Charlotte Country Day School

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Charlotte Country Day School
Fortitudine Ac Pietate
(With Courage and Reverence)
1440 Carmel Road
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Secular
Established 1941
School district Independent
Faculty 190+
Enrollment around 1,600
Student to teacher ratio 12:1
Campus Cannon and Bissell campuses
Color(s) Green, white
Athletics 66 teams
Athletics conference NCISAA
Mascot Buccaneers
Information (704) 943-4500

Charlotte Country Day School is a private, secular school in Charlotte, North Carolina, with classes in grades Kindergarten-12. A junior kindergarten program is also offered. Applications to the school are reviewed on the basis of character, intellectual ability, emotional maturity, curiosity, and breadth of interests. The school does not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, color, handicap, or national or ethnic origin in its admissions program. Charlotte Country Day is located on two campuses, which cover a combined 113 acres (0.46 km2). Cannon Campus is the main campus and home to the Lower School (grades JK-4) and the Upper School (grades 9-12), as well as administrative offices. Bissell Campus, located on Green Rea Road, is designed specifically for the education and development of Middle School (grades 5-8) students.[1]

Charlotte Country Day School is widely considered to be one of the preeminent schools in Charlotte, and one of the top private schools in the state of North Carolina.


Founded in 1941 by Dr. Thomas Burton, the school faced initial problems in securing a permanent location large enough to house its student body; they were eventually solved. By July 1944, the school was able to buy a 2,000—volume library from the Aiken School in South Carolina. This acquisition qualified Country Day for accreditation under the guidelines of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In September 1960, the school began holding classes on the current site of Cannon Campus. In 1979, Carmel Academy partnered with Country Day, merging with CCDS soon thereafter, and its former campus became the Bissell Campus. Grades 5 through 8 are taught at this site. Country Day became an International Baccalaureate World School in August 1992.[2]

Cannon Campus[edit]

Cannon Campus for grades JK-4 and 9-12 has 15 buildings, including a full-service dining hall, two libraries, a 400-seat theater, two reading gardens, and multiple computer labs.[3] The main (Cannon) campus is highly "wired," with Wi-Fi capability throughout most of the Upper School, and high speed Internet connections in all classrooms and computer labs. Cannon Campus has about 700 computers, not including personal laptop computers; school laptops are available for check-out and school-provided laptops are provided for teachers.

The newest building is the Hance Fine Arts Center, completed in August 2004. It features four visual arts studios (out of one of which an observer can see the entire campus from the upper level floor-to-ceiling windows), a photography lab, a ceramics/3-D art studio (including the teaching of metallurgy and jewelry-making), a blackbox theater, a two-story dance studio, six soundproof music studios, and six classrooms.[4]

The campus houses the Bruton Smith Athletic Center, which has 3 full-sized basketball courts, a weight room, and a 4-lane indoor track. There is also a training and rehabilitation center. Sports facilities on Cannon Campus include 2 baseball fields, 2 fields used for P.E. and miscellaneous sports, a gymnasium, and a full length football field and track.

Lower School students have two playgrounds, an imagination garden, recently renovated art classrooms designed for small children, two dedicated science lab/classrooms, foreign language classrooms for the teaching of Spanish and French, and a community garden that provides organic produce to the dining hall.

Bissell Campus[edit]

Bissell Campus, where CCDS students in grades 5-8 attend classes, underwent extensive renovations in 2009. The 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) Dowd Science Building was completed, which added eight science lecture/lab classrooms and two general purpose classrooms. The old science building was renovated to create six foreign language classrooms. Grounds enhancements included a new entryway and fencing, a new front courtyard, and new tennis courts and practice fields.[5]

Other amenities include a sound system that allows for "town meetings," lectures, assemblies, and cheerleading routines. The 7th and 8th grade hallways and the school bookstore are built into the gymnasium's structure, providing space for the higher two grades. Fifth and 6th graders receive instruction in Rea Hall, which also is home to the school offices and nurse.

Elsewhere on Bissell Campus, the Sklut Center has two art rooms, the cafeteria, a computer lab, and the general music room. A separate building is dedicated entirely to the natural sciences. The campus also has 3 locker rooms, a playground, blacktop, and basketball courts.


Lower School[edit]

Each classroom in the Lower School includes two teachers for 20-24 students. Students also regularly visit special area classrooms for instruction in the arts (visual, music, dance, and theater), science, computer technology, foreign languages (French and Spanish), information literacy, and physical education.[6]

Classroom teachers use an inquiry-based curriculum. Each grade level completes four units of inquiry during a school year, each lasting approximately four to six weeks. The units provide opportunities for students to apply and use skills learned in other curricular areas and formulate questions and investigate important aspects of history, geography, economics, environmental science, literature and the arts, and technology. Each unit is based on a central idea that is key to understanding the world in which we all live. Special area and classroom teachers work together to ensure these units of inquiry cross many subject areas and maximize opportunities for students to make connections across and between disciplines.

At the end of fourth grade, students take part in “Exhibition,” which is a culminating group research project using the inquiry skills students have learned while in the Lower School, specifically to question, plan, gather, sort, synthesize, and evaluate.[7]

Middle School[edit]

The student to teacher ratio in middle school is 16:1.[8] In fifth and sixth grade, students take a combined language arts/social studies class, math, science, either French or Spanish, visual art, drama, a choice of band, orchestra, or general music, and daily PE. In seventh and eighth-grade, students take English, social studies, math, science, and PE. They also take a two-year foreign language sequence that is the equivalent of Level 1 in high school. French, Spanish, and Latin are offered. Each year, approximately 25-30 students choose to study Latin in addition to French or Spanish.[9] In seventh grade, students also choose a fine arts area in which to concentrate: choosing between visual art, choir, orchestra, band or drama.[10]

Since 1991, seventh and eighth grade students have been separated by gender for math instruction. In eighth grade, the social studies curriculum is dedicated to 20th Century American history.

Upper School[edit]

In order to graduate from Charlotte Country Day School, a student must have (in the Upper School):

  • 4 English credits
  • 2 foreign language credits (consecutive years in the same language)
  • 3 mathematics credits
  • 3 social studies credits (World Cultures, European History, and American History)
  • 3 science credits (Biology and two additional lab sciences)
  • 1.5 fine arts credits
  • 2 additional elective courses
  • 2 P.E. credits per year, for a total of 8 credits

School spirit[edit]

School Motto: Fortitudine Ac Pietate (With Courage and Reverence)

School Mascot: Buccaneer

School Colors: Green, Black, and White

Each year, "Spirit Week", a competition between all grades of the Upper School, is held (usually on a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). Each grade promotes a different theme daily. Wednesday is also "Can-Do" day, when students bring in cans to benefit local charities such as the Second Harvest Food Bank. Decoration Day, on Friday, concludes with a dance for each grade, the decoration and design of which is left to the individual grade levels.

Sustainability Initiatives[edit]

  • Joined the Green Schools Alliance as a charter member school, the first school in the North Carolina area.
  • Participated in the Green Schools Alliance “Green Cup Challenge” and lowered electrical consumption by 10.6%.
  • Participated in Turn Off the Lights Week and Light Bulb Giveaway Weeks.
  • Established an Environmental Stewardship Committee representing academics, operations, and administration.
  • Created a student-directed paper, can, and bottle recycling program in grades JK–12.
  • Formed student-led Environmental Clubs in Lower, Middle, and Upper School.
  • Hosted notable environmental speakers such as filmmaker and environmental activist Jeff Barrie; National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore; and author Daniel Quinn.
  • Initiated international service learning projects with an environmental focus in Costa Rica and Mexico.



Head of School: Mark E. Reed
Head of Upper School: Matthew Less
Head of Middle School: Warren Sepkowitz
Head of Lower School: Margaret P. Otey
Director of Advancement: Lauren Batten
Director of Athletics: Monica Erb
Director of Admissions: Nancy Ehringhaus
Director of Diversity Planning: Brian Wise
Director of International Studies: David Lynn
Chief Financial Officer: David Mancos

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Molly Barker - Founder of Girls on the Run, which got its start in 1996 on the Charlotte Country Day track
  • Ed Cash - Christian music singer, songwriter, musician, and producer; he has earned multiple Grammy nominations, as well as BMI Christian Music Awards, and Gospel Music Association Dove Awards
  • Frank Whitney - Federal district judge for Western North Carolina
  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez - Oscar-winning songwriter for her song "Let It Go" in the movie Frozen, an award-winning 2013 animated film.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Celebrating and Embracing the Fine Arts: 2003-04 Charlotte Country Day School Annual Report and Giving Recognition." 2004, pg. 2.
  5. ^ "Grow. Build. Accelerate: The Campaign for Students Summary and 2008-09 Annual Giving Report." 2009, pg. 7.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Hitt, Jenny. 2011. "Fourth-Grade Exhibition: The Experience is the Reward." Perspectives, Summer 2011; 22.
  8. ^ Charlotte Country Day School viewbook.
  9. ^ "The Classics are Alive," Perspectives, Winter 2011, pg. 9.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Sustainability". 

"CCDS". Charlotte Country Day school. Retrieved May 2, 2005. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°08′47″N 80°48′13″W / 35.1465°N 80.8037°W / 35.1465; -80.8037