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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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