Upper School (Grades 9 - 12)

Upper School Overview

In the Upper School, students become part of an exceptional learning community where they are nurtured and challenged to develop the habits of mind of scholars and reach their academic and personal potential. To this end, Palm Valley School’s individual attention to students, engaging, passionate, and innovative teaching, inquiry and exploration, academic, artistic, and athletic growth, trust, respect, and partnership, diversity, and responsibility to self and others, guide all of our curriculum and programming in the upper school.

Our small classes and teachers’ ability to design challenging classroom experiences foster student curiosity and breadth of interest, self-expression, joy, and ingenuity. All upper school students are encouraged by their advisors and teachers to engage actively in discussion, collaborate creatively to solve problems, to communicate their ideas effectively, and to learn from each other.

The culture of the upper school is demanding, joyful, supportive, and rewarding. Students build close personal relationships with their advisors, teachers, and each other to create a vibrant climate of cooperation and continuous commitment to the pursuit of learning and growth.
Our empowering school mission and values coupled with our vibrant and engaging curriculum and holistic approach to personal development create a deep sense of belonging and purpose that enable all of our students to excel and flourish in meaningful and unique ways at Palm Valley School and beyond.

Browse Upper School Departments

College-Prep Curriculum

Palm Valley provides every student with the opportunity to meet their specific post-secondary goals. While we recognize that not all students have the same college aspirations, we want to provide all of our students with the tools and experiences they need to unlock their academic and personal potential as qualified, competitive college applicants with the most choice and opportunity during the college admission process.

With this goal in mind, Palm Valley School offers an extensive, robust and challenging college-prep curriculum with outstanding departments in the arts, athletics, English, history and social sciences, math, science, technology, and world languages. The upper school curriculum balances academic rigor with selective opportunities to pursue individual interests and provides all students with the learning and life skills they need to cultivate a lifetime love of learning and their personal growth.

The Director of College Counseling and the Head of the Upper School work with individual students and their families to encourage educational choices that enhance their academic achievement and further their personal interests, moving them toward their post-secondary goals.

Our upper school advisory program empowers every student with the character, continuous growth mindset, and learning and life skills to advance their academic and personal development and ensure a positive and successful college admissions process. College application topics, such as essay writing, financial aid, and interest inventories are woven into advisory time to provide families with a foundation from which to build when the application process starts in earnest in the senior year.

Pick Up and Drop Off Times: Monday 8:45 AM-2:20 PM; Tuesday-Friday 8:45 AM-3:15 PM

Additional information regarding the policies of the Palm Valley Middle School can be found in the Handbook for Students and Families. Please email Mr. Peter Koehler, Head of Middle and Upper School at with any questions.
We look forward to working in partnership with students and their families to create the most challenging, nurturing, and rewarding upper school educational environment possible. Palm Valley School’s commitment to the continuous and impactful development of its upper school culture of excellence inspires all of our students to become adaptive creative thinkers, problem solvers, and well-rounded individuals who are ready to thrive in post-secondary education and in a rapidly changing global environment.
Palm Valley Private School occupies 34 acres in Rancho Mirage with stunning mountain views. The campus features separate campuses and buildings for each of our four divisions – Preschool (ages 18 months to 5), Elementary (Grades K-5), Middle School (Grades 6-8), and High School (Grades 9-12), along with a full-size gymnasium, several separate recesses and athletic fields, a black box theater and smart lab.