CDS is the model of lip service...you will hear the words said many times but the substance is lacking.
They will proudly show off their great new building - but skip the part that the kids have nowhere to eat and no play space...yes, that is right, your kids have no where to play except when they walk to another gym they use for PE. Don't believe the hype.
I have two things I'd like to share about my experience at CDS so far. The first is that CDS does an outstanding job preparing students for high school. Kids graduate from 8th grade with a strong sense of who they are and how they learn. The homework they receive is always purposefully planned, and the amount is definitely less than they receive in high school (my oldest son is currently a freshman). My son definitely benefited from the gradual development of his stamina for homework, and honestly, I find a club soccer commitment to be significantly more imposing on family time than the homework commitment from CDS.
The second thing I'd like to share about CDS is that the administrators and teachers are some of the most caring human beings you would ever want to have involved in your child's life. Whether your child needs thoughtful guidance, earnest encouragement, or a little bit of both, the adults at this school always approach a child with such strong empathy that the natural result is every child puts their best foot forward. That's always what I'm going to be looking for from my child, and that's what I get from CDS.
I am a parent of a First Grader. I work in education not at CDS but I work closely with a number of Indepenent schools across Bay Area. I am fortunate that I get to see how different schools work. Most are great, but when it came time to choose a school for my child, I was very clear that CDS would be the place.Now, after a few years I have a happy child who absolutely loves going to school.
Every day I see that spark and light in her eyes as she talks to me about how she absolutely loves her teachers. I have been asked to invite all her teachers over for dinner soon!
She has an open door to go in and say hello to her Lower School head and does so most days.
Why am I not talking about curriculum and other buzz words? Because, numbers tell that story. CDS has a tremendous program but what I really care about is that my child is happy, excited and motivated to go to school. Loves learning. Loves her teachers and others who she interacts with at the school everyday. People at CDS care! Plain and simple. They care for your child and sometimes that means them speaking up and advocating for your child. I hope that parents listen because that sound advise comes from a place that wants to see your child thrive.
Go visit the school. Make up your own minds.
The teachers are very effective in Preschool and middle school 5/6th Math and Science and 7th/8th Humanities. For my son, CDS was weak in between Preschool and 5th and failed to bridge the gap, leaving the experience disjointed at best. Certainly not worth the tuition other than in middle school.
At least 2 hours per day in 5th through 8th grades! The school tries to push more lessons into each year than is possible to teach in the time available. This forces teachers to add to homework. This gives the students little time for being kids and harms family time.
I believe CDS teachers and a few administrators fosters honesty and integrity among the students, but there is pedagogically a "one size fits all" approach so kids with learning differences or who don't "fit the mold" are left out to rely on private tutors, etc.
CDS is a supportive and caring community with an all encompassing curriculum that addresses the social emotional needs of the students while also providing students with a strong academic and constructivist curriculum. I am a teacher at CDS, and I have worked at other schools in the bay area. I have never worked at such a caring community. The administrators, teachers and families truly care about the entire well being of the students and the community members of the school. Teachers have the freedom to explore curriculum while also receiving support from the Literacy Specialist, the Director of Teaching and Learning, the Learning Specialist and the Assistant Head of School. Teachers are also encouraged and supported to get more professional development. Most importantly the students at CDS are happy and engaged in learning and meaningful relationships.
A huge thank you to the preschool teachers and middle school teachers, the assistant director of admission who is instrumental in helping families integrate and find high school placement when they are in 8th grade.