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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
innovative, risk taking, yet supportive environment. Rigorous curriculum and amazing teachers!!!!
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.
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!
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