Written by Sarah Kemeness, Head of Upper Campus at PBDA
Once upon a time ago, there was a seventh grade student who was required to move to an online learning platform due to unforeseen circumstances.
She sat in front of her MacBook Air, logged onto the first school’s daily schedule, and thought, “Oh my goodness, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day! Why, that’s too much time online.” She logged out quickly, logged onto the next school’s online platform and, after reviewing the information, stated, “This is all pre-recorded, asynchronous lessons? Why, that’s not enough
time online with my teachers!”
While she was extremely discouraged, she gave Palm Beach Day Academy a try. After logging in to PBDA’s Bulldog Den, she thought, “Well, this is different. Live classes, breaks so that I can catch my breath, and teachers available throughout the day? Well, this feels just right.”
Palm Beach Day Academy has had an influx of families from the northeast looking to join our community. When asked what makes us unique, what makes PBDA so special, I always make it clear that we understand balance. We have a rigorous and challenging curriculum, but unlike other schools, we talk about academics and community. We’re not interested in boasting about five hours of homework a night. Our faculty has mastered the balance between challenging and nurturing their students, and the result is a student-teacher relationship that our 8th grade students always write about in their educational autobiographies.
We know we’re not perfect. Our students have experienced homework or assessment overload at one time or another. The difference, though, at PDBA, is that due to our strong relationships we are able to communicate. Students talk to their advisors and discuss a plan to manage their time better. The teachers talk with one another and reschedule assessments in an effort to lower the workload. We care, we listen, and we communicate; we’re a community.
As we walk into our hundredth year, we’ll continue to focus on the school that understands and respects balance.