Savannah Country Day School

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Savannah Country Day School
824 Stillwood Drive
Savannah, Georgia 31419-2643
United States
Type Private, day, college-prep
Motto Usus Per Scientiam Moresque
(Service through knowledge and character[1])
Established 1955
Headmaster Kef L. Wilson
Staff 77
Faculty 231
Grades PK12
Gender Co-educational
Enrollment 977 (2016-17)
 • Kindergarten 39
 • Grade 1 50
 • Grade 2 54
 • Grade 3 67
 • Grade 4 61
 • Grade 5 64
 • Grade 6 75
 • Grade 7 91
 • Grade 8 60
 • Grade 9 67
 • Grade 10 66
 • Grade 11 73
 • Grade 12 62
Average class size 70
Campus size 65 acres
School color(s) Green and gold
Athletics conference GHSA
Mascot The Hornet
Nickname Hornets
USNWR ranking 1

The Savannah Country Day School (SCDS, Country Day) is an independent college preparatory school founded in 1955 in Savannah, Georgia, United States. The co-educational school serves students from pre-kindergarten through to twelfth grade, and has 977 students enrolled.[2]


Vintage Pape School photo

Savannah Country Day School originates from the founding of the Pape School by Nina Anderson Pape in 1905. Savannah Country Day School itself was founded in 1955 by a group of parents, with the school taking over the assets and faculty of Pape School, including the facilities east of Forsyth Park, and the school's curriculum.[3] In 1960, the school moved to its current Windsor Park location, south of Savannah. A book titled Service Through Knowledge and Character details the school's history.[4] The first headmaster was Robert W. Trusdell and first upper school principal was Thomas Triol, whose wife Helen taught chemistry and physics.

In 1983, Dr. Paul M. Pressly became the school's headmaster. A Rhodes scholar who earned degrees from Princeton University, Harvard University and Oxford University, Dr. Pressly helped develop a long-range plan for the school.[5]

In 1991, a visiting committee from the U.S. Department of Education named Country Day a National School of Excellence, one of only ten independent schools in the nation to receive that award.[6] The school was honored by the Blue Ribbon Schools Program in December 1992.[7]

In 2013, Kef L. Wilson became the school's new headmaster.[8] He is the eighth headmaster since the school's inception in 1905.[9]


Savannah Country Day School continues founder Nina Anderson Pape's mission to "educate the whole child",[10] and emphasizes academics, character development and community service. Savannah Country Day School has been named "Best Private School" by Savannah Magazine[11] and has been honored as the "Best Private School" by Connect Savannah.[12]

The curriculum is divided between lower school (pre-kindergarten to fifth grade), middle school (sixth grade to eighth grade), and upper school (ninth grade to twelfth grade). The average class size is sixteen students with a student:teacher ratio of 10:1.[2]

The school offers 20 Advanced Placement (AP) courses.[2] For graduation, twenty 20 Carnegie Units are required, which include the study of English, mathematics, history, science, foreign languages, physical education and health, and fine arts.[13]

A "Little School" exists for children between the ages of six weeks and three years.[14] The school also offers summer programs for children in the form of day camp experiences. Activities include academics, arts, athletics, and outdoor experiences.[15]


Tuition payments apply to all year groups, with financial aid grants available.

The school has an acceptance rate of 50%.[2] Savannah Country Day School does not discriminate and admits students of any race, color, creed, sex or national and ethnic origin.[16]


Savannah Country Day School's campus is located on a wooded 65-acre campus on Savannah's south side in the Windsor Forest neighborhood.[17] In 2005, the school completed construction on the Nina Anderson Pape Middle School building.[18] In 2008, the school officially opened a new LEED Silver-certified lower school.[19]

Fine arts[edit]

The fine arts program at Savannah Country Day School exposes students to visual art, general music, choral music, dance, jazz band, theatre, drama, photography, orchestra and technology-based visual arts.[20] The program is primarily performance and studio-based, culminating in public exhibits and performances.

In 2011, the Savannah Country Day School chorus was one of 14 choirs selected to perform Handel's "Messiah" live at Lincoln Center in New York.[21] The show was reviewed by The New York Times, which described it as a "full-throttle" experience.[22]

In 2013, the Varsity Jazz band performed live on Carnival's Sensation ship during a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.[23]

In 2016, the three Savannah Country Day School orchestras were the only school in the United States to be selected to perform at Universal Studios.

Environmental stewardship[edit]

Students with vegetables from the organic garden

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Country Day as a Green Ribbon School in honor of its commitment to environmental stewardship.[24] In 2011, the school was given the nation's first Green Flag award by the National Wildlife Federation.[25]

In 2008, the school dedicated the first Silver LEED-certified lower school in Chatham County.[26] The 52,500-square-foot lower school building includes the following environmental features:[27]

  • Non-toxic paint and carpet
  • A roof system to catch and store rain in an underground cistern, then used to water the gardens
  • Energy saving windows
  • Carpets, paints and cabinets with reduced volatile organic compounds
  • Surrounding landscaping and gardens with plants and shrubbery requiring minimal water
  • An 800-gallon aquacenter
  • A butterfly garden equipped with cameras to show the different stages of butterflies
  • Countertops made from recycled material
  • Low-water urinals and water heads

Since the school's first vegetable garden was planted in the 1970s, the school has expanded to include a Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Fruit Garden, Brown Thumb Garden, Monet Garden, Organic Spot, Shakespeare Garden and Pangaea Garden. Throughout the school year, third-grade students plant, tend, harvest and eat fruits and vegetables grown on campus in the SCDS cafeteria. Students also donate vegetables from the garden to a local food bank.[28]


The Savannah Country Day School motto, "Service Through Knowledge and Character", places an emphasis on community service and service learning.[29]

Recent SCDS service activities include:[29]

  • Second Harvest Food Bank Food Drive
  • Service Learning
  • Red Cross Blood Drive
  • Relay for Life
  • Ronald McDonald House Meal Preparation

Student activities[edit]

Academic competition[edit]

  • Math Team
  • Mock Trial
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Science Bowl


  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Sailing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Clubs and organizations[edit]



  1. ^ "Who We Are: Mission & Philosophy". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Savannah Country Day School". Private School Review. February 3, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Who Are We: History". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Service Through Knowledge and Character". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 84
  6. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 86-87.
  7. ^ "Savannah school wins recognition for excellence". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 25, 1992. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Names Head of School," Savannah Morning News, October 31, 2012, [1].
  9. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Names Head of School", Savannah Morning News, October 31, 2012,
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Best of Savannah," Savannah Magazine, September/October 2012,
  12. ^ "Best of Savannah 2009: City Life," Connect Savannah,
  13. ^ "Academics (Upper School): Curriculum". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  14. ^ "School Life: The Little School". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  15. ^ "School Life: Summer Programs". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Savannah and Hilton Head by Rich Wittish and Betty Darby
  18. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 86
  19. ^ "Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county," Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008,
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Savannah Country Day Chorus Performs at the Lincoln Center," Savannah Morning News, December 5, 2011,
  22. ^ "Unfurling Hallelujahs at Full Throttle," New York Times, November 29, 2011,
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Honored," Savannah Morning News, April 26, 2012,
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county," Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008
  27. ^ "Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county," Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008
  28. ^ "Savannah Country Day Students Lend a Hand to Second Harvest," WSAV-TV, February 3, 2012,
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^ "Academics, Upper School". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]