North Shore Country Day School

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North Shore Country Day School
North Shore Country Day School's Logo.jpg
310 Green Bay Road
Winnetka, Illinois, Cook County, 60093-4094
United States
Coordinates 42°5′55″N 87°43′45″W / 42.09861°N 87.72917°W / 42.09861; -87.72917Coordinates: 42°5′55″N 87°43′45″W / 42.09861°N 87.72917°W / 42.09861; -87.72917
Type Private country day school
Motto Live and Serve
Religious affiliation(s) Non-denominational
Founded c.1880 (Rugby School)
1919 (1919)[1] (NSCDS)
Founder Perry Dunlap Smith
CEEB Code 144435
Head of school W. Thomas "Tom" Doar III[2][3]
Years offered JK12[4]
Gender Mixed
Age 4 to 18+
Enrollment Lower School: 194 students
Middle School: 126 students
Upper School: 213 students
Total: 534 students (2014)
Campus size 16 acres (6.5 ha)[5]
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Purple and White          [4]
Fight song "O'er the Fields" [4][6]
Team name Raiders[4]
Accreditation ISACS
Newspaper Diller Street Journal[7]
Yearbook Mirror[7]
Diller Street Theatre

North Shore Country Day School is a highly selective prep school in Winnetka, Illinois. It was founded in its current form as a coeducational school in 1919 during the Country Day School movement, though it existed as the Rugby School for Boys in the late 1800s.[1][8] While the school is founded on the idea of diversity, it has one of the highest endowments of local schools.[9] It consists of a lower school, a middle school, and an upper school.


In the 1800s, Francis King Cook opened the Rugby School for Boys in the nearby village of Kenilworth. Within the next decade, due to the opening of the fee-free Joseph Sears School, Cook moved his school to the present site today in Winnetka. Shortly after, the school reimagined itself as the Gurton School, this time for girls only. The school built three more buildings on what was then known as the Garland Estate, but by 1918-19, the school began to encounter funding difficulties. A group of parents and alumni from the Gurton School came together in 1919 with Perry Dunlap Smith to found the North Shore Country Day School for girls and boys of all ages. With the popularity of the Country Day School movement, this was seen as the next logical step for the school. The school prided itself and continues to have no class rankings and no academic awards.[10] As it became clear the Country Day school would outlast its time as a traditional school, the founder and first headmaster Perry Dunlap Smith hired Edwin Clark to redesign the school grounds. [10]

The school was one of 27 schools selected from a group of 250 candidate schools in the U.S. chosen in 1933 for alternative admission standards for admission to 200 selective colleges. As a progressive country day school, there was to be an enriched core curriculum with independent study.[11][12] The school sought to fit the curriculum to the students' needs, rather than to require a fixed course of instruction.[13][14]

At the height of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, in 1963, the school was one of 21 schools that publicly supported the Kennedy administration's policies of racial equality, stating that independent schools must offer the benefits of a quality education to all qualified students.[15]

Since the middle of the 20th century, the school has continued to excel, and despite closing its doors to borders in the 1970s, has gained an international focus, adding Mandarin Chinese to the curriculum, and since the early 2000s has maintained a relationship with its sister school Wycliffe College in England. Further, the school highly emphasises the idea of 'service-learning'.

Today the school is regarded for secondary school as an alternative to New Trier High School, and has become stereotyped as being for the wealthiest few on Chicago's North Shore.



The school follows a standard US AP curriculum, with selected subjects offered from grade 10. Should a subject not be offered, the school allows for it to be taken at nearby Northwestern University.

ACT Results[edit]

In 2014, the average ACT result for North Shore Country Day School graduates was 31 composite, 29 Math, 33 English, 31 Reading, and 30 Science. [6] The exam is marked out of 36.


After two years of research and development, the school will introduce a new timetable for the 2015-16 academic year.


Typically, NSCDS has a 100% success rate in university and college placement.[16] In 2013, 8% of graduates chose universities outside the United States.[17]


Physical education is required at all grade levels, and interscholastic competition is required of students in 6th to 11th grades. North Shore is a member of the Chicago Independent School League and competes against eight other secondary schools in the Chicago area.[18]

As of 2014, the following sports were available:[19]

  • Cross Country (coeducational varsity)
  • Field Hockey (girls: varsity, JV, middle school)
  • Football (boys: varsity, JV, middle school)
  • Golf (varsity and girls varsity)
  • Soccer (boys: varsity, JV, middle school)
  • Tennis (girls: varsity and JV)
  • Volleyball (girls: varsity, JV, freshman/sophomore, middle school)
  • Basketball (boys and girls: varsity, JV, freshman/sophomore, middle school)
  • Track & Field (boys and girls: varsity)
  • Baseball (boys: varsity, JV, middle school)
  • Soccer (girls: varsity, JV, middle school)
  • Tennis (boys: varsity, JV)
  • Track & Field (coeducational varsity, middle school)

School Grounds[edit]


  • Leicester Road

Today a private home, a house on Leicester Road in Kenilworth is all the remains of the original Rugby School for Boys.

  • Nollsea Hall (Garland Estate House)

Purchased under the Gurton School, this early 1800s Victorian house was the first school house on the present site. It was demolished in 1960, leaving its namesake only to the parking lot known as Knollsea Circle.

  • West Hall

On the west corner of the Garland Estate, it was the original coaching house of the Graland Estate. It was used as a teaching block in the time of the Gurton School and after the school's change to its present name. It was demolished to make way for a new Lower School in the late 1930s.

  • Eliot Hall

Built in 1912, this prairie-style building housed the Middle School until its demolition.


  • Leicester Hall

Given its name by the location of the preceding Rugby School, Leicester Hall was originally built at the present site of the school's tennis courts and moved in the late 1920s. Throughout the school's history, it served as teaching rooms, a boarding house, and today serves as the alumni and press office.

  • Dunlap Hall (Upper School House)

Built in 1922 as part of the school's master plan drawn up by Edwin Clark, this is the largest and most prominent building on the campus, and today is home to the majority of Upper School teaching, as well as the headmaster's office. It undertook a complete gutting and renovation in 2011.

  • Arts Center

Serving the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools, the Arts Center was built in 1965 in place of one of the old gyms and comprises various visual arts, choral, and theatrical studios. It was built between the Diller Street Theatre and the West Gymnasium and connects the two buildings. The lower level currently houses the school's newer dining facilities.

  • Louis Conant Science Center

The latest building on campus, first built in 1955 exclusively as the Middle School, the Louis Conant Science Center is home to not only science labs and teaching rooms, but also the Middle School facilities. After the 2011 renovation of Upper School House, the Science Centre has also contained the school's entire library collection, some of which was previously held in the original fourth floor library of the Upper School. The library was first partially built in this location in the 1970s.

  • Lower School Building

Not in keeping with the master architectural plan, the building was designed in the 1930s based on staff and student input.

  • Mac McCarty Gymnasium

Named for a noted teacher and coach, the Gym is directly east of the Upper School. It was constructed in the 1960s into the hill upon which the school is located.

  • West Gymnasium

The West Gym is the school's original, smaller, and older gym. Built in 1924, it is now used for sporting activities by the Lower School.

  • Diller Street Theatre

A large Georgian-style auditorium and theatre, renovated in 2014 with the Arts Center. It sits at the center of the school grounds and is the main site for drama productions and school ceremonies.

  • John Almquist Gallery

In the cellar of the Diller Street Theatre and Lower School, the Gallery is frequently used for local artist events. It has recently been used to display art from Lower Schoolers.

  • The Farmhouse

Situated on the north-west corner of the campus, today it is the private home of academic staff.

  • School Quad

Located between the Mac McCarty Gymnasium and Dunlap Hall, the Quad provides an open outdoor space for Upper School staff and students and is host to many events year round. During the 2010-2011 academic year, it was host to the trailers that made up the Upper School whilst Dunlap Hall was renovated.

  • Sports Grounds

The school has an extensive sports grounds, host to a swimming pool (located near Leicester Hall), a soccer field, a football field, and tennis courts.


  • Music Institute of Chicago

In the second half of the 20th century while under financial troubles, the school leased the land in front of Knollsea Circle to the Music Institute of Chicago for 99 years. The school has plans to redevelop the site when the lease is up.

Notable Alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  2. ^ "Directory". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Administration - General. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Welcome". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Fast Facts". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  5. ^ "Our Campus". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b "Publications". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  8. ^ "Old-fashioned progressive." Time Apr. 5, 1954. retrieved November 21, 2006
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Hinchliff, William (Fall 1998). "North Shore Country Day School". The Gazette (Winnetka, Illinois: Winnetka Historical Society). Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  11. ^ "High Schools Begin A Big Experiment; Group Named to Test Newer Methods Under a Revised College Entrance Plan. 200 Colleges To Assist Units Scattered Over the Country Join in Effort to Systematize Student's Educational Career." By Wilford M. Aikin, Chairman Commission on the Relation of School and College. The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: June 4, 1933. pg. E7
  12. ^ "'Progressives' Hail New Type School; Advocates of 'Unshackled' Preparation Say Students Met College Tests. Entered Without Credits Records of 332 Men, Women In 18 Institutions Are Offered for Comparison. Social Problems Emphasized." By Eunive Barnard. The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: August 1, 1937. pg. 77
  13. ^ "Tiny College Offers New Teaching Course; Illinois Institution Trains the Students to Aid Creative Ability of Children," The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: November 21, 1937. pg. 5
  14. ^ [1] Aikin, Wilford M. Adventure In American Education Volume I: The Story of the Eight-Year Study" Publisher: Harper and Brothers;New York and London. 1st edition (1942). ASIN: B000CEBXUU. retrieved November 20, 2006
  15. ^ "Private Schools Support Equality; Racial Statement Backed by 21 Secondary Educators", The New York Times. New York, N.Y.: September 1, 1963. p. 43
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Philosophy". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  19. ^ "Team Pages". Winnetka, Illinois: North Shore Country Day School. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  20. ^ "North Shore Country Day School - Mirror Yearbook (Winnetka, IL) - Class of 1930",
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links[edit]