We returned to our hometown after being away for three years. We loved our local public school and put our girl back Into the same program. Six months into the school year she was still upset. The English program was nearly a year behind her old school and the math two years. It was like she was repeating a school year. The teacher was kind but explained that there was little she could do as the entire grade was filtered through the established routine. We looked into a number of schools and chose Rolling Hills Country Day School (RHCDS).
What a beacon of light in the dark. The teachers are amazing. Such kindness and thoughtfulness. With the small teacher to student ratio our daughter felt known and understood. The English department is outstanding. Conventional in the drilling of traditional writing, the importance of such needs no explanation. To spice up the English year there are a number of competitions that are recognized at the end of the school year. The math department is amazing with its differentiation and use of computerized white boards so that the entire class can participate together in problem solving from their desks. The Sciences will make your jaw drop. The depth and scope of learning are outstanding. Built into the program is the working skill of how to study and take notes. The process builds up and takes all three of the middle school years and I wish someone had taught me how to take the perfect notes in middle school! Cannot say enough about the computer and robotics department. The highlight was creatively building and programming robots that the kids would put into a pit to compete against each other. The kids solidify their typing skills, programing abilities, use 3-D printers, and get to use green screens during video production.
Social Studies is filled with special days of activities which cement the learning done throughout the school year. Did I mention the language department? The scope is not just the foreign language but includes the an understanding of the culture as well. Probably the greatest teaching skills in this school is the use interdepartmental learning (I.e. social studies project will be written through english department and technology program helps them video tape the project) and as such the kids are learning about in-depth, long term projects and more importantly team building, as they work together on these larger projects. Which brings me to the social aspect.
The staff really does help in connecting and socializing the kids through team projects, class trips and social events all year long. My middle schooler has a ‘little sister’ (older kids get paired with younger students) which she feels responsible and proud to be associated with. The school is so healthy that we are seeing our daughter learn that good friends come in all shapes and sizes and backgrounds. The community spirit isn’t just inside the school. When it’s homework time they
are on the iPads helping each other in real time from home. We have also witnessed kids helping other kids who aren't even In the same class. When someone asks for a copy of the homework page forgotten at school, or a study sheet the night before a test, it seems to be a race to be the first one to copy and send the missing sheet(s). This isn’t organized by the school or just among best friends, the kids started the texting group because they are in a school that fosters such thoughtfulness and team building. I suppose it comes from the school’s most popular motto, “Be good humans.” It really rings true at RHCDS.
I’l let someone else talk about the theater, sports teams and various electives available to all kids. I could write another three pages of good reviews. If you’d like to speak with me directly, call the school and someone should be able to put you in contact with me.