Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Kindergarten Coin Drive

Our kindergarten classes collected $284 in their recent Ronald McDonald House Coin Drive! Once the money was collected they used their money skills to sort and count the coins then purchased items from the RMH wish list. The children were very excited to pick out items for the RMH!

Working with RMH has been extremely beneficial for our kindergarten students. They all understand what it is like to be sick (although they don’t know the difference in severity) and feel great compassion for the children at RMH. The coin drive not only raised money for families at RMH, but it was also a great connection to our math curriculum as the students are learning to identify and count money. The children have really enjoyed working with the RMH this year!

4th Annual Seventh Grade World Fair

Villa’s Rainbow Theater was overflowing with impressive presentations earlier this week during the 4th Annual 7th Grade World Fair.  Every 7th grade student displayed a project from each of the five continents they studied this year: Europe, South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia.  As you can see in the World Fair Slideshow, topics ranged from Energy Conservation in Tokyo to French Fashion and Style.

Creative writing was a new component to this year’s World Fair as each student was required to write a novella based on one of his or her projects.   Seventh grader Caitlin Hendricks called the writing process a “long and thrilling journey” with many hours dedicated to the novella. “We have each finished our first book and are proud to present them to the community.”

Thank you, 7th Graders for celebrating the world with us and sharing your amazing work!

State Projects – From Classroom to Computer Lab

Families attended an Open House to showcase 5A student PowerPoint slideshows (with animation and sound) on Monday, January 28. Thank you to all who attended.

5B students will present their slideshows on Thursday, February 7 from 2:45-3:15.                                           

This project is complex and the PowerPoint slideshows are so well designed that 5th Grade students are to be congratulated for their perseverance.  Students gathered photos of their state using Encyclopedia Britannica’s Image Quest.  They used World Book Online and other sites to research their state’s economy, geography, culture, and climate. They organized copious facts about their state using a “mind map” created in Inspiration.  Rough drafts were printed, proofread, corrected, re-printed and corrected again to be ready for the Open House presentations.

Whether or not you have a student in this class, if you are in the building Thursday, February 7th from 2:45 – 3:15, please stop by the Computer Lab!

The projects are top notch, but equally impressive is the students’ confidence with technology, their ability to present their work and explain how the computer programs aided their research.

Update from the Head of School


December 7, 2012


Dear Friends,

Today I met with the Villa Parent Association (VPA) and presented an overview of a comprehensive school improvement plan, associated with our Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) re-accreditation process that will commence with the 2013-2014 academic year.  As an accredited school, Villa Academy undergoes a peer review process on a seven-year cycle, with our next evaluation scheduled for the 2014 – 2015 academic year.

PNAIS accreditation is an inclusive, continuing process that involves reflection, rigor and forethought to assist each member school to clarify and live its own vision, mission and values. The process promotes quality standards without standardization in a way that supports both school independence and educational quality in a collegial environment of peer review.

PNAIS schools voluntarily join the Association and, in so doing, commit to the core value of continuous school improvement with the goal of maintaining accreditation through compliance with the Association’s Standards and Indicators. PNAIS accreditation is an elective and thorough process that ensures that schools have the leadership, resources, organization, staffing and structures in place to allow for continual improvement that will sustain schools and ensure a quality educational program over time.

At Villa Academy, the most recent  on-going school improvement process generated from our 2007 accreditation report, but began in earnest during the 2010 – 2011 academic year under the leadership of Mrs. Jody Elsner, Villa’s Lower School Director who was, at that time, Villa’s Interim-Head of School.  During that year, Mrs. Elsner and the Villa faculty and staff began studying the components and implications of a “21st century education” at Wednesday afternoon faculty/staff meetings and through outside reading and research.

There are numerous definitions of “21st century education/21st century skills,” but a particularly useful and succinct definition comes from Mr. Barnett Berry, founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Teaching Quality:

Twenty-first-century learning means that students master content while producing, synthesizing and evaluating information from a wide variety of subjects and sources with an understanding of and respect for diverse cultures. Students demonstrate the three Rs but also the three Cs: creativity, communication and collaboration. They demonstrate digital literacy as well as civic responsibility. Powerful learning of this nature demands well-prepared teachers who draw on advances in cognitive science and are strategically organized in teams, in and out of cyberspace.”

The research, review and discussion of “21st century education/skills” at Villa Academy continues and includes both formal and informal conversations centered on the application of new instructional techniques and curricular standards, while ever mindful of our Mission as a Catholic independent school dedicated to excellence in the education of the whole child and guided by the Cabrinian tradition of educating compassionate hearts and confident minds.

This self-assessment and professional development process, along with our review of educational “best practices,” serves as one foundational leg of a school improvement process.

The second foundational leg of Villa’s school improvement process is the formal PNAIS self-study, which will be conducted during the 2013 – 2014 academic year. The self-study is an inclusive, collaborative and reflective process involving the Head of School, the Board, faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni and others who have an interest in the school and its future. It provides the background information and analysis upon which a peer review team will rely during their visit to Villa Academy in the 2014 – 2015 academic year.

The self-study process, followed by a peer review report, looks for congruence between a school’s mission and its programs and practices, and starts with a review of the school’s mission statement. The process considers the school’s strengths, weaknesses, priorities and plans and should identify any “gaps” as well as articulate aspirations (programs and facilities) for school improvement.  A peer review team will review the self-study and, following a three-day visit to the school, provide an additional written report to the Head of School offering team observations and highlighting areas of commendation, recommendations and conditions that the school must satisfy in order to maintain accreditation.

Considering the best practices/standards of a 21st century education, the findings of our self-study and the report from a peer-review accreditation visit, a new school improvement plan (Visioning Villa – 2017) will be developed and pursued in the years ahead.  In this improvement plan I hope to draw on all of the sundry skills and significant talents of the Villa community and will rely on its collective wisdom to make Villa Academy all that it can be – sooner rather than later!  This school improvement plan may suggest that the Villa Academy Board of Trustees consider a capital campaign in the next couple of years to support our improvement goals, to further Villa’s progress and to fully meet its Mission and Vision.  This is an option that has been occasionally discussed at meetings of the Board of Trustees over the last eighteen months, though no decision has yet been made.

This graphic was presented to the VPA to help illustrate this process:


The next few years at Villa Academy will be exciting – and pivotal.  I’m enthusiastic about our future and our potential and am convinced that the best is yet to come!

Stay tuned!



John K. Milroy

Head of School

Dunk for Density!

Villa 6th grade science students in Roger Crafts’ and Janis Smith’s science classes had a great time discovering their own densities using the Density Dunk Tank. Each voluntary participant found his or her mass in kilograms and divided that by his or her volume in liters. Students not dunking took scale and tank measurements and entered the data into an Excel spreadsheet for later analysis.

Middle School Book Club

All middle school students are invited to join Villa’s Middle School Book Club each Tuesday, beginning September 25th in the Library.

Book Club will meet during the Middle School recess time,11:25-11:45. Book Club is a non-graded, optional activity designed to foster and support a love of reading good books. Our first book will be Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

Join Mrs. Brooks, Mrs. Calomeni, Mrs. Sprute, and Mrs. Strand in thoughtful discussions about some epic adventures!

Welcome back – Classroom Visit Day

Villa Academy is busy place to be this week. Teachers are back and preparing their classrooms for the return of the school year. The new windows and restored terra cotta look wonderful and the summer projects are wrapping up.

Please join us on Thursday, August 30th 1:30-2:30pm for Classroom Visit Day to meet your teachers and check out your new digs!