As full-time working parents, we feel blessed to be able to provide both of our children with the opportunity to be part of the JCDS Family. In fact, this will be our 6th year at JCDS and we are still very content.
JCDS provides a family-oriented, positive and nurturing environment that promotes a life-long love of learning and emphasizes personal and social responsibility through its (ubiquitous) Character Education program. As an example of the Character Education program, older students (third through sixth grade) are paired with younger students for shared reading and other educational activities. The older students learn about responsibility and role-modeling while younger students benefit from mentoring and a special friendship with one of the “big kids”.
The teachers and faculty are sincere and make it a point to get to know and understand each student in order to provide individual guidance and facilitate and challenge each student to dig deeper, develop their own ideas, make informed and sound choices, and grow to be strong, resilient, and independent-thinking individuals.
In addition to core academics, JCDS places a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and engages the students to participate and learn related skills through fun, hands-on activities and projects. Their extended-day/after-school enrichment program and facilities are fantastic and include: health, wellness, and competitive sports programs (e.g. Amberjax swim team, soccer, basketball, volleyball, yoga, running club, flag-football, karate, play-ball); music and arts (e.g. chorus, band, private music lessons, spirit and dance); and academic enrichment (e.g. lego league, sign language, math Olympiad). Not very many schools – both public and private – can offer similar programs (that also support working parents).
In an ideal world, every child would have the opportunity to learn and grow at a school like JCDS.
Both of our children attended JCDS! We chose the school because of the emphasis on whole child learning - from classroom instruction to a devoted science lab, PE everyday, Spanish instruction from the youngest age and a Fine Arts program that encourages all children to participate...we watched our children (as different as they are!) thrive and grow into independent, creative thinkers! Thank you JCDS!
We have been very happy at JCDS. The curriculum and school environment have exceeded my expectations. The staff and teachers are always very friendly in the hallways and our child has had a wonderful experience as well. Everyone seems to go above and beyond for the students. I would definitely recommend JCDS to other families.
My daughter started at JCDS last year in Kindergarten, which I can honestly say was the best decision we have ever made. Not only did she have two of the most outstanding, loving, caring, and nurturing teachers, but she has excelled in so many ways. She has gained self confidence (which she lacked from her previous school) and is so happy to be a part of the JCDS family. She loved getting up every morning to go to school (which was a first) and although she was new to the school, her new friends accepted her with open arms- she instantly became "one of them". Aside from the emotional/social aspect, I give many thanks to the school for how far she has come academically. She is now reading books (which she wasn't before), excelling in Math, understanding the concepts rather than just memorizing, and has blossomed in Dance and Art due to their wonderful after-school enrichment activities that are available. The school is very big on Character Education, which is obvious by the way they have helped her to express to others how she feels (good or bad), always use manners, be a good friend, respect, etc. Pat Walker, the Head of School, is so caring towards the children, and is very involved with families. Sending our daughter to JCDS is worth every penny and we couldn't be happier with this past school year.
Jacksonville Country Day is a great place to work. It is a positive, supportive environment with many resources dedicated to professional development. The families are friendly and the students are well behaved.
I had two children graduate from JCDS. They went from JK to 6th grade and transitioned beautifully to Bolles. JCDS prepared them for middle school and beyond and they are now at the top of their class. Not only did the school and its dedicated faculty instill academic excellence, it taught them good character, leadership skills and good citizenship. While visitors may be impressed by the beautiful updated facilities and awesome arts, music and sports programs, what sets this school apart is its faculty. The school has undergone recent changes, but all for the betterment of the school and the students. The school is now being run by an effective and cohesive administration whose professionalism and true dedication to the families and students is immediately apparent. You will not find a better investment for your children's future than an education at JCDS.
As a long time JCDS parent with two children at the school, my experience has been quite positive. The small class sizes and extraordinary teachers create an atmosphere in which my children can thrive. The optional after school activities have allowed my children to further explore the arts and sports aside from what is already built into the school curriculum on a daily basis. There has been some administrative turnover, however, it was the head of school who was here 10 years. The school continues to be a forward thinking leader in the community. I challenge parents to find anything better in the area.
I see many red flags at JCDS. The administration is unstable and there's high teacher turnover. The academic curriculum is subpar as they teach to the middle of the pack. Sadly, they don't strive to achieve full student potential. On one end of the spectrum, I see an unusually high number of students retained a grade rather than being taught to stay on pace. Parents are blindsided to find that, at the end of the year, their child is not ready to advance to the next grade. It's only a handful, but still seems high. On the other end of the spectrum, little is done to challenge the advanced student. There are cliques among the children (and parents). The bullying involves social status. It's subtle and secretive but present. It's hard for the administration to police so therefore it perpetuates. The facilities are beautiful and extracurricular activities are abundant (at high additional costs). But, it makes the school feel like summer camp. If the school would spend as much time and money on teaching as they did on its luxuries, it would have a better chance at producing intelligent, grounded, and selfless citizens. Needless to say, we will not be returning next year.
We moved to jacksonville, and where we are zoned didn't give us the best selection of private schools. The school is beautiful, and the tours were impressive. Our child is half way into his first year and the bullying is terrible. If your child fits that rich, elite mold he or she might be fine. Children who are more advanced are not given the opportunity to excel. The are mixed in with students of all calibers, stifling the intelligent and frustrating those who could use more hands on.