Signature Programs

In the Lower School, students turn their eyes and ears outward to learn how our community works and how they can put their interests and talents to work to make the world a better place for others.

Ronald McDonald House Partnership

The first grade class has had a special relationship with the Ronald McDonald House of Durham — which serves families whose seriously ill children are undergoing treatment at Duke Hospital  — for more than 20 years. Each school year kicks off with all first-graders touring the house, and throughout the school year, students create seasonal decorations for the house and collect soda can tabs as part of a RMH fundraiser. 

First Grade Visits Ronald McDonald House

Getting to Know the Bull City

In second grade, students learn all about their local community, from jobs and government roles to transportation and the economy. Each fall, second-graders spend two days in downtown Durham visiting with a few of the people who make up our community — at a fire station, the post office, the courthouse and Durham Bulls Athletic Park, on Black Wall Street and in the City Council Chambers with our mayor, just to name a few.

Bull City

Entrepreneurship & Sea Turtles

Throughout the school year, third-graders learn about the gentle giants cared for at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Each fall, students hand-make unique turtle-themed items (like clay magnets, jewelry and games) and then sell their handiwork to fellow Lower Schoolers and Preschoolers at the Sea Turtle Gift Shop. Each spring, third-graders travel to Surf City to see the sea turtle hospital's work for themselves, bringing along a check for the gift shop proceeds.

Sea Turtle Gift Shop

Fourth Grade Play

The fourth grade play is a truly student-produced performance, with students acting as writers, actors, costume designers and musicians. Students work together to write a new script each year in drama class, and every fourth-grader has a speaking part and sings. In addition, many students play musical instruments. Students stage the play twice: once for fellow Lower Schoolers, and once for an appreciative audience of parents and friends.

Fourth Grade Play