This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Graland Country Day School5
Posted July 26, 2014
- a parent
Graland has exceeded all of our expectations! The teachers are dynamic in every way and truly foster a love for learning in the students. The curriculum is vigorous while at the same time careful to make sure mastery of key foundations are fully comprehended. Our middle schooler has thrived from the passion teachers have brought to the classroom and our child in lower school loves each and everyday at school. Graland has been a gift to our family, preparing our children in so many different ways from academics, leadership, athletics and caring citizens. Go Graland!
We love Graland! We have a child with an extremely high IQ who is a highly visual spatial learner. (His preschool teachers had us get him extensively tested.) Although he is extremely smart, we want him to be socially adept, so we stayed away from schools for highly gifted children. We chose Graland, because we felt they would academically challenge him, embrace his tremendous personality (his keen, purposeful sense of humor) and teach to his learning style. On my son's first day of Kindergarten, Ronni McCaffrey told my husband and me that we had made the right choice for our son - that Graland is a family and they would take care of him. They have! Here we are 6 years later, and our son is thriving in every way! We could not be happier! Graland is a K-8 school, teaching our children at the most important time of their lives - their formative years, when they are becoming who they will always be, developing time management skills, social skills, etc. If your child goes to Graland, he/she should succeed at any high school or college, public or private, as he/she will be applying what they learned at Graland. Now is the time that matters!
Graland has exceeded our expectations in every way. My daughter's strengths and challenges have been accurately identified and celebrated year after year. Graland has installed confidence, charisma and awareness in her. The head of school is doing a phenomenal job at creating an educational context in which students become global thinkers. I have found the students, parents, teachers and administration to be respectful and invested in making Graland a diverse, inclusive and energetic community.
I absolutely love Graland and so does my oldest son who goes there. My son is excited to go to school every single day which as we all know is half the battle when talking about school. The community of teachers and parents have been so welcoming that I feel like I have a big extended family. It does take a village to raise a well rounded little human and this village is incredible. I couldn't ask for a better situation for my son or our family as a whole.
Our kids have LOVED being at Graland! We have attended for the past four years and are extremely happy with the teachers and curriculum, administrators and community. The curriculum is challenging and integrated throughout all the subjects/specials. My children can't wait to go back to school in the Fall! The teachers provide excellent support for and communication to their students and parents. The small class sizes and amazingly low student to teacher ratio is unbeatable! Our Head of School, Ms. Ronni McCaffrey, knows every child and parent and is very accessible. In Addition, Ronni engages parents throughout the year with her Book Club and lecture series. We cannot think of a better place for our children or family!
Graland was a mixed experience for our family. One of our children received a less than stellar academic offering with teachers year after year who couldn't fully deliver top notch education. We recognized gender bias in verbal communications by certain teachers (ex: boys are better at math, girls are better at writing and art). Bullying issues were not handled well and to adequate conclusion. The music program lacked depth and vocal performances could have been much better considering the talented student body. The school is also very expensive with annual tuition increases every year we attended. On the positive side, the facilities are beautiful and the food service was quite good. The families who are at Graland are well - connected and it seems to enable networking opportunities for parents. Overall, we departed the school because the negatives outweighed the positives.
I have been a parent of children at Graland Country Day School and have been completely disgusted by the leadership within this school. As a parent who has been a part of this community for a long time, I can confidently say Graland is not what it once was, as it is being destroyed by the ignorant, dishonest, money hungry leadership within the school. The new head of school has implemented textbook programs while ripping the creativity out of the curriculum. People choose private schools because we do not want the teachers teaching out of a box. Teachers are the heart and soul of a school and the current leadership is turning them into or replacing them with robotic, Stepford-like educators. If we wanted our children to learn from a textbook, we would go buy these books and teach them at home. Graland used to burst with creative, happy, strong academic energy. This happiness as been replaced with bland, negative energy and a culture of fear. Clearly, my children do not attend the school anymore, thank goodness. Graland has become a dictatorship with a leader and her "minions" who are focused on money rather than creative, differentiated, brilliant instruction for kids.
We have two children that attend Graland and a third child that we are hoping can enter the pre-k program. My husband and I are very grateful to know that our children are in such a positive environment. My children are very different, but both enjoy going to school every day (my son was at another school and had many days that he didn't want to attend). I am a working mother in the technology industry and I believe that the education my children are receiving will prepare them for whatever they choose to pursue. The breadth of education is terrific and every day, they proactively share with me what they've learned; whether its about culture, language, music or math. I think that the difference at Graland is that the experience is joyful. Graland believes in the importance of teaching a life long love of learning and curiosity.
Graland has not executed the Math in Focus or Journeys curriculum well despite administration and teacher claims. Teachers do not fully teach material so that students master reading, writing, and arithmetic. In class, there is "free time" each day although material to be covered far exceeds time in school. Students do not complete the curriculum as evidenced by seeing empty student workbooks at year-end. This is especially true in reviewing the Math in Focus workbooks. The result of this poorly executed program is a student body lacking foundational skills in core subjects. Remediation and tutoring in reading, writing and math are commonplace. Other reviews have commented to this result, but such reviews have been removed by Great Schools. Graland cares very much about reputation, perhaps more so than executing on the school's educational program. Test scores are never released from the school to prove the school's excellence in academics.
Graland has been, and continues to be, the greatest investment we have made in our children's lives. It is cutting edge, hands on, flexible with learning differences, inclusive, an amazing community and so much more. I will say that the technology in 5th grade with the kids doing reports, assignments, homework and presentations using iPads is something else. AND the technology is everywhere, including the kindergarten classrooms! I have been equally impressed with the arts and physical education programs. Both incredibly important to our youngsters. Also to see the numerous ways that the Graland community gives back teaches our kids the importance of looking outside ourselves and caring for others. Graland doesn't just talk the talk, they walk the walk. They are teaching our kids to be well rounded, fully developed human beings.