My daughter had allot of issues here during her freshman year, drugs, sneaking off campus, et There was zero resources for help, including when I tried to get involved. Save yourself 25K a year and send your kid to a newer legit school, your just paying for the name, the school has very mixed reviews.
PCDS (Lower School) is what you make of it. There are trophy wives but also women with advanced degrees. The school makes it easy for parents to connect but you have to make an effort. There is plenty of diversity, many, many kids are bilingual and have international experience. The school believes is creating well-rounded children - not homework monkeys. Kids are challenged but they are also happy. The school believes in creating kids that are internally motivated not kids that please their parents / authority figures and excel in rankings. If you do not believe in the philosophy of the (lower) school, it is not a good fit for you and your child.
I feel terrible writing this review about the upper school because the upper school teachers for the most part are outstanding! We have been at the school for many years, but unfortunately we feel like the school is sinking quickly, and its all due to the administration. The head of the school and most specifically the head of the Upper School Lisa Culbertson definitely do not convey that they care about our kids. It seems like they ask for $$ every time we turn around, and that they are just padding their fundraising on their resumes so they can apply for jobs back east. Ms. Culbertson in particular is known for her inability to respond quickly or even bother getting back to parents and students when they have issues. In addition, she has shown an inability to actually solve issues. She appears professional and says all the right things, but then doesn't do anything or put solutions in place. She doesn't seem compassionate or to even like the kids (or parents). We don't know a single family who respects her or thinks she is doing a good job. They are getting rid of a lot of good teachers (ie. 9th grade English legend - gone). If you are in 9th grade or below, look out, you will not get the good teachers that have been here the past decade. It has gone from a very homey, personal neighborhood feel school to a rigid, rules oriented, no exceptions, stifling atmosphere. Its unfortunate, because it was a special place.
My review is in regards to the Lower School. I will be pulling my student out of PCDS. We chose PCDS because we were seeking a top private school that resembled the rigor and committment to academics found in private schools back East. That has not been our experience. My child has relatively little to no homework. My child was far ahead of his/her peers and learned more from Kumon. Our impression of the school is that it is an average school for wealthy students in the PV/Arcadia area. I did not get the sense the other children in the class were particularly gifted nor were their parents dedicated to academics. It was shocking to see how many parents were not educated and had inherited wealth. Most of the mothers were homemakers. They would set up socials and happy hours at local bars and cafes in the morning after school. For those of us mothers who work, we don't have time for that.
When we looked at BASIS schools and some of the other private schools in the Valley, their curriculum was advanced and the students in the school were ahead. Their families were educated and dedicated to academics.
Nearly all of the kids seem to live in Paradise Valley, and Arcadia. I feel that my child gets left off a lot of activities and invitations because of this. Like most of the families at PCDS, we are an educated upper middle class family who lives elsewhere due to work. We feel that you are at a large disadvantage if you are not proximal to the school. Socializing has been challenging because of this. If you hold parties or sleepovers, kids are less likely to come if you don't live in the area. So this is not like most private schools in large metropolitan areas that attracts the best students from all over the Valley. It has a local feel.
Finally, there is very little diversity if any at this school in our opinion. Some of the private schools in other cities offer much more diversity. We were really shocked by how little diversity there was in classes. Some of the other charter and private schools in the Valley offer much more diversity and we will be transferring to one of those schools for this reason.
It's truly a shame. I like the administrators, teachers and facilities. However, I feel like we are paying a lot of money to send our child to a glorified public school for Paradise Valley and Arcadia students.
i didn't really see values being taught or emphasized. It didn't seem like there was any structured teaching toward this in any real way. At the same time, I don't think the students are lacking in this.