The Sonderman Family: Palm Valley School is a Family

I came from a private school background and my husband from public school, but we felt that at a public school, students tend to fall through the cracks. We both wanted a school that would hold our sons accountable for their academics while celebrating them individually.

This is when we found Palm Valley School. What first struck us about this school is the community. This community, made up of parents, teachers and staff are like a family. They pay attention to each and every student. They know what’s “normal." If any part of the Palm Valley School community senses something is off with your student, they will reach out. Whether it is another family or through one-on-one communication with their teacher, you can always be sure that someone is looking out for your children.

Our youngest, Luke, started in Preschool and by the time he moved onto Lower School all the teachers knew his name, greeted him and made the transition from one campus to the next seamless. During this time, I had to return to work suddenly.

Sonderman FamilyJake was in Lower School; Luke was in Preschool and families stepped in to help take my kids to swimming lessons or watch them after school hours. You can feel this sense of family in many different layers of the school. We have even found that we can go to teachers, faculty, and staff to ask for advice beyond school-related topics. We feel that the school is a partner to us in parenting. Palm Valley School is the village it takes to raise a child.

Students can be whoever they want to be here. Whether their interest is drama, music, or athletics, friends will celebrate each other regardless of differences and teachers too. For example, Mrs. Rice found that students, like Jake, were interested in music and music theory and the next year designed an AP Music Theory course to fill this curiosity. Teachers, faculty, and staff push the students to their best ability and support them in all they do.

We love that the school addresses the whole student, or rather, the whole person. PVS teaches our students organization, planning, and life skills, beyond just single subject math, science, history, etc. Jake, in 9th grade, is already discussing college and working with the Director of College Counseling to learn how to prepare for college applications and scholarships. These details prepare our students for life.

Over the 11 years we’ve been at PVS we’ve seen it improve each year. The administration is intentional in their research and implementation of new teaching techniques. The school emphasizes professional development for their faculty. We love Mrs. Rice since she joined us as Head of School, she has been clear on her ideas and has improved the school in many ways, especially how the school manages issues among students, like implementing a No Bully Program.

We love growing with Palm Valley School, our sons love Palm Valley School, and it isn't difficult to feel a sense of pride in supporting this community.

-Brian, Cherise, Jake & Luke Sonderman

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