Our son just graduated this year from CSD. Luckily, we have another child still attending this school or I would be an utter mess. I can't imagine not being involved with CSD on a daily basis. The administration and teachers genuinely care about the students, school and each other. This example does not go unnoticed by the students who mirror their examples made each and every day. And it's not all about being warm and fuzzy either. Our son took all Honors/AP courses and scored extremely well. He received admission into top rated universities all thanks to CSD and their strong individualized curriculum. They say no school is perfect and the only complaint I have is that more schools don't take note and follow CSD's lead. Yes, it takes a ton of effort but the rewards are beyond worth it. Kudos to CSD for developing our kids into upstanding, bright young citizens who look forward to learning each day.
There are no words to express how special this school really is. We have been a part of this school for many years and my kids have thrived in every way. The teachers are exceptionally bright and genuinely care about every student they interact with. The administrators are also genuinely caring individuals, who have a smile on their face each and every day. Everyone at the school is enthusiastic and loves their job (it shows.) Thank you CSD for being a school like no other.
No school is perfect but this one may as close as it gets. The school has an incredible ability to meet students at their individual academic levels. The school consistently scores higher than county and state averages on standardized testing. High school AP classes are quite rigorous. At the same time, there is strong support for students to learn and experience more than just academics. Students who need extra help academically or in other ways are supported not just by the faculty, but by an entire school community built around understanding the value of every individual's potential, not just to the individual but to the entire community. I wish every child could have this kind of education.
CSD has done an excellent job of addressing the needs of our three kids, one of whom is quite gifted. Because of the teacher to student ratio, my boy's tracking issue was diagnosed and addressed (we didn't know that issue existed). We had pulled our kids out of public schools because our gifted kid was being "left behind" as public education was focused on the slower kids. My children were bored in the public schools, and now are fully engaged in school, challenged, and have learned to love reading and are being well prepared. We are very happy with our experience.
Pulling my kids out of CSD in elementary school was the best thing I did for my children, even though I believed that getting in on the lottery was a blessing!!!! Great school for social misfits, and special needs. The "norm" is not addressed, and certainly not the gifted!! By high school, long term students have been academically scarred, but can star in any of the school's dozens of musicals and plays. If your child aspires to be anything other than blue collar, or have a life-long career with the Davidson Communuty Players, then GO ELSEWHERE!!!
CSD is not for everyone. No school is perfect. My husband and I have 4 kids at CSD, have relocated 3 times and have had kids enrolled in a very small private school, a large public school, as well as Charlotte public schools before enrolling our kids at CSD. As a parent, I will be always be involved in my children's education no matter what school they attend. That being said, overall CSD is a true community of loving, caring and involved parents and educators. We have enjoyed our time at CSD and our kids have thrived. They score in the 90+ percentile on their standardized testing (w/o CSD teaching to the tests), have strong relationships with their peers and their teachers. They've learned to value themselves and others, to work hard, to respect others and their differences and to give back to the community. However, now that they will be graduating their first senior class, they need to decide if they are going to be a school who focuses on special needs, the arts or sports. In my opinion, you cannot do all three successfully. They need a focus that includes academic excellence, global understanding, leadership as well as the New School philosophy.
The last three most recent reviews of this school are accurate. Lower school administration was unpleasant and extremely difficult to communicate with. I agree with a previous review that the administrator seems very "anti-gifted" or unwilling to work with children who may be advanced beyond their peers. Their philosophy of working with the child on an individual will not apply unless your child is average or below. It is unfortunate as some of the teachers are wonderful.
I agree with what has been said about gifted students. This school's philosophy is to keep everyone on the same level. I have had children at the elementary, middle and high school, and I would not send my kids here past 5th grade. When my children switched to the public schools they were behind in LA and math. The way the school does their grading and how they hand out merits is not the same criteria as other schools. During the middle school years a social agenda is pushed more than academics. The school has become very progressive and one of the high school administrators has a political background and no education experience. This administrator has made it a point to introduce civic engagement through the practicum programs. She is a town commissioner and has been quoted as wanting to get students involved in political change through her relationship with Youth Davidson. It is also true that a conservative would have difficulty here. The school does promote homosexuality, and high school students are steered towards social issues and non-profits rather than capitalist type of careers. Prospective parents need to go in with eyes wide open and not just follow the masses.
This school is really only for typical kids not gifted and administration is terrible. Your children will not be allowed to speak there mind and if they do they get reprimanded. I suggest you just keep looking.
We found the lower school administrator to be very unpleasant and difficult to work with. Several parents and staff have complained. If you have a typical or autistic child, you will be fine. Parents with very bright kids or gifted children who embrace the Basic School Philosophy may be disappointed. Some young children with natural ability are held back and bored. Even the public school does a better job with gifted kids at least academically. The lower school administrator seems " anti gifted". If you can't meet or know the needs of academically gifted children, within the framework of the Basic School philosophy, just say so nicely.