FAQs

How old is Almaden Country Day School?

It was founded in 1982 and is thriving in its fourth decade of discovering the gifts in every child.

Is ACDS accredited?

ACS is fully accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). In 2015, ACS was awarded a seven year accreditation term, the longest conferred by CAIS.

Do you emphasize academics or the creative arts?

Both! At ACDS, we believe in cultivating the whole child. In addition to their homeroom subjects (reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, programming), ACDS students are engaged and excited by hands-on and activity-based science, art, music, foreign languages, technology, physical education and drama. The result is true interdisciplinary study, where concepts learned in one subject area are connected across the curriculum with others. More importantly, our graduates emerge from ACDS as poised, literate individuals who enjoy learning, who know how to think critically and creatively, and who advance with confidence through high school and beyond.

What is the teacher-to-student ratio?

In our Early Childhood Education (ECE) classes, the ratio is approximately 6:1. As students age they are able to work more independently, and thus the ratio changes. Our Kindergarten ratio is approximately 12:1 with elementary class sizes averaging 16:1 and middle school, 22:1. In ECE, we have programs for both four-year-olds (Preschool) and young fives (Junior Kindergarten, or JK). There are typically two or three Kindergarten classes to maintain a small class size for the children's first year of pre-academic work. In our Elementary and Middle School programs there are two classes per grade level.

Does ACDS administer standardized testing?

Yes, ACDS students take a standardized test once per year in grades 5, 7, and 8. Test data is used primarily to help the administration identify any curriculum trends that show strengths or areas for improvement in our programs.

What is the homework policy?

At ACDS we strive to provide a balance between schoolwork and other interests, and base our expectations on research about optimizing homework's benefits. We align the amount of homework with the ability and developmental readiness of students, assigning small amounts of homework starting in Kindergarten, and increasing the duration and complexity of homework with each increase in grade. Students can anticipate about 10 minutes of homework a night per grade level. For example, 1st graders have 10 minutes per night, 2nd graders have about 20 minutes, 3rd graders have approximately 30 minutes, and so on through 8th grade. ACDS faculty do not assign homework over the weekend or during holiday breaks.

How are grades assigned and monitored?

We assess a student’s learning against growth toward subject-specific grade level standards. Formal grade reports supplement active, ongoing communication between parents and teachers. From our Preschool program through 4th grade, students receive assessment statements with narrative comments rather than grades. Students in 5th through 8th grade receive traditional letter grades, in addition to their personal assessments. Parents and students in Middle School have online access through our student information system (SIS) allowing them to monitor their grades, check homework, communicate with teachers and peers, and more.

What is the ACDS approach to discipline?

Our approach to managing student behavior is based on the premise that children can be helped to learn and grow from misbehavior. ACDS students are encouraged to make choices based on mutual respect, in an atmosphere of caring, with the knowledge that their actions will have consequences for themselves and others. When children experience conflict or become upset with others, we don't view them as villains and victims; rather, we see opportunities for young people to develop integrity, empathy, self-confidence, and more. We exercise positive discipline, helping students construct their own expectations around mutual respect, a strong work ethic, and caring behavior. In cases of misbehavior, we teach positive alternative choices. The consequences for misbehavior focus on long-range results rather than on short-term punishment. Children are directly involved in exploring their behavior, how it affects others, and what they can do to solve problems in appropriate ways.

Is there a uniform or dress code policy?

Yes. ACDS has a uniform dress code for all grades. Uniform dress creates a sense of unity and belonging and shifts students’ focus toward learning and away from superficial comparisons. Uniforms reduce peer pressure, enhance classroom discipline, and contribute to a positive learning environment. Our Middle School students are allowed free dress every Friday.

Are parents involved in the school?

Very much so! Our parents understand that they are part of a learning partnership. The school relies heavily on parent volunteers to help support the elementary drama program, our many all-school events like Pumpkin Carving and the Thanksgiving Feast, our spring talent exhibition, faculty lunches, and more. Parents work at every level of our school to create a vibrant sense of community and a strong culture of learning. Through our Parent Service Auxiliary (PSA), volunteers work as room parents, plan social events, raise funds for the school community and serve on key school-wide committees.

Does ACS have any religious affiliation?

No. ACDS is a non-sectarian, non-denominational school and is not affiliated with any religion. We accept applicants without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, or religion.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Almaden Country Day School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

 

Is there a school lunch program?

ACDS students may bring their lunch to school, or they may opt for a hot lunch option. ACDS partners with The Pasta Market. The Pasta Market offers a variety of options for a good value, all freshly made at the Pasta Market catering facility and brought directly to our campus. Same-day lunch orders are available but must be ordered online by 6am. A vegetarian and non-vegetarian option are offered each day.

Does Almaden Country Day School offer before- and after-school child care?

Absolutely! Before-school care starts at 7am in our Imaginarium makerspace for all ages, and our after-school extended care offerings are divided by grade level into preschool, elementary and a middle school programs, each with age-appropriate activities. After-school care is provided from 3-6pm. ACS also offers athletics, musical performance camps, as well as art and drama camps after school or during school holidays.

Do you offer a financial aid program?

Yes, financial aid is offered on an annual basis to help families who qualify for tuition assistance. ACDS partners with FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) to establish a family's eligibility for financial aid. See the Admissions/Financial Aid section of the site for more details.

how can I learn more about ACDS?

There are three ways to become better acquainted with Almaden Country Day School:

1) a personal tour;

2) an open house visit; and

3) as a two-day student shadow.

ACDS offers campus tours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week. Call (408) 997-0424 to schedule a tour. During the tour, you will learn more about our philosophy and teaching practices as you observe students and teachers in action.

You may also attend a pre-scheduled Saturday or weekday Open House. One of our own Middle School students will lead a campus tour for you. Teachers will be available to answer your specific questions and introduce you to the curriculum.

At ACDS we also give your child the opportunity to “shadow” for two days on campus. He or she will be paired with a current student in the class for which you're applying. This is an important part of the application process, enabling your child to learn firsthand what the school is like while giving ACDS a chance to understand your child’s academic and interpersonal capabilities.

For additional information, please contact our Admissions Office at admissions@a-cs.org or by calling (408) 997-0424.

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