Academics

San Jose Private Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary & Middle School

Our students learn, grow and become global citizens in an opportunity-rich, high-challenge, low-stress environment.

Founded on Balance

Almaden Country Day School’s instructional program is founded on balance: rigorous academics, character development, and joyful learning. 

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A Rich and Extensive Curriculum

In addition to our innovative mathematics and literacy programs, social studies, and technology education, the ACDS curriculum features enrichment courses taught by specialist teachers along with an array of exciting co-curricular programs:

  • Theater program featuring 30+ school performances annually
  • Music including choir and band
  • Art including fired pottery
  • Foreign languages (Spanish, French and Mandarin)
  • Invention, engineering, and design (the Imaginarium maker space)
  • Hands-on science and STEM taught by four science teachers
  • Big Buddies program with our older students pairing with our youngest for activities, play time, and lasting relationships
  • Coding and programming in science and elective classes
  • Speech and debate including a competitive team in middle school
  • Robotics
  • Project-based learning
  • Physical Education for all grades K-8
  • Social-emotional learning programs across all grade levels
  • After-school no-cut sports program and other after-school activities (chess club, sewing, Girls Who Code, Girls on the Run, more)
  • More than 50 Middle School electives for students to choose from
  • Field trips at all grade levels K-8, and overnight trips starting in 4th grade

A Personalized and Engaging Learning Experience

Our rich and extensive academic program, combined with small class sizes and dynamic, caring expert teachers, create a highly personalized and engaging learning experience for every child at our school. We believe in a developmental approach, which holds that children learn best when they master age-appropriate content, participate in active and interactive learning activities, and gain exposure to problem- and project-based learning in addition to acquisition of core knowledge.

A Developmental Instructional Approach

Through a developmental instructional approach, which is supported by research and endorsed by leading international education experts including Dr. Diane Ravitch, Sir Ken Robinson, Stanford’s Dr. Jo Boaler, and others, our students are inspired to pursue a wide range of academic interests and options beyond our core curriculum. ACDS students become curious, confident, self-directed learners who thrive in a high-opportunity, low-stress campus environment.

Our skilled teachers deliver a rigorous curriculum that goes well beyond Common Core standards. ACDS students perform exceptionally well on typical measures of achievement (see below), but also acquire critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal skills, and creativity. We foster and encourage student interests and passions; our developmental approach nourishes a balanced, whole child, providing the academic, social, emotional, and cognitive assets essential for success in school and life. Families seeking this kind of balanced approach are drawn to our developmental instructional philosophy. 

Developmental learning emphasizes depth over breadth, and enrichment over acceleration; since 1982, our instructional model has inspired children beyond content mastery and memorization by encouraging innovation, risk-taking, empathy, teamwork, curiosity, and resilience. What’s more, schools embracing a developmental approach seek to make learning fun and joyful, in turn increasing student engagement and love for learning. Developmental education shapes ACDS students into confident, caring, capable young people ready to make an impact in the world. In short, ACDS students learn how to become leaders. (Best of all, they love going to school!)

Exceeding the Standards

The ACDS curriculum itself is designed to exceed state and national academic content-area standards, while affording our teachers considerable flexibility to meet the learning needs of individual children. Teachers are supported by our Learning Support Coordinator (LSC), a full-time administrator whose role is to identify and provide ongoing support for students who need more help or more of a challenge. Our goal is to engage, stimulate, and care for every child, every day, including high-achieving students who require more demanding lesson extensions. 

Proven across more than four decades, our developmental philosophy and academic standards prepare ACDS students for the most selective, rigorous high schools in the area. We do not "teach to the test"; however, our eighth graders consistently average above the 90th percentile on standardized achievement and Catholic High School (HSPT) admission tests. ACDS graduates enjoy a 10-year rolling average of more than 98% admission to private high schools among ACDS 8th graders who apply. This is not a goal of our program, per se, but it is a telling byproduct that affirms the effectiveness of the developmental approach to instruction.

Above all, the ACDS instructional program is about balance: rigorous academics, character development, and joyful learning.

Welcome!

Families come to ACDS from a variety of areas throughout Silicon Valley, with the majority residing in Almaden Valley, Blossom Valley, Willow Glen, Los Gatos, Campbell, and Evergreen. We are excited to share more about our school with you! Visit our Admissions page to learn more and set up a tour.

 

ACDS is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). 
For more information about our instructional program, please contact Head of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Ms. Jane Murphy or Head of Middle School, Mr. Jeremy Adams.