Overall still a great K-8 school that lives off it's former legacy as a California Distinguished School. Not quite as good as it was ten years ago. Has a problem with keeping middle school kids. The out-of-the-neighborhood parents who fought to get their kids into Vallemar in the early grades are the same parents that bail on the school come 6th grade due to more options. The district has an open enrollment policy so it's a lottery. But due to it popularity for K-5 many Vallemar neighborhood kids never get to go to their local school, unless they want to wait until 6th grade. The current principal seems more focused on kicking kids off campus after school than raising test scores. She also has locked the community out of using the school grounds after hours and on the weekends. First time this has occurred in the history of the school. This is the same community that has passed three bond measures in a row in support of the school district. Both of these decisions have killed the family culture. Previously parents networked a lot more and kept and eye on each other's kids. Dodge ball, skateboard club and (at times) basketball have been banned during recess.
Vallemar is a great, well-rounded school! Excellent teachers, principal, and staff. There is a very active and diverse group of down-to-earth parents. Vallemar values building social and emotional development, as well as academics. We have a new principal who is very approachable and seems to be just the type of leadership our school needs. Our first grader and sixth grader are very happy here and so are we.
My daughter started school here in Kindergarten and is now a 4th grader. This school was considered the best academically when she started, but there was a new principal, and the school went downhill while she was here. Now there's a new principal, but it remains to be seen if she can help the school. Unfortunately, this year there are multiple problems with the PTO leadership that has impacted the overall school climate. While I used to be more active in volunteering with the school and my daughter's classes, it no longer feels like a nurturing environment due to these few individuals. My daughter will likely not continue here for middle school unless things turn around for the better.
My son entered Vallemar school in the last four weeks of the 6th grade coming from out of state. The best thing about this school for the middle school age child is the smaller environment. If you have a child, who like mine, is not mature enough yet for the high school like environment of some of the larger middle schools this is ideal. We liked the smaller school environment and easy to navigate campus. Last year, my son's two teachers were very young. While they were nice they were not as responsive to email, etc. as I would have expected and that was frustrating at times. This year his new teacher is a seasoned professional and I am very happy with her so far. The only thing I notice about Vallemar is that even though it is reputed to be one of Pacifica's more academic schools the children, the boys at least, don't seem to care much about learning. My son is applying to private high school and it isn't "cool" to be smart, as a boy, at Vallemar. So parents with ambitious children beware - your child may not be in an environment of peers at Vallemar that supports those goals. Lastly, the principal is the most invisible principals of any public school I've ever encountered. MIA.
The lower elementary experience is good. The teachers are caring, insightful and creative. Increased class sizes and a few combination classes are an unfortunate reality now. Students are very much expected to learn in the traditional sit-and-learn manner as a teacher imparts information. If you have a child with learning differences or is overly active, this is not a good choice. A few very talented teachers step outside this teaching style and really engage the students in a more contemporary fashion with hands on activities. You cannot request teachers at this school. 5-8 grades is a very different experience. Some teachers communicate well, others have little contact. It shows in how the children are educated. Behavior problems have gotten worse with a new principal who has little experience. Leadership is lacking and the little bullying there is pawned off on the new counselor. The parent group is active, but they spent a lot of money on electronic whiteboards. You don't have to volunteer at this school which is great if you work full-time. The daycare is good. I have sent more than one child through Vallemar, it has changed a lot.
It is the best school , the teacher are super nice with all the children. Their curriculum is excellent, is located in a very safe neighboorhood and I appreciate all the parents involvement. The staff truly cares about their students.