Our family has been attending PCDS since Pre-K. We are now 11th year and can honestly say we've seen the school at its best and its worst. Every school, public or private, has chinks in the armour, and if you choose to focus on such things in a dis-proportionate manner, you reap a false conclusion. This school is simply far and away the best college prepatory school in Arizona. It is comparable to East Coast private schools academically and in the arts. Many, many conversations with parents from back East have convinced me this is true. Even more telling is when you have a conversation with an Upper School student and witness for yourself the poise, confidence, humility and ease with which this young person communicates with an adult. They possess the ability to communicate a well-thought-out opinion that allows for constructive discourse. This is the rule, not the exception!
I'm an alumnus and I feel very lucky to have gone to PCDS for high school. With the small class sizes, the excellent teachers, and the chance to be among my intellectual equals as a student, PCDS prepared me ridiculously well for college and also made me into a smarter person in addition to just teaching me new things. For a school with only 250 students in the Upper School (grades 9-12) it offers a very diverse curriculum, including a plethora of Advanced Placement courses in a variety of fields. If you are lucky enough to have the money to send your children to PCDS, then it's definitely worth the tuition. Even if you can't afford it, PCDS offers fairly generous financial aid, as well as the Project Excellence program.
My son graduated in '07 and proved to be well prepared for college, both academically and emotionally. No student falls through the cracks in such a small school. Regarding the environment, cultural diversity has improved greatly in the last few years, both with students and faculty/staff. Yes, tuition is high, but there seem to be increasingly more students on financial aid, so the socio-economic picture is also changing. My Middle Schooler has many friends, plays sports, and finds the schoolwork challenging. It's a well-rounded picture.
I am a former student of PCDS. It is by far the best school in the state and provides great preparation for college. No other school in the state has 100% of its students go to 4-year colleges, of which a very large percentage go to IVY league schools, and very few stay in-state. Many people on the reviews complain about the social situation of the school. Yes it is true that because most students come from wealthy families (since I think tuition is now somewhere near $20,000 a year) the school does not represent 'the real world.' I think however to deny a child a world class education for that reason is ridiculous. You as parents, can always teach your children about the real world so they do not become jaded by money.
I do believe that for the most part, the academics are very strong. I do not believe that the school gives the students an edge in getting into a good college. There is a great deal of truth to the commentary I have seen on this site regarding the odd social social climate at the school. The parents are very high maintenance and spend a great deal of time hovering over their children and attempting to tell the teachers how to teach. There are parents who seem to derive some odd cachet depending on their involvement in the school parent's association. If you are in this income bracket and want to spend this amount of money providing your child with a world class education, I think you would better served by choosing Andover, Exeter, Choate or some other similarly situated school.
PCDS is a wonderful school. Its small classes and exciting curriculum have completely engaged my son. He also plays chess and baseball, swims, volunteers, and was in a play last year. The school has been making good progress diversifying the student body and seems to give financial aid to as many families as it can. As a middle class family with little expendable income, PCDS has been helping us afford the tuition and we have never felt that we did not fit in with some of the wealthier parents. This is the best thing we ever did for our son and is worth every dollar you pay and hour you volunteer!
An extreme mix of outstanding academic opportunities and limited/skewed social experiences. It's absolutely true that children are academically and intellectually challenged here; the teachers are almost guaranteed to be excellent, since they usually accept less money and must pass the bar for teaching at the school. The programs offered (not just academic, but also music and art) are also impressive for the school's size. However - partially due to the tuition (and resulting student body mix) and partially due to the school's encouraged culture - the social world at PCDS is anything but a slice of the 'normal world'. A sense of entitlement permeates the student body and there is no conscious effort on the school's behalf to address that (not that it would make any difference). Obviously, all parents want the best for their child; just make sure that you are comfortable with this culture for him or her.
The quality of the education is great; however I would expect nothing less for the price we pay.
By far the toughest curriculum around. Kids are chosen to go here by test scores, etc. You do not 'pick' to go here. Very expensive, bar is set very high and parents are equally high maintenance. Not for every kid or family.
I am a former school teacher with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and have ten years of elementary teaching experience. I couldn't be happier with Phoenix Country Day! My children have attended PK-2nd and have absolutely thrived academically, socially, and emotionally. The teachers, staff and facilities are amazing. My children love it so much that they have asked to go to school on Saturdays. That says a lot for how happy they are! Take it from an educator, if you are considering schools, please take the time to visit the campus.
The lower school student attrition is mystifying. The curriculum is decent, but the execution poor. Prepare yourself for an expensive disappointment. Parent involvement is based on social standing and available funds.
PCDS is not what they sell it to be, a challenging , academic, college prepratory environment. Instead, it is a rich kids school in a very affluent part of Phoenix.It is a very lock-step, unindividualized program and the parents are incredibly competitive. Lots of very snooty parents. If you want your child to perceive him or herself as a 'big fish in a small pond', this is the place to go. They do have a great chess program, however.
Phoenix Country Day offers an incredible academic program encorporated with strong life skills and a nurturing environment. Small classroom sizes and the use of individual intranet laptops are one of many contributing factors to strong academic success. Teacher and parental involvement is key and the overall communication is wonderful.
This is a small school with a huge focus on academic performance and life learning skills. Perhaps not the best school for the highschooler who is very involved in sports.
Highest quality academic programs with administration and faculty who really care about their students. Parents are deeply involved and the school offers a wide range of academic, artistic, and athletic extracurricular activities. The physical plant is extraordinary and they are rebuilding the Lower School to match the Middle and Upper Schools. Excellent--have done much for my daughter.
Simply the best school in Arizona. Excellent teachers, especially in middle school and high-school. Small class sizes - less than 15 students in middle school. Good sports program and great extra curricular activities. Beautiful state of the art campus. This school cannot be beat.
PCDS is a small school with probably the best academic program in the state. Classes average about fifteen students, 100% college-bound. About half of the 2003 and 2004 Senior classes were National Merit Semifinalists. There are also good arts and athletic programs.
We have been very pleased with PCDS. The teachers and head of the lower school know the children. They not only teach academics, but also character development and teamwork. Many of the teachers have been there for years, and show enthusiasm and great skill for what they do. My child is learning concepts in math and reading that I didn't do until I was much older. As a first grader, she also goes to science, music, art, PE, and Spanish. We are very pleased about our experience thus far.
I was very impressed by the exceptional academic program offered at PCDS as as well as the outstanding behavior and attitude of the students.
I am a current freshman in my sixth year at PCDS. I considered going to another high school, but then realized that I couldn't envision myself anywhere else! The workload is outragious but the quality of instruction, beautiful campus, small classes, and great faculty make it worth it.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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