Lancaster Country Day School traces its roots to 1908, when Lancaster College and Miss Stahr’s School merged to become the all-girls Shippen School located at 120 N. Lime Street in Lancaster. The mission of the Shippen School was “to promote the education of girls through academic course, especially in literature, the sciences, and the fine arts,” which was accomplished at a tuition rate of $100 per year. When the nearby Franklin and Marshall Academy for Boys closed in the early 1940s, the Shippen School changed its charter and its name, and the eminent, independent, coed institution known affectionately as Country Day was born.
The name “Country Day” came from the pedagogical philosophy of the same name that was popular when the school was founded. The system held that physical activity and spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine was a vital part of the whole educational economy. We still believe that, and besides physical education classes, students can participate in sports ranging from Lower School girls’ lacrosse to varsity chess.
In 1947, the school purchased the property at 113 N. Lime Street, but it was badly damaged by fire in 1949. That year, LCDS moved to the 29 serene and welcoming acres in School Lane Hills that we still call home. As the years went on, the school’s footprint expanded to include the Lower School wing (1954), the Harrisburg Pike athletic fields (1956), the science wing (1960), the Buckwalter Memorial Gymnasium (1970) and the John F. Steinman Theatre (1971). The 1960 addition of the science wing also brought Country Day's trademark open lockers that still line the hallways today.
The arrival of headmaster John Jarvis in 1965 gave Country Day the college-preparatory focus and creative, nurturing spirit that remains the keystone of an LCDS education. During the '60s, male students outnumbered females for the first time and the the school began its tradition of inviting international students into our community each year.
The school recently reached an enrollment milestone: an unprecedented 610 students from preschool through 12th-grade now head to class under the same roof. Over the last three decades, more and more students have come to Country Day from farther and farther afield. Children from Dauphin, Berks, York and Lebanon counties study alongside their Lancaster peers, and, whether their commute is 30 yards or 30 miles, the reason they make it is the same.
Lancaster Country Day School offers the best education available. Our teachers are committed and caring; our curriculum is rigorous and edifying; our students are warm and animated; and a sense of purpose, possibility and encouragement infuses every aspect of Country Day life. Our school is simply an inspiring place, for students, teachers, parents and anybody else who becomes part of our ever-growing family.