Valley 2.0 is well under way. The school has been in the process of growth for many semesters. In order to meet our ever-growing demand, we had to decide whether to turn away families that were looking for our excellent and holistic education or do something that would allow us to increase our enrollment. Keeping our service to the students at the forefront of our minds, in line with our philosophy, we decided to make our campus bigger and allow for an increase in our student population. Now, we are moving forward and several noticeable and exciting changes have begun to take place to meet our current needs.
Our present population will benefit especially on two accounts, personally and academically. With a larger number of students they can have more social interaction and the school has the possibility of two classes at the same level to facilitate placement. Educationally, we will be able to offer more alternatives. For instance, by FS17 high school students who want to concentrate on a college abroad track can forego the national baccalaureate track and take courses designed to meet their specific goals.
Construction for the expansion is well into the first phase, which will create additional sports facilities to serve the already growing population, one hundred and fifty more parking spaces, and a protected entrance to reinforce security and improve traffic flow. The next phase will include a classroom building to house elementary school split levels, leaving space for secondary school classes in present buildings. This new building will also house elementary school services until we build a specific one for the purpose. Construction of both phases will be ready for FS17. Moreover, our growth is not just physical. In addition to accepting more students, the school will also be adding more teachers, coaches, and administrators. We have recently assigned two new support positions to assist in facilitating the alignment of our vision and mission: Academic Director, held by Tracy Waters, and Organizational Development Manager, held by Maria Herrera. Both of these ladies have served at BVS for several years and bring with them knowledge and expertise and share our passion for excellence.
Mrs. Waters has been working part-time as the school’s curriculum specialist this semester as she finishes her Educational Doctorate by the end of the year. She has been designing our BVS Standards with the teachers based on learning objectives that they have been contributing on our shared digital platform. These standards define enduring understandings for each unit (what we expect students to remember forever) and allow for integrating modern didactic approaches with the necessary cultural literacy to function properly in society. Supported by a number of specific objectives, they grant the teacher the freedom to address lessons according to the individual interests of respective students with unlimited access to digital information. They are stated in measurable terms to facilitate assessment.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
Ms. María Herrera has been attending most meetings (board, directors, team leaders, ambassadors, and professional development) for over a year. She will be in charge of supervision and follow-up of all non-academic endeavors. Newly hired communication consultant Mr. Rogelio Umaña has been involved in improving both internal and external messages. We will also be appointing a coordinator to better serve our parents’ communication needs.
Our school ambassadors and two of the principals, fully supported by the administration, gave sports a big boost this year and justified the investment in more coaches this year and greater sports facilities next year. Students and parents have responded pleasantly, even bringing the students to train before the school day starts.
Anytime there are changes, there are always concerns. One concern is with the growth: Will Blue Valley keep the essence of what it has always been? Our promise is that we will continue to be a student-centered school with no division line between adults and children; we are all here as facilitators in their development. Together we share the joy of helping them advance. One of the reasons for the two new support roles is to assist me in keeping our philosophy strong throughout the change process. Furthermore, I am supported by a caring and experienced group of administrators, as well as the school board members. With every decision we make we ask ourselves if we are aligned to our vision and mission. If we are, then we know we are taking a step in the right direction. Another concern is whether I am getting ready to retire. I have just begun the second stage of the project that has been my sustained passion and have no plans to leave when so much is being accomplished!
Even with all of our planning and preparation, there will be growing pains. For example, as the construction crew has made progress this semester toward our new parking area, there have been times teachers have not had access to it and have had to use the nearby church’s parking lot. We also apologize that parents have sometimes had trouble finding parking spaces. While those are temporary inconveniences, we keep our eyes on the end result, knowing that when we come back from the long break we will have a much better parking facility. For the new building we are asking the architects for extras that align with our didactic methods. We are all looking forward to this new era!
It has been a wonderful year. Parents and teachers commit their time and energy every day toward creating a nurturing environment in which children can thrive! Suffice it to say that it is always busy, and our students are always inspiring. We could not achieve what we do without your support.
In closing, I wish you all a very happy, safe, and enjoyable break. I am looking forward with anticipation and excitement to what 2017 holds for Blue Valley School.