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Board Letter

Board Letter

On behalf of the Dutchess Day School Board of Trustees, I extend you a warm virtual welcome to our school.  While there’s no substitute for the sights and sounds you’ll encounter on an in-person visit, this site gives you a great sense of the school’s curriculum, facilities, programs, and philosophy.  I encourage you to browse around.

Like much of the board – and, for that matter, much of the faculty and administration – I am also a DDS parent.  My wife Jennifer and I were drawn to the school by its academic reputation and what seemed to be a unique situation: a gracious farmstead campus that retained its rural character but also had all the capabilities of a leading elementary school.  We loved the idea of a program that combined simplicity with sophistication, nature with rigor, collaboration with sportsmanlike competition.  It seemed like a place where our daughter Daisy might learn not only the academic subjects, but also lessons of responsibility and good character – all in a nurturing environment that celebrates childhood and lets kids be kids.

That was all very compelling, but it wasn’t until we stepped through the front door and experienced a school day firsthand that we knew it was where we wanted Daisy to spend the next nine years.  That moment was thrilling – and a profound relief.  After all, what bigger decision can the parents of a four-year-old make?

Today, eight years later, it is still a thrill to step through that door and into the foyer during a bustling school dismissal.  Children emerge from every direction — down the main staircase from the upper school, up the back hallway from the lower school, out of Mr. Day’s Latin classroom, through the double-doors from the science wing — on their way to their after-school activities.  And I realize, among the bulging backpacks, the sports gear, the laughter, the chatter, the heads full of that day’s new knowledge, that I know most of them – and many of them, I have known well for most of their lives.  I have watched them develop from near-babies into intellectually curious students ready to embark on a life of learning; into fine young people whose progress I have come to care a great deal about.

That, to me, is the essential Dutchess Day experience.  It is widely shared and easy to recognize, but I struggle to find the word for it.  It’s too broad and diverse to call it family, and besides, there is an overarching sense of academic purpose that makes this an unmistakably educational institution.  But at the same time, it’s too personal to call it just a school.  It’s a community, I suppose, in every sense of the word: a community of educators, a community of families, and above all, a community of children – whose perspectives, imaginations, and ambitions are being forged in this big old farmhouse.

And like any close-knit community, it becomes familiar and comfortable.  A place where children can flourish.  Like home.

I wish you the best in your search for the right school for your family.  If you’re intrigued by what you see on this site, I hope you’ll pay us a visit and experience Dutchess Day for yourself.

Doug Dundas
President, Board of Trustees