March 15, 2016 How Christ Church Day School Stacks Up to Other Schools
Christ Church Day School in the pristine island village of Coronado, Calf. is proud of being small: Small city, small-town feel, small campus, and small class sizes. But that’s where the size distinction ends, because CCDS with their big heart and big aspirations comes through big compared to other schools. See how they measure up against not only public schools, but other private schools as well.
The fact that today’s private school teachers don’t necessarily have to hold a teaching degree is insignificant to CCDS. Every one of their teachers holds the degree for the subject in which they teach. This includes eight classroom teachers and five specialty (i.e. Spanish, Music, P.E., etc.) or part-time teachers. Three of these teachers hold Masters Degrees.
Along with this highly-qualified staff, the school holds itself accountable as an institution. They are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Parents may not be aware that accreditation is not something that is required for a school; when a school is accredited, that means they’ve taken that extra step to ensure high-quality teaching and learning. This ongoing cycle of quality is critical to Christ Church Day School’s philosophy of living up to a higher standard by monitoring student learning and setting school improvement goals.
One of the ways in which the school maintains and even exceeds these high standards is by capping the teacher to student ratio for all grades, Junior Kindergarten through Sixth. Junior Kindergarten maxes out at fourteen students, and Senior K-Sixth grade has no more than 16 students. Students in Junior Kinder-First grade have the added value of a full-time aid along with the teacher.
In addition to a dedicated technology lab, every classroom, beginning at Senior Kindergarten, has computers for student use. Once students reach Fifth grade, they will be assigned a personal laptop (MacBook) for use in school, and by Sixth grade students enjoy the benefit and responsibility of bringing that device home for homework and outside projects. Ultimately, the school plans to move away from a tech lab and have students SK-4 using iPads.
Judy Hunsberger, Head of CCDS, says that technology skills are woven into the curriculum at every grade level. Students not only learn keyboarding skills, they are also taught the application of software through content lessons. If, for example, students are learning about ancestry during social studies, they may be asked to create a Power Point presentation to organize and show the material they’ve learned. And similar to other schools, children use specific reading and math programs on classroom computers that are designed to reinforce those skills.
Interactive white boards are another technology advancement at the school. All classrooms in Senior Kindergarten through Sixth grade are equipped with these devices and teachers have been trained on their use which includes incorporating a document camera.
Unlike public schools, they don’t take state mandated tests. Instead students Third through Sixth grade take the Stanford Achievement Test which compares student’s performance to national norms, as well as the Otis/Lennon Student Ability Test (OLSAT) which measures ability level. These two methods help them to see what students are able to do in a school setting and also their achievement in the areas of reading and writing, science, social studies, listening and mathematics. Along with this, every classroom teacher across the board holds their own ongoing assessments to gauge student learning.
The beauty of this school is that with no requirements like other schools have for meeting certain testing numbers, there is no pressure to “teach to the test” and the focus can remain on using testing to inform instruction and guide teachers on student needs. In terms of performance, Church Christ Day School students are consistently in the highest (80th-90th) national percentile.
When you drop your child off at school to be educated and cared for during the next six-seven hours, you want to be completely at ease with whom you’ve entrusted your child to. You can’t put a price on that type of security. CCDS provides a loving environment in a small, tight-knit community. This affords teachers the ability to really get to know all of their students and their families and to ensure your child’s needs are met.
With a strong foundation of teaching academics as well as instilling lifelong virtues, CCDS provides an idyllic environment for your child to grow in. Add in the aesthetic value and it’s immeasurable. With its beautiful grounds, unique architecture, and small campus, students enjoy daily campus life at a pace that is less frenetic than other schools. Even lunch time is serene with students eating picnic style on the grass outside.
In terms of tuition, it isn’t prohibitive and definitely not on the higher side compared to other private schools. Given all that CCDS has to offer, the value is very significant and there is some assistance for families in need financially including assistance for military families.
CCDS didn’t set out to “top” other schools. They simply aim high and don’t settle for anything less than a top-quality education in a welcoming, community environment. Their desire to meet every child’s need in the best possible way became their recipe for success and a conduit to being a coveted academic institution.