I am a student at SCDS and I love it here. The teachers are amazing, the other students are nice and compassionate, and I learn a lot in the classes. I particularly enjoy the school community and how we all look after each other.
The last two reviews submitted on the same day seem misplaced, as if they were meant for another Seattle area private school with a similar acronym that is well known for the politics mentioned. On the other hand, our experience with the administration of SCDS has been consistently professional, amenable and authentic. We respect the admissions director for her integrity, even when that meant that one of our children was not a good fit for the program. This school is about the children, not about parental or familial background and what economic or political clout can be gifted to the school. Our children are inspired, especially by the legendary science teacher, Doc O. Importantly, we perceive the school to be open to feedback as there was an opportunity for a more welcoming experience for diverse students recently and we provided some feedback in that regard. The school took quick action to implement some changes based on that feedback and demonstrated their earnest commitment to diversity. We have asked questions and given feedback in several other instances and have never received any recrimination as a result. Rather, all concerns were dealt with respectfully. Our family is multi-racial and have never felt excluded in this community based on that factor. We are also not major donors at the school and have not felt that we were treated differently. No school is perfect, but the sign of a great one is its strength in being open to feedback or change, and that is what we've found at SCDS.
We have been active parents in the SCDS community now for over 12 years. The teachers are great, and the school is fortunate to have many wealthy and generous benefactors, but honestly the administration staff is incompetent - particularly the current admissions director and the head of the school. Everything's great as long as you are willing to smile, toe the party line that everything is just great, and donate annually, but if you raise a concern they will attack you and even threaten to kick your kids out of the school. That happened to people we know, and to us. Are you white, wealthy, and willing to just smile and keep writing big checks? Then this is the school for you. Otherwise, be warned.
All three of my kids have attended Seattle Country Day. One is now in high school and one is in college. The third still attends. There are sometimes blind spots and learning curves - so I am not saying Country Day is a perfect place, but I can say that my kids have all received an amazing education and they are all in love with learning. It's a nurturing community with very little teacher turnover. It's a school for "gifted" kids, but there's a lot of recognition that being academically capable isn't the end-all, be-all so there is tons of emphasis on social/emotional learning - which is sometimes the thing kids who are "advanced" struggle with most.
I strongly agree with the comments made by other reviewers in this forum regarding current admissions director at SCDS. Unfortunately she continues to be a poor representative of SCDS to the community at large and is a surprising choice for this public position at the school. I agree this is not a school whose administration welcomes parents' feedback or involvement and/or partners with parents to improve the experience when things don't work well. If this is important in your selection criteria you may be disappointed. The faculty and the academics are generally strong so please note that my review only pertains to the issues stated above.
I'm going to second the assertion that the admissions director at SCDS is absolutely horrible and has abysmal social skills. I can't see how they went from the previous, who was delightful and warm and welcoming, to this off-putting, snappy, impatient and abrasive replacement. I personally know a number of parents were so turned off by her that they did not choose to come on a second tour or reapply. In nearly every tour for which I volunteered or attended for a prospective student, she said or did something that sent a ripple of shock or embarrassment through the crowd. She did not improve in personal interactions. The school is a great place, a right idyll of childhood development, but this choice really made me question the administration's good sense.
SCDS has been ideal. The new head of the lower school is amazingly perceptive and proactive for the great benefit of the kids. The head of school is a kind and masterful leader, genuinely receptive to concerns and focused on the best interests of the students. So many of the teachers go above and beyond every expectation. Kids are genuinely happy and support each other in a wonderful learning environment.