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Ring Mountain Day School

Private | K-8 | 100 students

We are best known for small classes/project and discussion based learning.

 
 

Living in Mill Valley

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $894,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,940.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 3 ratings
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 7 ratings
2011:
Based on 17 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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43 reviews of this school


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Posted April 7, 2014

We moved our kid to RMDS in the middle of the school year. It has been an amazing transition. Not only does he feel at home, but we do as well. The spectacular Head of School, the responsive and warm teachers, the tough and lovable coach - and the spirit that is encouraged -- inclusiveness, hard work, inquiry and flexibility -- have all made the experience quite wonderful. It's worth checking out if a smaller, more individualized school is what you might be looking for.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2014

Our child previously attended RMDS, left for two years and has now returned. While painful to leave, the previous administration and excessive turnover were not working. But we always missed the great things about RMDS. Our child now looks forward to school, and says "Ring Mountain is awesome!" They have retained their small class size (12-14), low student:teacher ratio, discussion-based learning, and blending of age groups via different activities, but the school now has much more. Under the lovely school head, Ms. Flowers, the teachers seem to universally say they feel very supported. Not only have many of the strong teachers from the past stayed on, but a few new excellent additions have come; the whole staff is stabilized. As a middle schooler, our child interacts with many teachers throughout the day. Without exception, each of them is kind, thoughtful and respects each child s unique needs. From having school pets (dog, bunny, bird, chickens and fish) to weekly lunch in multi-age "family" groups, RMDS is nurturing. They have retained their strong academics, and place kids in excellent high schools, while adding warmth and stability.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 4, 2014

Our son is nearing the end of first grade, his second year at Ring Mountain Day School and I could not be happier with the education and support he has received. His math, reading, writing and science education is superb, as is the music, Spanish, art, drama, physical education. I love the small class sizes and the individualized attention he receives that he would not get elsewhere. This school is a community, not just between the teachers and staff, but also among the parents and the children. RMDS, from the top down, fosters relationships between the younger and older students and lets the kids know that they can and should talk with their teachers, not just take orders. I am very happy with RMDS and am looking forward to my son's progress as he grows with the school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 15, 2014

Ring Mountain Day School is absolutely fantastic when it comes to accommodating kids with learning differences. This progressive school treats children as individuals with their own strenghts and weaknesses. Children are not labeled in any way. Teachers are supportive in helping them reach their potential by providing extra help, using experiential learning practices and facilitating exchange around a Harness table. Kids are challenged in an envirnment that promotes lifetime learning in a noncompetitive and joyful place.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2013

Ring Mountain Day School is like a little island of positivity. I am a member of the faculty, and I can't tell you how warm and welcoming the whole school feels now that we have had our new Head of School with us for 2 years. Children are excited to come to school, and we, the staff, are excited to teach! Professional development sessions, personal support, and camaraderie pervade every aspect of my teaching experience. RMDS sits squarely on the principles of Responsive Classroom (for elementary school) and the Harkness Method (for middle school). Both are proven, community-oriented ways of teaching that foster a feeling of responsibility in the student to be in charge of their own learning. I am so proud of the community we have formed (including quite a few animals -- chickens, fish, dogs, rabbits!) Our staff retention rate is higher, our students and parents seem more than satisfied, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. I know of no other school where students are so supported in individualized interests and ways of learning -- proud to have memorized 20 digits of Pi, proud to use a focusing ball in class, and proud to think Shakespeare is super cool.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted September 30, 2013

We wish we had found Ring Mountain at the start of middle school but are lucky my son attended last year and this. I was afraid it was too small and it wasn't. With the Harkness methodology these students learn more at Ring Mountain than in a traditional classroom and the balance of the whole child development is the best.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 17, 2012

Our son came to Ring Mountain's middle school last year and, each day since then, I have felt grateful for this school. The teacher-student ratio allows for the sort of education not possible in other private or public schools. The teachers are extraordinarily in tune with each individual child and able to take each one to the limits of his or her academic abilities. The kids are bright, motivated and kind to one another, even across grade levels. The parents enjoy spending time together and have created a true community. The new interim head, Sarah Flowers, is inspiring and attentive to the needs of all parts of our community. The school's high school admission record matches or exceeds that of any Bay Area school. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the opportunities Ring Mountain gives to our son every single day.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 15, 2012

Ring Mountain Day School's faculty and staff genuinely care about each and every student - and my child is not "odd", neither are his many friends. Teachers are open and welcoming and have high academic expectations which are reinforced through a focused approach on social and emotional development, hands on activities , and meaningful learning opportunities. My child is extremely excited about the recent introduction of chickens which reside in the yard just outside his classroom. I believe the 7th graders were honored with the task of researching different types of chickens, building a coop, and involving the whole school in the naming of and care for the chickens. Real, meaningful, and authentic. The Head of School is guiding Ring Mountain on a truly positive path. She is a breath of fresh air!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 3, 2012

I guess the students who are not "odd" are thriving at this school, but just that the reviewer calls students "odd" is a little worrisome. We are new to the school and still do not know everyone after a year. If you want a small school, this is the school for you. It can't get much smaller. This school has some work to do and has potential to be great. Hopefully, it will make it another year.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 1, 2012

My son has attended Kindergarten at Ring Mountain. He was attending Pre K last year in another well known private school in Marin. We chose Ring Mountain because of small class size and individual attention that the students get. My son has blossomed academically ever since starting here. He's above grade level in math and reading/writing. His Spanish skills have improved tremendously. Within the first few months he had learned many Spanish words and could count to 30 in Spanish. Contrast that to the previous school where he had only learned to say Hola after a full year of Spanish classes. The new Interim head , Sarah Flowers, the teachers and staff are amazing. Everyone knows everyone here and as a student you never get lost. My son had a minor issue with one of his class mates and the whole situation was handled far beyond my expectation. The school helped my son to find ways to resolve daily issues and be more assertive. Ring Mountain's record for high school placement is amazing . This is a school that lets your child thrive both emotionally and academically and to be herself/himself. Ring Mountain must be the best kept secret in Marin.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 29, 2012

The recent post seems to say more about the reviewer than the school. A school in which an odd child has been bullied, teased, or called a name - what a terribly unique experience in American education. Obviously all of these problems are idiosyncratic to Ring Mountain and don't occur anywhere else. As for the observation on school dress code- most of the parents have not found an 8th graders use of eye shadow to be quite as threatening as the reviewer. I would suggest he or she might want to consider home schooling in order to keep their child safe from the existential threat of too much mascara. For the rest of us, Ring Mountain has provided a warm, nurturing environment where our child has thrived
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 26, 2012

The last review is quite humorous considering that the head of school retired in December. We have an excellent interim head, who has years of experience pole vaulting schools into the future. Our 8th graders placed into their 1st and 2nd choices for high school. When parents write 1 star reviews, they are typically not change makers, but complainers, who cannot accept that their children may not do well in our school. Ring Mountain caters to students who want to learn and thrive in a nurturing environment. Our parent community allows anyone and everyone to be involved. The more involved you are as a parent, the more fun you will have.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 15, 2012

I liked this school very much for one of my children, but I could not agree to send my other child here. The head of school put her son in charge of the school, and then she left without notice or explanation. Unfortunately her son has no experience as an assistant head of school. He failed to complete college and has no teaching experience. He refuses to speak with parents, answer questions or work with other faculty members. His continued presence is a great disappointment for anyone associated with the school and it is difficult to understand why the tuition payment is justified. I chose this school because I liked the teachers but I have been very disappointed in the leadership of the school. How can an assistant head of school with such a dubious background and flimsy amount of experience be in any kind of leadership position in any school? As long as he is in charge, I cannot recommend this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 8, 2011

This is one of the Bay Area's best kept little secrets. The school is small and nuturing and promotes creativity and independent thought. With the small class size, my child is getting twice the amount of attention she would be getting in the upscale S.F. private schools at a comparitively reasonable price. The school bus is an added plus so I don't have to spend an hour a day traversing the Golden Gate Bridge to take my daughter to school. We love, love, love Ring Mountain.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 16, 2011

How do I begin to sing the praises of this school? The building is warm and inviting. The classrooms are large, bright, cheery, stimulating, and well equipped. The teachers, head, and parents have come together to create a very supportive community. The kids are safe and cared for by the entire staff. To top it all off, my child is getting an excellent education!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 16, 2011

Finding the right school for your child is such a challenge. Thank God we found Ring Mountain. It has met and even exceeded all of expectations. And our expectations were considerable. The Head and teachers know and understand kids. I can't begin to express what a comfort it is to have place our son in this school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 15, 2011

My child is receiving an outstandingly great education. The intellectual tone of the school is first rate. It is challenging, but not more than my child can handle. I am very confident she will be well prepared for an academically challenging high school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 11, 2011

I am torn. Ring Mountain has provided a wonderful, safe environment for my son. Thanks to the small classroom sizes and dedicated teachers he has made tremendous progress over the three years he's been there. He feels safe and connected, and is fully engaged academically, and for this we are very very grateful. This said I am frustrated, perplexed and disappointed with the head of school. She fails to inspire or engage me as a parent, and is dismissive of any idea that is not her own. Her failure to proactively address the teacher turn over and her decision to promote her family members concerned me enough that I opted not to put my daughter at the school. This decision pains me as I think it really is a special place. If you have a sensitive, quirky kid---maybe shy or nerdy or challenged socially---Ring Mountain could be the place for him or her, well worth the trade offs. But if you've got an outgoing independent kid who makes friends easily and for whom life seems to come easily you may be better off at another school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 20, 2011

We have 2 kids at Ring Mountain. We move a lot due to my husbands work and this is my childrens 4th school. We are now in our 3rd year at Ring Mountain and we LOVE it. We where warmly welcomed and the teachers and the staff where very helpfull to help the kids adjust to the new school and country. The theachers are amazing and the head of the school is very dedicated and involved. I do not agree AT ALL with the former post about her mismanagement!!! We have to leave again at the end of this school year and I am allready sad. I as a parent will mis the very warm and close community and my kids say they will miss EVERYTHING. But I am comforted by the idea that my kids will do great in their next school just because they spent the last 3 years at Ring Mountain.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2011

My daughter loves Ring Mountain. The teachers are great. They work hard each day to create a safe, challenging and nurturing evironment. We feel grateful to be part of such an awesome school.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 93% 26%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 11%
Hispanic 3% 52%
Black 1% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
Gardening teacher(s)
Music teacher(s)
PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Science lab
Clubs
  • Gardening

Arts & music

Specific academic themes or areas of focus
  • Arts (all)
Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Photography
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Rock band
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Computer animation
Clubs
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sewing/knitting club
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
Clubs
  • Cooking club
  • Gardening
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 am
School end time
  • 3:15 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school
  • After school
School Leader's name
  • Sarah Flowers
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • admissions@ringmountain.org
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NAEYC

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Multi-aged
  • Project-based
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Arts (all)
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • None - the school offers no services
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • None

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Cooking/Nutrition teacher(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Transportation options
  • Buses/vans for students only
School facilities
  • Access to farm or natural area
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Playground
  • Science lab
School leaders can update this information here.

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by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Flag football
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Flag football

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Photography
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Rock band
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Computer animation

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Arts and crafts
  • Community service
  • Cooking club
  • Gardening
  • Sewing/knitting club
  • Yearbook
School leaders can update this information here.

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer time after school
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

Submit your application by

January 16, 2014

 
 
Apply now
 

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$25000 - $25000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Marin Academy
Branson School
Marin Catholic
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

70 Lomita Drive
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Website: Click here
Phone: (415) 381-8183

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