Parkmead Active Learning School (PALS) is an alternative public elementary school program offered by the Walnut Creek School District. With 25 years of proven success, PALS fosters a love of learning through strong traditions, an involved community, and a supportive multi-grade classroom environment. 


PALS is a family-oriented program that:

  • Encourages parents to be active participants in their child's education

  • Engages students through hands-on learning experiences, multi-cultural enrichments and field trips while adhering to the curriculum used throughout the Walnut Creek School District

  • Offers six multi-grade classrooms (two K/1st grade classrooms, two 2nd/3rd grade classrooms, and two 4th/5th grade classrooms) that give students support and mentoring experience

  • Shares a campus with Parkmead Community School (PCS), functioning in many ways as one school

  • Is tuition-free and open to any student residing within the Walnut Creek School District


Learn more about volunteer opportunities throughout the year:


Read more about PALS Teachers:


Multi-Age Groupings

PALS teachers present a broad, integrated curriculum over a two-year time frame at each level (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5).


Multi-age classes are different from combination classrooms in which teachers implement two separate curricula for two separate grade levels sharing a common classroom. Instead, in many areas, curriculum is blended across two years with children held accountable to meet standards at their grade level. Children spend two years with the same teacher.


The benefits of multi-age classrooms are an increase in instructional time due to already knowing the students going into the second year, a deeper bond between students/teachers/parents, and more opportunity to develop social and mentoring skills.


Meet the PALS Teachers.



PALS Traditions

Multi-Age Groupings for Integrating Curriculum – or M.A.G.I.C. – is a crown jewel of the PALS philosophy. In the Fall, students are grouped into multi-age “buddy families”, consisting of students from all levels. The families travel to different classrooms, which have been transformed by parent volunteers according to each year's theme, where they engage in activities that allow for valuable cross-age interaction.


Students are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country’s culture through its cuisine, folklore, language, folk dance, sports and other activity.


See more about M.A.G.I.C.


Another PALS tradition is International Dance. Students receive dance instruction from a dance teacher according to each year's theme. This culminates in an evening performance.


Students learn discipline, coordination, movement patterns, rhythm and balance. Performances are done in costume.