A Letter from the VCMS Principal – March 2022

Teacher Training – Spend the Day as a Student

During the next few weeks, we are asking the middle school staff to “walk a mile in the students’ shoes.” More literally, all teachers will be shadowing a student for one full school day during the next few weeks. Over the years, we have found no greater impact on the development of student-driven changes than to have every staff member spend a day experiencing everything a student experiences – including the coursework, the passing times, and lunch.

By April, every staff member will have had the opportunity to Spend the Day as a Student and then we will begin to review the teacher observations, recognize the strengths that were observed and identify areas for improvement. By asking the teachers to experience a change in perspective just prior to our annual review of the middle school practices and policies for the 2022-2023 school year, we believe the staff are able to more clearly understand the student perspective.


While our curriculum and school practices are reviewed on a yearly basis, every six years we engage in an in-depth process known as accreditation. Valley Catholic Middle School is accredited through Cognia (formerlyAdvancED). We are currently beginning our self-study process in preparation for a site visit next year. This means we will be looking at our programs to help ensure we are providing a culture of continual improvement. The formal accreditation visit for both the middle and high schools will take place in the spring of 2023.

This is an exciting process for educators. It is a time when we get to observe the fruits of our labors as well as look at the future growth of our programs. Since our last set of accreditation goals were established, we are proud to say we were the first school in the Pacific Northwest to earn the National STEM certification and we have continued to collaborate with other schools that are seeking an official certification as well.  

Extended Day Field Trips

On Feb. 25, Valley Catholic Middle School’s 6th grade class went on a field trip to the Oregon Zoo and Washington Park. Students started the day hiking through Washington Park, being in nature, and enjoying the beautiful weather. For the other half of the day students had the opportunity, for many of them the first time since the pandemic started, to visit the Oregon Zoo. Students were excited to see their favorite animals in person, such as elephants, lions, red pandas, and penguins. 

8th grade students spent Feb. 25 on the Oregon Coast, exploring the beach, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company. Students received a warm welcome at Camp Magruder in Rockaway Beach, and took advantage of the camp’s many activities. Students hiked on wetland and coastal trails, played gaga ball, basketball, and volleyball, enjoyed the playground, and discovered treasures on the beach. Accompanied by a dozen staff members, students were able to choose activities that interested them and get to know their classmates better by traveling in small groups. The weather on Friday was surprisingly mild, the sky was clear, and the sun shone down on a beautiful day for the 8th graders’ outing.

Jennifer Gfroerer