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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

Liberty Bell Girls Soccer Team Place 4th at WIAA 2B State Soccer Championship!

2018 LB Girls Soccer ChampsLed by the experience of the of the veteran players and coaching staff, the youthful and tenacious Liberty Bell Girls Soccer team concluded their highly successful season this weekend, placing 4th at the WIAA 2B State Soccer Championship held at Sunset Stadium in Sumner, Washington.

Prior to the beginning of the season, it was anticipated by many that the LB Lions Girls Soccer team was entering a “rebuilding” year. So, how does a team who is described as one that is rebuilding finish 4th in State? When asked, one player stated, “We learned to trust in one another. We play together as a team.”

Faced with multiple challenges – player injuries and playing on artificial turf, the LB Girls Soccer team struggled to find the back of the net, losing 4-1 to St. George’s of Spokane in the semi-finals and 3-0 to Adna in the consolation game.

Despite the two losses, spirits and attitude remained high among the coaches, players, parents, and LB fans throughout the tournament. The sportsmanship displayed on and off the field by our team, coaching staff, parents, and fans was evident, with a parent from another school stating, “LB is a class act all the way around!”

Congratulations LB Lions Girls Soccer team… We’re so proud of you!

Liberty Bell Girls Soccer Team Headed to the Final Four!

2018 Girls Soccer Team Playing on our home pitch in front of a festive crowd, the undefeated Liberty Bell Girls Soccer team advanced to the final four of the WIAA 2B State Championship tonight, defeating Onalaska 2 – 0.

Following the game, one spectator was overheard stating, “This was supposed to be a rebuilding year… If this is a rebuilding year, I hope we’re always rebuilding!”

Congratulations to the Liberty Bell Girls Soccer team and coaching staff. You make us proud!

Missoula Children’s Theatre and Methow Valley Students Perform to a Full House!

On Saturday, November 10th, the Missoula Children’s Theatre and a cast of approximately 40 Methow Valley Elementary students performed two showings of “The Secret Garden”, both to a full house. The masterful performances were the product of approximately 22 hours of rehearsal that took place prior to the showings facilitated by the Missoula Children’s Theatre.

Missoula Children's Theater Cast

Who is the Missoula Children’s Theatre? Where did this amazing collection of people come from?

To answer that, we need to go back in time to the summer of 1970. Jim Caron, an unemployed actor, was searching for a mission in life, on his way from Chicago to a friend’s wedding in Oregon when his aging Volkswagen van broke down. The nearest service station was – fortunately and fatefully – in Missoula, Montana. While waiting for the van to be patched together, Jim noticed an audition poster for Man of La Mancha. Just for fun, he auditioned and was cast in the role of “Sancho.”

He developed an instant and lasting friendship with Don Collins (the actor playing “Don Quixote”), and together they organized a company of adults to perform plays for children on a make-shift stage in a local movie theatre. The plays, as well as the idea of developing live theatre for kids, were well-received in Missoula. Soon, nearby Montana and Idaho communities requested performances of their own.

During the early seventies, the company began casting kids when it seemed appropriate, such as in Hansel and Gretel or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In 1972, when February performances of Snow White were booked in Miles City (a small Montana community located an icy 500 miles from Missoula), Jim and the other directors were not excited about the prospect of traveling with seven children across the state and decided to take a radical step: they would attempt to cast the dwarfs from children in Miles City.

The directors traveled across the state a week before the rest of the company, a bit skeptical about finding seven kids who might be interested in being in the play. When 450 children arrived, the astonished team auditioned the huge group and cast the seven roles. The success of that week—obvious major interest among kids, parents, teachers, and the press, as well as an excellent production and sold-out performances—opened the eyes of the MCT staff and the doors to the future.

This year, they will perform in over 50 states, 16 countries, and work with nearly 65,000 students!

Thank you!

Sponsored by Methow Arts, PSFA, Winthrop Kiwanis, Chewuch Inn, KTRT, Methow Valley Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Montana Arts Council, and the Methow Valley School District, today’s showings marked the 25th annual Missoula Children’s Theatre performance in the Methow Valley.

Special thanks to Ashley Lodato and Linda Mendro and the many sponsors noted above for making the arts accessible to all youth in the Methow Valley!

MVSD Honors Our Nation’s Veterans

American FlagsAs we approach Veterans Day, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to our nation’s veterans for their service in support of our country and world peace.

Today, Liberty Bell hosted one of our Valley’s very own – Shannon Polson, parent, author, motivational speaker, and United States Military Veteran.

Shannon is one of the first women to fly the Apache helicopter in the U.S. Army. Her military career “…spans almost a decade as an Army officer and attack aviation leader around the world…” Serving as a leader in many other settings, Shannon Polson is committed to changing the conversation about women and leadership, and speaks and writes to inspire companies and organizations across the country and around the world, sharing lessons in leadership, grit and storytelling.

Next week, on Tuesday, November 13th, at 1:30 pm, Methow Valley Elementary will host a Veterans Day assembly in honor of our nation’s veterans. Parents and community members are welcome to attend.

Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11th in the United States. It originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919 – first anniversary of the end of World War I. It became a national holiday beginning in 1938, “dedicated to the cause of world peace…”

As we approach Veterans Day, please join us as we thank Shannon Polson and our nation’s many Veterans, some who call the Methow Valley home.

Sara Mounsey Selected to Receive Big Picture Learning (BPL) Leadership Grant

Sara MounseyIndependent Learning Center (ILC) Advisor, Sara Mounsey, has been selected to receive a BPL leadership grant.

Jeff Petty, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Consortium for School Innovation and Regional Director for Big Picture Learning states, “The grant will support additional time focused on the continued coordination and development of the ILC as a regional exemplar of a small rural BPL school and direct support to the 15-20 other schools across Eastern Washington making such a transition.”

Please join us in congratulating Sara and the ILC staff for their exceptional leadership and tireless effort to develop and implement a personalized, student-driven, competency-based approach to teaching and learning that others aspire to emulate!

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Happy Thanksgiving: All Schools & the District Office will be Closed Thursday, Nov. 22nd and Friday, Nov. 23rd for Thanksgiving Break. Early Release Schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 21st.