Arlington Country Day School

Arlington Country Day School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Arlington Country Day School

district =
type = Private school
established = 1954
city = Jacksonville
state = Florida
country = USA
enrollment = 500
faculty = 40
principal = Ralph V. Della Crosse
grades = K–12
campus = Suburban
mascot = Apache
colors = Green, White
free_label_1 =
free_1 =
free_label_2 =
free_2 =
picture =
website = [ Official site]

Arlington Country Day School (ACDS) is a K-12 private school, with about 475 students, located about 7 miles ENE of downtown in Jacksonville, Florida. [ [ "Arlington Country Day School"] , National Center for Education Statistics] In 2004, Arlington Country Day School celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Head of school is Ralph Della Crosse; the school is owned by former State Senator and Education Commissioner Jim Horne and his brother David Horne, a former lobbyist.


Also known as ACDS, Arlington Country Day School opened its doors in 1954 to teach Pre-Kindergarten through 8th graders.Arlington Country Day School received full accreditation in 1968 by the Florida Council of Independent Schools. The school received its full accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Independent Private Schools Association and the Association of Independent Schools of Florida in 2003. In 1995, ACDS introduced its high school, offering two academic programs.cite web | title = Academic Programs| publisher = Arlington Country Day School | url = | accessdate = 2007-03-13 ] ["Building a school a year at a time; Country Day has sophomores now", "Florida Times-Union by Monica Richardson, September 25, 1996. "Arlington Country Day School has something it never had since opening 42 years ago: sophomores.] Many of those first freshmen went on to graduate with the class of 1999. Arlington Country Day School is the largest privately owned school in Florida. ACDS operates on a four-quarter academic year.



Elementary School classes consist of Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Class sizes are limited to 18 studentsFact|date=July 2008, where individual strengths and needs of a student may be addressed. Many teachers have an instructional aide to assist in the classroom. A solid foundation in the academics is the goal of the elementary program.

Elementary students have weekly Physical Education, Spanish, Music, and Library specialists to supplement the classroom teacher.

Middle School

Middle School classes consist of 6th, 7th and 8th Grades. Class sizes are limited to 18 students.Fact|date=July 2008

In addition to Math, English, Social Studies and Science Middle School students take literature and one elective. Elective options include Physical Education, Computer Science, Dance/Cheerleading, Art, Teachers Of Tomorrow, Newspaper and Yearbook.

Middle School students also have three course selection choices for most academic subjects. For instance, some 8th Graders take Geometry, others Algebra, yet others elect Pre-Algebra or 8th Grade Fundamental Math. 8th Graders may be assigned to Life Science, Physical Science or Introduction to Biology. In literature, different tracks are also offered. The curriculum is tailored to the individual student.

High School

Since the first graduating class of 1999, the number of students receiving academic or athletic scholarships has been around 70%.Fact|date=July 2008

High School students have many curriculum options. In addition to a standard curriculum, College Level and Honors courses are available in the core academic areas.

ACDS has three separate computer labs with computers connected to the Internet with high speed two-way internet access. This provides for a ratio of 1:6 (1 computer to 6 high school students).Fact|date=July 2008

As of the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, Headmaster Fred Lichtward had recruited a complete college level teaching staff. The ACDS Dual-Enrollment program has continued to grow, offering more courses since Dr. Lichtward established it.

Junior and senior students with a 3.5 GPA and adequate SAT scores may take college level courses taught by certified college professors in the following areas: Math, History, Sociology, Criminology, Science, Education, Physics, English and English Literature.


ACDS has many sports programs. Its most notable is the boys' varsity basketball team, which has been called "one of the most celebrated programs in the country". [ [ recruiting: Rob Harrington] , "USA Today", September 27, 2004, "Rob Harrington: Well, I would say Arlington Country Day is one of the most celebrated programs in the country."] The team won the Florida state Class 2A championship in 2005. ACDS repeated the championship in 2006, with a convincing 73-37 win over North Palm Beach Benjamin in a game played at the Lakeland Center. [Akins, Mike "Apaches Easily Defend Title; Led By Versatile Stewart, Arlington Country Day Simply Dominates Benjamin, 73-37.; Class 2A Championship", "The Ledger", Sports Pg. C3, March 5, 2006] Again in 2007, the team defeated Port St. Lucie, 72-43, to three-peat. In March, 2008, a four-peat was accomplished with ACDS again winning the state Class 2A title, beating Weston Sagemont, 54-53. The Apaches are only the fifth team in FHSAA history to have won at least four consecutive state titles. The boys basketball team has appeared on national television and often travel around the country to play. [ [ ESPNU & ESPN2 Boy's High School Basketball Schedule] , ESPN press release dated December 20, 2005] Jason Bennett, a 7'3" center, agreed in December 2006 to play for Kansas State University. [ [ "ACD's Jason Bennett Chooses Kansas State"] , First Coast News, December 4, 2006] [ [ "Kansas State lands highly touted 7-footer"] , "Topeka Capital-Journal", April 13, 2006]

Arlington Country Day School finished eighth in the country in the "USA Today" 2005 boys basketball rankings, one of only eight schools to be ranked in the top 25 for the entire season. [ Super 25 boys' basketball rankings: 2005] , "USA Today", March 28, 2005] The 2006 team finished the season ranked 14th nationwide by "USA Today". [ [ Final Super 25 boys' basketball rankings: 2006] , "USA Today", March 27, 2006]

In 2000 and 2001, the ACDS baseball team won back-to-back Class 1A titles, winning their second title on May 15, 2001, by defeating Archbishop Carroll High School of Miami by a final score of 10-8 in a game played at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida. ["Apaches capture 1A crown", "Tampa Tribune" by Rozel A. Lee and Erik Erlendsson, May 16, 2001] On May 18, 2006, the baseball team won their third state title in six years, with a 4-2 victory over Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic. ["Apaches take title with perfect chemistry", "Sarasota Herald-Tribune", May 19, 2006. pC1] Nike is now the main sponsor of the team.


On August 18, 2000, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) placed ACDS on a two-year probation and fined the school $1,000 for several recruiting violations, including five baseball players who transferred from First Coast High School. ["Arlington school penalized Probation, $1,000 fine for Apaches", "Florida Times-Union" by Justin Barney, August 19, 2000]

In July 2002, Arlington Country Day paid a bill of nearly $33,000 to the FHSAA, who sent a letter notifying the school that the restrictive probation for ACD's boys basketball program had been extended through the next two seasons, along with a bill for $32,839.83. Nearly all of the money sought by the FHSAA was to pay for its legal defense for the lawsuit brought by the school. The rest, $2,500, was a fine for a bylaw violation.

In October 2006, the School was in the news when they fired a baseball coach for hazing a 13 year old boy, followed by a police investigation. [ [ "Arlington Country Day coach fired after hazing of student, 13"] , "The Florida Times-Union", November 3, 2006]

In June 2007 the Headmaster, Dr. Fred H. Lichtward, resigned from his position despite his wife (Deborah Lichtward) owning the school. Dr. Lichtward was the Headmaster of ACDS from 1989-2007.

On April 23, 2008, the school was in the news when all students were sent home with a letter from owner and CEO/ Business Manager, Deborah Lichtward stating that she had suspended the head basketball coach, Rex Morgan, without pay for the duration of the school year. Coach Morgan was accused of spreading rumors about the school’s accreditation and ownership status. Coach Morgan led the Apaches to 4 Class 2A Basketball State Titles. Morgan’s suspension cast light on many underlying rumors. Rex Morgan later filed a lawsuit against both Deborah Lichtward and ACDS for breach of contract and defamation.Fact|date=July 2008

On June 1, 2008, after weeks of protests directed at the owner of Arlington Country Day School, Deborah Lichtward agreed to sell the private school to Ken and Irene Salerno, effective Thursday June 5, 2008.Fact|date=July 2008

At the last minute and without warning on June 5, 2008, just before the final contract was to be signed, Deborah Lichtward's attorney informed the Salerno's attorney that she was rejecting their proposal. Mrs. Lichtward believed the proposal resulted in her incurring tot much debt and requested that, along with more money, a clause be included in a new contract which resulted in her having no liability for her previous actions. As of June 6th, Mr. Salerno had suspended negotiations with Lichtward.Fact|date=July 2008


On April 24, 2008, immediately following the suspension of Coach Morgan, outraged students, faculty and parents began commenting on various discussion boards. The discussion was largely focused on the feeling that there was not effective leadership at the school. All accusations were largely focused on Deborah Lichtward who was blamed for numerous problems the school encountered after Dr. Lichtward resigned in June 2007, following their separation. Many of the voices on the discussion boards declared adissatisfaction with Mrs. Lichtward and plead for her to save the school by selling it.Fact|date=July 2008

After Dr. Fred Lichtward’s departure, under the leadership of Deborah Lichtward, the school lost one of its accreditations and was in serious trouble of losing the two remaining. Although this information was verified through communications with the school’s accreditation agencies, Mrs. Lichtward never acknowledged it. AISF and SACS representatives have expressed interest in working with the new owners to maintain the school’s accreditation.Fact|date=July 2008

On May 15, 2008, teachers did not receive their monthly paychecks, with Mrs. Lichtward blaming a "cash flow problem." The next day, teachers received about a fifth of the value of their paychecks in cash.Fact|date=July 2008

On May 16 or early May 17, 2008, the Arlington Country Day School grounds were vandalized, causing thousands in damage and classes to be cancelled until Friday May 23. Many windows were shattered, five major support beams destroyed, several air conditioners were damaged, doors were broken open, garbage strewn all over the campus and outdoor picnic tables were overturned. Fact|date=July 2008

On May 22, 2008, a faculty meeting occurred at the school where Mrs. Lichtward made a rare public appearance, belittling former Headmaster Dr. Lichtward and making a vulgar statement to reporters. She promised to “walk away” if it was for the best of the school. Teachers still had not received the balance of their monthly paychecks. Ken Salerno, present at this meeting, agreed to make a payment to the teachers on May 27, 2008.Fact|date=July 2008

On May 28, 2008, teachers held a meeting with parents and students at a playground near the Blue Cypress golf course.Fact|date=July 2008

On May 30, 2008, students and parents held a demonstration in front of the school in support of the school's teachers and demanding that Mrs. Lichtward sell ACDS. At the end of the day, many teachers, students, and parents staged a short protest in front of Mrs. Lichtward's home, an event covered by all major local media outlets.Fact|date=July 2008


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ National Center for Education Statistics data for Arlington Country Day School]

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