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CDS Receives Commendations
Posted 01/31/2019 09:42PM

FCIS/SACS/FKC Evaluating Team Completes Visit

The mission of Carrollwood Day School is to create entrepreneurial thinkers for a global society. We provide strong character-based education emphasizing problem-solving skills and philanthropic understanding. Our students are prepared to be world leaders using the International Baccalaureate Programmes, cutting-edge technology, creative arts, and competitive athletics. Most importantly, CDS fosters the development of the entire student not only in academics, but also ethically, emotionally, and through social experience. Our goal is to help students discover and develop their own talents and interests and use these to better the world and themselves.


Earlier this week Carrollwood Day School hosted a comprehensive evaluation visit by a team of 12 administrators and educators representing the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC). The result of their two information gathering and evaluation visits was resoundingly positive, confirming that CDS’s preschool through college preparatory program continues to be a world-class leader in education - providing high-quality, rigorous, and mission-appropriate learning opportunities for our students.

During their visit, the evaluation team met with administrators, trustees, parents, and students; visited every classroom; examined the learning climate; and consulted with faculty and staff. The team delved into examining CDS’s overall performance and improvements in all areas, including: Mission, Governance, Strategic and Long-Term Planning, Finance, Advancement, Data and Research, Admissions, Early Childhood Programs, Academic Program, Student Life, Personnel, Safety, Security and Risk Management, and more!

Monday afternoon, the entire faculty and staff were invited to attend an all-school meeting with the administration and evaluation team. At that time the team presented its preliminary findings. A full written report will be submitted to the three accrediting bodies, FCIS, SACS and FKC for formal approval of CDS’s accreditation by these organizations. 

One of the most striking of the evaluators’ observations was “the unrivaled passion visible on our teachers’ faces and in their classrooms.” Specific commendations were given to Dr. Ryan Kelly, CDS Head of School, “for his steadfast and highly trusted leadership of the school, which has resulted in positive strides forward in multiple areas of school operation” and to the CDS teaching faculty, many of whom have been loyal to the school for many years, for being “genuinely respected and appreciated by students.” The team also recognized that faculty work together both horizontally and vertically to ensure a seamless progression of the academic and social emotional development of all children.  

The team praised the significant growth and improvements CDS has made in the 5½ years since our last accreditation. CDS has met and exceeded the special recommendations made at that time, including:

  • Increasing enrollment by nearly 25% and turning around declining enrollment at the ECC,
  • positive transformation of our athletic facilities,
  • growth of the Board of Trustees,
  • prudent fiscal management resulting in growth in cash reserves, reduction of outstanding debt, and significant capital improvements.

Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School at First Academy and Chair of the evaluation team, closed his remarks by borrowing from author John Collins to describe the story of CDS as “Good to Great.” He attributed our school’s success to the relationship between “a high-quality Head of School, high capacity Board of Trustees, and outstanding faculty” working together for the success of our students.

Reflecting on the visit and initial results of the evaluation, Head of School, Dr. Ryan Kelly commends and thanks the entire CDS community, administrators, faculty, students, parents, and trustees for their unparalleled support and dedication to Carrollwood Day School. “I am exceptionally proud of the teachers, staff, administrators, and trustees for all they did to make our visit successful.  It is truly a team effort and without all of us working in concert, CDS would not be where it is today and not have had such an outstanding visit.  CDS is certainly poised for greatness!”   

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