As a parent of two current students, I have to respectfully disagree with the previous review, and I hope that family has found a school that better aligns with their educational goals and values. UCDS is not for everyone. Don't come here just because your friends send their kids here. Don't come here because of the name or the reputation of a challenging but nurturing learning environment. It's a different kind of place. One that is very unlike how many of us were taught in our elementary school days. It's a little edgy. It is non-traditional. It is experimental. It is wonderful. You might not agree with everything you come to know about the school. Heck, there are aspects I don't agree with. But I do know this. After being here for three years and seeing how much my kids love to go to school every day, I wouldn't want them anywhere else. As for the previous reviewer, I know that kind of parent. Many of us at UCDS know that kind of parent. We wish you well elsewhere.
There are some wonderful families and caring staff at this school but the administration is so dysfunctional and unhealthy that it permeates the entire community. Don’t be distracted by the glitz or by the magnetism of status when deciding on a school for your child. Maybe you have already toured the school and, like us, after seeing the Labyrinth you were sold. We were believers as well, we thought the school was magical but magic is all about illusion and at UCDS they are masters at it. Parents are expected to have an unquestioning obedience and loyalty to the administration. As a parent your role in your child's education will be marginalized and your input unwelcome. You will accept it at first because, after all, they are the “experts”. Over time you will start to hear stories about parents who spoke up to the administration and were admonished, but you've bought into the illusion of UCDS so you assume that the parent just “stepped out of line”. But then it happens to a friend who you like and trust, and then maybe it happens to you and now you see this school for what it truly is. This insular school selects families and staff that they feel will follow the UCDS way with few, if any, challenges. In most cases if you express a concern about how the school operates you will be seen as questioning the administration and will either feel their wrath or be led to believe that your concerns will be addressed when in fact they have no intention of doing so. How can they teach children to be critical thinkers when they are not open to critical thinking themselves? The administrators are so invested in message control and maintaining the reputation of the school that they will do and say just about anything to curtail dissent. Intimidation, isolation, manipulation, and implicit threats, are all employed to keep parents in line. Parents often limit what they say and with whom they will share for fear of retribution. Most teachers are kind, caring, and capable but don’t necessarily represent the best and the brightest. As for previous posts on lagging academics, diversity, social-emotional concerns, they ring true. You will likely see posts refuting this one but know that though the details and experiences may differ there are many more UCDS families, both current and past, with whom these comments will resonate. You decide if some day that family will be yours.
I wish we would have known . How great UCDS was when we were there. We left due to logistical reasons and have regretted our decision ever since. Our new school (won t mention name) does NOT meet the high expectations that UCDS had. When we were there it was our first school experience so I expected other schools couldn t be so different. I m sad to say we were wrong. UCDS has quality teachers, forward thinking education, and a fun community of parents. Don t be fooled by other schools UCDS walks the walk! I wish we would have known we would have never left.
Not a school for the highly capable student. No acceleration in studies and poor hands-on teaching of the fundamentals. Any issues get referred to outside specialists. Not worth the money in my opinion.
I believe UCDS has a highly constructed education system, and students are having great fun in school whether it is in the classrooms or after school activities. All of our child s teachers have been very enthusiastic and generous, they teach students with their whole heart. And above all, the UCDS spirit presents in every corner of the school, parents, students and teachers are loving and willing to help each other. We have already had a memorable four-year journey at UCDS and have made lots of life-lasting friends in many different aspects of life.
UCDS has fantastic marketing, but the actual content of their curriculum is pretty abysmal. Both my kids have a tutor despite the "individualized curriculum" at the school. I would guess that at least 70% of the kids attending UCDS are instructed by the administration to seek some type of outside tutoring/counseling for their children. Moreover, they are extremely harsh in their punishments; they locked a preschool child outside to "exterminate" his temper tantrums. Maybe it worked but it seemed really extreme to me. Ask current parents about discipline and ask about attrition; if your child reaches second grade and they don't like the family or the kid, they will manage you out. They definitely do not seem to live the values they espouse.
I feel so fortunate to have my kids at this amazing school. I chose the school because it was one that I wish that I had attended! They have been there over 2 1/2 years and are thriving. From our very first parent interview UCDS has given me great techniques on how to help my children succeed academically and insightful ideas to help their social and emotional progression. It is very clear to me that they are deeply invested in their development as engaged, skillful and reflective thinkers. I have heard some gossip (perhaps by a disgruntled parent) that the school does not prepare children for middle school and for me the exact opposite is true. Almost all UCDS kids get their first or second choice of schools and many middle school teachers find that they are incredibly thoughtful, dedicated and strong students. I also am a huge fan of the inclusive parent community. I have met many dynamic individuals. I am unequivocally confident that we chose the right school for our kids and for our family and thank my lucky stars that we were given the opportunity to attend.
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.