Sometimes it takes a power outage to give one a little perspective….

 This evening, the lights went out at Verde Valley School. I was just getting home and “a white light” flashed in the sky and then everything was eerily quiet. No electricity? I was immediately perturbed. How could I finish the work I just carried home? How could we make dinner? How could I catch this new Netflix show later on? Heavy was my burden! Poor, poor me!  I decided to just sit and breathe. I would try and enjoy a little solitude. It was a fast passing storm and soon it began to clear to the northwest and I watched with fascination as the natural light began to take shape and the shadows of the setting sun danced across Cathedral Rock. This was a gift. A forced slow down. I embraced it. After all, we happen to live on one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes with a multi-million dollar view. And still, no electricity. So, I sat and thought about sitting and thinking.

Continue Reading…

Dorm and Class Bonding Events

Dr. Jules Troyer, Dean of Students and Residential Life

Bond : bänd/

gerund or present participle: bonding; noun: bonding

  1. join or be joined securely to something else, typically by means of an adhesive substance, heat, or pressure.

The Verde Valley School experience is so much more than academics. The magic of VVS is created from the warmth of genuine connections with other members of the community. These connections are the glue that also keep our alumni coming back year after year to visit. This is the reason we offer many opportunities every semester for students to engage in class and dorm bonding events. These are events that occur outside the normal academic day and allow students to relax and have fun with their cohorts. These events are student selected and supervised by class advisors or dorm parents.

Recently, the sophomore class, led by their class advisor James Taylor, spent a delightful Saturday ice skating in Flagstaff. The freshman class and their advisor Caleb Kulfan, chose to  chill out and have a really cool movie night in Brady Hall. The girls of the Sears dormitory also enjoyed a fabulous skating adventure with their dorm parents, Jeremy and Bridget Broomfield. The girls of Motel dorm were treated to a movie night by their dorm parent Des Pastin; spending the evening giggling and whispering in the library.

The boys of Christensen, along with their dorm parents Caleb Kulfan and Matt Mortellaro, decided to enjoy bowling and a delicious dinner out at a local Chinese restaurant. Kevin Robb coordinated another awesome bowling trip for the boys of Perkins dorm.

These types of events allow students some down time to help balance out intense days of academics and service; while also providing opportunities to make some of those magical memories that adhere each student to the legacy of VVS.

Annual Fund 2016

Verde Valley School 2016-2017 Circle of Life Annual Fund

There’s still time to give to our Annual Fund – please consider giving the most meaningful and significant gift you can to help us continue to be recognized as the best international IB boarding school in the US!


Donate Now

Cathedral Sunset Farm to Table News

Second Annual Farm To Table SOLD OUT

Verde Valley School presents the 2nd annual FARM TO TABLE DINNER

When:  Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.   Cost:  $100 per person  SOLD OUT

Four extraordinary chefs, LISA DAHL, BRIAN WIDMER, SAM WILLIAMS, MICHAEL BRIGGS – Wine Purveyors DA RANCH, CHATEAU TUMBLEWEED, BUCKLIN RANCH, and Micro Brew OAK CREEK BREWERY all join together to create a culinary adventure in celebration of locally sourced foods and spirits at the second annual Verde Valley School Farm to Table Dinner! This much anticipated event literally brings to the table the people who grow, raise, prepare and joyously consume sustainable, ethical, local food.

Located on the breathtaking, red-rock landscape of the VVS campus, the dinner features courses lovingly prepared by local chefs Michael Briggs (Verde Valley School), Lisa Dahl (Cucina Rustica, Mariposa, Pisa Lisa, Dahl & Di Luca), Brian Widmer (Garland’s Lodge) and Sam Williams (Indian Gardens Cafe). Each course will be elegantly and delectably crafted with fresh, just-picked ingredients from the VVS gardens and local farms.

If you attended last year’s inaugural event you’ll know why tickets go like homemade (locally sourced!) hotcakes! Here’s a snippet from last  year’s event.

All proceeds go to the VVS Food Forest – a vision of permaculture that explores ways to build the stronger, more resilient food economy we envision. By choosing to grow our food at VVS we are making a powerful investment in the self-reliance and ecological growth of our community!

Please contact Kris Fritz ( with questions.

VVS Farm Sunset F2T News

College Acceptance Update

With the first round of college applications behind them, the Class of 2016 has some pretty impressive early action and early decision acceptances. Thus far, members of the senior class have been accepted to:

Dartmouth College
Hampshire College
Indiana University at Bloomington School of Business
Embry Riddle
Elon University
University of Portland (3)
Ohio State University
Lewis & Clark College
University of St. Andrews, Scotland
University of Utah
Washington State University
Ripon College
Augustana College
Univ of Ottowa
Evergreen State College

Gustavus Adolphus College
Goucher College
Northern Arizona University
Humboldt State University
St. Edwards University (3)

The class has also been awarded approximately $250,000 in scholarship as a whole.


January Return Schedule

After a long, well-deserved Winter Break, VVS boarding students will return to campus on Tuesday, January 5.  Boarders may return to campus after 12:00 noon.  The first week of school schedule has been modified due to the Wednesday start. Our class schedule on Wednesday, January 6 will follow the regular Monday schedule (with 55 minute classes).  Please click below for the first week’s daily schedule.

January Return Schedule




Decembermester, so far . . .


spud gunStudents are smack dab in the middle of Verde Valley School’s third Decembermester.  Currently taking part in full-day (8:00 am to 3:45 pm) project based classes, students and faculty are taking part in the following projects:
Group 1:
English 1: Studying Greek tragedies, the English 1 class have been making masks in the Greek theater tradition, and updating their director’s notebooks and finalizing set and prop lists in anticipation of Monday’s performance of the tragedies they have written.
English 2: Reviewing rhetorical strategies – logos, ethos, pathos – and discussing their use and effect.  Armed with this knowledge, groups will brainstorm problems at VVS, interview campus leaders and created a PSA (public service announcement) campaign, including video and print. 
SL & HL English: Work on and present their Individual Oral Commentaries and Individual Oral Presentations
Group 2:
English: As a capper to the global studies semester of IB English B, students have created their own charitable organization based on one or more of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. They then develop a presentation, website, print media, merchandise and a fundraising campaign for their organization. The class culminates with a trip to present the charitable organizations to women’s rights activists Khalida Brohi and David Barron, ’01.
Spanish: Beginner Spanish students are working with Running River School, a local Waldorf elementary school, to teach RRS students new words and phrases in Spanish, write a bi-lingual cookbook with them and then try out some of the recipes.  Higher level Spanish students are studying the tradition of quinceaneras and writing a creative reinterpretation to Isabel Allende’s “Dos Palabras”.
French: Students are designing a travel itinerary for a French speaking country and creating a cultural guide for French speakers in the United States.
Group 3:
Big History: Students are driving through Oak Creek Canyon on a geology tour and visiting Sunset Crater for a tour as a visual for their meteor unit.
Anthropology, Peoples of the Southwest:  Classes have visited to Montezuma Castle with a scavenger hunt for information to answer essential questions about Sinagua People and Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, and Wupatki to expand their research to include relationships between different places on the landscape.
US HistoryCase studies of problems with the Articles of Confederation including debates amongst the framers and working in teams on a Constitutional Convention debate with the final ratification debate in Brady Hall. 
HL AnthropologyGroup Fieldwork at VVS, in Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek focusing on the connection between cultural backgrounds and standards for physical beauty. To make the connection they created four data collection tools: anonymous written surveys, electronic surveys, in-person interviews and recorded responses to photographs. 
Group 4:
Physical Science: Underclassmen science students have been exploring the physics of falling bodies through the Barbie Bungee experiment. 
Chemistry: By launching potatoes from the outdoor classroom the the garden, chemists learn about quantitative chemical reactions assessed via a physical response. “Fire in the hole.”
Environmental Systems and Societies:  Seniors are surveying the student body about their environmental beliefs and using the data to support a hypothesis concerning environmental value systems and VVS students. ESS juniors are exploring field techniques for ecology by collecting data on a series of transects on campus.
Biology: Senior biologists are studying AIDS and the Immune System and working on the IB Group 4 Project and juniors are studying the effect of substrate type, concentration and temperature on gas production in yeast as their Individual Assessment Lab for the IB. 
Computer Science: Students have been using logic gates and a breadboard to display a birthday on a seven segment display.
Group 5:
Integrated Math Program 2: Perhaps the only project falling into the yummy category, IMP 2 students research recipes and bake cookies, plan and execute a bake sale, all while trying to maximize profit as a real life exploration of central problems from their current IMP 2 unit.
Integrated Math Program 3: Perhaps the only project falling into the gambling category, IMP 3 students explore probability and learn how to play and facilitate many traditional casino games, and present a “Casino Night” contest for the VVS community.
SL Math: Work has focused on the four topics in trigonometry: the three trigonometric ratios; sine, cosine and tangent, the two special right triangles of 45-45-90 and 30-60-90, and the Sine Rule & the Cosine Rule, and the Unit Circle
HL Math: Mathletes are introduced to continuous distributions!
Group 6:
Intro to Theater and Intro to Music: Intro to theater students and intro to music students have been working together to craft this year’s Vespers program. (We hear it involves a two song musical)
Intro to Assemblage: artists are working on a Micro Artworks! Plus unit including microcollage, microdrawing, micropainting and microsculpture. They are also choosing an artist to write a letter to  . . . and writing a letter to that artist. 
SL & HL Ceramics: Ceramicists have the honor of a raku workshop with raku ceramicist Jim Romburg. (there might be some pizza baking in the kiln too.)
SL & HL Visual Arts: Artists are creating microexhibits on campus.
SL & HL Music: Musicians are writing a score for at least 4 instruments and reading music for at least 4 performances, either writing original music or re-arranging an existing piece and also recording a piece.
SL & HL Theater: Join us in Brady Hall to see the culmination of the performance piece of IB theater as students present “The Creature Creeps” on Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 pm.



Welcome Kris Fritz to VVS


Kris FritzWe are all thrilled to welcome Kris Fritz to the VVS family and to our front office. Kris will become a familiar voice answering the VVS phones and a familiar site to students and faculty visiting the front office. She will also assist our head of school, Paul, in his day to day school activities and schedule. Kris was the unanimous selection from the search committee.
Kris has earned her BA in Accounting and is a certified CPA. She recently moved to Sedona with her family from Iowa. They are building a home across the street from campus. Kris is warm, personable, customer service driven and extremely organized. Welcome Kris!
You can learn more about Kris through her biography on our website at



Theater Presents “The Creature Creeps”

VVS IB Theater students have used the Decembermester extended periods to finish rehearsals for their fall performance of “The Creature Creeps” by Jack Sharkey.


Audiences got a sneak peek at the production during October’s Family Weekend.  The  full production will answer unanswered questions such as what connection is there between the mysterious disappearance of four villagers and the dark secrets of Castle von Blitzen? What sinister events transpire when Daisy, the daughter of Baron von Blitzen,  returns unexpectedly to announce her engagement? Is her happiness to be doomed like that of the long suffering Zitzen sisters? Will the cellar of the castle give up its’ awful secrets?


Find out during the open dress rehearsal on Thursday, December 10th at 8:00 pm and the matinee performance on Sunday, December 13th at 2:00 pm. Both shows are open to the public and performed in Brady Hall on the VVS campus.  Tickets are $5.

The play is directed by theater teacher Bridget Broomfield and the cast includes:
Baron von Blitzen: Drake Busby
Gretchen Twitchill: Lola Olorode
Heinrich Schtunken, et al: Tyrien Fixicio
Mord: Talie Peck
Daisy von Blitzen: Jennie Harlan
Frank Sterling: Kevin Chisholm
Babsy Ballou: Gracie Shoup
Maritza von Blitzen: Galen Coburn-Amadio
Hannah Zitzen: Maya Shen
Freda Zitzen: Tiffany Tian
Olga Zitzen: Elena Papalexis
Hedi Zitzen: Morgan Bailey




Climate Care Awareness Farm To Table Tour


December 6th at 2PM, Verde Valley School will give a “Farm to Table Tour” of it’s innovative farm and environmental stewardship program as part of “15 Days to Climate Awareness: A Call to Action,” presented by Climate Awareness and Inspiration Sedona.  We will offer tasting samples of some of our farm produce, and host the showing of two short videos, Small Scale Farmers Cool the Planet and Soil Solution to Climate Change. VVS’s gardener-in-residence, Mike Spielman, and Yavapai Valley Food Council’s, Harvey Grady, will be present along with other Q&A panel participants to answer questions.
The combination tour, tasting, videos, and Q&A event, is part of two weeks of local events, from November 28th through December 12th, that the local community group, Inspiration of Sedona, is presenting in conjunction with the global actions surrounding the December UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. (
The Inspiration of Sedona is an open, egalitarian, community-building group, where people with enthusiasm for positive world change can collectively come together with their skills and talents to create a new level of community based on connection, partnership, and sustainability. VVS was invited to participate in the Climate Care Awareness program of events because of our stellar green example. The school’s garden is organic and ethically farmed, using compost harvested by students and incorporating 100% of their kitchen waste. An approved food source for their school dining hall, their garden program helps students understand the cycle of food waste, composting, growing and harvesting.
After the farm tour, guests will be invited to try samples of VVS’s farm produce. Then they will be treated to two short videos. The first video, “Small-Scale Farmers Cool the Planet,” is a 17-minute documentary highlighting the role of industrial agriculture in climate change while expounding on how small farmers are combating the climate crisis through regenerative organic agriculture.
The second video that will be shown is, “Climate Change: The Next Generation.” Ahead of the UN’s global summit on climate and as thousands gather in NY for the People’s Climate March, the film focuse on 18-year-old Oregonian Kelsey Juliana, who is walking across America to draw attention to global warming. Kelsey began her activist journey to help slow down climate change, at 15 years-old, as one of two plaintiffs in the public trust lawsuit that was filed against the state of Oregon, claiming that the state was not doing all it could to protect their future by reducing global warming.
After the videos, a Q&A session will address questions raised during the event. Harvey Grady, President of Cornucopia Community Advocates, will be present to share plans to grow organically grown food for the Yavapai Food Council, next to the VVS garden, and to answer questions. VVS’s gardener, Mike Spielman, who has spent the last two years turning a formerly empty piece of land on the school’s property into the bountiful garden that now provides a significant portion of the school’s produce, will also be available for the Q&A.
Please feel free to email for questions or for more information if you want to attend the Farm to Table Tour, tasting, videos, and speakers. You can also contact the school at 928.284.2272 for more information.