Gift is largest ever. School will use the gift to build on recent successes and support ongoing advancement.
Alexandria, Va., September 2, 2014 – Today, Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS), a leading K-8 independent school, announced a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor, the largest in the school’s 31-year history. The gift will be used to support ACDS’ recently adopted five-year strategic plan, particularly ongoing curriculum and instruction enhancements, professional development for teachers and staff, interior and exterior improvements and building the school’s endowment. The gift was announced on the eve of the first day of the 2014-2015 school year, at an assembly attended by students, parents, teachers, staff and other supporters of ACDS. A webcast of today’s event is available here: ustream.tv/channel/acdspublic
“This tremendously generous gift presents an unparalleled opportunity for our school,” said Scott Baytosh, Head of School at ACDS. “It speaks volumes about the kind of learning institution that we are and is indicative of the kind of passion and commitment our community shares about our school.”
“When I came to ACDS two years ago, I was proud to join one of the premier K-8 educational institutions in the DC metro region. I was encouraged by the unique and vibrant environment among not only our teachers and students, but the entire ACDS extended family, from parents to alumni. Now, with this gift, we have the ability to immediately move forward with a number of strategic advancements and to build on many key improvements already underway. In doing so, we intend to keep top of mind the things that matter most to us here at ACDS – from small class sizes, to encouraging independent learning, to fostering a sense of authenticity.”
The gift comes alongside significant recent momentum at ACDS, including:
- Rising Enrollment: 50 new enrollments for the 2014-2015 school year compared with 31 new students in 2013, as well as a decrease in attrition.
- Strong High School Acceptance Rate: Over the past five years, 81% of graduating students who apply to independent high schools have been accepted into their first choice.
- Enhanced Curriculum:
- Developmental Designs: introduced into the Middle School in 2012-2013 to help students establish a blend of good relationships, social skills, and engagement with learning.
- 1:1 iPad program: expanded to all students in grades 3-8 in 2013-2014.
- Math in Focus, the American version of Singapore Math: introduced in 2013-2014, as well as adding an online learning program through Stanford University for middle school students who are particularly advanced in math.
- STEM curriculum: first used in 1st and 6th grades in 2013-2014 and will be expanded in 2014.
- Reading and Writing Workshop: intensive professional development effort launched in spring 2014 as the foundation for ACDS’ Language Arts curriculum.
- New Leadership Team: Along with the arrival of Scott Baytosh as Head of School in July 2012, several key positions across the school also have found new leadership, and these leaders have been instrumental in continuing to strengthen the ACDS program.
- Most Successful Fundraising Year: ACDS runs an Annual Fund to raise unrestricted funds for the annual operating costs of the school that are not covered by tuition. The 2013-2014 Annual Fund was the most successful in school history with $207,576 raised and 90% parent participation. This was up from $170,549 raised and 80% parent participation in 2012-2013.
- New Website, Logo and Marketing Materials: Working with a committee of parents, trustees, and faculty members, ACDS chose a new graphic identity and logo, now being used in and around the school and in published materials.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled about the direction in which ACDS is headed,” said Jeff Loveng, President of the Alexandria Country Day School Board of Trustees. “This gift is a strong vote of confidence in the standout excellence of ACDS and the leadership of Scott Baytosh. The school’s continued success was already assured, but this generous gift will go a long way to writing ACDS’ exciting next chapter.”
The gift will support advancements in three key areas:
- Enhancements to the Curriculum/Instruction: Building on the success of the past two years, ACDS will continue to strengthen its curriculum and instruction:
- Curriculum: ACDS will continue to expand its Math In Focus program; Middle School Math program; STEM program; 1:1 iPad program; Language Arts instruction, which uses Reading and Writing Workshop as its core curriculum; and more.
- Instruction: Teachers will be provided with new professional training opportunities and better resources and materials.
- Improvements to the Campus Interior/Exterior: ACDS has contracted both a landscape architect and an interior architect who specializes in innovative classrooms and learning spaces for areas of improvements that include:
- Classrooms: A redesign of classrooms to allow for more effective instruction and space utilization. These redesigns will be guided by input from teachers as well as the latest thinking and best practices on innovative classroom learning.
- School Entryway: A redesign of the school entryway to create a welcoming and user-friendly environment that is reflective of the school community.
- Library: Improvements to the library will highlight the inherent beauty of the space and make the facility more useable for the K-8 students.
- Playfield: Adding synthetic turf to the existing field to create an area less susceptible to inclement weather and allow for more outdoors play.
- Landscape Master Plan: A comprehensive landscape master plan will enable ACDS to enhance the look and appeal of its campus and further beautify the dramatic location the school occupies on Russell Road.
- Building the School’s Endowment: A portion of the gift will be dedicated to building the school’s endowment to help the school continue to excel in educating students for years to come.
About Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS)
Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS) is a leading K-8 independent school located in the Del Ray community of Alexandria, Virginia. ACDS was founded in 1983 by a group of visionary educators and committed parents who were dedicated to quality education and interested in providing an environment where children could develop their full potential. In 1991, having grown too large for its original location, ACDS moved into its present facility, the former site of St. Mary’s Academy. As an educational community, ACDS values academic excellence, character, independent thinking, citizenship, and respect for others. ACDS seeks to inspire creativity, enthusiasm for learning, and confidence in its students through a stimulating academic program, athletics, the arts, and community service.