Friday, December 11, 2015

Explaining the Advantages of the Upper School at Gaston Day

The Gaston Day School upper school administration has taken several steps recently to make sure we explain the advantages of our upper school. We have produced five short videos that present the upper-school advantages and dispel inaccurate myths. The first of these has been sent to our
8th-grade families, and the rest of the middle and upper school will soon receive the same thing. We plan to send out one new video for each of the next five weeks of school.

Carolyn Senter and I appear in two of the videos. Carolyn talks about the myth that it easier to get into a state university from a public school than Gaston Day because their grade point scale is higher than ours. Not true. Colleges and university admissions offices always recalculate grade point averages so that they can make fair comparisons between applicants from different schools. (If you don't believe this, then call any college admissions office and ask them.) 

A second video discusses the advantage of college counseling as part of the Gaston Day School upper-school education. Most public schools do not have the resources to provide the in-depth college counseling that we do at Gaston Day. Here at GDS, Mrs. Senter oversees a thorough and coordinated college counseling program that begins in a small way in the 9th grade and then increases in time and attention as our students proceed through upper school. Gaston Day School, we believe, does a better job of helping our students with their college essays than any school, public or private, in the area.

Gaston Day parent Leslie Hodnett appeared in a third video describing the difference in college preparation that her son Kieran received at Gaston Day as compared to her two older children who did not attend school here. All three Hodnett children went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The difference is in preparation. Leslie sees Kieran enjoying his freshman year, excelling academically, and taking advantage of the full college experience because he was so well prepared. Her other two children, in contrast, spent their freshmen years trying to survive academically and to figure the whole thing out.

The last two videos are just me. I talk about my professional experience and the way in which I have benefited from being part of a powerful GDS network. So will any of our graduates who return to this area. I also reject the common assertion that Gaston Day School is not "the real world" experience that a student gets at a larger public school. Gaston Day prepares our graduates for success in college and in their professional lives. Our graduates compete and excel in the real world of college and life. Isn't this the real world that matters?

I hope you will view our videos, let us know what you think, and share them with others who might be interested. As a way of introducing this subject, we also invited all 8th-grade parents to come to a recent evening meeting in the upper dining hall of the Henry Center. There we discussed some of these same issues and others. 

Why are we going to such great lengths to discuss our advantages? The answer is we want everyone to understand just how much this school does for its upper school students. We want everyone who attends Gaston Day to graduate from here, be well prepared for college, successful in life after college, and part of the powerful GDS network. We believe so strongly in what we are doing. We want everybody to know.