Giving back to the community has long been an important part of life at PDS. So much of what students do has a service component. It’s a way of thinking and being in the world. PDS students are typically community minded and care deeply about each other and their world. They are always looking for ways to be of service—in school, in the local community and on a national and global level. The benefit is mutual. Service learning allows for life-changing experiences, life-long commitments and incomparable opportunities for leadership and personal growth. PDS students enjoy connecting with others and contributing their talents and energy to the larger world.
Community building begins with classroom jobs in the early childhood years and over time extends into the larger community. In lower school, service activities are integrated within the classroom through curricular connections or as an outcome of student interests and concerns.At Halloween, students collect money for UNICEF and, at Thanksgiving, they collect canned goods. Pre-kindergarten- through grade 12-activities have included making "stone soup" for a local soup kitchen, campus clean-up, bake sales and collecting toiletries for homeless teens. The school has an ongoing relationship with The Queens Galley, in Kingston, NY, a program providing meals and nutrition education to people regardless of income (see letter of thanks and Facebook presence of "Valley Needs the Galley" student task force). At all levels, students create opportunities to reach out and make a difference.