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.
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