The Davidson Green School has an integrated curriculum that entwines all subject areas so that lessons are not taught in isolation, but explored across content areas to give students a rich understanding of the topic being taught. Teachers use an exploratory learning model that encourage students to be active learners who are able to create and find information, ideas and concepts through exploration of the world and communities in which they live. Exploratory units may last anywhere from two to six weeks, allowing students to feel complete in their understanding of the topic/concept being taught.
DGS middle school uses a Flipped Learning model. Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the teacher guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.
Throughout each middle school year, starting in 6th grade, students will participate in the following keystone components of the middle school experience:
The Extended Wilderness Experience:
This experience is a multi night adventure into the woods. In preparation for these trips, we provide instruction on backpacking, safety in the wilderness, strategic food and gear packing and “Leave No Trace” camping ethics. Out on the trails, students learn experientially about backcountry meal preparation, map reading, topography, tarp set-up, and knot tying. This trip is usually scheduled early in the school year with the added goal of group cohesiveness and bonding.
The Extended Learning Field Trip (ELFT):
This is one of the most impactful experiences of the year. Students actively participate in decisions about where to go and what to do on the ELFT based on what they have been studying for the year. They help make the contacts, arrangements for lodging and meals, and learning goals. During field trips, students significantly expand their social and practical skills. They learn to meet and work with new people, adapt to new settings and step out of their comfort zone, respect others, on-the-road planning skills, and how to contribute positively to group dynamics. This trip is scheduled towards the end of the school year as a natural outcome and connection to the year of learning.
Each middle school student will participate in one or more externship each year. These can vary from a few days long to a few weeks. The purpose of the externship can vary with the student’s interest or age, time of the year, or curriculum connections. The important piece of the externship is for the student to learn from an authentic experience and from an expert in the field. (What is the difference between an externship and an internship?)
The service learning component provides an opportunity for the middle schoolers to give back to our community and to help those in need. The students work together to complete a community project, which is typically a week long. For example, students may help maintain greenways, conduct roadside cleanup, plant a garden, provide assistance to elders, and work with local nonprofit organizations.
Portfolio and End of Year Product:
Throughout the school year, the middle schoolers will compile a portfolio of their work and learning. This will show not only their best work from the year, but also the growth from throughout the year. In addition, by the end of the school year, each student will produce a finished product of some sort. This might be a published poem, an app, a robot, a play, an invention, or a film which is created for and may be presented to an audience beyond the DGS community.
NC Region 6 Science Fair:
Each middle school student will research, prepare, and present a project at the NC Region 6 Science Fair held annually at UNC-Charlotte. The effort requires a reflective, ongoing, and cross-curricular dialog between teacher & student and among peer groups. Participation in this project helps students to more fully appreciate and invest in the scientific process, to report on a topic they find engaging, and to explore the findings of their peers.
The Upper Elementary Program is a community of learners and leaders. The mission of this program is to provide a holistic education to all students. This vision is accomplished through an integrated curriculum and daily, practical experiences sensitive to the developmental levels within the age range.
The Upper Elementary curriculum is a bridge to abstract learning. The students are guided to mastery of fundamental skills and basic core knowledge through personal development and self-discovery. Students are actively engaged in the planning and designing of their individual goals and are empowered to follow personal interest and inspiration. Students are also afforded time to create individualized units of study and to engage in individual or collaborative research. Related topics are studied together and connections are emphasized. There is a particular emphasis on science, sustainability, engineering, entrepreneurism, and environmental studies, along with language arts, math, and history.
The program promotes independent thinking and creativity. Students are supported in visual and performing arts. Other valuable life lessons such as how to work and communicate with others, solve conflicts peacefully, teach and lead others, service the community, and having social and personal responsibility are supported, creating a strong and well-rounded learning environment for all.
The Upper Elementary Program enjoys getting into the community often and using local resources. These students take class walking trips to the Davidson Public Library, to Davidson College, and to downtown Davidson. These students are also able to take monthly field trips to support areas of study, such as to the local news station, to theaters, to museums, to local farms, and periodically on over-night trips.
The elementary curriculum was developed as an integrated whole to serve the developmental needs of children from ages 6 to 11. The continuity from lower elementary to upper elementary allows the individual child to move through the various subject areas at the pace that is best for them, building confidence and genuine self-esteem. The division of the elementary into two stages, 6-9 year olds and 9-11 year olds is based on the students’ developmental needs as they move towards adolescents, and into our Middle School program. The work in the lower elementary is done with extensive Montessori materials allowing the children not only to experienced the depth and breadth of the curriculum, but also to become comfortable with their own learning styles. The overall goal of the Lower Elementary is to provide a prepared environment that meets the needs and tendencies of the child at this stage of their development
The structure and curriculum for the primary class is where Montessori, Play-based Learning, and Forest Kindergarten come together.
Davidson Green School’s primary class will focus on the development of the whole child. In keeping with our overall philosophy of the school, children in the primary class will be enriched with the science, engineering, and sustainability focus of the school in a developmentally appropriate way. The primary class will also spend as much time outside as possible in the beautiful three acres surrounding the school in downtown Davidson.
The primary class consists of two options.
Primary Half is a half-day program 5 days per week. This program is for students who turn 3 or 4 on or before August 31st, and runs from 9:00 to 1:00 each day.
Primary K is kindergarten and runs for a full day, 5 days per week. This program is for students who turn 5 on or before August 31st, and runs from 9:00 to 3:00 each day.
Students must be fully potty trained before entering into the Primary classroom. (Look here for our Potty Trained Definition and Policy.) All students in the primary class eat lunch at DGS. All lunches and snacks are packed from home and must be healthy and peanut-free.
Need something for your Primary Half student to do from 1:00 to 3:00?
Ask about the independent program, Forest Exporers.
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Admission to Davidson Green School is based on an application process that will look at each student individually to see if Davidson Green School is a good fit for that student and family.
Step by Step Admissions:
1. Parents or guardians attend an information session.
If this is not possible, please contact the school to schedule a private meeting.
2. Parents or guardians fill out the application and pay the application fee of $80.
3. Parents or guardians schedule a day for the student to visit the school. We like for a student to visit a full day for students entering into 1st grade and up. For younger students, an appropriate amount of time will be discussed and scheduled accordingly.
4. Family provides DGS with school records and a teacher recommendation.
Admission Timeline for the 2024-2025 school year
Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 - New family tours, applications accepted, and student visits.
January 20, 2024 - Returning Student agreements and deposit due (nonrefundable)
Mar. 1 - New Applicants notified of admission decisions (or before)
*New student tuition agreement/deposit due (nonrefundable) 72 hours after notice of acceptance
Tuition and Fees for 2023-2024
Primary Half-Day total = $9153
Tuition ($8743) + Fee* ($250) + Student Supplies ($85) + Field Trips ($75)
Field trip costs include periodic day trips spread throughout the year.
Primary Kindergarten total = $13,350
Tuition ($12,590) + Fees** ($600) + Student Supplies ($85) + Field Trips ($75)
Field trip costs include periodic day trips spread throughout the year.
Lower Elementary Grades 1st through 3rd = $13,875
Tuition ($12,590) + Fees** ($600) + Student Supplies ($85) + Field Trips ($600)
Field trip costs include a one-night trip in the fall to Rockmont, a two-night overnight trip in the spring to Lake Logan, and monthly field trips.
Upper Elementary Grades 4th through 5th = $14,050
Tuition ($12,590) + Fees** ($600) + Student Supplies ($85) + Field Trips ($775)
Field trip costs include a two night trip in the fall to the beach, a two night trip in the spring to Green River Preserve and monthly field trips.
Middle School Grades 6th through 8th = $14,803
Tuition ($13,943)*** + Student Supplies ($85) + Field Trips ($775)
Field trip costs include a two-night trip in the fall (community building and varies), a two night wilderness trip in the spring and monthly field trips. Field trip costs DO NOT include the extended learning trip for which the students raise the money.
Enrollment deposit: 10% of tuition (nonrefundable and will be applied to tuition).
*Infrastructure fee for all students going 5 days per week: $250.
**Hands-on project materials fee for K – 5: $350 (nonrefundable and due at the time of enrollment).
***There are no fees for middle school. However, students are asked to bring a laptop to school.
Sibling discount: $300 for first sibling, $500 for second sibling and every sibling thereafter (prorated after the first day of school)
Early payment discount: $400 (to receive this discount, families must pay the full tuition before the first day of school)
GREEN initiative discount: Families who commit to arriving at school by way of a non-vehicular method, or families who commit to carpooling with at least one other family can receive a $100 tuition discount. (Please request this in writing at time of enrollment.)
Davidson Green School adheres to the following nondiscrimination policy:
Davidson Green School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Davidson Green School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, or other school-administered programs.
We know you love what you've read. What else are you wondering? Look here for frequently asked questions and contact us for all else!
How can I learn more about DGS?
Attending an upcoming information session is a great way to meet us, see our space, and to get all your questions answered. It is also the first step in our admissions process. All parents/guardians are asked to visit the school before submitting an application. If the information session days and times do not work for you, please feel free to make a private appointment. We love showing people our school home and all we do here!
What is a typical day like at DGS?
The best way to peek into DGS is to visit our Blog, Facebook page or Instagram page for a glimpse into our everyday activities and philosophies. Also, feel free to make an appointment to visit during a typical school day to see us in action.
What are school hours at DGS?
Middle School and Upper Elementary students should arrive at school between 8:15 am and 8:30 am each morning. Lower Elementary students should arrive at school between 8:30 am and 8:45 am and Primary students should arrive at school between 8:45 am and 9:00 am.
All students except Primary students are dropped off at the side of the school by the kitchen door and wooden ramp. Drop-off for Primary students is at the back of the building at the door to the Primary classroom.
For Primary half-day students, pick-up is between 1:10 and 1:15 pm. For Lower Elementary and Kindergarten students, pick-up time starts at 3:00 pm and ends promptly at 3:15 pm. For Upper Elementary and Middle School students, pick-up starts at 3:15 pm and ends promptly at 3:30 pm.
Pick-up for Primary half-day students is at the back of the building at the door to the Primary classroom. All other students are picked up at the side of the school by the kitchen door and wooden ramp.
How is food and food allergies handled at DGS?
All students eat a snack and lunch at DGS, and all snacks and lunches must be brought from home. Also, each child is expected to have a full water bottle each day. We determine if a food will be banned from DGS according to our population each year. If we have a student with a severe allergy to any food, we will ban that food from school.
How are your multi-age classrooms structured?
Our multi-age approach in all classes is similar to the Montessori approach. We have four levels (or classes) in our school:
Primary is ages 3 and 4, and kindergarten
Lower Elementary is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
Upper Elementary is 4th and 5th
Middle School is 6th, 7th, and 8th
Do you plan on becoming a charter school?
No, we do not have any intention of becoming a charter school. Our plan is to remain a private school.
Do you plan to go beyond Middle School?
No, we plan to remain a k-8 school. This model provides the strongest environment for middle school students for many reasons. In a k-12 school, high school programs and facilities receive most of the school’s attention and resources. At DGS, k-8 is the focus of all we do. Our middle schoolers receive the attention and resources they deserve. Furthermore, our middle schoolers get to be the leaders of the school which is usually reserved for high schoolers, and through these opportunities develop strong leadership and interpersonal skills. In addition, our middle schoolers do not face the trickle down effect of high school social pressures. In our relatively protected environment, our middle school students can enjoy the last years of their childhood without the heavy influences of social pressures, which makes the entry into adolescence less stressful for boys and girls. At DGS, your pre- and early teen will be fully supported by teachers who deeply understand who they are and, in many cases, have known them for years. This model at DGS sets your child up to enter high school academically, socially, and emotionally ready to take on the next challenge.