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.
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.
I love how involved the teachers are at school. They do not just clock in & clock out. I see most of them there til 5 or 6 either working with a student who needs extra help or cheering on one of their students at an after school activity. It is rare that you find the level of dedication that our teachers show. As a parent of two student athletes, I am always bothered by folks who put athletics down. Our school believes in excellence in ALL areas - academics, arts, & athletics.
We have amazing coaches here - Ones that care about these student athletes both on AND OFF the field or court. I can speak from first hand experience about our football coaching staff. They are top notch & I trust them 100% to do the best thing for our team & my boys. The change to a new school was a little difficult for my older son. He had been at the same school since TK. I shared this with a couple of the football coaches. Each one of them checked in periodically with my son - made sure he was doing ok, making friends, & studying hard. If you ask my son now what he thinks about DDS, he would tell you he loves it. And just in case you are wondering...my older son was a must play kid in youth sports proving that our coaches care about all players, not just the talented ones. Our coaches take the time to invest themselves in the lives of their players. I don't think there has ever been a day that I have visited the school that I didn't see a football coach stop to talk to a player, ask him how school is, & is he keeping his grades up.
The lessons they teach the players don't stop on the field. It is NOT just about the x's and o's. They have taught them to put others first. To be respectful. To look people in the eyes. To always say Mrs. or Mr and please and thank you. They are kids & they don't always do it, but I for one am grateful I have someone in my corner coming alongside of me helping me teach my kids right from wrong & how to be productive, respectful young men. One of my sons is a gifted football player. As good as my son is, he was not a starter on our DDS team. Instead of whining & claiming that the coaches were showing favoritism, he showed up for practice everyday, he worked hard, he had a good attitude, & he eventually won more playing time. He didn't start a game but he knows with hard work & dedication along with the God given talent , his time is coming. I thought going from Rockstar status to one of the players on the sideline would really disappoint him. Instead it helped him realize that you have to work for the things you want. He doesn't blame the coaches or talk poorly about other players that get more playing time. He is just working hard to show he deserves a chance.
Unfortunately, people don't want to talk about the good things athletics can do for a student and for a school. In case you don't read it anywhere else, quite a few of our football players were either on the A/B honor roll or straight A honor roll and yes....we all took the same entrance exam to be able to get into DDS. I would tell you, if you are considering Davidson Day School come check us out for yourself. Don't allow a few negative comments to stop you from seeing for yourself why so many of us LOVE DDS. You have to realize some comments are shared by folks that are jealous of our success & how sad is that? We are a school of excellence & we will not apologize for that. And just for the record....if I had one of the best quarterbacks in the state & possible the nation...you better believe I would play him. Who wouldn't? Who cares if he is the coach's son. He has earned the position. And if you think our coach's don't showcase other players, you must not read the local paper that often. If you did, you would see several of our football players have been recognized for their talent. Who do you think helped several of our players get recognized on a National level?
We are new to Davidson Day this year and are very pleased. I certainly don't think the school deserves the comments on this post. Our child seems challenged and is very happy. We'll definately be back next year. The school could improve on their report cards, however. We have another child at another school - each quarter we have a status meeting with his advisor, plus each teacher leaves very detailed comments. Davidson Day only sends a letter grade with no comments. Davidson Day - if you read this, please sent more information with the grade reports!
The rigor of the academics is nothing like the expectation set by the administration when considering the school and certainly not worth the $$$ paid. They don't want parent input unless you agree with them. They aren't really prepared to have high school students. The facility and the execution of high school programs is poor. No one including the Head Master, communicates the vision for the school nor the time frame to get there when asking for money for funding. Would definitely not recommend Davidson Day School.
The best school choice in the Lake Norman area. My children have attended for 3 years and each year has gotten better. The growth in students in a tough economy tells the story. Davidson Day is in demand and is close to being at capacity. If you child is not admitted for the fall, you will find it far more difficult to gain a spot in the future. They are investing heavily in athletic programs and the arts and managing their rapid growth skillfullly. Recent announcements of star coach hirings in boys soccer, girls basketball, and football will continue to attract the areas best athletes to the school. The boy's basketball team went from a losing season to a top 60 program in the state and expect it will be a top 20 program next year. We are a 1A sized school that beat the 2A state champion 3 times.
Wow! My husband and I were skeptical based on Davidson Day's young Upper School. However, we made the leap from a more established private school and could not be happier. There is such a vibrant, exciting feel to the school community. The academics has been more than challenging for our son. A very strong 'Yes' to those who are thinking about exploring Davidson Day.
My children are so pleased they go to a 'great school'. Academics, extracurricular and Athletics are all top rate and make a child proud to be a part of this family environment.
Davidson Day School is a truly unique experience. My children have been there for 4 yrs and we would never look back. The public schools cannot offer innovative instruction and attention. My son is very gifted and the school recognizes his ability and challenges him. My daughter is average and this is embraced as well. They teach children where they are and push them to go beyond where the tests in public school expect them to be. We as parents expect rigious education however what we get is so much more; truly thinking children creative and compassionate future leaders. Bonnie Cotter is outstanding and we are so lucky to have her at the helm.
My children are in the Montessori and the the 2 year old program. We couldn't be happier. We were around the school when it first opened and there has been a great deal of change for the better. Back then, I wouldn't have had my kids there, but now, my husband and I have decided we will do what it takes to be able to afford it.
The faculty show great interest in the development of my children. With great new facilities and significant increases in the enrollment of high quality students, this school is the best choice for parents on Lake Norman that care about education.
I am thrilled to have my children attend Davidson Day School! With the state of public schools in this country, it seems like a no-brainer to choose a private school, but after a year at another school in the area, it is clear that they are not all created equal. Davidson Day takes a different approach with my kids than other schools - they're not just another seat filled in the class. My son excels in math and science, but has struggled in his spanish classes. This year, however, he has raised his grades and is very pleased with himself, thanks to the extra time the teacher has spent tutoring him. It's a cultural difference - it's hard to explain, but there's just an air of expansion and optimism that just wasn't there at the previous schools.
I have been very impressed with the Preschool Montessori program but beyond that I do not feel that Davidson Day meets my expectations. The administration is all about fund raising and socializing. The atmosphere of the school is a little snobby and not very welcoming to new families unless you are a well known race car driver or in some other way extremely wealthy and willing to give BIG donations in addition to the already expensive tuition. The teaching staff seems to be excellent though. To bad the administration is not as great as the teachers. Great extracurricular activities and arts teachers!
My family has been at the school for 5 years and seen great improvements. Bonnie Cotter is a great leader and our teachers are amazing. We have not always felt that the school was 5 star, but now we are thrilled to have a new building, many activities and clubs, as well as what we have always considered to be solid academics.
The teachers, administration, and even the parent community are behind every child. I have never before found a school with such a caring community. My child is in 8th grade and taking HS level classes. Here my student is the focus - not government mandates.
I am an eighth grader at DDS and I came to the school in its second or third year. I feel that I have benefited strongly from the learning experience that the staff of Davidson Day has proveided me with, the teachers are always highly qualified and all of my friends and I have trouble finding a 'least favorite' teacher. All of the teachers really care and they will work with you if you do not understand something. I think the school has an excellent foreign language program, and I look forward to becoming fluent in the language I chose to take. The sports are fun because it's not all about winning, though that is certainly fun too! The math is great at the school, and I like how they integrate technology into the learning experience. The school is, overall, wonderful and I look forward to finishing out my education here.
My seventh grader has gone from a reading level of 7th grade to 11th in one year. The Principal has the vision, experience and the passion to make this a great school preparing her graduates for success in college and beyond. My wife and I agree that sending our children to this school has been the single best decision we have made.
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