Posted 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.
My kids have been at Davidson Day for 7 years and we are most pleased with the quality of education and the overall experience. The teachers are most responsive to the students and parents. The athletic opportunities have been wonderful with high quality teams fielded in many sports.emphasized. Extracurricular opportunities are significant for such a small school. The music appreciation courses are off the charts good with high quality teaching. Davidson Day offers one of the best HS archaeological programs in the Nation. Summer trips to Belize and Spain for digs are offered and supported by conferences that offer an exceptional opportunity for students to experience college level archaeology. Socially, the school is still small and developing. Some grades are small particularly in the number of females. This has improved over time but can still be an issue for high school students looking to make friends and find groups where they have commonality. Overall, Davidson Day is a great school and is improving and maturing over time. We are blessed to have been a part of their family for so long and appreciate the opportunity we have had toward the development of our children.
Our children have been at Davidson Day for two years now... and their growth has exceeded my expectations. The difference is in the educators. They are passionate about helping children grow and really seem to enjoy their jobs. The new headmaster is outstanding and the improvements keep coming year after year. At Davidson Day, I know my children are getting exposure to so many different areas and opportunities.
Completely disappointed and nervous about the direction this school is headed under the leadership now in place. The only thing holding this school together is the division heads.
My kids (middle school and high school ages) have definitely been challenged at DDS so I cannot concur with the parent viewpoint of worksheets instead of differentiation (not sure what grade level his/her children were). My kids love DDS and I have been VERY happy with the leadership and teachers. The education my children have received over the past 3 years far exceeds many other settings. I am an educator myself with over 20 years experience in public and private school education so I did my homework before selecting DDS. As for the teacher commenting on the football team, I find that comment very unfair. I wonder if that teacher is aware the football team GPA for the first quarter was 3.059. Of the 36 Varsity players, 27 earned a GPA of at least 3.0 and 2 others were at 2.953! This is impressive and truly shows they are student-athletes (notice the student comes first!). I don't think this speaks to academics being sacrificed. What this shows is a school can excel in all areas: academics, arts, and sports! DDS is striving to offer and celebrate the success of various programs that continue to enhance the educational experience of all students.
This school was not academically challenging enough for my children. We were promised differentiation but all they received were worksheets, worksheet, worksheets. The "accelerated" classes are a joke as 1/3 of the class is put into them. Children of our friends that left last year had to retake subjects when they moved to other schools because they were so far behind academically. Many of the parents are quite pretentious here as well. We should have figured that out after the open house. Don't let the glitz at the open house fool you (unless that is what you are looking for). Do your homework and don't make the same mistake we did, especially if you have academically accelerated children.
My children have been enrolled at DDS for multiple years now. The school has indeed gone through growing pains but I've never felt better about its operations. The Pros? Previously, the board and administration kept information close to the vest. Over the past couple of years, there's been a complete turnaround. The education and teacher quality remains high as it always was; however, communication is much improved. We know more about what's going on at the school and with our kids' grades and if we don't, a quick visit to the front office or the teacher rectifies that. I can call the finance office and speak to a real person. I can ask how my money is being spent and I'm told. The Heads of School have been extremely responsive to very specific concerns of mine. The Cons? The PTO is a bit cliquey but if you make a sincere effort to volunteer in the offices or the classrooms, you are greeted with open arms. My daughter needs additional help in a subject area and I do have a tutor from outside assisting her. (To be fair - the school has offered me assistance for additional fees.) In sum, we are all very happy and we plan to stay with the school through our children's graduations.
Davidson Day is a school with incredible potential. It's biggest downfall is its Board. The board appears as though they want a leader, yet they do not let the Head of School lead. This school is a case of the loudest voice gets what they want. The amount of educational experience behind the Head of School and Heads of the Lower, Middle & Upper school is so great that the Board members can not relate, therefore they have no idea how to let someone that knows what they are actually doing, lead and make decisions that are best for the school. It appears the only real concern of the board is the business side. If the board would let the Head of School actually lead, the business side will take care of itself. Instead the board is relying on families making monetary donations, & with that the department in charge of raising money for the school is extremely incompetent. The board doesn't realize that there are more people then not,that are at the school, & want to continue to pay tuition for high quality education than people that are there because of how they feel independent schools look as a socioeconomic status.
Davidson Day is on its way to becoming a school of pure excellence. The current Head Master and his division heads are directing the school in the direction of the highest quality educational experience in the area. The attention to the overall well rounded and balanced experience including academics and extra curricular activities is what will put this school on the map. The parent organization group/Parent Council's(PTA) focus of building community is an extremely positive added bonus. I couldn't imagine my child going any where else.
Average with good teachers, very good parent support, and can not get out of its own way...the school's energy and finances over the past several years have focused on football to the demise of its academics and character
What an incredible educational institution!!! Going into our third year at Davidson Day, we see the progression this school has and is making under the excellent leadership of the Head of School and the three division heads. It is with much confidence that we can say we want our child to graduate from Davidson Day and our child is only in 1st grade now. From the unparalleled education and experience of the teachers and division heads to the community feel of the families at the school, we couldn't be happier with our choice for our child.
The experiences my child is having at Davidson Day School are second to none. Everyday there is something that my child experiences that is truly priceless. The teachers, division leaders and Head Master are all remarkable at their jobs. The environment provides a paramount educational experience.
This was my first year in the school, having moved from overseas where my daughter attended a world class German school, and DDS was a great fit. Although I found the curriculum less challenging than the one she came from, the content and emphasis on the right areas. Her teacher worked with her to make sure that she caught up with the other kids in language and other areas, and the science and arts programs were very well run. My only complain was in the foreign language area, where I found both the quality and the approach lacking. I hope to see more emphasis in this area, bringing an immersion-based approach to the classroom. Another great thing about the school is its sense of community and family, which permeates through the school. As a young school it has some ground to cover, but I am confident that it will get to be a premier prep school in the region within the next 3-5 years.
I give it 2 stars instead of one because the headmaster is better than before. There is little he can do but wait it until its a school filled with tuition payers. Unfortunately, we can not wait it out and will be going to another school next year. It is just to risky.
This school is a disaster. I agree with the previous post that the parents are held in very little regard. Communication with the parents is minimal. You are on a need to know basis. I try to volunteer for as much as possible so that I know what is going on. I am always shocked at what they cover up. There was an incident at the school recently in which I was present. No information came out to the parents. When I questioned the administrator about it, he looked me in the eye and denied the event occurred. The individual education plan is just a basic test taken at the beginning and end of the year (very basic facts: vocabulary, spelling, reading, addition, etc.). It does not influence the material your child is taught. Everything is done in groups. Several times I was told if they have to do a group of 1, they do a group of 1. If children are not challenged and try to work ahead or make the material more interesting, they are strongly discouraged. Stay in the middle. Stay in the group. Davidson Day is mediocre at best. There are better programs in the area. Go elsewhere.
Although the school had a change in headmaster over the summer, the change is for the good. My family has been going to DDS for 5 years now, and I am more optimistic than I've been in quite some time. There's been a number of administrative additions, like new headmaster, new dean of student life, etc and w/ these folks welded into the solid admin team already in place, I am very confident that the school is moving in a smart direction. My kids' experience in the classroom has always been top notch, but now I believe the school is being run the right way, which makes me as a parent feel much better.
The Board of Trustees made a change in leadership of the head of school. this school now has a chance to be successful.
This school is in such turmoil. The head of school was let go and they don't have a replacement. If you are planning on coming to this school, wait a year or two to see if things stabalize and/or get better. Don't risk your kids education or your money here. We were on the fence about coming back or not as of last week. Now, we are out the door.
The education, arts and athletics that the school provides is unparalleled. This is by far the biggest values in private education in the Lake Norman area. My children continue to thrive and be challenged in an environment that loves and protects it's 'FAMILY'!
Do your homework and RESEARCH this school BEFORE you commit. "Fake it until you make it" is the motto of this school. They promise you the moon, then fail to deliver, every single time. There is a cadre of parents who want to get into the "clique" here and will parrot talking point to us at parent council, on these community forums, in the hallways, and even in the parking lots. Our kids aren't happy here because they are bullied and the school does nothing. We as parents aren't happy because we are ignored and told that we are stifling growth, after which we are asked for donations. There are much better options out there where your kids will not just "thive" (one of thier talking points), but actully get an eductation and will treat you with respect.
DDS is a great school! I love it, my kids love it! Strong fine arts & strong academics!
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