Frequently Asked Questions

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Choosing RCDS

What is the RCDS Mission and Philosophy?

Can you explain the RCDS curriculum?

RCDS has three divisions, each focused on the different cognitive and emotional needs of students as they progress from early childhood to pre-adulthood. The Lower School offers a nurturing environment that focuses on citizenship skills; the Middle School is structured to be responsive to students in a transitional time; and the Upper School models a vigorous and affirming environment that prepares students to achieve excellence at the college level.

Curriculum Guides

Where can I find the Parent-Student Handbook?

Will my child be successful at Rye Country Day?

Our philosophy states, "A superior education embraces the concept that to educate is to do more than to teach. We regard the student as a whole person and seek to assist each in fulfilling his or her potential for personal growth by providing an environment that nourishes cultural, social, and physical needs, as well as moral and ethical sensitivities, thus helping our young men and women to define an image of themselves that they can accept and respect."

A phrase commonly repeated at RCDS is that we never allow students to “slip through the cracks.” We approach our students as individuals, nurturing their unique abilities and challenging each to do his or her best. With an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, our teachers have the ability to know and connect with their students. Each student has a team of adults, comprising teachers, administrators, advisors, and parents, that works closely together in creating a robust support network for the child. RCDS offers a multitude of academic and co-curricular activities so that all students can explore and discover the areas in which they thrive.

What does this success mean for our students after they leave Rye Country Day? RCDS students are accepted into and flourish at the best colleges and universities around the world. Over the course of the last five years, Rye Country Day has sent the most students to the following schools:

  1. Cornell University
  2. University of Pennsylvania
  3. Harvard University
  4. New York University
  5. Colgate University
  6. Georgetown University
  1. Washington University in St. Louis
  2. Brown University
  3. Vanderbilt University
  4. Duke University
  5. University of Michigan
  6. University of Southern California

For a complete list of college matriculation choices, click here.

Beyond college, our tight-knit alumni network is filled with leaders in their fields who reach out and support each other both professionally and personally throughout their lives. We know, because we keep in touch with them, that they are tremendously accomplished.

So, in short, yes. We think your child will be successful here.

What time does the academic day begin and end?

Pre-Kindergarten: Starting in 2019-20, the Pre-K program will run for the full day from 8:15 a.m. - 3:05 p.m.

K - Grade 4:
8:15 a.m. - 3:05 p.m.

Grades 5-6:
8:05 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Grades 7-8:
8:05 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.

Grades 9-12: 8:05 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Can you explain the six-day cycle?

All three divisions of RCDS operate on a six-day cycle rather than a five-day week. This system of class rotation gives students more time to pursue elective courses, meet with teachers, schedule co-curricular activities, and connect with friends. To see what day of the cycle it is, view the school calendar.

What is the laptop program?

Each student in Grades 7-12 is required to have his or her own laptop computer for use in school and at home. A new student in Grades 7-12 can purchase a laptop through the school-endorsed Apple/IBM educational laptop program for approximately $1200 (includes a three-year warranty) or can provide his or her own laptop, provided it meets the needed specifications. More information about the laptop program is available on the technology section of the website.

Any student receiving any amount of financial aid receives a laptop from the School, and may choose from any of the school endorsed options.

What are our transportation options?

While the School does not provide transportation for students to or from school, there are a number of options for families. Most students travel by car or arranged carpools. Many students take Metro North, buses, or taxis. Some parents may wish to apply for the transportation of their children through service provided by public school districts in accordance with New York State law; for more information on this, parents should contact directly the Board of Education of the school district in which they reside by April 1 of the prior school year. For students traveling from Yonkers, the School arranges transportation.

What is the food like?

We partner with FLIK Dining Services to provide healthy, delicious, fresh, and well-balanced meals to our community. The Dining Room features a well-stocked salad bar, a yogurt bar, healthy beverage choices, a sandwich station, and a chef-prepared entrée station. There is also a Lower School Dining Room that features age and size-appropriate tables, chairs and serving areas. The monthly menu is available under Quicklinks. The provided lunch plan is optional, though highly recommended.

FLIK is dedicated to working with families. There are many allergy-friendly options, and we are a peanut aware community.

What is the Haiku Learning Management System?

Rye Country Day School has implemented the Haiku Learning Management System (LMS) for all grades. The Haiku LMS is used primarily by teachers and students. Teachers post information, assignments, assessments, web links, video links, and manage discussion boards and more for students to complete either in class, in a lab environment, or at home depending on the needs of the student and the class. Students can upload completed projects and documents to Haiku for their teachers' review and grading.

One of the outstanding features of Haiku is the availability of a Parent Account. These accounts allow parents to log in to Haiku LMS and see the information that teachers are providing, including but not limited to class events, special requests, assignments, homework, and student resources.

Parents can access Haiku by visiting

Does RCDS offer after-school programming?

Lower School Extended Day is offered to children of working parents/guardians and runs from the end of the academic day until 5:30 p.m. Learn more.

After-School Clubs are offered to Lower and Middle School students during eight-week sessions in the fall, winter, and spring. Clubs reflect interests as varied as chess, drama, hip-hop dancing, and yoga. The clubs may change periodically throughout the year, depending on the teacher offerings and students' interests. After-school clubs run from 3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Learn more.

Financial aid is applied at the same percentage as tuition for the Extended Day and After-School Club fees.

Middle School Homework Center runs from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and offers a quiet place for students to work independently on their school assignments.

Upper School students may stay on campus until 6:00 p.m. Even after the academic day is over, the RCDS campus is bustling with activities ranging from athletics to the arts, to group work on assignments and club gatherings. The library offers a quiet place to work on assignments for students who do not have other scheduled activities.

Affording RCDS

What is the tuition schedule at RCDS?


Pre-Kindergarten - $37,250
Kindergarten - Grade 3 - $38,800
Grade 4 - $39,100
Grades 5-6 - $40,500
Grades 7-8 - $42,400
Grades 9-12 - $45,500

Books and Instructional Materials

Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 4 - $420
Grade 5 - $670
Grades 6-8 - $720
Grades 9-12 - as incurred

Trips and Activities

Pre-Kindergarten - $250
Kindergarten - Grade 4 - $300
Grades 5-12 - as incurred

Lunch (optional)

Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 4: $1,050
Grades 5-12 - $1,170

What payment options are available?

Three tuition (including lunch fee) payment schedules are available:

  1. One payment due July 1
  2. Two payments: 50% by July 1 and 50% by January
  3. Ten payments: June 1 through March 1, with one-time $250 fee to be added to the enrollment deposit.

Is financial aid available at RCDS?

Rye Country Day School (RCDS) offers financial aid to qualifying families with students entering Kindergarten through Grade 12. Our financial aid program is need-based, which means the School does not offer academic, athletic, or merit-based scholarships of any kind. Financial aid is granted to families of qualified admissions candidates who demonstrate financial need. Please note that there is no financial aid offered for Pre-Kindergarten students.

How much financial aid is available at RCDS?

This year, our financial aid budget is approximately $5.9 million. Currently, 16 percent of the student body receives financial assistance.

Will I have to pay back my financial aid grant?

No. The RCDS financial aid program is entirely comprised of grants. There are no loans in our financial aid grants.

Does financial aid only cover tuition?

No. Financial aid grants consider the entire expense of attending RCDS. This factors in "extra" costs such as lunch, books, and other expenses. Furthermore, all students who receive financial aid in Grades 7-12 (regardless of the grant amount) receive a new loaner laptop computer from the School as part of their financial aid grant. Although the computer is technically owned by RCDS, the student has use of this computer at home and during all vacations. Families will be billed $60 annually for insurance on the laptop. Finally, RCDS is also pleased to support school-related trips for students who receive financial aid. The School will support approved trips for students who receive financial aid at the same percentage as their financial aid grant (e.g., a family who pays 50 percent of our tuition would be asked to pay 50 percent of any school-related trip).

Who are the students that receive financial aid at RCDS?

The School looks to support qualified students who will be able to contribute to school life in many ways. RCDS has students who receive financial aid in all divisions of the School (Lower, Middle, and Upper). Historically, the School has had a larger concentration of students who receive financial aid in the Middle and Upper divisions, but all families are encouraged to apply. There are limited funds for Lower School students and no financial funds available for Pre-Kindergarten. Currently, our students who receive financial aid come from approximately twenty different communities in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, as well as Manhattan and the Bronx. Our families also come from a range of incomes and qualify for varying amounts of financial support.

How does one apply for financial aid at RCDS?

The first step in applying for financial aid is to indicate your interest in financial aid on the Online Application for Admissions. Please note, our admissions literature addresses the financial aid process in general, but it can be helpful to speak with our Financial Aid Officer, Courtney Doucette, by phone or in person if you would like to complete a financial aid application (PFS).

How does Rye Country Day assess a family's financial need?

RCDS uses School and Student Services (SSS) to establish financial need. For more information about SSS, call the family help line at (800) 344-8328 or visit their website at Financial aid applicants need to complete the Parents’ Financial Statement (PFS), which must be done online. SSS will notify the Financial Aid Officer when the PFS is completed. The School also requires that applicants submit a copy of all federal IRS forms submitted in the previous year, as well as the most recent W2 forms. All of these documents combined give RCDS an informed sense of a family's financial need. It is important to note that although RCDS uses SSS as a guide in this process, actual grants are always recalculated locally and distributed by the Financial Aid Office at RCDS.

What if our family is separated or I am a single parent/guardian?

Our students who receive financial aid come from a wide variety of family structures, and ultimately every family's situation is considered on a case-by-case basis. However, RCDS does have a clear policy for considering aid in separated/divorced situations. The Financial Aid Committee does consider financial resources from all parents/guardians (non-custodial and step-parents included) that are available to applicants.

How does the timing of the financial aid application work?

The School distributes financial aid grants simultaneously with admissions offers. Since most of our admissions decisions are communicated in early February, our financial aid application process must commence well in advance of this date. The SSS portal (in order to start your PFS) opens in early October. The due date for a completed financial aid application (PFS) for prospective students is December 15.

Will my application for financial aid (PFS) impact my admissions decision?

If your financial aid application (PFS) is completed by the aforementioned deadline, then the answer is almost always "no." Financial aid and admissions are two separate processes at RCDS; our Admissions Committees do not consider—and are unaware of—financial need when evaluating the qualifications of an admissions applicant. While the financial aid budget is generous, it is limited. Applications for financial aid (PFS) that are submitted after the December deadline can only be considered subject to the availability of funds. Sometimes RCDS is unable to make aid grants to all qualified students based on budgetary constraints.

Will I continue to receive financial aid for the duration of my student's tenure at the School?

Generally, yes. As long as a family's financial situation remains relatively unchanged, families should anticipate that their percentage of tuition support will remain relatively constant throughout their experience at RCDS. Grants can change in either direction depending on significant changes in a family's financial circumstances. Families must complete the PFS and submit supporting documents each year.

While attending RCDS, will everyone know that my student is receiving financial aid?

No. The identity of students who receive financial aid is kept in confidence at RCDS. Beyond the Financial Aid Committee, only Senior Administrators have access to financial aid status. No one has access to any financial documents except for the Financial Aid Committee.

What should I do if I have more questions?

At any time during the financial aid process, please feel free to contact Courtney Doucette, Financial Aid Officer, at 914-925-4542 or Our goal is to make this process as efficient and clear as possible.

Applying to RCDS

How do I apply to RCDS?

Please see the step-by-step guide to application or call us for more information.

Is there a birthday cut-off date for applicants?

Yes, there is a birthday cut-off date for Lower School applications. Our experience has led us to believe that our younger students are most successful at RCDS when their peer group is relatively close in age. As such, we have a strict cut-off date of September 1 for applicants for the Lower School grades. Applicants to the Pre-Kindergarten must turn 4 by September 1 of the year of entrance; applicants to Kindergarten must turn 5 by September 1; and so on up to Grade 4. This is a firm policy.

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

The standard admissions process deadline is December 15 for application components required from the applicants and families. We allow until January 10 for teacher recommendations and transcripts.

We do consider applications on a rolling basis following this deadline. If you think you are going to need an extension on the application or you would like to be considered for a second round application, please call the admissions office.

Do you offer visiting (student shadow) days?

Yes. We strongly encourage applicants, especially those applying to Grade 4, to spend a day shadowing one of our students. This optional part of the process is available for applicants to Grade 4 and above who have submitted the online portion of the application. Visiting days begin in October and end in January. Call the Admissions Office at 914-925-4513 to make arrangements after the online application has been submitted.

Is there any required testing for admissions? Is there a preference for one standardized test versus another?

Yes. The type of testing required depends on the grade level.

For applicants to Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten:
Small group visits at RCDS in December (Kindergarten) or January (Pre-Kindergarten), and individual screening at RCDS by appointment (November through January).

For applicants to Grades 1 and 2:
Individual screening at RCDS by appointment.

For applicants to Grades 3 and 4:
Students applying to Grades 3 and 4 are required to sit for admissions testing at RCDS in December.

For applicants to Grades 5 through 12:
Students applying to Grades 5 – 12 must take the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) at any convenient test site. RCDS must receive test results by mid-January. Be sure to have results forwarded to RCDS by ISEE or SSAT by indicating RCDS as a score recipient when registering.

The Admissions Committees at RCDS do not have a preference between the ISEE and the SSAT.

How many students do you admit each year and at which grade levels?


Kindergarten 18

Grade 1Varies based on availability

Grade 2Varies based on availability
Grade 3Varies based on availability
Grade 418

Grade 5

4 - 6

Grade 618 - 20

Grade 7

4 - 6

Grade 82 - 4
Grade 925 - 30

Grade 104 - 6
Grade 11Varies based on availability
Grade 12Varies based on availability

Should we continue to apply if there is not an opening the first year we seek enrollment?

Yes, especially if the reason for not being offered acceptance is because of lack of space. It is helpful to note at which grades the most openings appear and plan to apply for these grades first.

Do families who have an affiliation with RCDS have an advantage in the admissions process?

RCDS is, by tradition, a "family" school. Sibling and legacy applications (faculty/staff and children of alumni), are given priority consideration with all other things being equal. However, admission is never guaranteed.

Is there a waitlist?

Yes. The initial admissions decisions are announced in February. Applicants are either admitted, denied, or waitlisted. The waitlist remains active through mid-summer.

When are admissions decisions announced?

You will receive an e-mail notification with the admissions decision and financial aid grant (if applicable) on February 7, 2020.

frequently asked questions