Charlotte Country Day School
By the Numbers
Average class size:
Student-teacher ratio: 10:1
Average years of teacher experience: 18
Percentage of teachers with advanced degrees in their field: 54%
Average SAT score (class of 2008)
Tuition costs (2008-2009)
Percentage of applicants accepted: 33%
Number of AP courses offered: 23
Percentage of students that receive financial aid: 13%
The students: Many live in Charlotte, including Myers Park and south Charlotte, though some travel from Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Davidson, Cornelius, Waxhaw, Weddington, and Matthews.
The senior class: The seniors take a rafting trip to Hico, West Virginia, before the start of the year. They also work together and bond during Spirit Week in the fall. "You learn a lot over the years about working with each other," Harrison says. Seniors can also go off campus for lunch. Most boys opt for fast food while girls prefer Dean & DeLuca. In their final quarter, seniors can leave campus during their free periods, part of their transition to college.
The student parking lot: Among the nicest rides are Cadillacs, BMWs, Lexuses, and Volkswagens.
Dress code: No uniforms, but the dress code prohibits, among other things, tube-top dresses, tie dye, camouflage, outerwear resembling underwear, athletic uniforms (other than CCDS team uniforms), and halter tops.
The social side: Students dress up in black and green for Friday-night football games. (Charlotte Latin is the football rival.) As part of a spirit club called the Pink Posse, senior girls decorate the football players' lockers and dress in pink for the games. Most students go to movies and hang out with friends on the weekends. "We work a lot during the week, so weekends are time to spend with friends," Harrison says.
Spring break: This year a group of seniors will head to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Facebook: Popular Facebook groups include Charlotte Country Day School aka CCDS, Dey Know CCDS Basketball 08-09, Petition for CCDS XC Boys to Run Shirtless, and CCDS Environmental Awareness Council.
Lunch: Every day, the school offers two hot meal choices, a full salad bar, grilled chicken, homemade soup, choice of two sandwiches, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables, and dessert (average cost is $4.25 to $6.50).
The environment: The school doesn't rank students, though some are internally competitive. "People push each other to do their best. Everyone always works as hard as they can," Harrison says. The valedictorian isn't necessarily the graduation speaker. Instead, the senior class chooses its speaker.
The parents: Many of them work for Wachovia. They help out in the classroom or with fundraising, and work hard to welcome new families and help them adjust.
Tuition: It costs almost $20,000 for upper school. Country Day offers financial aid, though no one receives full tuition. "It is expensive, but our kids are getting a very high-quality education," Parents' Association President Lucy Trent says.
Technology: With about 700 computers on campus, there are desktop units in each classroom, computer labs, and mobile laptop labs. Teachers regularly use SMART Boards and document cameras. In a junior kindergarten classroom, for example, a teacher might rearrange colorful cubes under the document camera to explain patterns. The patterns would be displayed on the SMART Board for the students to see.
Advisers: Advisers oversee students' academic lives and are the connection between students, teachers, and parents. "Every teacher is willing to help you out individually, but it's nice to have that additional person there to be your cheerleader," Harrison says.
Starting young: All students, beginning in junior kindergarten, perform on stage. Junior Kindergarten students also begin learning French and Spanish.
Unique programs: Through the school's international studies program, students and faculty can study abroad in one of seven countries, and the school's families can host exchange students. The school also leads summer trips to Costa Rica, Italy, South Africa, and Spain. Charlotte Country Day also offers an International Baccalaureate diploma and recently added the IB Primary Years Program to the lower school.
Community service: Students from all grades participate in community service, such as book drives and working with Special Olympians.
Extracurricular activities: Student clubs cover a range of topics, from playing guitar to speaking French. More than ten upper-school clubs are dedicated to service activities.
Athletics: Ninety percent of students in middle and upper school play a sport. The Bruton Smith Athletic Center features a 1,500-seat performance arena and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
College: All students go to college. UNC Chapel Hill is a popular choice among those who stay in state. About half go out of state.
Future plans: Country Day is building a 23,200-square-foot science building on its middle-school campus that is scheduled to open in August 2009.