In the spring of 1997, a group of Sonoma educators, representing decades of experience, endeavored to bring a “renaissance in education” to the Sonoma Valley. Their vision integrated high standards in academic achievement, with a balanced view of a young person’s learning and personal growth.
This “dream school” would support children not only in their academic growth, but also in their appreciation of art, language and athletics, and most importantly, their exploration of faith, character, and commitment to the community.
These teachers, now known as the “charter faculty,” possessed the determination to nurture this emerging vision, bringing it to a group of supportive parents and community members. The response was extremely favorable. A rare seed was planted. And what was once a dream has become a fruitful reality for more than 20 years.
The first ten years of the school’s life were spent in the Sonoma Community Center, where each day, a group of intrepid parents, teachers and students would set up and take down the tables and chairs that made up their classrooms. Following a successful capital campaign, the school moved to its modern and spacious campus on south Broadway in 2006.
In searching for a name to bestow on the school, the founding members of the school community sought to reach back to the Catholic roots of education in the Sonoma Valley. In 1888, sisters from the Presentation Convent in San Francisco founded a school on Napa Street in Sonoma. Thus, the name of "The Presentation School" was chosen, honoring both the past and a new beginning in education.
Presentation School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and is SEVIS Certified to accept international F-1 Visa students.
Presentation School may only be 20 years old, yet we have developed many strong traditions that celebrate both our faith heritage and educational philosophy while celebrating the uniqueness of the developing child.
Once a month, aligned with the Catholic/Christian liturgical calendar, the school community gathers to celebrate student-led liturgies. These ecumenical services highlight a gospel value and invite students and teachers to consider the role of God in their own lives and the obligation to serve a world in need of our gifts. Parents and Friends are encouraged and welcome to celebrate liturgies with us.
Grandparents and Special Friends Day, held in the Spring, is an opportunity for all students to share their school experience and learning with extended family and friends. This special day allows student to share their classrooms and and work with special guests.
Sharing learning and developing confidence in public speaking is a core value at Presentation School. Students are able to begin developing these vital skills through classroom activities, and continue to refine them through our monthly showcases. Families and friends are invited to attend the monthly showcase, where students share their learning with the school community. Showcases range from singing, dramatic performances, instrumental demonstrations, poetry, and speeches, to sharing art and special projects completed in class.
Buddies is a cherished tradition for Presentation students. Each year upper school students look forward to being “big buddies” to their lower school friends. Each upper school class is partnered with a lower school class and together they build a year long friendship that includes shared school events and learning support. Whether designing Valentine cards, reading in pairs, or conducting science experiments together, our graduates frequently reflect that the buddy experiences were highlights of their years at Presentation School.
There is no better way to bring a school together than shared play, and play is an essential component of a Presentation School education. Lead by our eighth grade students, the annual Field Day includes integrated class clusters. Whether it is sack races, face painting, or sponge and balloon relays, there is laughter and friendship at every stop. This annual tradition ends with an 8th grade v. Teachers volleyball, dodgeball, or kickball game.
Presentation School understands that we are preparing kids to live and lead professional lives in a world that is constantly changing. We believe that students are best served by preparing them to be flexible, integrative thinkers, and clear and thoughtful communicators. A balanced education seeks novel ways to understand the cross sections of Science,Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). Each Spring the middle school spends a week fully immersed in a STEAM challenge, with multi-grade teams. Past Challenges have ranged from mini-golf course design, to structural engineering solutions during an earthquake, to the physical phenomenon of flight. Lower school students participate as learners and judges.
Yearly, Presentation produces a full-scale, all-school Spring Musical. Middle school students audition and are cast in leading roles, and K-5 students appear onstage throughout the show with class musical performances and choreography. Stage management, and professional lighting and sound, are all managed by our middle school theater arts students.
Following the Spring Musical in March, the Art Fair shines in April. The school’s activity center is transformed with a year’s worth of learning and creating, in all media, and at all grade levels.
Love. Learn. Lead. Putting our words into action, community service is a year-long focus for all grades. Yearly, Presentation students gather food to fight chronic hunger in Sonoma County through our Holiday Food Drive for the Redwood Empire Food Bank. The school also maintains a strong and supportive relationship with a local animal shelter Pet’s Lifeline, and yearly raises thousands of dollars for animal friends in need. Eighth grade students are required to complete a capstone service project, a cross section of a personal passion and a particular need in the world or local community.
Student learning is solidified through hands on learning experiences. Beginning in fourth grade, each class has at least one extended field trip that involves being away from school (and home) overnight.
Fourth graders participate in a two-night, hands-on experience at Coloma, Gold Rush Country. Students are immersed in this seminal period of California’s history, experience gold mining, make bread, and learn “tools of the trade” to survive in a mining town, and of course visit the site of the California’s original “Eureka” moment.
The 5th grade overnight field experience focuses on ecology and team-building, with a 4 day/ 3 night trip to Westminster Woods, in Sonoma’s redwood forest. Here the classroom study of ecology, conservation, and stewardship come alive while hiking among giant redwoods, foraging in the meadows, and swamping through discovery-laden creeks. During their stay students also are challenged to work together during a day of challenge courses, complete with low and high ropes course, and the infamous “Lion’s Leap.”
In the spring, the sixth graders travel to Sea Lab, in Monterey. Here students dive deeper into their oceanography and tidepooling science study. This 3 day/2 night adventure includes sea kayaking with the sea otters!
Seventh grade students travel back in time to the Renaissance and experience Shakespearean theater, as well as several modern plays, first hand in Ashland, Oregon at the annual Shakespeare Festival. Following a study of Shakespeare and theater/play writing in class, students have the opportunity to attend multiple live works and participate in actor workshops!
Eighth grade social studies explores American history. Our soon-to-be-graduates travel to the nation’s capitol to retrace and memorialize the important people and events of our American history.