Kendell Berry, November 13, 2013
Davidson Day School was founded in 1999 in the heart of educationally historic Davidson, North Carolina, just down the street from Davidson College. Davidson Day is an independent school that serves over 500 students from 2 years old through 12th grade and is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Davidson Day cultivates academic excellence through collaboration, creativity, and character development. Each student is offered an active, challenging learning environment through our broad array of programs. We strive for our students to be: Independent thinkers who articulate their ideas with confidence Students who advocate for themselves and others Engaged students who take intellectual risks Critical thinkers who are enthusiastic problem solvers Lifelong learners who chart their own paths in college and life Respectful ethical citizens who are adept at addressing global challenges To achieve these goals, we keep our class sizes small (average student: teacher ratio is 9:1), so our students benefit from individualized attention. Many of our teachers and administrators also lead artistic endeavors, coach sports and sponsor co-curricular clubs, so that they get to develop strong personal relationships with students in a range of settings. The School also has a Learning and Enrichment Center that offers assistance to students with learning differences as well as enrichment opportunities for students who are ready to move more quickly. Beyond its strong academic program, the School has a robust performing arts program including drama, music and band, performing in a newly renovated theater. We offer a rich assortment of athletic opportunities for Middle and Upper School students. Davidson Day also offers 7th-12th graders the chance to study abroad in archaeological field schools in Belize and Spain. In Upper School, our College Counselor helps students chart a path to the college of best fit, ensuring they are successful and fulfilled once they graduate from Davidson Day School.
I'm a teacher at Davidson Day, and one of the many passionate educators who are proud to be part of this school. When we have an Open House or take parents on a personal tour of our school, do you know what we hear over and over again? Parents tell us, "Seeing what you offer my child makes me wish I could be back in school again myself." I think that speaks volumes about the quality of our programs -- not just in the core academic areas, but it arts, athletics and everything we do. Last month, I heard a school parent tell one of my fellow teachers, "You have made a huge difference in my son's life." This is why I'm proud to be here. And this is why I chose this school for my own child.
Student theatrical performances this week of Mulan were amazing. And I'm not talking about high school kids but elementary aged kids. Nowhere else would my child be able to enjoy participating in thriving arts program and be academically challenged. No wonder she loves, loves, loves to go to school. DDS.... You're the best!
All of the great reviews have to be balanced by an objective opinion. My son has been at Davidson Day this year, and it will be his last. While I do think the teaching staff is talented and dedicated, the school doesn't have a family feel to it--my son has no attachment to this place at all. Parents are not friendly and welcoming. There is so much turnover in the staff, you have to wonder what is going on behind the scenes. I just don't see the value I am getting from all of the money I am paying. I am going to send my son to a charter school. Better atmosphere, no tuition, and less drama.
There is way to much employee turnover in this school to make it a stable learning environment. You can see the stress that it causes on the teachers. But, it is the students that suffer. When we bring our concerns to parent council or to the administration, we are pretty much told that we need to "embrace the change." NOT an answer I am looking for. This school was once all about the kids which was why we signed up our two children to begin with. Now, it is all about how big the school can grow - at whatever expense. We won't be coming back next year.
I have 2 children at DDS, and we've been a family here since the Jetton St facility opened in Fall 2007. First of all, the teachers here are exceptional. They care about each and every student, and strive to help them develop as students and as human beings. A lot of emphasis is placed on building character and creativity. I am thoroughly impressed by the division heads and dean of student life, they are very experienced independent school administrators who are taking DDS to a higher level each year. They are not complacent with the status quo; they are always striving to help teachers do their best in the classrooms and to engage families and students in charting each child's unique path in the world. I love this school & know that I will watch my children graduate with a gold standard in education.
I have been thrilled with the opportunities provided to my children in the halls of Davidson Day school. My youngest has shown incredible growth and emotional development in the Early Childhood Halls. My oldest enjoys having teachers who really know her - personally. I have been delighted by the staff - they are truly a dedicated and inspired group who care about the education of students. I feel lucky to have my children in such an amazing environment. As to the haters, yes it is true that they auction off parking spots to raise money for the school. That happens at many private schools that I have been a part of over the years. Yes, they are working to grow their sports program...but that is to help grow the school!
This is our daughter's first year at Davidson Day and we are thrilled with her progress. She was a strong student before but very quiet, and we have seen her confidence soar b/c of the attention she receives everyday from her teachers. It is not all about the test but rather is about the individual child and pushing them to achieve great things. Even as a first year student she feels extremely connected to the school and likes to take part in all things Davidson Day. Choosing an independent school is a hard decision for parents but in our case it has been very rewarding to see the smile on her face and know she is reaching her full potential.
This school has too much of a focus on sports and costs too much for what you get. The teacher quality is pretty good.
I'm thrilled to have my family at DDS. I couldn't ask for a better school, program, opportunities, staff and direction. This is a place that I have chosen to spend my money and a place that I am choosing to help shape into a community that my family is honored to be a part of! How do I do that? I am present. I choose to get involved and build relationships with other parents and staff. It is all about being the change that you want to see. Volunteer during the day or ask your teacher for something to do in the evening if you are unable to attend during the day, go to Parent Council meetings (new board this year to one of the other reviewers), take your family to the events (Macbeth, Water project, Family Night, sporting, etc.). There are opportunities to be part of the solution but it is up to you to do that. I've not always been involved at the school but have chosen to get more involved the last 2 years because my kids love to see me in their world. It is all about the kids and I would recommend DDS without hesitation.
No school, public or private, can possibly satisfy every parent and all their aspirations for their child. I am happy that the majority of the people who have written reviews have had or are having a positive experience. I have had a 35-year career as a teacher....having taught in public and private schools. I have grandchildren at Davidson Day and am delighted with what I have witnessed in their academic progress, the pupil-teacher ratio, the support from the administration (kudos to Bonnie Cotter), and the value that is offered at the school. One disgruntled writer referred to the athletic program's importing "public school thugs." Wow, look in the mirror! If Mr/Mrs. Negavitiy will check out all the other private schools in Charlotte, they might notice that most offer scholarships.... in the name of diversity and, no doubt to enhance the athletic program. This is common practice...Davidson Day did NOT invent this practice. Excellence will always have its detractors and sour grape- suckers. Pay them no mind, DD, as you continue to excell with your academics and your athletics. Your growth in a short span of time has been phenominal. Keep up the good work!
While the academics have certainly met our expectations, I have to disagree with the 'family atmosphere'. The teachers have been truly wonderful, but the actual families are very clique-ish. We have been there 5 years and unless you live in The Peninsula or The Point, etc. you are not being acknowledged. Suggestions to the Parent Teacher Council are never replied to nor implemented. Attending the Parent Teacher Council mtgs brings the once up and down look and 'polite' dismissal by said clique-ish mothers. I've been completely interrupted and ignored by a clique mom while having a conversation with a teacher regarding my child. I've started to wonder if I have invisibility super powers of which I was unaware. If you are a middle income family, just be aware of the parent culture. Thank goodness, the teachers are wonderful and the education is great because that is what really matters. Additionally, the majority of the children do not appear to act like their parents.
We are now completing our first year at Davidson Day and could not be happier! My daughter's teachers are 100% dedicated to her well being and academic achievement. I love the friendly environment as a parent and found myself having a blast becoming involved in many school activities. We look forward to many amazing years at Davidson Day and growing with the school.
As a growing school, Davidson Day continues to attract top-quality faculty and staff candidates who are excited about our culture of educational innovation and excellence. As with every organization, turnover occurs for many reasons, such as maternity, people taking on new roles within the organization, medical concerns and people moving away from the area. The school remains committed to its focus on small class sizes, personal attention for each student, global citizenship and opportunities in the arts, clubs and athletics as part of a complete education.
Davidson Day has a family atmosphere! Our family was new this year and the staff, teachers, coaches and other families immediately made us feel a part of the school. We have been very involved in many areas. They foster friendship among the families and students. They concentrate on "Character" as well as academics. They reward students for not only being great students, but for being upstanding citizens and friends. They have an Honor Code. It is cool to be smart at this school. The teachers are incredibly devoted and get to know each child. I know they have my child's best interest in mind and want each student to grow! Our child left friends of many years to come to this school and has not once regretted her decision. She thinks it is the best decision she has made and so do we! As far as sports is concerned, our child has been involved for years and I believe it has brought her discipline as well as many other valuable qualities. Although an athlete, she is also a wonderful student. So many times , the top athletes are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, disciplined students at a school! The staff is dedicated to making this an outstanding school and they have succeeded
We have glady signed up for yet another year at Davidson Day. Davidson Day continues to be the one of the best private schools in the area and the cheapest! We love the teachers, staff, and programs. We just finished up our Grandparents Day and Book Fair at the school, which was a huge success and great time for not only my daughter but also our entire family. Davidson Day knows how to make us all feel like a family. We look forward to continuing our daughter's education at this wonderful school!
Davidson Day was a disappointment. My children have been in a variety of schools in different states and DDS didn't live up to its promises. Some of the teachers are good and we miss them, but in total, the programs, particularly for High School are not worth the money. I certainly wouldn't recommend to a friend. I hope DDS is able to improve because there is a great need for more education options between the north side of Charlotte and Mooresville. As for us, we are on to a different school.
My husband and I have 3 children who attend Davidson Day School (9th, 7th and 4th). Our eldest daughter will be returning for to Belize for the second summer where she is participating in a Maya archeological dig. She has also had the opportunity to take multiple honors level classes this year. DDS has the only archeological field school for high school students in the country! Our 7th grader is able to select his Science and Language Arts classes much like a liberal arts college. His is currently taking CSI for his science class. Our youngest daughter has just completed and performed a rap about fossils for science class. Her class is now creating their own town complete with a mayor, town council, fire and police chiefs, and small businesses. Davidson Day School's out of the box and forwarding thinking curriculum constantly challenges ALL THREE of our children. We are blessed to be part of a such a dynamic, caring, and creative school.
Education is not a priority at Davidson Day School. Notice that the last several 5-star reviews were written on the SAME DAY and obviously by the same person. This school has inconsistent teacher quality and very high turnover in teaching staff, administration, and students. The academic programs are neither organized nor challenging and the curriculum is very worksheet dependent. For over $14,000 a year you should not have to worry about teacher quality from year to year. My students had excessive busywork for homework. Their teachers were not able to determine what level my children should be reading or doing math at, much less challenging them with interesting work. My older children felt embarrassed for being smart. There were many students with discipline problems and of my children even had to escort a "trouble" student to the restroom each time he went to keep him out of trouble! My children are so much happier now that we are at a very stable and engaging private school. They love being in an environment where EDUCATION is the number one priority and not athletics (or other personal parent agendas). We are so happy that we got out of Davidson Day School!
We are a new family at Davidson Day School and we could not be happier. We knew the coaches starting up the football program so we decided to come take a look. Athletics is important to our family BUT academics is the most important. We were so impressed at what we learned at the Open House that we submitted our application to attend. My kids were straight A students at their old school and they never opened a book. Since coming to DDS, my kids have been challenged academically. The teachers at the school have a knack for making learning fun. They are no longer just studying facts, being tested on them just to forget them a week later. They are being taught to think for themselves, investigate their questions, & are challenged to strive for higher levels.
Just so no one thinks there is a personal agenda - the 5 posts WERE posted by the same person. This system only allows you to post 1200 characters. The person who posted this was passionate about what she wanted to say so she had to split her thoughts into several posts. When she tried to post her second post it replaced the first post so it may not have made sense without the first post. In addition, you cannot post without rating the school. She was NOT trying to get 5 separate ratings - she was just trying to post all her comments about a school her family loves.
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