As a recent Gray Stone graduate, I feel compelled to share my experience with everyone. I came to GS from a mediocre middle school, and I definitely felt behind when I arrived. My first quarter I really struggled to not only balance these new academic expectations, but to also adjust to a workload I didn't think was possible. There were times, especially my freshman and sophomore years, I really thought about just going back to a regular public school because I knew how much easier it would be.
Fast forward to now, and I'm just beginning my junior year at Chapel Hill. I cannot even begin to express how well Gray Stone prepared me for college. I roomed with my best friend my freshman year (who chose to stay at our home high school and not go to GS), and she had a really hard time adjusting to the difficulty of the university curriculum. All of the emotions she was going through our freshman year in regards to grades, I went through in my time at GS. I have yet to walk into a class that I feel like I can't do well in. There are some where I know I'll struggle, but unlike so many people I encounter here, I realize that the struggle is a good thing. There are even a lot of concepts (especially in English and history) that we studied in depth at GS that I'm seeing again here at Chapel Hill.
Is Gray Stone right for everyone? No. Can anyone who is willing to put in the work get a great education? Absolutely. I didn't have a single teacher who I knew wasn't willing to do anything he or she could to help me do well. Sometimes it's hard to see why you're working so much harder than nearly everyone at traditional schools, but almost every alumni I speak with will agree that it pays off in the end.
Perfect fit for my 2 kids after public school. First day at GSDS, my child came home so happy because for the first time EVERYONE in the group project actually helped/participated with the group project and classes were not noisy and disruptive. The curriculum is more challenging and stimulating which is what my kids need. All the students are motivated to learn and succeed which has had a positive influence on my kids. GSDS really stresses for the students to do the work themselves to prepare them for independent learning in college but they also offer a lot of tutoring and help for students who struggle. Sports are very competitive and the whole school environment feels very safe. Carpooling with other families was no problem the first year before my child could drive. The kids in the carpool enjoyed the time to socialize and discuss their classes - they encouraged each other to study more and get good grades. Gray Stone has been an all around great experience and we are so lucky to have such a great college prep school available at no cost!
Gray Stone Day School offers to us a college-preparatory learning opportunity at no cost. The relationships our children have with their teachers and peers is healthy, positive, nurturing and conducive to learning. The academic, athletic, and social development we observe in the students there is inspiring...we are grateful for the dedication of the GSDS administration and staff and wholeheartedly recommend the school to all learners!
We are very pleased with Gray Stone! We chose to drive outside of our county for the academic rigor (ranked #1 in NC, Newsweek, 2014), comprehensive athletic programs (21 sports, winning many championships) and the culture/safety (there are no locks on the lockers and so many clubs/activities to choose from). The teachers offer tutoring and advisory for additional help too. It is like a private school free of charge! .
When I learned that at Graystone the teachers were not certified, and many who were were teaching out of their area of certification (a history major teaches English, for example, and rather poorly), I got my kid out of the school. He was bullied on a daily basis after I complained about a grade to the administrator--by the teachers! Teachers do not grade most of the work they assign. They say they are rigorous, but no teacher (when asked) seems to have the same concept of what that means. Graystone does not prepare one for college, it filters away students who need help and gives degrees to the independent learners-the students who succeed without help. My son is now a senior at UNC and he strongly warns people against going to Graystone. I wish I could tell you of all of the ethical (according to the NC state board of education) violations that go on daily there--and they do not know enough to understand that their actions are unethical. Beware. You might have a good experience, but you could have a nightmare that has an adverse effect on your child.
I feel that Gray Stone isn't all it's crack up to be. The "principal" is not qualified for her job and many of the teachers are lost with no instruction of what they can and cannot do. I feel there is a hazing process for the freshman to weed them out. My child did not have any difficulty with the school, in fact made great grades. It has definitely fallen below my expectations on the academic, social and athletic needs of my child.
Gray Stone is a place where the teachers compete with each other to be difficult. They pride themselves in giving low grades. Since many colleges do not know anything about Gray Stone, it actually has hurt me trying to get into college. Most of the kids here would have scored high on the tests when they enrolled as freshmen--but they claim the scores as something they did. About a third of the students do not make it to graduation. A nearby principal told me that they target weak students and advise them to return to their home schools before it is smart to do so, causing them not to graduate on time. Teachers and administrators bully these students. There are some good teachers there, but the number of them is shrinking; most of the teachers are sarcastic bullies. They target the weak students, getting them to leave. The students make fun of the principals because they are clueless. They are also about making a profit-charging students 35 cents for a copy. They do not provide all students transportation to athletic events. They have the money for buses, but they ask students to drive other students and they don't pay for gas. I wish I had not come here.
My son is about to begin his 3rd year at Gray Stone. He loves it. It is easy to fit in there for an introverted person since the school is relatively small. He wishes for more academic challenge but feels the academic level there far exceeds other public schools in this area. Most of the teachers are excellent. Behavioral problems are not an issue here and the rules are reasonable.
I am a student at Graystone and before I started I was unsure of where I wanted to go to high school. I went to shadow a freshman for one day when I was in eight grade and liked it. So, if you are a student or parent of a student considering Graystone, ask about shadowing for a day to get the feel of an average day. *Shadowing is when you go to Graystone for a day and follow a freshman around to see what the classes, teachers, and other peers are like.