State of the School
On January 30, 2023, Head of School Randall Dunn, delivered the annual presentation of the State of the School to current families. He was joined by Parents Association President Rebecca Brown, Board President Leigh Geller, and members of the RCDS administrative team. Below is a summary of the presentation.
The State of the School is strong because of the TEAMWORK of our students, families, employees, and alumni. Our collective commitment to the School ensures a bright future.
— Randall Dunn, Head of School
The RCDS Experience and Spirit
Providing an excellent academic program, Rye Country Day supports students in reaching their greatest potential inside and outside the classroom. The School nurtures a love of learning in each and every student, and it prepares them to have a positive impact on their communities by demonstrating our motto, Not for Self, but for Service, in their choices and actions. Our core values bind us together and underpin our daily engagement as a united community.
The 2022-23 all-school theme of TEAMWORK calls on us to contribute our individual and collective voices and abilities to advance our mission and school community. When we collaborate and support each other, we see tangible results—and the process of achieving them is deeply enriching. When we combine all of the diverse skills, perspectives, backgrounds, and strengths in our community, we are at our strongest. Through our TEAMWORK, we are one dedicated, connected, and successful community.
Dear RCDS Community,
A new Head of School’s commitment is to preserve and extend a school’s excellence. I have been fortunate to take the helm of an institution whose previous leadership was strategic and steadfast, so the foundation upon which we are poised to grow is robust.
I am proud to report that the state of Rye Country Day School is strong because of the inspiring dedication and TEAMWORK of our students, families, employees, and alumni. Please scroll down to read my full update on the state of the School through the framework of the Head of School’s Areas of Focus for 2022-23, as well as area reports on Admissions, Finance, and Annual Giving.
If you have any questions about the 2023 State of the School report, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I greatly value your engagement and our continued, productive partnership.
Thank you for your commitment to Rye Country Day.
Head of School
- Area of Focus 1: Sustained Focus on My Transition to RCDS
- Area of Focus 2: Advance Three Significant Institution-Wide Initiatives: Strategic Plan, Master Plan, and NYSAIS Accreditation
- Area of Focus 3: Partner with Parents/Guardians
- Area of Focus 4: Engage With and Support Our Employees
- Area of Focus 5: Assess and Infuse Strategic Initiatives in the Academic Program
- Area of Focus 6: Center Health and Well-Being
- Our Team Task: Student-Centered Partnership
Current Enrollment and 2023-24 Admissions Update
Rye Country Day is fully enrolled and admission to the School remains highly competitive. The School continues to offer a comprehensive, inclusive admissions experience for prospective families. This year marked the return of our in-person Open House event in the fall, which drew a record number of attendees. In addition, campus tours and interviews, the Reflections on RCDS alumni panel, regular informational events via Zoom, and extensive digital and print communications ensure that the admissions process is warm, welcoming, engaging, and informative.
- The application pool for the 2023-24 school year is robust and it comprises impressive students who reflect the excellence we strive to preserve and cultivate at RCDS. The Admissions Committee is currently in the process of reviewing applications and is excited about the potential new additions to our community.
- The major entry points to Rye Country Day School are Pre-K, K, and Grades 4, 6, and 9. A few students are also added in Grades 5,7, 8, and 10. Entry into all other years depends on the number of spaces available. While the application deadline is December 15, the School does receive applications each year in the second round/rolling process for Middle and Upper School.
- According to NAIS, the average acceptance rate of independent day schools is 69%, 44 percentage points higher than RCDS (25%), and the average attrition rate of 12% is more than double the rate at RCDS (3.29%).
|APPLICATIONS||2021-22||2022-23||2023-24 (to date)|
|OVERALL APPLICATIONS (All Grades)||674||787||735|
|Acceptance Rate||29%||25%||In progress|
|Enrollment Yield||79%||75%||In progress|
RCDS is actively committed to maintaining a school community of students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and our extensive Financial Aid program helps to make a Rye Country Day education accessible for highly qualified students whose families have demonstrated financial need. RCDS grants approximately $6.7 million in financial aid to 16% of the student body (150 students).
Financial aid grants consider the entire expense of attending RCDS including "extra" costs such as lunch, books, school trips, and other expenses. The Financial Aid program is a mission-critical facet of the School. We believe strongly that our excellent education should be accessible to dedicated, capable students, regardless of financial status.
The RCDS Endowment continues to grow through capital and senior gift campaigns. The School also is debt-free.
|Budget Revenue||Amount||Percentage of Income|
|Unrestricted Annual Giving||$2,400,000||5.4%|
Rye Country Day, like other educational institutions, is labor intensive and thus spends the major portion of its budget (74.5%) on salaries and benefits. The Board of Trustees is committed to attracting, supporting, and retaining an outstanding faculty and staff; therefore, competitive salaries and benefits, as well as professional development funding, are critical expenditures.
|BUDGET EXPENSES||AMOUNT||PERCENTAGE OF EXPENSES|
|Operations, Facility, Maintenance, and Reserves
(Capital Repairs/Maintenance, Other, and Physical Plan Reserve)
The School annually draws 4% of a rolling twenty-quarter average from the RCDS Endowment Fund. This year, the endowment will provide $2.4 million or 5.5% of the operating budget's income.
Like other independent schools, RCDS relies on gifts from the community to help bridge the gap between total revenue and total expenses. We are fortunate to have generous and committed constituents who recognize the importance of supporting the School through Annual Giving. In the past ten years, the RCDS Annual Fund has grown from $3.5M in 2011-12 to $5.4M million in 2021-22.
During this period, the Annual Giving program has raised over $43M for the School, including over $7M for the RCDS Endowment Fund through the very successful Senior Parent Gift program.
Tradition of Strong Participation
RCDS benefits greatly from the strong culture of giving throughout the school community. According to National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) statistics, RCDS participation levels in annual giving far exceed national averages for independent day schools.
- Last year’s (2021-22) current parent participation was 86%, well above the national average of current parent participation of 66%. (Pre-COVID: Between 2014-15 - 2018-19, parent participation was over 98%). Parent participation to date shows a promising indication of returning to pre-COVID rates in 2022-23.
- Last year’s (2021-22) senior parent participation was 93%.
- RCDS’s alumni participation of 17% is almost double the national average of alumni participation (9.5%) for independent day schools.
2022-23 Annual Giving Campaign To Date (1/30/23)
In the fall of 2022, the Office of Advancement launched the 2022-23 Annual Giving Campaign that supports the day-to-day operation of the School.
- The highlight of the year was the RCDS Annual Giving Challenge, which shattered records raising a total of $3.56M from 998 donors. Incredible!
- Currently, the Annual Fund is at $3.9M. This new and exciting milestone for RCDS—the first time we have reached this number by January.
- We are extremely grateful for our community’s generous support!
For those who have not yet made their Annual Gift, there is still time to show your support for RCDS. Contribute here.