On December 14, 1988, the school architect reported to the Palisades School Board that the middle school building could be completed in the spring of 1991 and accept students by that fall. This was a major step in the beginning of Palisades Middle School, more affectionately known today by the acronym, “PALMS”.  Before the fall of 1991 students in grades 7 through 12 attended a junior-senior high school, the current Palisades High School building on Church Hill Road. The school board envisioned a facility that could address the unique needs of middle-level learners in grades 6 through 8.

According to the first principal of PALMS, Frank Kuebler, the idea for a middle school first came about in the 70s. The idea was to attach a middle school to the high school in order to share facilities. The idea was abandoned, but the pressure for instructional space and the need for a separate middle-level learner program remained.

Frank played an important part in reviewing research studies and in the leadership which influenced the design of the current middle school. “A concern about the adolescent and the crowded conditions began to grow within the community. A middle school program became the answer to these problems.  Removing the 6th grade from the elementary schools and the seventh and eighth grades from the junior senior high school.”

Ed Baumgartner, the first vice principal and principal for 13 years at PALMS, also played an important role in the school from it’s first days up to his retirement in 2013.  He writes, there was “a core belief that smaller 'teams' of students within the larger building are necessary, in order for faculty members to better know the individual student's ability, interests, and developmental needs – which is necessary in order to better prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.” The school was founded on the philosophy that young adolescents need a developmentally appropriate and relevant education. Some of the unique approaches involved developing a team teaching and learning approach and exploratory class offerings which offer interdisciplinary learning.

That original belief still informs and influences nearly every decision and component of the school’s programming and facilities. So as our maintenance department continues to maintain the appearance of what appears to be a new school, the same vision and culture of a school focused on the middle-level learner continues.

In 2016, we celebrated 25 Years of Excellence at Palisades Middle School!  As we move into the next quarter century of preparing students for their post-secondary pursuits - college, career, military service or other - we continue to grow and flourish as a community of learners.

From Dr. Karl Scheibenhofer, principal of PALMS - "The commitment to our school community is to provide a stellar program that is both engaging and challenging, while providing the support that students need to fully develop as young adults and leaders."