Our son transferred to CDS last year from another independent school in the Bay Area. Our experience has been excellent. He is thriving and growing by leaps and bounds. Every school has their issues, but the intensity at which he is learning is remarkable. As far as the math and reading skills, I have compared both areas to other independent schools in the area, and CDS is right on target. I hate to burst the 1 star reviewers bubble, but EVERY school has their challenges. CDS has the challenge to maintain its 40% tuition assistance while not burning out the 60% full paying parents. But if you ask me, I'd rather our son go to school with an economic diverse population allowing more children to get a great education.
I'd like to respond to the recent reviewer who stated that 60% of CDS parents pay full-scale tuition. What this number doesn't state is that over 30% of families pay tuition on a sliding scale, which makes CDS a LEADER in socioeconomic diversity. Most schools do not even come close to this number. Further, as parent of an alumn, and a current student, I know that 94% of CDS students get admitted to their first or second choice high school because they are prepared, articulate, curious and passionate about learning. They are classroom leaders and thrive in high school. You can visit the school's website and read quotes from high school admissions counselors and teachers about why they admit CDS students.(http://www.cds-sf.org/academics/high-school-placement). I couldn't be happier with the education my children have received and are receiving at CDS. They've gained skills that will stay with them well into adulthood.
To the parent five-start rating parent who posed the question, "If CDS has lousy academics, how do the majority of their graduating classes continue to get their first choice high schools?" One plausible answer is "Follow the money." 60% of CDS parents pay full-scale $25k/yr tuition and have donated millions in two years for a $6M (real estate only) new middle school. Competitive private high schools prefer to build long-term relationships with their students and families in an increasingly expensive city. Certainly, finances represent only one aspect of competitive high school selection criteria. I'd appreciate anyone else's better informed perspective. As a CDS parent, I support CDS taking action to improve its (perceived) inconsistent academics. My five-star rating is based in part that the one-star criticisms shared here (and parent-to-parent elsewhere) are being openly addressed and remedied by the PTTA and administration.
CDS is a wonderful school. The parent community is very strong, teachers seem happy, and the current head of school is exactly the right person for the school's growth plan. The approach to teaching is interdisciplinary (just like everything in life), and every grade has a specific academic curriculum supporting it. In my opinion constructivism is the best way to educate kids for the 21st century. Like any school, there are some teachers who are to be avoided for certain kids, and the school doesn't always communicate changes to the parent community as early or clearly as they should. Those would be my only criticisms. And I have heard similar things about other top private schools in the city and the suburbs. It is not a perfect school, but no school is perfect all the time, nor perfect for every child or family. If the close-knit community, and hands-on, project approach appeals to you then you're a good fit with this school and you will love it.
My son attending his second year Pre-School at CDS. What not to like about CDS? As the only school at the heart of San Francisco that has a farm and garden, huge play yard, superb curriculum and projects for preschoolers and much more. The first year my son started at preschool, as many other preschooler had a hard time with separation. Six months after, he doesn't even want to go home. Every pick up time, he will say "Can I stay for just a few more minutes Dad?". I highly recommend CDS for their superb admin, teacher, academic program and their top diversity/sliding scale program.
It's unfortunate that unhappy, former parent(s) feel the need to keep posting things about Children s Day School. Perhaps they had a bad experience with the school, but I think the facts speak for themselves. The graduates are accepted regularly into the same high schools that all the other independent middle schools funnel their kids into: University, Lick, Urban, Drew, International, Lowell, SI, Gateway. If the academics were not there, would these schools consistently take CDS kids as they have been for the last 8-9 years? A lot of these are small schools that literally have their pick of students from many schools in the city and beyond. As a parent of a child that graduated within the last two years, I know first hand what the process is like for CDS students and for friends with children at other schools. The high school admission process is extremely competitive and there are many kids in the city that don't get into their first choice school. If CDS has lousy academics, how do the majority of their graduating classes continue to get their first choice high schools? It just doesn t add up. My child was accepted into her first choice school and was well prepared academically.
We are heading into our fourth year at CDS (K-3) and we are having an amazing experience. Our son's teachers have been both rigorous academically and nurturing. After each break or holiday, our son is excited to go back to school. CDS is a solid organization and very well run. We will be here through 8th grade.
We too pulled our child from CDS after realizing the academics were subpar and inconsistent. It also took us about a year and tutoring for our child to catch up. How refreshing it was at our new school to have a spelled out curriculum for the entire year and an experienced/committed faculty. It is indeed criminal how little they are learning and no wonder there are so many posts on this site about all it is lacking. The schools immediate goal is to raise money for the new building which was hastily purchased 3 years ago. They over enrolled in an effort to raise money for the school before they had a solid plan for space. Currently, one average sized fourth grade classroom is split in two by a wall to accommodate the second fourth grade class (parents were informed of this less than ideal "solution" right before school year began). Next year one class will be housed at the Boys & Girls Club. I agree with previous post, if you are considering CDS do your due diligence. Many parents and teachers who have left all agree-- the education is simply not there. Parents/children are in for a rude awaking when they graduate. I wish them luck.
Our children love CDS. Our eldest child each night won't go to bed on time because he reads, and reads, and reads. It is a nice issue to face! Our younger child played piano at the school talent show even though she had just begun lessons. She has the self-confidence to perform and the knowledge that she did so in front of a very supportive community. And the faculty keep winning teaching awards!
We pulled our child from CDS after several years of elementary, choosing another independent school that demonstrated solid academics as well as a social emotional learning curriculum that was, unlike CDS, implemented in the manner in which it was described. Once moved, it took our child a full year to recover the ground lost through CDS's inconsistent program. We are pleased that our child is happy and now thrives and would urge anyone considering CDS to do a great deal of due diligence before committing their family. There is a reason why this school experiences the attrition that it does.
I find the previous posting odd as that is not our experience at all. My daughter attends one of the top independent schools in the city and she is not struggling at all. In fact, she is thriving! She tested out of Math 1 and is on track to complete Calculus by the end of her senior year, she took a humanities class as a sophomore that is usually offered to juniors, her lab writing skills are excellent - all because of her experience at CDS. My daughter is a smart kid, but not exceptional. She just has really strong academic skills, great work habits and the confidence to know when she needs to get extra help. The top high schools in SF have very challenging curriculums so it is not easy to do well there, but CDS prepares its students with more than just the academic necessities. I know every student has a different experience but it is just false to say that they are unprepared as a whole. Spanish is the only area where she entered at the same level as her peers or perhaps a little below. In everything else she is above grade level and I can't emphasize enough the importance of the other skills CDS teaches - organization, confidence, self advocacy. They are invaluable!
My daughter left this school so poorly prepared for high school that it is almost criminal. She was one of the best students at CDS (where she was since Kindergarten) but at her high school (a top independent school) she struggles to keep up. Her teachers have told us that her writing skills and math skills are very weak. The kids who came from other private schools and from public schools were much better prepared than my daughter. We know another CDS family with the same issue in high school -please beware of this school! There is more emphasis on diversity and social awareness than on basic academic skills -and as a result these are not up to par at all.
CDS is an amazing school and an incredible community. Our daughter has been going to school there for the past three years (since Kindergarten) and every year we are amazed by the school's approach to teaching and learning. CDS embodies the best of what a 21st century education should be -- immersive and hands-on, committed to diversity, encouraging social and emotional learning, cultivating interdisciplinary and critical thinking. This is a school that isn't interested in teaching kids what to think, but rather, how to think -- and how to be active, creative, and passionate members of a community.
this will be our seventh year at CDS. our daughter is entering fourth grade an entusiastic learner, a writer of short stories, a young scientist ready to study electromagnetic fields and astronomy, and a confident member of her community. the faculty and staff know her, her strengths and her weaknesses, and work with us to help her become the best version of herself that she can be. is the school perfect? no, and no school is. but when a budding fourth grader asks to listen to NPR (the republican convention no less) and can offer thoughtful commentary on the news it gives this two dad family confidence that our trust is not misplaced.
Both our kids graduated from CDS. One is now in college, the other in high school. Since our eldest was only at CDS for middle school, and lower school has really changed in the last several years , this is primarily a middle school review. When I ask our kids what they liked about middle school, they point to teachers who challenged them and who cared about them. I was also on staff at the school until recently, and felt like the middle school faculty and administration were a good team that worked well to meet our kids needs. Its says a lot that like most of their peers, our kids got into the high school's they most wanted to attend and feel (or felt) well prepared. Incidentally, both kids did very well on the SSATs, which are the tests high schools look at for admission. The school drew us in with its small size and tightly knit community. The school plans to grow in ways that challenge the community to keep small school values in a big school. I think that the vision for how to do that is still evolving--I worry that leadership could spend too little time on that vision in the midst of all the challenges that growth will bring (hence the 3 stars on leadership).
The school has always had some weaknesses in academics, especially in its elementary school. Test scores are telling -- despite screening out undesirable students that a district must take, the school struggles to beat national suburban public school norms. The administation is currently weak; head of school seems disengaged in anything other than fundraising. The assistant head of school had 1 year of teaching experience, and it shows. Staff morale is low. The school has taken on a huge cost (~$12 million) to build a new middle school that it may not be able to afford. Core academic skills in writing and reading sometimes take second place to politically correct indoctrination (Steven Colbert used for news!). Kids in middle school lack most basic information about American history, often enter 5th grade unable to write an effective sentence, and struggle with basic math facts. Good drama program, but the art department is weak and music is essentially non-existent. The class sizes are large compared to national norms. Bottom line -- a once sweet second tier school that has gone down hill under an uninspiring school head who has little vision for the future.
My criticisms center around two ideas: lack of emphasis on rigorous academic standards and overemphasis on political education of children.Academics.My son arrived at CDS from a great Montessori school enthusiastic about math and a very competent early reader.By christmas both skills had atrophied to the point where he lost everything gained in preschool. When I compare the work saved from preschool to the work brought home from CDS it s genuinely startling. CDS utilizes a Project Based Learning (PBL) approach.One of the more legitimate sounding criticisms of PBL is it s inappropriateness for mathematics instruction. Politics,my son was taught a song which included the lyrics protest, petition, let big business know I m particularly concerned that he learn the skills of protesting and petitioning at 5 especially when he is not mastering the basics. I would prefer something along the lines of innovate, invent, do the hard work I find it telling that this political correctness is taught within the context of a private school with its hand picked diversity. The school has a contingent of true believer parents who undoubtedly disagree with me, but this is my experience.
My daughter started at preschool here and is now in kindergarten. She's confident, engaged and curious about everything. The two teachers we have had over the past three years are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. Learning new things in such a warm and caring environment has set a positive foundation for the future for her. Our son is currently in the preschool and over the first semester we have seen him go from a tentative child to one who loves partaking in the different projects. He loves working in the farm and garden - caring for the chicks and studying plants. Most of all we are really happy with how our kids are turning out. They are respectful of other's feelings and care about the world around them.
My daughter completely blossomed at CDS. She has been there four years now and has no interest in any other school. Her grades and test scores are great and she is confident. She feels she has a place at her school and that's a wonderful thing. The approaches to teaching are innovative and effective. We are more than pleased.
CDS used to be a fantastic school. My children went there for a few years and then they got a new head of school who's only concern was making the school bigger and bigger and putting lots of cash in the bank, not what's the best educationally for the children. They fired very valuable long term accredited and after school teachers because of low level personality clashes between the office staff. It doesn't matter to the powers that be to have the best teachers for the children if the office staff don't like them? Seems so! I preferred the better teachers. Unless the staff is killing each other, it should have nothing to do with teaching and shouldn't matter more then the children's education. The kids need to come first, they do not. The staffs "friendships" do. Children's Day School does NOT put the children's best interest first so therefore I can no longer recommend the school. Former CDS parent.
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