Charleston Day School combines tradition and innovation to create a unique education experience

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Fostering scholarship, integrity, respect, and responsibility, that’s the mission at Charleston Day School.  We’re in downtown Charleston with our Cool School of the week.

Nestled within the historic landscape of downtown Charleston, you find Charleston Day School, where students are greeted with a handshake every morning.  Charleston Day School is an independent school with 260 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Their mission is to foster scholarship, integrity, respect, and responsibility in students, which happens on a daily basis in everything they do.  “This is a hidden gem, and it truly is a hidden gem tucked into Charleston,” says head of school Judith Foley Arnstein.  “It’s a broad based curriculum that treats the whole child, so everyone beginning in kindergarten has world language. We have the arts and music, in addition to the regular curriculum. We’re able to use Charleston as our classroom.  We’re a K-8 school to educate students in that age range and to have programming that allows us to go out into the community.  We’re able to visit the Dock Street.  Our kids are docents at the Gibb’s Museum.  We’re also able to coordinate with Memminger, which just a few blocks away from us, so kids from Memminger are coming over,” says Arnstein.  Eighth grade student Garrett Griffin says, “I think it helps a lot with the teachers.  They bring us out and makes the class more relaxed and just help us to learn more.”

CDS opened in 1937. The school has educated generations of families.   Arnstein says, “Ms. Tenney and Ms. Stuart decided they would start a school and wanted to provide a great education for the kids in the community, and the school has developed, and we still stay true to the traditions of the original school, but couple that with innovation now.  I think always character and integrity have been a part of the foundation of this school, and that’s something we work hard on, kids have community service opportunities.”

Charleston Day School has a commitment to service and character education.  Third grade teacher Kerry Murphy says, “One of my favorite aspects of Charleston Day school is our focus on community service and outreach.  Every single grade level has their own unique project that really instills a love for helping out in the community, and one project that we’ve done that has really take off in the last couple of years is our Read-a-thon.”  Third-grade teacher Emily Shortridge says, “We donate to the SC Aquarium and MUSC Children’s Hospital. This year we donated a little over three-thousand-dollars to both organizations.  It’s just an amazing aspect for the children to see where their hard work and reading pledges they earned go to help our state.”

The school has a Big Little program.  Fifth graders are paired with first grade students.  CDS is also proud of their sports program.  Eighth grade student  Chandler Grace Ghegan, “I think it’s a Cool School because of the community we have here, and the teachers are incredible, and they’re not just your teachers, they’re also your advisers.”  Fifth grade student John Catlett-Fernandez says, “It’s a great opportunity and great community to learn and great environment. “

Parent Margi Marks is the school’s receptionist and has a lasting connection. “All three children, and there was quite an age spread so it was numerous years.  So when the third one graduated, I knew I needed to get a job here because I couldn’t bear not to be here. “

Coming up Friday on News 2, we’ll present Charleston Day School with our Cool School award.