Small School, Big Opportunities


Palmer Public Schools held an open house Saturday. The district, pre-school through 12th grade, consists of less than 300 students, but officials said the number of option enrolled students has grown by 10 percent in the past seven years.

Parents said technology and small class sizes drew them in, while students said they enjoy the perks of being able to do any extracurricular activity they please.

Shayla Wichmann, a senior at Palmer said, "I'm a member of the band, the VP of our FFA chapter here; I'm the president of our national honors society and this year I'm trying out for the all school play so that's something new to me, and I've been a class officer for the past four years."

Wichmann said she was also recently offered a volleyball scholarship to the college of her dreams.

Aside from extracurricular activities, parents said they've seen their kids overcome learning hurdles. Missy Hillmer, a mother of three, brought her children to Palmer seven years ago. "He was having problems reading and we had a friend who had their kids out here so we came to an open house," Hillmer said about her son.

Hillmer said the new atmosphere helped her son overcome the learning hurdles. "With a small school you might sometimes think they wouldn't have all the technology and everything, but with him they had anything and everything that would help him."

School officials said technology is a big part of their small campus. School board member Kathy Wolfe said, "Years ago Palmer was one of the first schools in the area to have Internet in their classroom, we had a very progressive teacher and she had the kids wire the classrooms."