My 5th grade daughter has been in Metairie Park Country Day since pre-K, and we wouldn't think of sending her anywhere else. The teachers, parents, administration, ground crew and kitchen staff are warm, genuine, and welcoming. The curriculum is top-notch and the kids are inspired to do their best and also given plenty of opportunities to shine in productions and art. There is never a punitive or petty atmosphere, the kids know that they're valued, and they thrive. My daughter went from being a very shy and moody preschooler to a happy, confident and very competent 'big kid' at Country Day, seemingly overnight. I have another daughter at a different school, (long story), and there is a lot more drama and anxiety there, with veiled threats for any minor and overblown infraction, a strict uniform policy, and a very structured curriculum which isn't nearly as rigorous yet takes alot more homework and busy work...No comparison. If I had to relive my childhood and go thru school again it would be a delight at Country Day. I'm a physician and believe that the staff and curriculum can't be beat. My daughter will be able to succeed at anything - and keep a great attitude while doing it.
My daughter attended first grade here and my son was in pre-k. It was a perfect fit for our family. The staff and faculty were warm and welcoming and the parents were very involved in making the school great. The school follows the latest best practice research for education by combining lower grades and allowing the children to work at their own capability. I have a Master of Education from Harvard and I'm very picky as far as curriculum. I found the first grade to be the perfect blend of academics, art, and movement. The teacher, Ms. Hardin, was stellar. There was a lot of diversity--the children came from all over the world. My daughter absolutely flourished there. She came from a Waldorf background with no academics and by the end of the year was reading chapter books and ahead of her grade level in science and math. Her love of art and theater was encouraged, and any issues I raised with the teacher were immediately addressed (typical social issues of this age.) I felt this was a warm and empathic environment and I felt really good about taking my kids there every day. My son also loved the pre-k.
The programs and the curriculum are good, though individual attention seems to be given to those students whose parents donate the most - very apparent when looking at the casting of school plays. My kid had a rough time during a family crisis and instead of help and support all we got was probation yet there was no other national merit student near and far.
My son is starting his third year here and I could not be happier. My son is gifted and was being targeted by the teachers at the old school for ADD. He was mess emotionally thanks to the lack understanding about gifted children. The transfer could have been traumatic but this school bent over backwards to help him. They were able to challenge him yet keep him with kids his own age - they actually have introduced him to algebra in the 2nd when he blew through their match curriculum. The parents are great and we have made a lot of friends. While no school is perfect, this school is the best match for us. If you want a challenging curriculum for your child and a school that expects parent involvement, this is it.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have been admitted to Stanford University if my parents' had not pulled me out of a local catholic school, after 7th grade, and enrolled me at Country Day, (where I graduated Cum Laude). If you are a parent searching for a top notch college prep school education for your children in the New Orleans/Metairie area, look into either Country Day or Newman. Country Day's web-site is: www.mpcds.com
My child attented country day, and we were very pleased with the staff as well as the curriculum. Parental involvement was encouraged and was present. There were many extracurricular activities available. If I was still in New Orleans, my child would still be there.
We are new to the lower school, but we have had such positive experiences with this school. Almost everybody you meet on the grounds, inclusive of the maintenance staff, comes across ss warm and they really seem to care about the kids. Lower school head Marsha Biguenet is fabulous, and we are huge fans of the K-1-2 classroom format. Lunch involves mixed tables of all ages from the lower school grades, and there is a daily assembly that creates a real sense of community amongst the students of varied ages and the faculty all come to know each of the students. Obviously, this year has been unusual due to the strains placed by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing displacement of much of the student body (and some of the faculty as well). Unavoidable faculty cutbacks are currently still fresh wounds, but I am hoping that pain will ease over time.