Valley Elementary Educational Foundation  
Raising money to enrich the educational experience so every child at Valley can succeed


Updating Our Library Collection

BooksIn 2009, the focus of our fundraising was to fill the library with everything from the classics to the contemporary. The library is the place where the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and the latest in technology converge. It’s the place where assignments become a chance for discovery and where idle skimming gives way to being utterly absorbed in a story. In 2008-09, as part of the Valley’s overall campus renovation, the library was rebuilt brick by brick. In 2009 we worked to replenish it book by book.

That year, the Foundation purchased nearly 700 books, as part of its commitment to replenish the library’s English and Spanish collections.

Each book was specifically requested by the library staff or by teachers and administrators to help enrich the curriculum and to ensure that all students have access to a wide range of new and exciting titles.

Carleen Walda BenchOne of the biggest advocates of the Foundation in 2009 was Carleen Walda, the school’s longtime librarian and reading specialist, whose speech at the inaugural Wine in the Valley auction and gala brought many guests to tears and encouraged them to give generously.

Mrs. Walda passed away on Sept. 7, 2011, after battling ovarian cancer. In January 2012, to honor Mrs. Walda, the Foundation planted an ash sapling, known as “The Giving Tree,” and reading bench in the grassy area near the first-grade classrooms. The Foundation also purchased $1,000 specially plated Carleen Walda memorial books for the school library. The tree, bench and books were made possible because of donations her loved ones made to the Foundation in her honor.

In June 2012, Robin Radlauer-Cramer chose to once again honor Mrs. Walda with an historic donation to the Foundation.
Mrs. Radlauer-Cramer, a teacher at Valley for more than 20 years, admits that a love of reading is in her blood.

She’s the daughter of two authors — Ed Radlauer, whose books about motorcycles, drag racing, motocross and skateboarding inspired a new genre of children’s books, and Ruth Radlauer, who published more than 200 different titles, many of which have been in Valley’s library over the years.

So it came as no surprise that Robin bonded with Carleen Walda, whose mission was to make reading fun for kids.
In June, following the death of her mother, Robin made the largest donation in Foundation history — $7,000 in Carleen’s honor to be spent on books for the Valley library, where until recently the average copyright date was 1986.

“It is wrong that this school has built two wonderful libraries only to house books which were purchased when the library was a windowless corner carved out of the multipurpose room,” Robin says.

“My donation is in honor of Carleen Walda’s work, laughter, and presence in the Valley family,” she continues. “I hope that with it, we can pull Valley’s library collection into the 21st century.”

College Readiness

college elementary kidsMuch of the success in school has to do with attitude. Students are excited when they can see a goal and understand why it’s important to strive for and achieve that goal.

At Valley Elementary School, only 41 percent of the parents have college educations compared to other schools in the district where the percentage of parents with college degrees is as high as 86 percent.

Valley wants to put its students on a path toward college, the pinnacle of education. Whether they’re just starting kindergarten or about to move on to middle school, we want students at Valley to know that college starts now.

With the help of the Foundation, Valley established a program called, College Starts Now. George TownThrough the program, classes adopt colleges and universities across the nation. College banners hang proudly outside each classroom and fifth-graders take field trips to local universities.

Whether they’re just starting kindergarten or are about to move on to middle school, we hope this will put Valley students on a path toward college — the pinnacle of education.

Every year counts. Many students who start kindergarten at Valley haven’t gone to preschool. They don’t know their alphabet, numbers or colors, so they’re behind right from the start. Every year they fall behind, it’s that much harder to catch up.

So it’s our business, from day one, to make sure that students at Valley know about college and how college can change their lives.
Students can’t wait for middle school to think about college. They can’t wait for high school. It has to be here. It has to start now.

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