Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Methow Valley Students, Parents, and Community Members,

As we rapidly approach Thanksgiving Break – a moment of pause, reflection, and gratitude – I wish to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for the love, care, compassion, and tireless support of our schools and the students we serve, displayed by each of you.

Speaking with confidence, on behalf of the entire Methow Valley School District Board of Directors and staff, we are so grateful to be a part of a community that cares so deeply for its youth…

Cultivating Gratitude, Appreciation, and Happiness

Did you know expressing gratitude and appreciation is commonly associated with greater levels of happiness?

The Harvard Medical School published a body of research associated with the concept of gratitude. In there concluding remarks, they state: “The research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it’s built right into the holiday — expressing gratitude.”

Woman feeling gratitude The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

While there are strategies that can be used to express gratitude, one way to cultivate gratitude includes:

Writing Thank You Notes – You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Cultivating a Climate of Gratitude, Appreciation, and Happiness… An Invitation to You!

Equipped with this research, I’d like to invite each of you to join us in an effort to “cultivate a climate of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness” directed at one another, our educational partners, parent volunteers, and/or Methow Valley School District staff members who are making a positive difference in the lives of our students, families, and community.

How can I help cultivate a sense of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness throughout our community?

Submit a letter of gratitude (no more than 6 sentences), recognizing others for their positive contributions, to be published in the upcoming fall edition of the MV Pride.

The deadline for submitting your letter of gratitude is Friday, December 7th. Letters can be directed to Tom Venable at: tvenable@methow.org.

Haven’t done it before? Give it a try… Done it before? Keep doing it! You’ll feel better and so will others!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley School District