My child transferred from a private school to Sun Valley and her education has skyrocketed up because Sun Valley is such an amazing school in so many regards. I highly, highly recommend Sun Valley for any family who wants their child to have an oustanding education in a diverse and supportive school community.
1. The teaching and academics are top notch. Lots of parents compare schools based on test scores and Sun Valley's are very good, especially using the new, more comprehensive and deeper critical thinking Common Core tests. However, what really makes Sun Valley stand out is when you compare Sun Valley apples to apples with other schools by looking at direct subgroup comparisons and in doing this you will see Sun Valley's scores are far better than most schools in Marin and the Bay Area. What helps Sun Valley get these kind of results is teachers who both support and push each child so they can learn and enjoy learning.
2. There is an incredible community that you feel when you step foot on campus. The way kids interact with each other, the way kids interact with adults and the way adults interact with adults makes one feel good and respected.
3. The principal, Julie Harris, is one of the best principals I have met, and I have been part of hiring over 100 principals in my career giving me good insight into the spectrum of principal ability and performance. There are so many great things about Sun Valley that are due to her wonderful leadership.
4. Diversity - sadly, it is not easy to find schools that are not all this or that anywhere in the U.S. Sun Valley has more diversity than many public schools in Marin County and we are grateful that this diversity exists and is appreciated at Sun Valley.
5. Parents - there are parent volunteers almost every day in every classroom and the PTO contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to support enrichment programs, technolgoy and other things that enhance the education at Sun Valley.
I cannot imagine a more perfect elementary school. We are so lucky to have found it and that our children go there. Thanks to all at Sun Valley who make it so great.
We have been at this school for six years and it's an amazing learning environment. The teachers are dedicated, parents involved, and the students happy and engaged. The PTO provides excellent music, art and other enrichment programs -- and this school has arguably the best PE teacher in all of Marin County. The campus is beautiful and quiet and backs-up to open space which is used for walking field trips. In short, this is a special community and truly a great school!
Sun Valley is located in San Rafael and within the San Rafael City Schools. It has approximately 500 students from K-5th grades. Sun Valley has some good teachers but it is really hit or miss. My son had an excellent teacher but my daughter had an OK teacher that wasn't strong in teaching Math or managing the classroom. The parent community is friendly and helpful in the classrooms. The art, music, and PE teachers do an outstanding job. The safety on-campus is an issue. There are 250 or so students at a time playing on a smallish field or on the jungle gym. It seems very chaotic out there for the younger children and there is not enough adult supervision for that many student. The principal has been at the school for a number of years but doesn't seem to know the students well and is a bit unprofessional to parents in the PTA and acts very defensive. It is a good school for being public but I think our children deserve better.
Sun Valley has a great small school feel. We loved the multi-age class option. Sometimes I wish that my child was challenged more. The teachers definately have to teach to the general level of the class and can't do much individualization of curriculum. Parents are encouraged to participate at any and all levels. Our kids love the extra stuff (library, PE, art, music, computer lab, science) and the casual sports camp after school. The fundraisers are fun and mild compared to other schools.
Our best school experience to date has been Sun Valley. Parent involvement is extremely high and we loved the welcoming attitude of teachers and staff toward parents. Extracurricular activities were plentiful though some new ideas for 'extras' are overdue. Academically simply tremendous for our child. A great start for any child.