Providence Day School
By the Numbers
Average class size:
Student-teacher ratio: 9:1
Average years of teacher experience: 16
Percentage of teachers with advanced degrees in their field: 45%
Spending per student: $16,290
Average SAT score (class of 2008)
Tuition costs (2008-2009)
Percentage of applicants accepted: 52%
Number of AP courses offered: 24
The students: They come from south Charlotte, Myers Park, Lake Norman, Ballantyne, and other areas.
The senior class: It kicks off the year with a summer trip to New England, where the students bike ride through Martha's Vineyard and go on a whale-watching tour. Seniors have their own lounge with ping-pong tables and have special privileges like off-campus lunch and their own parking lot. Seniors are required to do a two-week internship or community service project at the end of the year. One group will work at a school in South Africa for their project.
The student parking lot: Among the nicest cars in the lot are BMWs, Volkswagens, and Audis.
Dress code: No uniforms, but the dress code prohibits miniskirts, overalls, sweat suits, extreme hairstyles, and flip-flops. Tattoos, interestingly, aren't prohibited, but must be covered during the school day.
The social side: Students spend their weekends at school sporting events, going out to the movies and dinner, and volunteering.
Spring break: Some students hit up Mexico or the Bahamas with their friends, while others go on family trips or stay home. There are also school-sponsored trips to Italy and France.
Class trips: Beginning in fourth grade, every class takes an overnight trip that includes team building, bonding, and academic components.
Facebook: Popular Providence Day-related Facebook groups include Providence Day Aquarium Club, WE GO TO PROVIDENCE DAY, you know you go to providence day when…, and Providence Day Athletics.
Lunch: One example of an entrée meal (which costs $4.25) includes roasted salmon, confetti couscous, sautéed zucchini with grape tomatoes, and steamed baby carrots. Other options include deli food, pizza, pasta, or a grilled meal.
The environment: The school doesn't rank students. There is pressure, but students say they know how to handle it. "They're naturally competitive, but it's a friendly competition," says Providence Day parent Ingrid Dawkins.
The parents: There are many ways for parents—some of whom work for Bank of America and Wachovia—to be involved in Providence Day. Many mentor families who are new to the school.
Tuition: It goes up to $19,110 for middle and upper school. The school tries to match 100 percent of a family's financial need whether it is large or small.
Starting young: French and Spanish start in transitional kindergarten, as do art and music. In kindergarten, students begin computer lab class, where they learn word processing as their reading and writing skills progress.
Unique programs: The Global Studies program focuses on developing successful and responsible global citizens, and students can earn a Global Studies diploma after completing the requirements. As part of the program, students take trips abroad to countries such as Peru, China, and Spain, or host exchange students.
Technology: There are more than 700 computers on the wireless campus. Teachers use laptops, document cameras, SMART Boards, and Senteo technology, as well as video and digital cameras.
Community service: Community service isn't required, but 93 percent of students participate in service projects. There are several service clubs, such as the Beta Club, which builds houses for Habitat for Humanity and does creek cleanups.
Extracurricular activities: Ninety-five percent of upper-school students participate in extracurricular activities in athletics, fine arts, and community service. The school is also open to starting new clubs based on student interest. One student is even trying to start a club for parkour, an activity that involves moving from one point to another as quickly as possible, overcoming objects such as rails and concrete walls.
Athletics: Eighty-five percent of middle-school—and ninety percent of upper-school—students participate in athletics. The large gymnasium includes a balcony area overlooking the gym floor, which is often used for receptions and events.
Famous grad: Reggie Love, personal assistant to President-elect Barack Obama (class of 2000)
College: "When the kids graduate, you know they're well prepared," Dawkins says. "You don't lose sleep at night wondering, ‘How is my kid going to survive at a competitive school?' " All graduates go on to college, many to selective colleges in and out of state.