REVIEW OF The Country Day School BY parent, susie bousada
- Date of Review
December 10, 2021
Gr. 3 - Gr. 12
(5) Student Experience
My three children started the same year at the Country Day School when they were in Grades 7, 5, and 3. The school made sure that they knew at least one other student at the school before they started through their mentorship program. It was a great way to start at their new school. Now that all but one have graduated I can say that the experiences they had at the school helped form the people they are today. The teachers were amazing and encouraging and pushed them to be their best. My two kids at University have felt well prepared for post-secondary studies. The extracurriculars at the school, including the drama, choir, student council, and the athletics available are what my kids loved the most about CDS. Coming from a public school, they really appreciated the extras available to them. After-school sports are what all three would say was their favourite. We are grateful to CDS for providing the most amazing balance of academics, sports and leadership.
(5) School Leadership
When we entered CDS for the first time, at an evening open house, we could feel it was an amazing place. Nine years later we still feel the same way. Faculty, staff and administrators work hard to make each family feel like a valued part of the school community. I think the greatest example of positive communication has been during the difficult time of the pandemic. It was probably not easy keeping all of us informed of the decisions made at the school level but I always felt like the school kept us well informed through emails, letters and videos.
The teachers at CDS all seem to be experts in their area of teaching! Not only are they knowledgeable, but in most cases, they’re passionate. That passion seems to inspire the students. My kids have experienced the junior, middle and senior schools. The teachers in the junior school were amazing at recognizing the needs of my kids. One of my kids needed support and the teachers recognized that and communicated that to us. Support was given throughout the rest her time at CDS through the amazing work of the SSC. This child went on to be an honour student with distinction, and a confident leader. Another one of my kids needed enrichment which helped inspire him to learn new things. The middle school gave the kids a taste of independence and a chance to try new things and get ready for high school. High school came with great expectations from the teachers. I feel like all of my kids were pushed constantly to do their best and to be independent learners and thinkers. One of my children even received a handwritten note from a teacher who had noticed that he wasn’t trying as hard as he could be. She encouraged him to live up to his potential. That to me is a passionate teacher. I’ll forever be grateful to her.
The high standards of academics is one of the reasons we enrolled our kids at CDS. One of the best things about academics at CDS is the small class size. This allows for individualized attention which benefits all the students. Also, the teachers are very approachable for extra help or further discussions or enrichment when needed. Essentially, the academics at CDS are flexible enough to cater to individual student needs. I have two CDS graduates who are now attending university. Both of them have felt prepared academically for their studies. Both learned how to study, take notes, and manage their time while at CDS. At university, they are able to answer questions, participate in class discussions, give presentations and take exams. I believe that CDS gave them the confidence and knowledge to do so.
An integral part of my kid's positive experience at CDS has been the extracurriculars. To go from a public school where there were little to no extracurriculars available, to the Country Day School, was a dream come true for them. It was a huge part of their positive experience at the school. My kids who started in the junior school were able to play on sports teams, join the band and choir and my daughter was part of a school production of Oliver Twist. It far exceeded my expectations! Also in middle and high school, my kids experienced student leadership opportunities which taught them about being leaders, promoting school spirit and working with people. All three of my kids have always loved sports and have played anytime they could. The sports teams available at CDS have taught them teamwork, fair play, competitiveness and humility. Plus they were able to try new things like rugby and ultimate frisbee. I’m sure when they look back at their high school days they will remember the teams and the friendships more than their schoolwork!
When we first started at the school, it was a lot smaller than it is today. Yet there are still under 800 kids so the school is still quite small. Due to its size, families really get to know each other. I’ve heard it said that because the school is quite small the students get to know each other very well and by grade 12 they all feel close, sometimes like family. I feel that generally, the kids at the school feel gratitude for being able to go to such an amazing school. They have been provided with a top-notch education and amazing opportunities and tons of fun. The students are encouraged to be inviting and welcoming. This is apparent by the mentorship program, where new students are given a mentor, someone they can hang out with and ask questions to when school starts and throughout the year. School spirit is abundant and is apparent during competitions, weekly assemblies and during student council-run events.
(5) School Life
My kids have loved their time at CDS. They have all made friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. They've been taught the importance of academics, but also the importance of doing more than just school. Through extracurricular programs, charity work, and special events, like coffee houses, students are given the ability to shine. Each student, if willing, is given the opportunity to try new things and find what they love and what they're good at. Students feel important and are also taught lifelong lessons like respect for others, acceptance, resilience and balance. Since we've been at the school, there have been several additions to the school that has added to the quality of life for the students. The dining hall has been a gift to students and parents alike! The addition of the new senior school, the new sports fields, and the new junior school, as well as many technological advancements, have all added to the quality of life for the students at the school.
From the very first day at CDS, our family was warmly welcomed by the school community. In September, the school has a Welcome Back Barbeque which gives all families the opportunity to meet other families, faculty and staff. There are numerous opportunities for parents to get involved in the life of CDS if it's something a parent wants to do. Being a grade parent, joining the Parent Association, general volunteering, being on the Auction Committee, or working in the general store, are all great ways to get involved. Also throughout the year, there are organized events, such as coffee mornings/lunches, Zoom meetings, curriculum night, or walks in the 'back 40,' that give parents an opportunity to connect and feel part of the CDS community.
(5) School Location
How lucky are my kids to be able to go to a school that sits on a 100-acre property? And they are encouraged to use the 100 acres! Through outdoor education classes, terry fox runs, gym classes, outdoor classrooms, after-school clubs and sports, the kids are outside using the property a lot! King city is a developing community, it is quite rural, but there has been significant development over the past few years. Kids travel to outside events on nice buses, but because CDS has a dining hall there is not a lot of reason to leave….other than the grade 12s who like to visit local coffee shops ( with parental permission)
(5) University placement and counselling
The University counselling program from my experience is top-notch. Mr. Huckvale and his team are excellent councillors and are so knowledgeable of the University programs and requirements, and the application process. Starting in grade 10 or 11, they encourage students to make university counselling sessions with them and allow parents to attend as well. Students are able to make appointments to talk to them about programs requirements, and also which school would be a good fit for them. They also have group meetings for the graduating class and an informative google page for students about the application process. They are well supported. For the parents, they have university information evenings in Grades 11 and 12 so parents also have an idea of the university application process. Applying for university can be stressful so it’s great to know if a student has a question they can readily get the answer from Mr. Huckvale and the team.