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Seattle, WA
Students enrolled: 318
Before care: Yes
After care: Yes

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5062 9th Avenue Northeast
Seattle, WA 98105

School website
(206) 547-8237
Nearby homes for sale
Map of University Child Development School address.

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December 01, 2014
As the parent of one current student and another that is applying to UCDS, I wish I could say that I disagree with the previous reviewer's comments about the leadership and culture at this school. On the positive side, my one child at UCDS likes being there and I think she is getting a pretty good education. All the chatter about kids needing tutors in order to catch up with peers before going to middle school makes me nervous, but so far we haven't needed one. I am conflicted about sending my younger child to UCDS, but probably will simply for reasons of convenience since my older child is already there. If not for anonymity I would not be commenting here, because administrators can be hard on parents that voice questions or criticism. There is much worry among parents that if we speak up with anything but praise for the school our younger kids won't be admitted or our kids already at the school won't be supported when they apply for middle school. I don't know if it is true, but I heard this warning from several parents when I was considering speaking up about an issue that bothered me and ultimately I just chose to stay quiet. Still, at least the teachers are good.

- submitted by a parent
November 28, 2014
UCDS is a fine school as far as its physical space (which is nice) and teachers (who are young but committed and dynamic) are concerned. The biggest weakness is its leadership. Top administrators have held positions for so long that they are complacent and out of touch (a downside to the lack of turnover cited by others). Their leadership style is reflexive, rigid, and obstinate rather than thoughtful, adaptive, and enlightened. Having spoken candidly with many parents and some teachers, it seems that most show the current leadership unquestioning deference more out of fear than respect. Unfortunately this has damaged the trajectory of the school's reputation and the culture and morale of its community. Hopefully the school will find a way to turn this around.

- submitted by a parent
November 12, 2014
As a parent of two UCDS alums who still has one child currently enrolled at this school, I feel well versed about their curriculum and leadership. All three of my children have had incredible learning experiences at this school. In short, they are all well educated students who LOVE learning new things and appreciate the differences in people. The teachers are energetic and creative, always generating unique projects that inspire the children while challenging them at every turn. There is NO turnover at this school anywhere-that is true with the leadership, the teachers and the families!! It is very hard to get into this program-especially after kindergarten-but worth trying. If there are any unhappy posts on this site, it s because the school is very clear about what they do and don t do. If a family tries to change the philosophy of the school, they will help them find a different environment that better suits what they want. Being a current parent in several schools, the school s clarity around directional commitment is refreshing.

- submitted by a parent
November 11, 2014
I might be a bit biased, but since I have worked here I have had a great experience. All of the teachers and other support staff are friendly and great with children. Teachers truly seem to care about the overall well-being of kids here, and the amount of activities and projects that take place is phenomenal. I wish all kids had the resources this school has.

- submitted by a teacher
October 23, 2014
My children attended UCDS last year. In the interest of full transparency for prospective parents (because the school is unlikely to make this information available to you), UCDS was investigated in 2013-14 by federal and state agencies. Search "UCDS USDOJ DEL" on Google. As you go through the application and tour process every independent school in Seattle will tout its diverse and progressive community and its strongly held values of inclusiveness and "meeting kids where they are." Some schools do a great job of it, but my opinion is that at UCDS this rhetoric does not match their policies or practices. I believe that the current administrative leaders at UCDS hold the school back from being the truly outstanding learning community that it could be, and that they reflect poorly on the children and families of UCDS as representatives to the Seattle community and to the nation. Knowing this, if I were again in the position of deciding where my children would receive their elementary schooling, I would be very reluctant to choose UCDS over the many other superb options in the greater-Seattle area until they straighten out their leadership problems. Good luck!

- submitted by a parent
August 27, 2014
Great for status and bragging rights at your next wine tasting. School is infatuated with itself. The preschool and kindergarten is great, but as the kids get older and differences in abilities become greater, they do not individualize learning despite what they say. By the way, if you are sending your kids there because the Gates sent their kids there, be aware that they pulled their youngest out after first grade.

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2013
Last night, as we drove home from school, my 10-year old son asked me if we could pull up the Gettysburg Address when we got home. "It's really cool," he explained, "We read all about it this morning. Total game changer for our country." He and his 12-year old sister (a UCDS alumna) spent dinner talking about the Civil War and the country's continued work on equity. My husband and I listened as they asked each other clarifying questions and challenged one another's assumptions. Their curiosity and passion for both learning and understanding was on full display. This morning, they both left for school, armed with questions to take to their American history and classroom teachers respectively. This is what a UCDS education has done for our family. It has inspired engagement, curiosity, ownership and active learning in both of our children. It has given them deep foundations and identity as learners, community members and friends. It has shown them that learning happens everywhere and expects their participation. In our ten years as a family at the school, we have had countless interactions like the one above. We are thrilled.

- submitted by a parent
November 18, 2013
As a former teacher, I never thought I would be totally happy with a school, yet everyday I am blown away with the experience my children are having. The teachers are thoughtful, creative, and innovative in their presentation of the curriculum. Everything is done in such a fun way that my children do not even realize they are learning. Additionally, I truly feel that the teachers know my kids and that they are creating individualized instruction that is the perfect match for my kids--not too hard, not too easy--just the right amount so that they have to work but are successful. Most importantly though, my kids love school. They are on their way to becoming life long learners. We feel honored to be part of this community.

- submitted by a parent
November 17, 2013
UCDS is a perfect fit for our son. All schools are not right for every child and in our case, we found the perfect environment for him. We chose UCDS because the teachers tune into each child and give them stretch goals each and every day. The teachers practice a collaborative methodology where they work together to develop curriculum and share ideas. Never once have we been disappointed at the parent teacher conferences, in fact have been pleasantly surprised to hear of our son's progress with concepts far beyond what we would have ever imagined (basic algebra and reading in PreK). Our son's teacher genuinely adores him and takes the opportunity to share a short story with us about something he accomplished weekly, if not daily. You will never hear the word 'bully' in the school - instead the kids learn to process conflicts in a way that builds their relationships with expert guidance from their teachers. We have found the parent community to be warm, welcoming and inclusive. We are grateful that our son is receiving an excellent education, is learning to be an independent leader with self confidence and is a caring friend to his classmates.

- submitted by a parent
November 17, 2013
UCDS provided our children with an exceptional education and they are thriving both academically and socially. Our two children attended UCDS from the age of three until they graduated as 5th graders. UCDS created an environment where they were excited to go to school each day. Now in middle school and high school we(and they) can see how prepared they are with solid academic skills and confident independence. They excel in many areas but more importantly when something is challenging they know how to ask questions and persevere. UCDS helped our children develop these skills from an early age and continued to build upon them throughout their 8 years. We couldn't be more thankful for the solid foundation UCDS provided for both our children.

- submitted by a parent
November 16, 2013
Kids are challenged while in a fun, hands on, environment. The curriculum helps the children develop analytical skills in both academics and personal areas of development. I have never seen a staff so committed, they all value and know every child in the community. This school helps the children learn and be their best resulting in confident, creative, analytical kids.

- submitted by a parent
November 16, 2013
Our family loves UCDS! We have been a part of the community for over 5 years. Our daughter tells us daily that she loves school and her teachers. This year the technology lab was moved into a new space called The EDGe (The Engineering and Design Garage). It s pretty cool how elementary kids are learning how to write code and create a 3D objects on a MakerBot printer!! Many educators in the Seattle area come to the school to learn how to be better teachers. I could go on and on about our experience as it s all been pretty positive. I have heard from some parents that it s difficult to meet other parents and families, and to that I say, put yourself out there and you will meet others.

- submitted by a parent
November 16, 2013
We loved UCDS. Our son is now a 7th grader at an independent MS/HS and is doing very well. One of the greatest gifts from being at UCDS from preK-Fifth grade is how well he knows himself. He is doing well in school and reflects that there are a few things he notices other kids struggling with that he finds easy due to his experiences at UCDS. One example is in documenting his work and process at math. He explains that it comes naturally to him, he is used to it because that was how he did math at UCDS, never just writing the answer. He's certainly not perfect... Writing has always been his least favorite thing and he comtinues to have to work on this. But part of knowing himeself well is that he has confidence in what he does well and ackowledges what is hard for him. He is open to feedback and willing to work hard. Teachers are very committed to the kids and work hard to create challenging curriculum. There are always a small group of parents who want to have a say in the planning, but rather than trying to please this small group (who rarely agree with each other!) the teachers stay true to the values they clearly explain in their mission.

- submitted by a parent
November 15, 2013
When we visited UCDS during our kindergarten search, we remember the parent groups having a UCDS 5th grader guide. The 5th grader answered questions and shared what they were studying. We were highly impressed at the confidence and ease the 5th grader displayed, conversing with all of us grown ups, with no teacher to aid them. We wanted our children to develop the same poise and assurance. As our own kids have Moved On from UCDS to middle school, we have seen their confidence and self knowledge take them to the next level. Their transition to middle school was close to seamless, they were excited for the new adventure and the opportunities that lay beyond. Thank you, UCDS.

- submitted by a parent
October 24, 2013
We were disappointed to learn in our first conference after moving on from UCDS that our child has education gaps in critical areas. We were blindsided and never alerted to any deficiencies at UCDS. We're now told our child's performance in these areas isn't even passable. As a family, we never considered school to be all about academics and bought into the marketing that said children would be more well-rounded and collaborative coming out of UCDS. We dismissed the critiques about the children not learning many facts, leaving without basic skills, teacher quality variability and inexperience, and the fact that many children do afterschool enrichment whether advanced or remedial. We dismissed as thin-skinned all complaints about social and class hierarchy and the image-conscious staff. In retrospect, we now see this as a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. We were blinded by our devotion to the school's reputation and sang its praises despite not seeing the goods ourselves. We found too late that many of the critiques and others' experiences we had dismissed were grounded in reality. We're left scrambling to catch up and remediate several areas of concern. Disillusioned!

- submitted by a parent
September 04, 2013
I was SO impressed with UCDS when I toured the school. When my child was accepted I was thrilled. The school is beautiful and the teachers were enthusiastic at first, but as the year progressed they seemed to check out. The school is liberal and embraces children for the wonderful beings they are ( or aren't) but in my opinion academically things are vague and and unfocused. My child who is fairly young said there was not enough challenging work. The teachers were awful at communicating and actually sort of distant and unwelcoming by the second half of the year. Big disappointment. Not an awful school but not as amazing as people think.

- submitted by a parent
July 16, 2013
some people say that this school has a lack of social ability and honestly i could understand that but being a former student i have learned so much i loved milk and cookies and grandparents special friends day in the early elementary you get to explore the bamboo garden and ride bikes on the rainbow road. and in kindergarten you have a k-day where you go to the first floor and you learn about how the elementary school works. the first floor also goes camping this is a great social time for the kids. once your in the 4-5s the homework gets intense theres roughly five things to do per night which seems ridiculous for 4th and 5th graders the second floor goes on two overnight trips one in the fall and one in the spring the fifth graders do service learning projects where they get their last chance to give back to the school and then graduation comes and its amazing people are clapping and my aunt actually said this was the best graduation performance ever. nobody will come out of school perfect but at UCDS they get pretty close.

- submitted by a community member
March 13, 2013
I have 3 children enrolled in UCDS and have never been anything but blown away with their curriculum, both social and academic, parent involvement, and diversity. My children have an understanding of diversity that spans beyond what people see on the outside and takes into account the true character of each individual. I know this is because of the education they have received at UCDS. The way they value each individual and teach to their strengths and challenges. The depth at which they learn about concepts in all subject areas is tremendous and as someone else previously commented, our dinner conversations continue to amaze me. I am a parent who has sought outside support for one of my children because the school recognized concerns that I could not recognize as their parent. The help they pointed us too has been essential, valuable, and I will thank the caring and astute teachers for their unending guidance and constant support forever as my children continue to grow. Well worth it and SUPER FUN!

- submitted by a parent
February 14, 2013
There are many good things about UCDS - the innovative curriculum, the sense of ownership students have of the school, and the variety of programming. My daughter has a wide circle of friends and feels welcomed by the staff. The problem is that there is little value for parent input. It is difficult to communicate with teachers about issues with the curriculum - many students pay for outside tutoring - or bullying - and there are some behavior problems. Even so, my biggest disappointment is the failure for the school to have any teacher of color on staff. The only diversity is from the facility and cleaning staff. The students body has very few children of color. I go out of my way to expose my child to diversity in the community so she doesn't think the world looks this way.

- submitted by a parent
February 01, 2012
My wife and I cannot be more pleased with the experiences our two children have had at UCDS. From Day one we have all felt a part of the UCDS community and from the stories about their day they share with us each evening I know we made the right decision. I have been very impressed with the degree of individualized attention they both receive and I can tell their individual needs are being met, both academically and socially. Whether in the classroom, spending time with the specialists, or participating in after school activities I can say with confidence that UCDS is by far the best choice for our kids. Also, I m sure everyone s experiences are different but in contrast to the previous parents comments we ve never felt that anything other than that the students and families take center stage at UCDS and feel the tuition is appropriate for what our children are taking away every day.

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2012
UCDS was very impressive at first, and we chose to send our children to the school. But after time, we discovered that they were more interested in their reputation and finances than the families. We left the school very disappointed with their program and do not recommend UCDS. Save your money - they'll most certainly be asking for more donations in addition to the steep price tag.

- submitted by a parent
June 19, 2011
We strongly considered UCDS and were blown away by the facilities and how put together the place seemed to be. Soonafter, we got scared off by some parents we know who have taken their kids out of the program. The feedback we learned was that the school is so enamored with it's curriculum and the institution that the kids may not necessarily come first or pick up on some of the fundamentals. When we asked about this, the reaction we got was kind of chilly and dismissive (which only seemed to reinforce our concerns). To be fair, some of our friends have kept their kids there and are very satisfied. It's a beautiful school though and has a great reputation. I'd just recommend talking to a lot of parents and parents of recent grads to get the full picture.

- submitted by a community member
January 02, 2011
I am a former student of UCDS. At 24 I have finished a master s degree and have my dream job. I attended UCDS from PK-5th grade and loved it. The teachers were compassionate and taught compassion. They appreciated creativity and taught creatively. They inspired each and every one of us to pursue the things that interested us and made us excited to learn. Recently I visited the school and was delighted to discover that most of my teachers from K-5th grade still teach at UCDS and even have some of my old art projects/ school work stored away on their shelves. These aren t ordinary teachers, they are teachers who will invest and believe in your children! I certainly hope to send my children there one day!

- submitted by a community member
October 12, 2010
innovative, risk taking, yet supportive environment. Rigorous curriculum and amazing teachers!!!!

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2010
I am thrilled to offer a shining review of UCDS. My son has benefited from the thoughtful education given by his teachers. The curriculum is exciting and has my son LOVING learning. The small teacher student ratios allow for thoughtful individualized instruction. We have enjoyed working with the staff and appreciate their creative energy.

- submitted by a parent
July 02, 2010
We have been thrilled with UCDS. It is a top-notch school that balances academics and social responsibility. What parent doesn't want their child to have foreign language exposure as early as Pre-K? But the true amazement doesn't come until you experience the school. . . . faculty who greet you every morning, not just on the first day of school, teachers who blog weekly newsletters and childhood development opportunities such as class/school meetings that simply can't be found elsewhere. We find the teachers and specialists to be incredibly committed, caring and approachable. My son has flourished in both reading and writing over the past few years at UCDS and has made many great friends!

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2010
Disappointing place. I should have listened to the former parents who warned me that if you don't "drink the kool-aid," you won't like what you get, or the testing psychologist who told me I would get more for me money elsewhere, or the pediatrician who warned me that a child could have huge gaps in their learning that we wouldn't be aware of until they went elsewhere. Sure enough - all have come to pass. Have a concern? Tough! They know better than you at all times. Child need help with something? Enjoy paying yet more for a tutor. I'm amused by all the people who claim that their child wouldn't have blossomed anywhere but here; trust me - every child grows up, and it's a fallacy to think that only this school will make a child socially aware, etc. 6th grade elsewhere has clarified the issues!

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2010
I love the school and my son loves it. Many of the lead teachers have been there for a very long time. The resident teachers change each year, however that is because the program is designed to be a one year program. My son did do tutoring for writing, but I do not see this as a flaw with the school, he was struggling with a very specific learning issue and the school has worked with his tutor to implement strategies that help him be more successful at school. I value that the teacher knew my son well enough to identify that he was struggling. I love that the school handles social issues so seriously and respectfully. Problems are going to come up in any school! At UCDS kids are expected to advocate for themselves and are always supported as they work together to solve problems.

- submitted by a parent
April 23, 2010
I have been a parent in the school for 15 years and have watched my three children thrive at UCDS. I m confused by many of the negative comments, but especially those around the teachers and also teacher turnover. The school has a teacher-training program for students who have just finished college and are entering the field of education. Each year, 10 college graduates study at UCDS for one year before leaving he school and teaching in their own classrooms. This program is inspiring. It brings 10 new teachers into the school each year .but it has nothing to do with the regular UCDS faculty. Most of the UCDS teachers have been at the school for at least the 15 years I have been there. quite a few even longer than that. They are amazingly creative, super energetic and very capable at addressing all the academic and social issues that elementary kids experience.

- submitted by a parent
April 12, 2010
I am shocked at some of the negative reviews for this school, although I am keeping in mind that people using write to complain, not complement. My three children each attended UCDS for 8 years (incl. 2 pre-K) and none of them would be the self-reflective, socially aware and socially adept, academically strong lovers of learning that they are now had they not attended UCDS. One of our children did require some tutoring, which I know she would have needed no matter where she went to school; however the vast majority of UCDS students get all of their academic needs met at school. The homework is reasonable, the opportunities for learning in depth are boundless and the 7:1 teacher to student ratio is invaluable. My kids are now all on to middle school and thriving...in great part because of the foundation they received at UCDS.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2010
UCDS has provided both my children with an exceptional education. The teachers are enthusiastic, creative and dedicated. They use the low student to teacher ratio to really get to know each student. Both my children, one outgoing and one reserved, have thrived both academically and socially. They are voracious readers, math excited and most importantly, love to learn. UCDS is providing them with a strong foundation, not to mention, they look forward to going to school each day.

- submitted by a parent
February 22, 2010
So-so education, does not meet expectations for individualized curriculum, particularly given steep price tag. More typically, problems areas are pointed out to parents with the expectation that parents will supplement with extra actvities or remedial help. Compared with other private schools in town, it seems that quite a few kids are in tutoring to supplement academics at school. On the plus side, school is very exciting and fun, many entertaining activities for the kids. All the bells and whistles are included here. Teachers tend to be younger, and curriculum is re-modeled every year. These features are a plus for some families, a negative for others.

- submitted by a parent
February 08, 2010
This school is fabulous at many things. Especially strong at teaching math and group skills. However, they could do a better job of teaching reading than they do. I know of several kids (including mine) who weren't reading well by the end of first grade. For that price tag and with the low student/teacher ratio of about 8, one would expect that they wouldn't be recommending private additional tutoring as a way to help the kids get proficient at reading, but figuring out how to solve the problem by changing teaching methods.

- submitted by a parent
June 25, 2009
We expected -- and have received -- an incredible academic experience for our children. The teachers and administrators are amazing. What we did not expect was for the school to play such a positive role in developing strong community citizenship and conflict resolution skills in our children. We have been pleasantly suprised and extremely impressed with this side of UCDS. Reading some of the reviews from various schools, I would encourage all new parents to consider that there is no 'best' school. Rather, there is a school that fits your child the best. For us, UCDS has been a perfect fit.

- submitted by a parent
June 09, 2009
In response to the previous remark, I am happy that my kid is at UCDS not for me but absolutely for her. To see how she has changed, grown and blossomed in the last three years is amazing.

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 07, 2009
I am sorry to say this, but I feel something crucial is lacking from this school. Parents seem to be happy to say 'My child is at UCDS,' not for kids but for themselves. I also noticed that some kids seriously need help with their social skills, seriously. I ended up choosing another private school over this.

- submitted by a parent
April 03, 2008
Hands down the best elementary school in Seattle - if not one of the best in the country. We moved here from San Francsico - have been around a lot of schools on both coasts - and couldn't be more impressed with UCDS. Even better than we expected and worth every penny

- submitted by a parent
March 19, 2008
This is one of the best - if not the best - elementary school in Seattle, in my opinion. The curriculum is superb - each individual child is challenged, and taught according to his/ her unique learning style. All types of personalities thrive here. Teachers really care, have tons of energy and show true commitment. This is an amazing place if you can get a spot (admissions is tough!)

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2007
I am a parent of two children who have attended this school for 3 years. I have been impressed by the skill and dedication of the teachers and the result that has had on my children. The individualized curriculum has truly helped each of my children to learn and grow in unique ways. The energy level of the school is fabulous and my children happily go to school each day. I feel so fortunate to have found such a great school for my children.

- submitted by a parent
April 14, 2007
Although this school caters to to the well off, educaiton is mediocre. There is a higher turnover of teachers and very poor leadership. This used to be a good school but has slipped significantly in the last 4 or 5 years. The school has a difficult time with any feedback and commnication is poor. I have had kids there for about 10 years and it was a big judgment error. Some of the teachers are very good and caring and talented.

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2007
My kids skip happily into school every day. I've been stunned with their progress in all the academic areas you'd expect from an elementary school. But UCDS does more than cover those basics, of course. The faculty and staff have high energy levels and always speak respectfully to the students. As a result the kids are super respectful to each other. There's also an emphasis on self-reliance and empowerment similar to Montessori which we like. Going into the school I was a little concerned that it wasn't a perfect fit for our introverted child. UCDS has assuaged those fears. You don't need to have a type-A personality to thrive there. They really do individualize the teaching to match temperament and interests. Also, the small-group teaching that you'll see on a tour are perfect for more introverted kids.

- submitted by a parent
April 05, 2006
University Child Development School (UCDS) is a top notch elementary school in Seattle. Starting with a pre-K program and finishing with grade 5, the school provides an excellent learning environment for its students. The school believes that students learn best when stimulated and challenged. I am not sure this works for every child. Some kids can feel over challenged and may tend to withdraw. The school requires testing and a school visit for applicants in an effort to make sure there is a good fit for the entering children. The kids tend to be very bright and also assertive and secure in their ability to ask questions or assert their needs/ desires. Teachers encourage each individual and attention to each child and family is easy because of small class size. It is easy to arrange meeting with the teachers and head of school. It is an excellent and expensive school.

- submitted by a parent
February 11, 2006
excellent curriculum, attentive teahcers and consistent annual theme. have been very happy with school philosophy, facilities and pre-post- school care. would recommend highly to those who can afford it. no elitism in parents or staff unlike some private schools

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2005
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
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About this school

UCDS celebrates the individuality of each student through programs that address diverse learning styles, intelligence, and points of view. To understand our core values, see our philosophy statement by visiting the address below. http://www.ucds.org/explore_ucds/philosophy_1.html


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University Child Development School
5062 9th Avenue Northeast, Seattle, WA  98105
(206) 547-8237
Last modified University Child Development School is a Private school that serves grades PK-5
University Child Development School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 44 reviews. Top