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A Guide for New PCDS Parents

Welcome to Phoenix Country Day School! We are excited that you and your child are joining our community, and we will do everything possible to make your welcome warm and your transition seamless. The following information should help. We hope you find this guide useful, and we welcome input about making changes or additions for future new parents. Enjoy your first year and welcome again!

Please visit our Back-To-School page at www.pcds.org/2017-18 for all the up-to-date information.

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What We Need From You

For a full list and access to all of the required medical and athletic forms for each student, please visit our Back-To-School page at: www.pcds.org/2017-18

For Families Entering the Lower School (Grades PK-4)

You’ll receive back-to-school information, including supplies lists, teacher assignments, and student-parent handbook at the beginning of August. In the meantime, please mark the following dates on your calendars:

  • Friday, August 18: Parent Connection Day
    • Email invitation will be sent to parents near the beginning of August.
  • Monday, August 21: Meet the Teacher Monday
    • All Lower School students and parents visit their new classrooms.
  • Thursday, August 24: Lower School Back-to-School Night
    • This parents-only event provides an overview of the program for the year.

Please contact Kathryn Bucolo, Lower School Administative Assistant, with any questions.

For Families Entering the Middle School (Grades 5-8)

You’ll receive an email regarding textbooks and supplies, and more near the beginning of July. Then, you’ll receive information with student schedules, advisor assignments, and access to the student-parent handbook at the beginning of August. Until then, please mark the following dates on your calendars:

  • Friday, August 18: Parent Advisor Meetings
    • Email invitation will be sent to parents in late July to schedule these meetings with students’ advisors.
  • Monday, August 21: Middle School New Student and Parent Orientations
  • Thursday, September 14: Middle School Back-to-School Night
    • This parents-only event provides an overview of the program for the year.

Please contact Loreta Aguirre, Middle School Assistant, with any questions.

For Families Entering the Upper School (Grades 9-12)

You’ll receive an email regarding textbooks near the beginning of July. Then, you’ll receive additional information, including access to the student-parent handbook at the beginning of August. Upper School students and parents should mark the following dates on their calendars:

  • Week of August 7: Fall Sports Practices Begin
    • See the PCDS athletics webpage after August 1 for more information on Swim/Dive, Girls' Volleyball, and Boys' Soccer practices.
  • Monday, August 21: Upper School New Student and Parent Orientations
  • Thursday, September 7: Upper School Back-to-School Night
    • This parents-only event provides an overview of the program for the year.
  • Wednesday, September 13 - Friday, September 15: Freshman Class Trip
    • This special bonding class trip to Camp Shadow Pines in Heber, AZ for all freshmen, led by faculty and select members of the senior class.

Please contact Gabi Ragsdale, Upper School Assistant, with any questions.

Save These Dates
  • New Student and Parent Orientations - Monday, August 21
  • First Day of School – Tuesday, August 22, classes begin at 7:50 am
  • Parents' Association Back-to-School Kickoff - First Day of School, Tuesday, August 22, 7:30 - 9:00 am in Burch Hall

Please review the Community Calendar for additional important dates. The dropdown menus at the top of the calendar will allow you to view scheduled events by month and division.

Your Website Account

PCDS has a “green” philosophy and communicates almost entirely online. In addition to your family's PCDS Portal school forms account, every member of the PCDS community has a myPCDS account to access a variety of information. New parents receive their user IDs and passwords for this account, by email, in June or after they have completed the online Information Update. (The site provides options to change passwords and email forgotten ones.) While most of the site can be viewed without accessing your account, you will need to log in to view protected information or information that is particular to your student. Refer to About Logging in to myPCDS for complete information.

Web Resources

The myPCDS website is a comprehensive resource for parents, students, faculty, and staff. The list of helpful pages and links includes The Latest (our weekly electronic newsletter), lunch menus, NetClassroom (an online program where parents and students can access schedules in grades 5 through 12 and report cards in all grades), information on purchasing textbooks, and the searchable PCDS Community Directory. We encourage you to explore our website so that you will be comfortable navigating it once school begins. Many of these pages will begin to reflect 2016-17 information over the summer.

If you are joining an independent school community for the first time, we recommend that you read The Parents' Guide to Independent Private Schools on the website of the National Association of Independent Schools.

Division Handbooks

Many of your questions will be answered in the appropriate division handbook. The handbooks cover details such as dress code, absences, car pools, PE uniforms, and discipline procedures. Annually updated handbooks are available by early August from the Back-to-School page. In the meantime, you are welcome to review the current year's Lower School, Middle School and Upper School School handbooks. Updates or changes for the next year will be reflected in the new editions. (After August 1, these links will point to the new editions.)

Finding What You're Looking for on myPCDS

If the information for which you're looking is not in an obvious location, you can peruse the myPCDS site map, available at the bottom of every page, or use the site's Search feature, which is available at the top right of every page. Note that the Search feature can find words only on web pages, not within any graphics or linked documents. The Admissions Office staff is also available to help.

Drop-off and Pick-up Information

During the school year, PCDS is open Monday – Thursday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm and Friday from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm. The main phone line is 602.955.8200. Pre-k parking spaces marked in blue near the Garvin Early Childhood Center are for pre-k parents only. A pre-k parking sign must be placed in the front windshield when using a spot. Please be mindful of the six-minute time limit, which allows for needed parking space turnover as parents do the required check-in and check-out. All other Lower School (kindergarten through fourth grade) and Middle School parents drop off students in front of Shephard Hall (administration building). Upper School students are dropped off in the circular driveway on 40th Street near the Upper School office. Upper School students who drive must park in the student lot, the fenced lot on 40th Street, just south of the tennis courts, and are required to have a visible PCDS parking decal. See the Upper School Handbook for more details. Parking for the athletic fields, gymnasium, and swimming pools is available in the fenced student lot.

Please note that pre-kindergarten students attend school only from 7:50 until noon the first week of school; kindergarten students attend school only from 7:50 until noon on the first day of school. Lunch will not be provided for those students on those days.

Parent Volunteering

Every PCDS parent is a member of the Parents’ Association (PA). For more information about how to get involved, please visit Parents’ Association or read the list of parent volunteer roles. In addition, we hope each of you will join us for the Parents' Association Back-to-School Kick Off from 7:30 until 9:00 am on the first day of school. After your child has headed to class, please come to the Dining Hall (located west of the Administration building) to learn more about getting involved in the PCDS community.


Lunch for grades pre-k through 8 is included in the tuition charge. Lunches for grades 9 through 12 are $5.00 for each lunch purchased in the dining hall or a la carte in the Upper School cafe, managed by myKidsSpending, new for the 2015-16 school year. (Details are forthcoming.) Visit Food Services for more information.

Extended Day

Our after-school program, known as Extended Day, is offered for Lower School and Middle School students from 3 pm until 6 pm. For more information, click the link for the appropriate division above and look for details about Extended Day and other after school programs in the appropriate division handbook once they are updated on August 1.


Most parents drive their children to and from school; some parents coordinate car pools with other families. The Carpooling Directory,(available separately as well as a part of the PCDS Community Directory) provides a zip-code ordered list for locating families in one's zip code or neighboring area. (Last year's directories, currently available, will be updated soon after the start of school.) PCDS also offers bus transportation, depending upon the geographical location of the student’s residence and the availability of space. Service is not available for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten students. Visit Transportation Services for additional information. Parents who sign up for bus services will receive specific information about pick-up and drop-off times in the week prior to the start of school.

Visitors and Security

Visitors check in through the main office on Stanford Drive for the Lower and Middle Schools and the division office on 40th Street for the Upper School. Additional security is present on campus seven days a week.

Backpacks and Bookbags

Due to limited space and need, students are not permitted to have rolling backpacks prior to third grade. Though not required, ZUCA rolling bookbags are highly popular among students in fourth through sixth grades. In Middle School, these can be a particularly good organizational tool and they fit in student lockers.

We hope you find this guide and the school's website helpful as you prepare for the coming school year.  Please contact the appropriate division administrative assistant with additional questions.

Welcome again, and we look forward to having you join our community!