When our family made the decision to enroll our daughter Brooklyn in Palm Valley School this year, we had heard from friends and family all the good qualities of the school. We had heard about the camaraderie among students, the excellence in academics, the personal feedback from teachers and staff, and we were told, not only, about the school, our daughter would be attending, but the family we would be joining.
While I wouldn’t say we were skeptical, I would say, we kept an open mind. It seemed like a large order for any school to fill. Yet on the first day, upon picking up Brooklyn, when asked,“ Who did you play with?” She said, “I played with everyone, we all play together, here.” While Brooklyn has made strong connections with several PVS students, this theme of inclusivity has continued since that first day. One day, a few weeks into the semester, dress uniform was required, and I had forgotten to order the red tie for Brooklyn’s uniform. In a panic, I texted our host family, who has a boy, what could he possibly do? Within ten minutes, a host of emails and text messages were exchanged effortlessly by him and he reported back to me letting me know that a girl’s uniform red tie would be waiting for me outside the office the following morning. I was almost dumbfounded at the speed of which the PVS community’s generosity took flight. Most Tuesday evenings, Brooklyn is finishing up the last of her three weekly homework based projects, ones that she has selected from her teacher’s list-ranging anywhere from writing a creative story to using her name to diagram geometric mathematical shapes. She’s excited and proud to share her work with us, and then Ms. Bajaj and her peers at the end of the week. On any given day, my email box has a message from Palm Valley School. Whether it is from her teacher informing us of a class project or upcoming field trip or responding to a question we have asked her less than 24 hours prior, or one from Mrs. Fisher, the Head of the Lower School, with her Monday Morning Notes giving us her thoughts on the school’s past week’s events and progress or one from Mrs. Rice, updating us on the business of the school to commenting on fun moments she’s experienced with students; these emails assure us that our teachers, administrators, and staff are connected to our students and their families and that they choose to make a continued effort to enrich our collaborative school community.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mrs. Rice at the beginning of our first semester where she started our ten-minute meeting with the words, “I just always like to check in with our new families and see how things are going.” In the end, we can say, Palm Valley School has definitely fulfilled that “large order” and has exceeded our expectations! This is a school that values student and parent camaraderie, strength, and creativity in academics, and excellence in communication between staff, teachers, administrators, and families; a school not only for your child to attend but a family for your family to join.
-Karl, Yvette, and Brooklyn Hatrak
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