Our son went to Valley View School after 7th grade. He was in a bad situation despite a supportive home (low mood, low self esteem, internet game addiction) and had flunked most of his 7th grade classes. He came back a strong young man who laughs easily and is motivated to do well. The school saved his life, and that of our families, and for this we are eternally grateful.
I was not faced with a behavioral problem but more of academic motivation issue and my son has attended Valley View School for about a year now and after graduating the program in June 2014 he will move to a traditional boarding school. He does get frustrated with other students who are "non-conformant" but the program has been successful in allowing him to get back on track. My son was one of the students who was affected by the fire and the school and staff have been great in terms of keeping things on track and moving forward. The staff have always been great with communications and in my visits I've seen nothing but structure and positive interaction. There are boys with defiant and behavioral issues but nothing that would raise concerns about the safety of my own son. The staff does deal with a handful of boys who's families have passed along their son to someone else to deal with them. Everyone is there for a reason. But from the kids I have met and incidents I hear about, it's what I expect from such a program. Boys who are having trouble but who haven't gotten into trouble. It is strict but in a positive way. Students earn privileges through good grades and good behavior.
Former student. First let me say the school and the heavily structured environment did help me. You are essentially cut off from home life right away. If you break the rules, the staff make things difficult on you. Sometimes that means the they become physical. This was referred to as "restraining," which is explained to parents as action taken only when a student becomes violent. Much of the time, this is accurate, but it was not uncommon for a student to get tossed into a wall, pinned, and screamed at for breaking the rules. There was also quite a bit of verbal intimidation for bad behavior. As I said, this was ultimately helpful for me and I think it was probably the appropriate way, and almost certainly the only possible way to deal with many of the students there. It was also probably necessary to make their program work. The line was crossed by staff from time to time, however. In my time at VVS the environment was far more military school-esque in this respect than is let on to parents. When I told my parents about the physicality, etc., they called the school with concerns. My parents were told I was lying. The staff by and large are good, caring and positive, though.
Our son has been at Valley View for about six months and we are very pleased with the school. The staff and his advisor understood him and his issues quickly and have been working hard to help him behave responsibly and develop better relationships with peers. At first being in such a structured environment was tough and he wanted to come home. His arguments progressed from "They're mean to me" to "I'll do anything you want if I can come home" to "You're wasting your money" to "I'll get hurt." When he learned that the negotiating and arguing that worked in the past wasn't going to work, his attitude improved and he admitted to his brother he likes it there. It's clear that he feels safer there than in our large public school. There are staff members present 24/7 and we have seen good interactions when we have visited. I haven't hesitated to call any time I've had a question or concern and the staff has been responsive and straightforward. The small class sizes and strong academics are an unexpected benefit. Our son is able to progress much faster in areas of strength and is motivated to work hard. No school is perfect for all students, but VVS has been great for us.
Valley View has totally changed the life of everyone in our family. My son was travelling down the wrong path. He was experimenting with drugs, failing some subjects, and was constatly disrespectful at home. He had been going to a "regular" private school and was kicked out. Sending him to Valley View saved us all. He is now always on the honor - sometimes high honors. He has learned to treat us (parents) with respect and accept without arguing (too much) decisions that he doesn't always like. I won't say the school is perfect for all boys but I can say that it has made a tremendous positive difference in my son's life. The academic program is strong and he is able to work above grade level to keep him engaged. There are a lot of activities that he has enjoyed - skiing, hockey, fishing, skateboarding, camping, and more. Participation in some activities is dependent on him "earning" some money, a point system, behavior ratings by teachers and ratings from staff for completing expected chores (neat room, etc). My son never minds returning from vacations so I'm sure they are not overly harsh. All of my dealings with staff have been great. I really can't say enough!
Valley View School has been a gift for our son. The caring, supportive staff, have provided him with so much guidance. The academics, wide variety of sports and activities (including music, theater, multiple clubs, international travel, and more) have provided our son with an incredible school experience. He has developed better study habits, raised his grades significantly, and feels good about himself and what he has accomplished there. We cannot say enough about this wonderful school and the devoted, compassionate people who work there.
Valley view has been a tremendously positive school with significant impact on our sons and our own life. It is a family type of educative environment that really walks-the-walk of tailoring to the specific needs of each student. The staff, whale seemingly youthful has been there on average for decades and operates as a cohesive and thoughtful team in working with the boys. Valley View is a unique institution that compassionately and professionally provides hope for families and skill in delivering results at what is often the key inflective stage in a young boys development.
Here is another parent who made the tragic mistake of sending my son to Valley View. It is unthinkable that one of the reviewers claimed that a bad parent review is because of a bad parent - that response leads me to believe the post is from the school itself, as their concern is about the negative post rather than simply stating their facts. I sent my son there for the reasons the school markets on their website and because of the smooth words of their lead salespeople. Unfortunately once enrolled, things got bad quickly. In fact, very very bad. They encourage abusive behavior among their staff and enabel the worst of the kids harm the newer and smaller boys. Please do NOT even think of sending your child to this horrible place.
The school is a good school and has done great work for years. I am always looking at schools and the staff and anytime there is only one bad parent review - It is usually a bad parent who has written it.
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