We moved to Palos Verdes because of the reputable schools. After 8 years at Country Day I can sincerely note that I am still amazed every day at what a quality education and, maybe even more importantly, what a quality environment this school provides for all children. Academics are certainly above par of the excellent PV schools, but there is so much more here… a true devotion to what is best emotionally, socially and academically for each child in addition to all the amazing extras such as art, music, outdoor education, character education, team building, public speaking, after school activities & inter murals, fantastic library, and middle school economics to name a few. . . I encourage parents to come in and sit in on the classes, talk to the teachers, parents and even students. As much as academics are set at a high level, each year builds on the next. Students learn to enjoy learning.
SOME EXAMPLES: I must have been on that same art field trip at the Getty where the guides where so impressed with the knowledge and curiosity of the RHCDS 2nd graders. Art isn’t taught as just a subject the school could post as an addition to what is taught at public school – but it is taken seriously and the students not only learn a lot but they love it! On the same token, take a moment to witness Mr. Kane’s science class in middle school. He is so devoted to the subject – as much as you would expect of a university professor, but with such compassion and care for the students. He is available to help any student, every single day, at 7 am, at lunch and after school. Math is just as fantastic. We initially thought to enroll at RHCDS, among other things for the excellent English program, that I had heard about since my school days, 30 yrs prior. If you have any curiosity, attend an 8th grade graduation and listen to each student give a beautiful, impressive presentation – each student! Students enter high school generally a year ahead in English and grammar. The middle school economics class (taught grades 6-8) and teacher, Mr. Gordon, is hands down unbelievable – especially considering that there is no other middle school in the greater area (or Southern California?) that teaches economics.
***Perhaps one explanation for this amazing school is that every situation is considered to the nth detail, and most importantly, everything is analyzed by considering what is best for the children, whether it has to do with the employment of faculty and staff, to different activities for school, to parent participation.
VOLUNTEERING: I must add, especially to address a negative comment (certainly by a parent who has a skewed perception of the situations involved) … As has been encouraged by so many psychological studies, parent participation is encouraged at RHCDS, however, is only encouraged where and when it is positive for ALL students. I was very interested in Corner Stone, a parent participation school that has received good reviews from my friends, however, it seems that there parents participate without enough school review. As well, at RHCDS there are many opportunities for working parents to participate – on weekend activities, carnivals, to donate small items for their children to bring class (to feel special about contributing), to early mornings, or after school or lunch time events. As well, I know of many working parents who do not have the time or maybe the interest to participate and their children are very happy successful students in the school. There is another private local school where parent participation is discouraged and that seems to be a sad situation for all the students at such school.
BULLYing is taken very seriously. I wish prospective parents could ask my children to explain as they have explained to me that they can get along with ALL the children in their grade and school. That is just amazing! As a test, I recommend prospective parents watch how well the children of all different ages play well together in the after school program. The children, if fact, learn so many important life and social skills, just in the after school program. Yet, another point I wish I could emphasize on even more.
THE ADMIN: I do attribute so much of the superb quality of this school, to the detailed, wise, caring, compassionate, educated and highly talented administration. Again, I encourage you to visit and ask questions. Every person at the school has an open door policy. Certainly the teachers have an impressive communication relationship with the parents -but so do every person in administration, up to, and especially, the executive director of the school, Mrs. Karen Shipherd. Importantly, just based on her qualifications alone combined with her humility and her care for the children at this school, I would suggest that Country Day offers so much that will be extremely hard to find anywhere else.