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Palm Valley Elementary Named A+ School of Excellence

Principal Jennifer Benjamin and Superintendent Jodi Gunning at PVE A+ Assembly.

Palm Valley Elementary has achieved an A+ rating due to its successful programs and
hardworking staff who strive to see the growth and development of their students.

“Our motto, ‘Once a Thunderbird, Always a Thunderbird,’ epitomizes our belief that a successful
school functions as a family,” Instructional Coach Alison Wood said. “Our Thunderbird Family is
all inclusive - from our students, to parents, teachers, administration, and our support staff. We
all work together in pursuit of a common goal - to provide a safe, caring, and loving environment
where all school family members are encouraged to rise to their full potential.”

Third grade teacher Chandra Armstrong said, “Palm Valley deserves an A+ rating because of
the amazing things that are happening on our campus every day. Our campus climate is that of
a school family where all staff, students, and families are important members that work together
to achieve growth in academic and non-academic areas.

The most valuable and indispensable aspect of Palm Valley is the people, they are what makes
the community what it is. Every passionate, encouraging and hardworking faculty member is a
significant part of a team that know how essential their jobs are, Armstrong continued.

Wood said, “Palm Valley embraces our district’s Mission Believe with a clear focus on school
communities as a place where all stakeholders actively support and believe in the growth and
success of all members. Whether it is academic, or social/emotional in nature, we strive to build
a dynamic school community of leaders.”

Palm Valley Elementary School fifth grade teacher Miriam Wilson said, “‘Genuine’ really is the
word that best describes the work that happens there. Teachers and staff have a genuine
concern for each and every child who enters our gates each day and we strive to provide the
best environment for learning, with the understanding that learning can only happen in a safe
place where children feel valued.”

“The A+ rating is meant to identify those schools that go above and beyond and PVE has
proven time and time again that we are committed to excellence in everything we do,” Wilson

Armstrong said, one thing that makes PVE outshine other schools is the Inclusion Revolution/
Peer Tutoring program. “Palm Valley has four self-contained SAILS [Social Academic Inclusion
and Life Skills] classes. The goal is/was to get students from these classrooms into general
education classes as much as possible. On the flip side, general education students are invited
to SAILS classrooms as peer tutors during their specials time once a week.”

“The impact that his has had on SAILS and general education students has been tremendous both               academically and non-academically. They have connected as learners in the classroom at PVE,”                      Armstrong said.

Wood added, “Peer tutors model and assist students by building friendships, supporting
academics, building communication skills, practicing social skills, and enhancing life-skills. In the
process, general education students increase their capacity for empathy and compassion.”
Wilson said, due to the caring family environment at Palm Valley, the staff feels supported and
capable to do what they know is best for students, “parents see the genuine care and concern
that is given to their children, and the community sees a school who understands the
importance of building relationships.” 

“Truthfully, education is a field where there are always areas to improve and change; that is part
of what makes it such a fun profession. PVE is really putting the focus on building the social
emotional skills in our students,” Wilson said. “Understanding the value of these skills is one of
the things that makes PVE stand out above other schools. This is an area we are still
developing, but the fact that we are working on it speaks volumes about Palm Valley’s values.”
Armstrong said, “We’ve all heard the saying “It takes a village” and Palm Valley is a great
example of the impact a group of individuals coming together as a team can have.”

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