CDS has a rigorous academic program that leads to academic excellence for almost all students, but we also use many progressive and student centered educational practices. In sum, these contribute to the positive setting on campus and to the ability of students to feel motivated, cared for, and successful- and to become independent learners. In many cases, our practices are in line with current national research on elementary education, yet few of them are employed anywhere else in Franklin County.


At CDS, we hope that our educational practices are noticed and emulated by others, because all children deserve their benefits.
Our middle schoolers begin their day in electives.

Our elective program has 6th-8th graders attending a non-academic class of their choice for the first 40 minutes of every school day. Imagine being excited to get to your first class, because you get to paint, or do weight-lifting, to play rock music, design the yearbook, or prepare for the academic team or KUNA competitions.  This sets a positive tone for the entire day and every 9 weeks, they get to choose a new elective!


Recess Twice a day!!

All our students get out and run around for at least 30 minutes a day. They never spend more than 2.5 hours in classes without a recess break. Our recess space includes natural areas where kids can build with sticks and play in the dirt. In addition, all our recess times are multi-aged, so kids are spending unstructured time with children of different ages.  This builds community and valuable social skills.

 Click here and check out what people are saying about increased recess time.

Montessori Track

Montessori fits well at CDS because it focuses on skill development, that is, it creates independent learners. While many families do not understand how Montessori education works, most find it very appealing once they learn about its values and its methods. 


Engineering in the Classroom

The design-build concept is alive in many of our classes. We don’t train students to be engineers, but we train them to do what engineers do: solve problems. When young people analyze a problem, design a solution, and construct the mechanisms that actualize that solution, they are learning to be real world problem solvers. The critical thinking skills of analyzing, planning, revising, communicating, and collaborating are all developed when students practice engineering. Whether it is in the middle school engineering class, the maker spaces in our lower elementary classrooms, or our after-school First Lego League program, CDS teachers facilitate the cultivation of these valuable skills.

Community Connections

At CDS, we regularly get our kids out in the community in many different

capacities. With our small class sizes, we can attend local events, perform 

for people, and do community service easily. As a result, our students and 

faculty feel part of the fabric of Frankfort, and they grow to consider 

community involvement the norm.