Some of the teachers are on the ball; others have no idea what they are doing. There is a LOT of turnover since the teachers are treated so poorly by the administration. This leads the school to regularly hire recent graduates with no experience.
Teachers are expected to assign hours of homework every night (to prove the school as a competitive member of the private school community), then reprimanded when parents complain that students are spending too much time on homework.
I agree with several of the reviewers who have commented that the disciplinary policies at this school are carried out very inconsistently. Despite the fact that there is a lot of pomp and circumstance regarding students signing an honor code at the beginning of the school year, cheating and dishonesty are commonplace at GDS. There are absolutely no consequences for students whose parents are big donors to the school.
I will admit that the academics at this school are very good, but my experience there was what lead to me leaving after only one year. I attended GDS for 7th grade on a scholarship/financial assistance basis and this was enough for my classmates to decide that I wasn't like them. I found the other kids there to be very elitist and spoiled. Another girl and I were horribly bullied because our families did not attend the country club or make a lot of money like the other parents. I had a boy in gym class harass me and when I stood up for myself, the teacher told me to apologize for being rude. The boy's mother worked at the school. My parents were also made to feel unwelcomed at functions by the teachers and other parents. At the end of the year, the principal sat down with me and my mother and said that maybe GDS was not a good fit for me. We could not have agreed more and I still consider that year my worst experience at school I've had. GDS may be nice for some kids and their families, but it is certainly not for anyone. The good education does not make up for feeling like a cast out among all of your classmates.
This is our second year at GDS. We were at a highly sought after magnet school in CMS until 2nd grade when we realized public school just wasn't going to be a good fit for our child. It was a tough decision to lose our spot at the magnet school, but it turned out to be a wonderful change. My son went from a class of 27 to about 13. He had so much stress about going to school before and now loves it. The teachers at GDS are warm and nurturing and I always see them teaching through fun themes and hands on activities. I also love how they implement character education into the curriculum and take the time to teach the students solid principles. I feel that GDS, although small, has diversity on several levels. Also worth mentioning is that the after school program is great and the cafeteria food is surprisingly tasty and nutritious. There is a great sense of community and the sports programs are very much supported. We can't wait for middle school soccer. I really appreciate that the school environment is much more welcoming and relaxed for parents and students. It is well worth the 25 minute drive from Charlotte and I have even met parents who commute from South Charlotte. GDS is simply more capable of meeting the various learning needs of students than other schools due to their smaller class sizes. My child is in the learning academy program a couple times a week which he enjoys very much. He enjoys that one on one time and it allows him to get his work done more efficiently so he has more time to focus on his sports and other after school activities.
I have two children; one of whom is a student in a local public high school (his choice). My youngest began GDS as a kindergartner in 2013. As a parent who has had children in both private and public school systems, I can unequivocally say that the education my youngest child is receiving at GDS is far and away the very best and the most well rounded that the area has to offer. What does my family find so appealing about GDS? Challenging academics. Forward thinking methods of teaching reading, mathematics and writing. Emphasis on critical thinking in all areas of instruction. Teachers who know my child---truly know him---and care about not only his education but also his emotional well being. Administrators who know my child by name and welcome him to school with huge smiles each day. Frequent updates and contact with both teachers and administration. An extremely active PTA. Extracurricular activities that are well planned and supported by parents, teachers and administrators. Excellent after school care and summer camp with awesome staff . For these reasons and many more we are excited to be returning to Gaston Day this fall. -E. Cahill
As a parent of a student who graduated from Gaston Day School in 2012 and one who will graduate in 2015, I agree with the majority of the reviews but was AMUSED at the review regarding the colleges that students go on to attend. Dartmouth, Princeton, Northwestern University, Boston University, Vassar, NYU, Georgetown, George Washington University, Emory and more seems like an amazing list of schools to me. These are schools that are currently attended by recent GDS graduates. The elitism and ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me! Many students, along with their parents, make decisions to go to quality state supported schools for their undergraduate studies and spend the larger tuition bills on their graduate schools. Gaston Day prepares our children for college in ways that is invaluable....our students continuously return to thank their teachers for what they did to prepare them. I know my child has sent many messages back to teachers and whenever is back home never ceases to return to GDS to visit faculty. Both of my children are "lifers" meaning they started and finished their education at Gaston Day and it was money very well spent!
What an amazing year we have had at Gaston Day. My son's Kidergarden teacher and assistant are excellent. They have focused on teaching him subjects as well as teaching him social behavioral skills and life lessons. They are very communicative so I always feel like I am connected to his daily activities and know how I can assist at home. The have nurtured my son and he has such a love and respect for them, as well as the administration. He rides the bus and that has been a huge time saver for me and a great way for him to meet other GDS students in our area. We are very happy with our school choice.