On behalf of the staff, we would like to wish you a blessed, healthy and happy 2019.
I am pleased to share that Valley Catholic Middle School is the first school in Oregon (middle or high) to achieve STEM accreditation through AdvancEd. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and AdvancEd is the largest national accrediting body for schools and universities.
On December 10 and 11, 2018, a team of four educators, including AdvanceEd’s national director of STEM education, visited VCMS to evaluate the quality of our STEM program. The team was highly complimentary, noting that VCMS has developed an authentic STEM program that is project-based, fosters student-directed learning, gives rich opportunities for students to develop communication and presentation skills, and makes connections to the real world through community partnerships. Furthermore, the team was particularly impressed by the feedback they received from middle school students who all mentioned “the strong sense of community” as the most important part of their VCMS experience. This STEM-focused evaluation is a higher level recognition that further enhances VCMS’s accreditation status.
I want to acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of the entire middle school faculty. The STEM accreditation process involves a year-long self-evaluation of our program which included every teacher, and we could not have achieved this recognition without the commitment of every staff member.
The end of the first semester is rapidly approaching, with final exams scheduled on January 22 – 24. Middle school students will take hour-long finals in each of their classes, as well as completing a writing assessment. In middle school, teachers build in study supports to help students prepare for these important tests. In class test prep, organizational skills, study techniques and time management are all part of the extra effort teachers make to help acclimate students to finals. Stress management techniques are also covered so students can manage any anxiety they are feeling. Our goal is to familiarize students with final exams and help them build the skills and confidence they will need to excel when taking similar high-stakes tests in high school and college.
Please help spread the word about VCMS to your neighbors and friends who are looking for an outstanding middle school for their own children. Valley Catholic Middle School (as well as the Early Learning and Elementary schools) will host an Open House for prospective new families on Sunday, January 27, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. This event also kicks off the application process for the 2019-20 school year.