The faculty and administration take a forward looking view in everything the school does. They are educating students for the foreseeable future and beyond by engaging them and teaching them resilience and self-determination.
SLE - social emotional learning - is a full time course throughout the grades. Huge emphasis is placed on nurturing, acknowledging, and honoring these facets of our children's personalities (and our own)...
Mark Day has offered our family everything we could have hoped for in a school. We love the teachers, the community, our class's families in particular, the events, the head of school (he is incredible)... we are both educators and are so impressed on every level.
I think reviews are helpful. However I think you need to take a balanced approach. Families generally spend a lot of time considering schools and do everything possible to ensure they find the right fit. Typically after a decision is made, parents tend to look for "proof points" that they indeed made the right decision. This is certainly what we did when we chose St. Mark's, now Mark Day School. We were involved, our child had plenty of friends. We did not have any real issues except my child was not learning all that much. I also witnessed a culture of lack of willingness or ability to problem solve. It was odd. I thought the administrators job was to take issues and turn them into learning opportunities for children and parents alike. I thought paying private school tuition meant I was a stakeholder in the school and my feedback would be valued or at least someone would pretend to value it. Nope. Not at Mark Day School. Stakeholder feedback was not valued by the board, by the administration...they have it all figured out. So get on the train and drink the kool-aide or get off. We eventually got off the train and so happy we did. My child learned more in three weeks at his new school than he did at Mark Day School. Does headmaster shake hands in the morning..absolutely! They do this at many schools. Did he know my child. Nope. Did he care or do anything about the fact my child was bored at school. Unfortunately not or we would still be there! You should carefully consider opinions and hopefully talk to many parents. Not the ones that started at Mark Day School in K and never looked back only to list all the school offers but the ones that can really dig deep about the curriculum. How their child is fairing versus national averages for other independent schools, how the math program stacks up against their neighbors public school, etc.. We found Mark Day School to be fairly innovative but behind in traditional academics. It was not the "academic rigorous" school that was promised. I am so happy we left when we did. My child is thriving at our new school and learning so much more! I write this not to upset anyone but to give an honest review. I am only sorry we wasted so much time at Mark Day School. I hear other parents tell me it's an "uphill battle" to get what they need for their students in terms of differentiation. Why? It's a strange place.
We have one child at Mark Day School who has been there since kindergarten. We could not be happier with the academic program, especially the interdisciplinary approach to teaching and the new tinker lab! The school has a reputation for preparing their graduates well for high school. Believe it! By the time the 8th graders leave Mark Day, they are ready to hit the ground running. They know how to advocate for themselves, juggle multiple subjects and most importantly, develop confidence in themselves, This is a joyful place where the teachers and administrators are committed to providing just the right amount of rigor to challenge young minds yet infuse fun to make learning interesting. If you've ever watched Joe Harvey, the head of school, shaking each student's hands as s/he arrive at school in the morning,, you will see how well he knows each child and the mutual respect they have for one another.
We have 2 very different learners at Mark Day School and both have been extremely well served by the school. Both love going to school and feel supported by their teachers. The academic program challenges and stretches them and yet they know that their teachers want them to be successful. They do a wonderful job of knowing and believing in kids. They know kids develop, learn, evolve and grow during their 9 years at the school. They teach kids to be self-advocates, resilient, to learn from their mistakes, to be great team players by collaborating on projects...these are all essential lessons and skills that are needed in high school, college and life. Teachers and administrators are so committed to the students - they have weekly faculty meetings after school, are always willing to find time to meet with parents and the upper division faculty meets each week to discuss each kid so that nothing slips through the cracks. We have an incredible head of school who knows kids, is a true educator and who has devoted countless hours to ensure that the school can continue to evolve with a new building that will strengthen campus and program.
The decision to send our child to Mark Day School was one of the best decisions we ve made as a family. There are so many reasons why I love this school--high academic standards, a thoughtful and innovative curriculum, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, deeply committed teachers, and a truly exceptional head of school--but the simplest reason is that my child loves (and is thriving at) Mark Day School. At Mark Day, curiosity is encouraged and mistakes are considered stepping stones for success. Children learn to work collaboratively, think critically and problem solve. Social Emotional Learning, an integral part of the Mark Day School program, fosters emotional intelligence--students develop lifelong skills around empathy, self-advocacy, conflict resolution and more. We all have choices when we select an independent school--I am thrilled that our choice was Mark Day School.