New Independent School to Open in Fall 2017 in Yamhill County
February 27, 2017
A new private middle and high school option is coming to Dayton, OR in 2017, further enriching the Yamhill Valley’s educational tapestry. Admissions will be open through April 28th for the first class of Peace Valley School which will take place at a farm out on Duniway road just outside Lafayette, OR. The one room, one farm model, serves a mixed-age group of students in grades 6-12. Peace Valley School will begin hosting tours mid-March.
The new school will serve 12 students of mixed middle and high school ages with an integrated, real-world curriculum developed by local teacher Molly Lord-Garrettson. The curriculum uses hands-on projects and problem solving to develop life skills, while offering individualized education in the form of differentiated learning paths. Individual activities along with large and small group projects will focus on cultural universals such as housing, water, health, and development. The fully integrated curriculum includes elements of social justice, global understanding and world travel. Each year, the students are slated to take one international trip and many local field trips to understand real-world applications of academic skill development.
Lord-Garrettson, an AP- and IB-trained teacher with 15 years of experience, will personally facilitate student-led learning in her farmhouse which she designed to include a loft school-room. She incorporated the school in 2015 and has been working with the talented and diverse school board closely to make her dream become a reality.
As a part of her student-led model of education, Lord-Garrettson will coordinate each student’s learning path to focus around individual interests and passions. The small classroom environment allows for students to practice communicating across differences and to learn from each other while pursuing individual academic and personal curiosity.
Peace Valley School will also rely on integrating “local wisdom” into the classroom by inviting artists, musicians, linguists, scientists, and social justice workers to facilitate seminars and lead inquiry-based discussions of the world and how it works. The school will also be working closely with other area schools, colleges, and universities to help students achieve their personal and academic goals.
A unique aspect of the curriculum at Peace Valley School is that students will be growing and preparing school meals in rotating teams. They also have a requirement of acquiring four health and wellness credits which include psychological and emotional health aspects, as well as navigating the health care system. Every graduate of Peace Valley School is also required to complete a course in anatomy and physiology.
“The idea here is to help prepare students for the real world. That means developing critical thinking skills in the face of mass media, developing compassion in the face of a divided global society, and developing a real understanding of where our food comes from and how our bodies work.” Lord-Garrettson explains, “Also, it would be nice if they could drive a stick-shift, change a tire, and do their own taxes.”
Applications for admission can be downloaded from peacevalleyschool.org. Schedule a school tour by emailing