In 1926, the Greenwich Country Day School welcomed its first class of forty-five students in a renovated farm stable on North Maple Avenue. A kind and respected headmaster and a faculty of ten greeted the children in a freshly painted schoolhouse, which, except for a peculiar barnyard aroma, did not signal that where there were students, there once had been horses. From these modest beginnings, in less than a generation’s time, this new school would become one of the most respected institutions of its kind in the nation.
A school is inevitably shaped by the expectations which surround it and by its history. The Greenwich Country Day School was founded by three Greenwich mothers–Dorothy Baker, Jane McClelland, and Florence Rockefeller. They imagined a school that would be academically rigorous, yet warm and welcoming–a place that would prepare children for the most competitive secondary schools in the nation, yet would also prepare them for responsibilities to their families and neighbors and to the world community. How proud they would be today to read the school’s mission statement, together with the list of graduates–a list that includes a Metropolitan Opera soloist, an internationally acclaimed author, a White House Chief of Protocol, and a President of the United States.
My favorite definition of the word school is “four walls surrounding a future.” A Country Day education is an endowment–intellectual, moral and spiritual. It is a gift that parents, grandparents, alumni/ae, friends, and benefactors can preserve and protect for the hundreds of twenty-first century children who will cut their teeth on challenges that await them here.
Douglas J. Lyons, Headmaster
The mission of The Greenwich Country Day School is to enable all children in our care to discover and to develop what is finest in themselves-to achieve high standards in their studies, in their play, and in their character.
We are committed to the ideal of a coeducational family school. We recognize that every child is an individual who possesses unique talents and abilities. In an elementary school program, we promote consideration of others, value diversity, and teach respect for all people.
The Greenwich Country Day School maintains high academic standards, a broad and balanced curriculum, and time-honored traditions. We encourage children to take intellectual risks. The school prepares students for rigorous secondary school studies and endeavors to foster a love of learning that endures.
We believe the quality of our faculty is essential to the achievement of our mission.
The Greenwich Country Day School challenges students in mind, body, and spirit-for their personal growth and for the common good.
The Greenwich Country Day School is a co-educational, independent day school with 790 students enrolled in nursery through ninth grade. It is located on a 75-acre campus in Greenwich, Connecticut, a thriving residential community of 60,000 people – a quasi-country setting less than an hour from New York City. The school is fully accredited by the State of Connecticut through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of NAIS.
Country Day was founded in 1926. The original 49 students and 11 faculty members, under the leadership of Headmaster John Lynn Miner, began their fledgling enterprise in a barn on the property of William A. Rockefeller. A year later, enrollment had tripled, and The Greenwich Country Day School found a permanent home on a beautiful estate, which still functions as an integral part of the campus. Since that time, the school has provided a strong foundation for a liberal education to several generations of students from the Greenwich area.
The goal of the school is to provide our students with exceptional opportunities for academic development, intellectual growth, artistic and physical self-fulfillment and moral awareness. The faculty sets high standards of academic and personal performance, tempered by the reasonableness that emerges from an understanding of the individual child and a knowledge of developmental differences. We are committed to helping each child discover his or her intrinsic worth and talents in a stimulating and supportive environment.
The Greenwich Country Day School is divided into three distinct yet closely-related divisions. The Lower School encompasses half-day classes for three and four year olds, a full-day kindergarten and grades one through three. The Middle School includes grades four through six and the Upper School, grades seven through nine.
At every level within the school a single adult, either the homeroom teacher or an assigned or selected advisor, has oversight for each child’s social, emotional and educational well being. We maintain a pupil-teacher ratio of 7:1 and encourage teachers to support personal as well as academic growth in their relationships with students.
Opportunities for creative and practical exploration and self-expression are integral components of our program. We provide specialized teaching staffs in instrumental music, chorus, drama, woodworking, sewing, studio art, printing and computers. Each student is expected to acquire the basic skills and knowledge in these areas, and we promote and celebrate significant achievement through performances both on and off campus. Because of the emphasis on writing throughout the school and the resources of our print shop, student publications – newspapers, literary magazines and yearbooks – are important elements of our program. A tradition of class plays and declamation reflects our commitment to the skill of oral expression.
We believe that the attitudes and skills acquired through physical education and athletics are an integral part of the total educational experience, many teachers serve as coaches in all divisions of the school.
Participation, consideration of others, and service to the school and to the larger community are highly valued. Opportunities for service and leadership are provided in age-appropriate ways throughout the three divisions. The faculty recognizes its responsibility to reinforce those values and behaviors that support a civil community.
The rigorous academic program strives for a balance between thorough preparation in skills and carefully designed opportunities for experimentation and problem solving. We expect Country Day graduates to be competent in English, a foreign language, mathematics, science, history and the social sciences. We encourage our students to develop the discipline and self-confidence to take intellectual risks and seek opportunity for independent thought and action. It is our hope that they will be prepared not only for further schooling but, more importantly, for education in all guises and situations.
At this time, the faculty includes 37 men and 91 women, one third of whom hold advanced degrees. Each year over half the faculty attend graduate courses, conferences, or workshops underwritten by Country Day’s Professional Development Fund. In addition to teaching, faculty members coach sports, sponsor extracurricular activities, supervise departmental activities, and advise students. The most recent NEASC Evaluation Report on The Greenwich Country Day School stated: “The Committee quickly characterized the School as a place where the adults truly love the children, where the individual is valued for his or her self, where humor permeates the campus and where people are seriously and honestly seeking to do their best for the next generation.”
An outstanding physical plant supports a comprehensive academic and extracurricular program. The campus is the site for three large, self-contained buildings which house the separate Divisions of the School. Facilities include art studios, a wood shop, two auditoriums, two libraries with 22,000 volumes, three gymnasiums, a print shop, computer rooms, a large dining hall, 8 playing fields and 46 units of faculty housing. On-campus housing is provided for 45% of the Greenwich Country Day faculty–an unusual resource for an elementary school and an invaluable asset in attracting superior teachers. Another important campus attraction is the day care center for faculty children.
The Greenwich Country Day School is in sound financial condition. The School has a total endowment of $7.5 million. The operating budget includes more than $625,000 allocated to financial aid. The Annual Fund currently provides over 5% of the School’s operating budget.
The school is governed by a 23-member Board of Trustees, all of whom are current or former parents. In addition to the Headmaster, the administrative staff includes Heads of the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools, Admission Director, Boys and Girls Athletic Directors, Director of Development and Director of Placement, Director of Curriculum and Hiring, Director of Finance, Director of Public Relations and Publications. There is alumni/ae involvement and an active Parents Association which provides enthusiastic support to the school in many ways.
Alumni of The Greenwich Country Day School have gone on to personal and professional success as doctors, attorneys, teachers, artists, businessmen and President of the United States.
Many of our graduates attend the nation’s finest boarding and day schools. In recent years approximately 37% of the class matriculates at Greenwich High School where they have achieved recognition in both academics and extracurricular activities. Among our recent graduates are a large number of class officers, varsity team captains, and honor society members.
Virtually all the young men and women who graduate from The Greenwich Country Day School go on to pursue a college education and they are well represented at the best institutions of higher learning. For example, of the Country Day graduating class now entering college, 57% have enrolled in the “Most Selective” colleges and universities (as classified by Lovejoy’s College Guide), almost one half of which are in the Ivy League.
Alumni ties with the school remain strong. A measure of their faith – of the current parent body, 25 are Country Day alumni.
The Greenwich Country Day School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or make available to students at the School.
The Greenwich Country Day School, P.O. Box 623, Greenwich, Ct 06836-0623
(203) 863-5600 FAX: (203) 622-6046