Phoenix Country Day School began in 1960, when a group of educators led by Franz and Mae Sue Talley agreed to found a nonsectarian, nonprofit, college preparatory day school based on the traditional east coast private school model. Franz Talley was the founder of an aerospace/defense contractor in Mesa, which grew into conglomerate Talley Industries before the businesses were largely sold off in the years after his death in 1978. On 12 September 1961, Phoenix Country Day School opened its doors to 93 students in grades 3 through 9 with a faculty and staff of 14. The following year, a half-day kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 were added, and grades 10 through 12 were added in successive years to graduate the first senior class in 1965. By the 1969–1970 academic year, enrollment was at 386. The school quickly expanded its group of loyal community members committed to its survival and success. In the 1970s, facilities were expanded to accommodate the growing student body and the development of competitive sports teams. The school's graduating classes measured in the teens and twenties, and the upper school program offered core graduation requirements and courses and electives that reflected faculty interests and abilities. With the dawning of the 1980s, Phoenix Country Day School's endowment began to grow. An Advanced Placement program was added to assist in gauging standards of academic skill. Having purchased the second half of the school's now-40 acres in 1968, Phoenix Country Day School was able in 1982 to build a new upper school complex and a gymnasium for indoor sports on the east side of the Cudia Wash, and a dedicated music facility on the west side of campus. A bridge was built to join the lower and middle schools with the upper school. By 1996 enrollment reached 700. Between 1993 and 2008, the school replaced or renovated over 90% of its classrooms. Every division saw major construction and renovation, including the addition of state-of-the-art science labs and an outdoor experimental science garden, visual art and performance facilities, and technology facilities. The entire lower school was replaced, and an early childhood learning center was added to provide space scaled to fit the needs of the youngest students. This part of campus also has its own library, science center, art studio, and children's garden.
The lower school consists of approximately 200 students in grades K through 4. The core curriculum is enhanced by the study of music, art, science, physical education, technology, library science, and foreign language.
The middle school has 250 students in grades 5 through 8. The school aims to keep class sizes at 20 students or below. Annual class trips are designed to promote bonding among the students. The school offers athletics programs and a student council, both of which are open to all interested students.
Students in the upper school mix a liberal arts-based academic schedule with sports, social activities, and community service. They attempt to achieve a solid academic grounding through a liberal arts curriculum with numerous electives that enable them to explore individual interests. 12 Advanced Placement subjects are offered. Students can select from 17 varsity sports and 15 extracurricular activities.
On the school's annual Blue and Gold Day, the school kicked off its THRIVE fundraising campaign with a video featuring many faculty members and students. The campaign promised to bring about new projects, such as a new indoor athletic complex and art/science center.
Phoenix Country Day School offers extracurricular programs for all ages.
The school's Junior Classical League has won many State Conventions in the Junior Classical League. The school has both a middle school and upper school team which it sends to the convention every year, with the upper school having won the past three conventions in a row.
Speech and Debate
The school's policy debate team won a number of 1A-3A state competitions over the past 10 years. The Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Speech started in 2013, very successfully.