Grass Valley Elementary

School Newsletter • November 1, 2019

From the Principal

Dear Grass Valley school community,

The last colorful leaves are falling from the trees as we head deeper into fall and closer to the busy winter holiday season. Don’t forget that this weekend it will be time to change our clocks back to standard time!

We’ll also have a time change at school every day next week, Nov. 4-8, as classes will dismiss at 12:10 PM to allow for parent-teacher conferences. Students will follow their regular daily dismissal plan(s) unless we are notified otherwise. If you need to change any dismissal plans for this week, please let the office staff know as soon as possible. Thank you.

Conference week is an important opportunity for parents and caregivers to connect with their child’s teachers, get updates on student progress, ask questions and share information. Please be sure that you have set up a time to meet with your child’s teachers to make this connection. This time is also an opportunity to celebrate all of the learning and growth that are happening for our children. When we think about student progress at Grass Valley, we are looking at each individual’s unique growth. It’s important to remember that not all students start in the same place with their learning, and that means growth looks different for each student.

I also want to mention a free service available through our schools this year. The school district’s instructional focus this year is in the area of math. At Grass Valley, staff is focusing professional development time on math and our Bridges/Number Corner curriculum. Our goal is to dive deeper into and increase our fluency within the curriculum and standards to better support all of our students in the area of math instruction. One offshoot of this focus is a new, free tutoring service for students in grades 3-5. The tutors are Camas High School Math Club students, and they have been working in conjunction with our teachers to develop strategies and support materials to best help students. I encourage you take advantage of this opportunity to help students strengthen or expand on their math skills. For more, see the flyer further on this email.

As the fall weather settles in and we begin to experience cold temperatures and rain, we ask that you make sure that your Zebras are dressed for the weather. Classroom teachers are required to make sure students are wearing coats before they go outside. Thank you for your help!

Lastly, don’t forget that this week also features our Scholastic Fall Book Fair. Be sure to visit the library before or after your conferences to have a look. You can find more information below.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.


Sean McMillan, principal
Melissa Hutton, associate principal

PTA News

This month we just want to say "thank you" to our amazing community for your tremendous support of our fundraisers this fall. Both our Payback Book and Fun Run fundraisers exceeded our goals! Your generosity is truly humbling, and the school community is grateful.


• The next meeting for Art Discovery volunteers will be 9-10 AM. Thursday, Nov. 7, in room 104. Please RSVP here to help us ensure that one instructor from each class attends.

• Next month's meeting will be on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 9 to 10 AM in the cafeteria. To RSVP that meeting, click here.

This year we will again be selling hand-cut wooden souvenir holiday ornaments for $10 each. Flyers with the design choices and order form will go home with students soon. The ordering deadline is Monday, Dec. 2.

All money raised from this sale benefits students in need at Hough Elementary School in Vancouver. The school has a high number of low-income families and is always grateful for this support. Last year we were able to purchase socks, underwear and other supplies. Previously we have also used funds from this sale to buy and wrap toys and other gifts for Hough families.
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Fall Book Fair opens Monday

The library is looking festive as the annual Scholastic Fall Book Fair — with the theme Arctic Adventure — is set for Nov. 4-8. Students will attend during class time, and there will be additional hours for families to shop, plus special evening hours on Thursday, Nov. 7. The book fair hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 8 AM - 3 PM
Thursday night: 5 PM - 7 PM
Friday: 8 AM - Noon

If you send money with your student to shop, please put it in a zip-top bag with their name on it and remember to include extra for sales tax, as it is not included in the prices listed on the flyers. Families can also now use Scholastic's eWallet feature to put money on an account for their student to spend at the book fair. Click here to learn more and set up an eWallet account.

Book fair sales help benefit our library and book-giveaway programs for our students. We hope to see you at the fair!
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Grass Valley now has a Buddy Bench!

GVE got a "Buddy Bench" installed on Wednesday, Oct. 30, after school. It is located in the grass next to the natural playground. The bench is a gift from Skip Miller and Stephani Pizzi, parents of fifth-grader Chatham Miller. We greatly appreciate their generosity!

The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendships on the playground. Students who are not feeling connected to peers can sit on the bench. This is a signal for others to lift them up and include them in their activities. Let's spread the message of inclusion and kindness!

Veterans, families invited to assembly

Please join our Grass Valley community as we celebrate our military veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 1:40 PM. Please communicate with your child’s classroom teacher if you have a veteran family member or guest who will be attending. Veterans will be invited to walk the red carpet to be acknowledged and recognized for their service.

Star templates are available from classroom teachers for students to decorate and honor veterans in your family. Please cut and return by Tuesday, Nov. 5, so the stars may be displayed in the hall prior to the assembly. We look forward to seeing you in attendance!

Free parent education events coming up

You’re invited to our school district's free parent education nights this month, where licensed mental health counselor Lynette Ramirez will teach parents how to reinforce to their kids how valuable their lives are, and how to help them put self-affirming thoughts and actions into practice. One event is for elementary school parents, and one is for secondary school parents. Each will be tailored with age-appropriate guidance.

For elementary parents:
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 6-7:30 PM, at Lacamas Lake Elementary, 4825 North Shore Blvd.

For secondary parents:
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6-7:30 PM, at Discovery High School, 5125 N.W. Nan Henriksen Way

These events are aimed at a parent audience and contain content intended for adults only; please do not bring children. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding! For more information, contact CSD Social-Emotional Liaison Jennifer McMillan at

Also, remember to check out the school district’s All-Student Wellness web page, if you haven’t already. You’ll find information about upcoming events, a video archive and reading/resources for supporting social-emotional health for students from elementary age through adolescence.

November Calendar of Events

NOV. 4-8

Conference Week – Early dismissal at 12:10 every day

Book Fair – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 8 AM to 3 PM, with special evening hours on Thursday from 5 to 7 PM. Last-chance shopping is available Friday from 8 AM to noon.


Spirit Day – PJ Day


Spirit Day – Crazy Hair Day


Spirit Day – Favorite Sport Day

Grass Valley Vocal Jazz Choir – Music Room, 12:15-1:15 PM


Picture Retakes – 8:30-10:30 AM

Spirit Day – Crazy Sock Day

Art Discovery Meeting – Room 104, 9:00-10:00 AM

LAP Parent Night – Room 123, grades K-1 5:30-6:15 PM; grades 2-4 6:15-7:00 PM


Spirit Day – GVE Spirit Day


Veterans Day Holiday – No school


Veterans Day Assembly – Cafeteria/Gym, 1:40-2:20 PM

Grass Valley Vocal Jazz Choir – Music Room, 12:15-1:15 PM


2nd Grade Field Trip – Oregon Children’s Theater, 8:15 AM-12:15 PM

Elementary Science Olympiad – Room 209, 2:40-3:45 PM


5th Grade Field Trip (Crone & Strawn) – Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, 8:30 AM-12:15 PM


Grass Valley Jazz Choir – Music Room, 12:15-1:15 PM

PTA Dine-Around Fundraiser – Papa Murphy's, 2-8 PM


5th Grade Field Trip (Crowe & Dietzen) – Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge, 8:30 AM-12:15 PM

November Birthday Lunch – Cafeteria, 11:05 AM-12:15 PM

Elementary Science Olympiad – Room 209, 2:40-3:45 PM


Hearing Screenings – Grades K, 1, 2, 3 & 5


Science Olympiad Competition – Camas High School, 8:30 AM-12:00 PM


Thanksgiving Holiday – No school

Contact Us

Grass Valley Elementary
3000 NW Grass Valley Drive
Camas, WA 98607
Phone: 360-833-5710 | Fax: 360-833-5711

Grass Valley PTA: Visit us at, "like" us on Facebook and follow gvezebraspta on Instagram.

This newsletter is published monthly during the school year by Grass Valley Elementary and the PTA. You can email the newsletter coordinator, Nancy Nilles, at To add email addresses to the mailing list, contact GVE Head Secretary Aileen Hay at 360-833-5710.