Skip to Content Skip to Footer

At YCDS, Extraordinary is by Design

Group of YCDS students sitting in a group.Roth Woolley speaks with the refinement of a person twice his age. He’s already taken two Chinese language classes, is a natural with hands-on laboratory work, and has narrowed down his college list to seven universities, three of which are Ivy League.

He’s parlayed an interest in digital media into a community service project and last spring, after partaking in a polymerase chain reaction DNA analysis lab in class, his interest in forensics ignited. As a result, this past summer, he attended the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists’ annual conference in West Virginia.

Roth is, by all means, an extraordinary student.

But at York Country Day School, an independent, college preparatory school in Spring Garden Township, he’s not alone. All of York Country Day students are intentional, empowered students who embrace an enthusiasm for learning.

Because YCDS offers students something truly unique: an intellectual playground – a place where students like Roth can learn the fundamentals, infuse them with 21st century skills, and augment their journey through learning.

And it’s all by design – Extraordinary by Design.

“It’s intentional,” says YCDS Head of School Dr. Christine Heine. “Our community provides students with the freedom and the inspiration to learn and to lead with confidence.”


The school cultivates an educational environment based on five signature programs: STEAM, Service Learning, Capstone 5812, Wellness, and College Connect.

“What you have in York Country Day School is the reinvention of the school through these signature programs,” says George Hodges, a parent of two YCDS graduates and a member of the school’s Board of Advisors. “It has probably the most dynamic curriculum that exists in the county by a significant margin.”

It all results in a better prepared, more confident student who is future-focused yet authentically engaged in the present.

Students like Roth get the chance to take classes at York College of Pennsylvania, making the transition to the next level easier.

“The fear of a college-level workload is demystified when they get into freshman year,” Hodges says. “They come into college with a high degree of confidence and get off on the right foot, and it’s due to the preparation for the program that York County Day School delivered.”


When you can combine passion with a spirit of connectiveness, it creates greater meaning, Dr. Heine says.

An immediate impact of the school’s “Extraordinary by Design” concept is found in the community. Through the signature programs, students aren’t just taking tests – they’re using time inside and outside of the classroom to collaborate, to be integral members of, and meaningful contributors to learning.

“Being connected in learning communities helps to create meaning in a larger context,” Dr. Heine says. “Connecting purpose, passion and promise brings relevant impact and a dynamic to learning that engenders goodwill and transforms the school experience.”


To Roth, it starts with the teachers.

“The teachers truly want to be there, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure the student is cared for and appreciated,” he says.

When a biology teacher asked everyone in the class what their areas of interests were, Roth requested forensic science. Soon after, his teacher incorporated additional content, including setting up different types of labs.

It’s all part of the school’s emphasis on project-based learning, driven by inquiry, passion and the acquisition of skills.

“We choose some of our classes,” Roth says. “With options, you truly get to take what you’re passionate about.”



An integrated approach in teaching science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.


Experiential learning that focuses on cycles of action and reflection that enhance communities and their specific needs.


Multifaceted inquiry-based experiences that serve as a culminating academic and intellectual experience in grades 5, 8 and 12.


Deliberate programming focusing on enhancements to the social and emotional lives of students.


Individual and family advisement, classes, and workshops that inform and personalize each student’s college search. Additionally, York Country Day School and York College of Pennsylvania leverage learning opportunities for students through their affiliation and shared resources.

This is your York College. Evolved. Help us to build an education for students that equips them with practical knowledge and a passion to find purpose.

Give Now