Serving the Whole Student
From the very start we were determined to look at education differently – that includes our definition of success. So while the federal government, state government, school districts and individual schools focus on test scores and other measures of academic achievement, we focus instead on the only metric that matters: what kinds of people our school produces.
We educate students in PreK through eighth grade. But our strategy started by envisioning our alums as 27-year-olds. At that age, we have a pretty good indication of what kind of people they’re going to be long-term. (In fact, brain science tells us the frontal lobe isn’t fully developed until the age of 27.)
And at that age we’ll conduct the final round of data-collecting in a longitudinal study that will track our students’ progress. So, what do we envision our 27-year-olds will be? Our goal is that at least 80 percent of them are …
- Successful by their own definition
- Physically and mentally healthy
- Living lives of character and integrity
- Financially independent
- Established in a career
Once we determined the finish line, we set out creating research-based milemarkers – starting with 4-year-olds – that will ultimately create the intended outcomes and ultimately pull families out of generational poverty.
GDS’s Core Values:
- Student-first, student-centered
- Dream big; work hard
- Ownership by everyone
- Do the right thing
Who We Serve
The Greater Dayton School serves a cross-section of under-resourced students in Montgomery County. Too many families in our community toil in near the poverty line while wanting something better for their kids. Single moms. Working poor. Parents who struggle to adequately advocate for their children, or provide them with the full breadth of resources necessary to set them up for adult success.
- Students whose parents want – but can’t afford – a transformational whole-child educational experience for them.
- Students whose families have been impacted by generational, not situational, poverty.
- Students whose families are committed to supporting their development.
- Students whose families are seeking a racially-diverse educational environment.
- Students with special needs.
GDS is 100-percent focused on 100 percent of the child. We realize “what’s best for kids” can mean a variety of things. What’s best academically? Socially? Emotionally? Physically? All, we believe, are equally important. On this point, we don’t settle.
So instead of setting our budget and deciding what we can afford to provide our students – like nearly every school does – we reverse engineer our budget.
What do under-resourced kids need to reach the audacious adult goals we’ve set for them?
Academic interventions? For sure. Extended-day and extended-year programming? Ideally. Low student-to-teach ratios? You bet. Nutrition and fitness? Counseling? Healthcare? Vision? Dental? Family services to help stabilize the home environment? Alumni services to make sure they get to and through the right high schools and colleges for them?
To all that – and more – the answer is yes.
All these wraparound services cost more than $30,000 per student per year – about three times the average cost of educating a student in Ohio. But that is our commitment.
By the numbers …
- Grades: PreK-8
- Enrollment: 400, with the capability to grow to 600
- Annual budget: $8-$10 million
- Campus cost: $50 million
- Fall 2022: Opened with grades PreK-3
- 2028: First graduating class
- 2041: First alums reach age 27