At ACDS, the social and emotional well-being of all our students is of primary importance. One simply has to walk into a classroom or see students interacting with one another at recess or in the hallway to feel the nurturing and supportive climate. Character education and building self-esteem are woven in throughout the school day through the use of Responsive Classroom in the Lower School and Developmental Designs in the Middle School.

Lower School students begin their day with a morning meeting in which every child is greeted by name. There is also an activity meant to teach a certain social skill or work on character education. In the Middle School, students are assigned an advisor and meet with their small advisory group of approximately ten students first period each morning. These meetings are used for Circle of Power and Respect (CPR). A key component of the Developmental Designs program, CPR periods are carefully designed to give students and teachers opportunities to engage in conversations and activities that build character and community. The sessions explore the difficult and somewhat ambiguous ethical situations that are present in our school, our community, and around the world. Combined with the important and informal interactions that take place during the day, teachers and students have significant time each day to build strong relationships that help them grow.

The Leadership Programs at ACDS also help enhance the character education and social/emotional development. Middle School students have the opportunity to join the Student Council, the Social Leadership group, or the Student Service Leadership group, and may also serve as an Admissions Ambassador.

ACDS also has a licensed counselor on staff three days a week to support students individually or in small groups, offer consultation to teachers, and provide guidance for parents as needed.