The independent school advantage

Aspen Country Day School is the only PreKindergarten through Eighth Grade program in the Roaring Fork Valley that is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) – the organization that sets standards and oversees private schools nationwide. Such schools are called independent because they are non-profits without ties to any public, parochial, or commercial entity. 

There is a difference.

The reasons cited over and over again by the 400,000 families who send their children to independent schools include individual attention, small classes, teacher excellence, and high standards. But the main motive for families looking into private schools can be summarized in one word: quality. They realize that parents have only one chance to provide the strongest academic foundation for their children, and that's what independent schools like Aspen Country Day do best.

The National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, confirms what independent school families have known for years: larger percentages of students in independent schools are enrolled in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools. At ACDS, our personal approach to excellence in academics, arts, and outdoor education gives children the essential confidence and competence for a lifetime of learning.

Students at NAIS schools


  • Do twice as much homework as their counterparts
  • Watch only two-thirds as much television
  • Are significantly more likely to participate in varsity or intramural sports
  • Are more likely to agree that students and teachers get along well, discipline is fair, and teaching is good

Click here for more about independent schools from NAIS

About Country Day Schools

Parents sometimes ask, "Is ACDS connected to other country day schools, like Seattle Country Day, LaJolla Country Day, or Greenwich Country Day?" The answer is no, not as an official association, but in spirit, yes.

see other country day schools on pinterest

The first country day schools were established as part of a movement in the late 1800s to combine the warmth of family life in a day school setting with the academic rigor and character-building programs of the best boarding schools. Today, schools like ours are leading innovation in areas such as design thinking, experiential education, and creative collaboration. Most are part of the National Association of Independent Schools.

One key part of the country day experience is the aspect of a "family school," a nurturing community where parents, teachers and classmates actively work together as partners for the benefit of each child. "The family school was often viewed as a small and humane alternative to the ‘factory school,' where hordes of students were allegedly lumped together as anonymous and interchangeable," writes Arthur Powell in his book Lessons From Privilege: the American prep school tradition. "Students, teachers, and school heads are expected to know one another and treat one another like children and parents, brothers and sisters."

Aspen Country Day School
85 Country Day Way Aspen, Colorado 81611
Phone: 970.925.1909
Time to consider ACDS

Our PreK to Eighth Grade school in the mountains of Colorado

The Way School Should Be

With a balance of nurture and rigor, children become their best

The Power of Three

Rigorous academics, creative arts, outdoor education

A welcoming community

Our motto, de amicitia: in the spirit of friendship

Out into the wide world

Alums carry the Aardvark spirit far and wide

A culture of generosity

Many ways to help make Country Day's future even brighter

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