I think parents need to understand what Poughkeepsie Day School does not offer when deciding to enroll their children here.
No AP Courses--they do offer 'Advanced Topics" courses but they are not Advanced Placement courses. Students can take the AP exam at the end of the year, but the curriculum is not the same.
No grades! PDS does not offer letter (A, B. C) or numerical grades. They believe that evaluating a student's progress through "narrative paragraphs" is more meaningful. This is a problem with applying to colleges obviously. 99% of schools in the United States offer a more traditional grading system and although it may provide different benefits to your child, the real question is what the colleges will think. PDS has many very intelligent international students who achieve 700+ on the SAT exam...This helps them in the college application process immensely but if your child has scores of the national average (500 CR, Math) then you should think long and hard about attending school here.
Many international students support this school financially, but few understood the no grade policy and no AP courses.
This is a wonderful school. My children have attended both public and private schools and this is by far the best school. The teachers are engaged and caring. The curriculum is relevant and challenging. The students are helpful to each other and it is not cool to be a bully or elite. The sports are team oriented and everyone gets to participate. Arts and music are encouraged and very supported. The college guidance is excellent and the students et into very good schools. The school helps each student find their strengths and work on areas they need to improve upon. This is a special place.
Our two kids enrolled at PDS in 9th and 6th grade respectively. We're in our second year now, our only regret is we didn't discover PDS earlier. The kids are thriving, the faculty are wonderful, the culture and values of the school are nurturing. PDS is a well-kept secret. Famlies that want a first rate progressive education for their kids should definitely check it out.
After I attended the information session, I knew I would feel guilty sending my child to any other school. Sensitive and caring teachers who go out of their way to assist students. There is no "grade envy" because there are no grades. Each teacher prepares a written narrative twice per year about each child's progress. This about learning and learning to love learning. Music, drama, art, Spanish all begin in the lower school. More frequent physical education classes than in the public schools. This is a community of learners dedicated to quality education. The After School Program is wonderful and there is no charge for before school care. The Food Program is amazing - fresh, local foods and always a vegetarian entre. No junk food! Yes, PDS is is expensive but worth it. And if qualified, a family may receive financial aid.
My two children have attended Poughkeepsie Day School since pre-K and are currently going into 3rd and 5th grade. I placed them into PDS because I wanted them to learn how to think independently and nurture a love of learning. I have not been disappointed. My children love each and every day of school. It's summer and they are counting down each day until school starts. Excellent teachers offering a challenging education and wonderful administrative and parent community.
I have a child in the lower school. He has truly blossomed in the 2 years that he has attended. I truly believe the caring teachers, wonderful resources, and low student to teacher ratio helped foster his love of school and learning. To those contemplating sending their children to this school, take a visit. Notice all the smiling faces walking through the halls, and engaged children in the classroom. That sold me.
My two children went through the lower school and are both now in the middle school. I feel lucky every day to be part of the PDS community. I love how the children are not pressured to do well for the teacher, but instead to strive to reach a goal for him/herself. Having said this, the teachers share in the joy and pride of their students' many accomplishments. Kids are actively engaged as learners in each class and every grade. I am in awe of how the PDS administrators and teachers stick to the wonderful progressive philosophy, while creating an exciting and challenging academic program. PDS students are confident, incredibly smart, sensitive, creative, thinking people who know how to solve problems independently and in groups. Teachers are caring, highly intelligent and inspired. A sense of respect reigns throughout PDS. A very special school!
We decided to make the switch from our local and highly ranked public school to PDS after an amazing visit to the school . We have 2 children (Lower School and Middle School) and it is our 3rd year at PDS. I don't think I truly understood what my kids were missing in their education until they started PDS. My children are completely different learners and teachers and staff at PDS understand how to maximize the learning of every child in the class room. My son especially loves the music program, the cooperative PE program and challenging math problems. My daughter thrives with a rich humanities curriculum, early exposure to foreign language and hands on science. An excellent balanced curriculum. Coming from a European educational background myself, I am very pleased with the global and top notch education both my children get at PDS. A visit is a must!
I have never been happier or more enthused in my life, to wake up at an ungodly hour to go learn. When I read some of these negative reviews, I only wish those students and parents were better cut out for this school. Some people aren't exactly meant to be in a more academically advanced, progressive school and I believe this is what lead to their negative experiences. I've never been so respected, cherished, or listened to in my entire life. It's a horrid mistake to miss out on the community and upper school arts department. This school is well worth the money.