Valley’s Upper School is designed to help students thrive during the exciting and changing stages of pre- and early-adolescence. Students are challenged with a rich and rigorous academic curriculum and provided with a variety of opportunities to explore their interests outside of the classroom. The Upper School program promotes inclusivity. Students participate in all activities without having to choose one over the other, and with few exceptions (such as athletic competitions and a few rehearsals), all activities occur within school hours.
Upper School teachers and students place a strong value on community. Students begin each day with their homeroom teachers. Seventh, eighth, and ninth graders meet with the Division Head for a morning meeting where students and teachers make announcements, give reminders, and celebrate achievements. All Upper School students eat family-style lunch at the same time; teachers eat with students, serve food, and engage in conversation. Each afternoon, all students attend their respective sports’ practices before meeting back with their homeroom teachers for reminders and a handshake as they depart campus. These regular “check-ins” with adults promote healthy relationships and a sense that each student is valued and each day matters. Students meet in small groups with an advisor to discuss issues relevant to them. Advisors provide added support as they monitor their advisees’ progress and act as a liaison between home and school.
Traditions like the school musical, soccer and lacrosse tournaments, Holiday Dance, the Roman Banquet, and Sports Day all help to strengthen the community’s spirit and make timeless connections between Valley School students, faculty, parents, and alumni.
Teachers take great care in the way they adapt the school experience to each developmental phase. As they transition from the self-contained classrooms of the lower school to the rigors of a college preparatory curriculum in the upper grades, students receive more freedom and responsibility.