Thanks to everyone who came to the annual meeting on Friday evening (10/28)!
It was a lovely evening that began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new spaces on the Grace Farm campus: the Grades Building renovation and the new Farm and Forest Program. To celebrate all that our school offers, parents, faculty, and friends of the school gathered in the new 6th/7th grade classroom to recall moments of magic we have experienced at Orchard Valley. We recorded those moments on beautifully hand-painted apples, then strung them up in the yurt, where we enjoyed a potluck dinner. We voted to approve the nomination of two new members of the Board of Trustees! Welcome to Andy Hatch and Brian Doyle. Their bios will be posted to the Board of Trustees page on the website soon.
After dinner, the Board gave an update of accomplishments that came out of the ideas generated by our community at last year’s Annual Meeting:
* We renovated the grades building to create larger classrooms, space for educational support, a quieter, calmer hallway, an efficient main office, a dedicated woodworking room, and an indoor space for movement, music, and performances.
* We opened the Farm and Forest program--the first full-time outdoor kindergarten in the state! This is just a first step in developing our land to support outdoor education for children of all ages.
* We opened our Little Lambs Early Care Center--meeting a need for high quality daycare in central Vermont.
* We hired a full-time Enrollment and Outreach Director to help us fill these programs and hold our new families as they integrate into our community.
In the long run, these new programs will help ensure robust, healthy first grade classes, which will in turn help the growth of our grades school. However, these new initiatives required a great leap--a necessary leap--to launch our school into its next phase of growth and sustainability. They are an investment, and we knew we would face 1-2 years of financial challenges as we wait for them to take root and bear fruit.
The Board has been working diligently to address the current financial hardship facing Orchard Valley. Some initiatives the Board and Development Committee are working on include: fundraising for the renovations, the launching of our regularly scheduled Annual Fund which is a part of our budget aimed at supporting our teacher salaries; an initiative to increase enrollment across all programs in the coming year, with the ambitious goal of having 15-20 new families join our school; and the introduction of a Special Gifts Campaign to raise $100,000, which comes with a remarkable $50,000 matching gift that has just been pledged to inspire our community to raise the other $50,000.
We hope all of you will be inspired by the work we have accomplished over the past year, and we ask you to join us in our development and planning efforts.
The Board of Trustees