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Last Chance to Sign-Up for Intramural Football

Wed, Aug 8 in Upper Elementary News

Birthday Book Club - Honor Your Son on His Birthday

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Back-to-School - Sign-Ups, Dates, and Information for Parents

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The Fall 2019 Issue of PDS Spirit is Here

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How to Subscribe to Your Son's Class Calendar

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Required Medical Forms for All Returning Students

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Change of Address or Phone Number? Please Let Us Know!

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Grandparents' Day 2019 - October 25 - Save the Date

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Darilyn Christenbury

Darilyn Christenbury

Director of the Crain Center


The Five C’s of a Private Christian School

For many parents, one of the most difficult decisions they face is where to send their child to school. This decision is wrestled with, prayed over, talked about and ultimately decided at an earlier age of the child than ever before. There are many considerations including cost, academic offerings, and location, to name a few. As the options are weighed, families may choose to explore the benefits of sending their children to private Christian schools.

Help Us Celebrate the Naturalization of Teacher Dania Watson

PDS will be celebrating the recent US citizenship of our Spanish teacher, Dania Watson on Thursday, October 30, 2014. Senora Watson participated in the Naturalization Ceremony on October 16 at the Federal Building in downtown Memphis.

As part of our celebration of this monumental occasion, we will be having a re-enactment of the ceremony for our boys to witness. We are inviting all parents that are naturalized citizens of the United States to participate in the ceremony. In an official ceremony, there would normally be a large group taking the oath together. Each person states his name and country of origin. Witnesses say this is a very moving part of the ceremony, as it reminds us all that our country is a melting pot and shining light for people from all over the world.

Follow Updates from Our Argentina Learning Trip on the Global Studies Blog

11 PDS boys and 3 teachers are currently visiting St. Andrew's Scots School in Beunos Aires, Argentina.

The students will be attending school daily at St. Andrew's Scots School, as well as learning about Argentina history, touring La Boca stadium, and downtown Buenos Aires.

Follow their blog updates on the Global Studies blog.

... And they are off!

Eleven PDS students and three teachers boarded a plane for a ten day adventure in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The students will be attending school daily at St. Andrew's Scots School, as well as learning about Argentine history, touring La Boca stadium, and downtown Buenos Aires. Check back soon for an update from the team.

PDS Teachers and Students Travel Adventures

PDS teachers and students will be traveling to Argentina, Costa Rica, Honduras, China and Australia this summer.  Teachers Russ Norment, Cindy Brock and Mark Fruitt and five PDS boys are in Costa Rica now doing service, leadership and outdoor adventure. Follow their blog to hear all about it!

 Teachers Alice Parker, Beth Diaz, Darilyn Christenbury, Terri Jarratt and Head of EC, Debbie Isom, will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina on Friday June 8 to participate in a two week long teacher exchange with St. Andrew's Scot School.  You can follow their updates on the Crain Center travel blog.

Braxton Brady will be leading a team of fathers and sons on a mission trip to Honduras. JK teacher Kristen Griffith will be traveling to China with educators from all over the United States and Tech coach Cindy Brock will be in Australia for the International Boys' conference.  
Check the travel blog for updates!

Crain Center for Global Curriculum Update - April 2013

We have had a very successful and informative year with the first Global Speaker Series at PDS. Each month, we have gathered to hear about a different country by speakers who have, either traveled with the Crain Center or have lived abroad.

This year’s speakers were:

  • PDS teachers who traveled to Argentina as a part of our partnership with St. Andrew’s Scots School, Buenos Aires. Debbie Isom, Alice Parker, Terri Jarratt, Darilyn Christenbury and Beth Diaz.
  • The Students and teachers who traveled to Costa Rica and attended The World Leadership School. Students included Bradford Roberts, Jaylen Spears, David Byrd, Stillman McFadden, Will Cooper. Faculty members were Cindy Brock, Mark Fruitt, and Russ Norment.
  • JK teacher Kristen Griffith, who traveled to China.
  • Technology Coordinator, Cindy Brock, who traveled to Australia.
  • School Chaplain, Braxton Brady and the boys who traveled to Honduras as part of a Father/Son mission trip. Bennett Brady, Hall Barry, Jack Billups, Samuel Kilgore, Caleb Brock and Will McEwan.
  • Dr. Shazia Hussain and Dr. Imad Omer who shared about life in Pakistan.
  • The boys who participated in the student exchange to St. Andrew’s Scots School in Buenos Aires, Argentina shared about their experiences. The students participating were Warren Turner, Ev Nichol, John Rack, Matthew Rhodes and Jacob Herter. Faculty members Ross Spain, Darilyn Christenbury and Sandy Kilgore also traveled to Buenos Aires and taught classes and spoke to students about Memphis and Tennessee.

If you would be willing to be a presenter as part of our Global Speaker Series 2013-14, please sign-up here.

Global Studies

Upcoming Trips

Costa Rica Summer 2014

Recognizing the need for students to be prepared for the global economy of the 21st century, The Crain Center for Global Curriculum was created by a generous gift by the Crain family.

Our vision is to not only to teach our students about other cultures but to engage and connect them, through the use of technology, travel and collaborative learning communities. Global competency and a knowledge of what it means to be a global citizen are essential skills for our students, and are best taught through relationships and experiences with diverse cultures.

A strategic partnership has been formed with St. Andrew's Scots school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that includes teacher and student exchanges as well as projects between the two schools. International travel opportunities for teachers have included study experiences in Australia, New Zealand, China, Costa Rica, Poland, Israel and Argentina.

Putting the World into World-Class Education

Today’s students will be working in a global marketplace and living in a globalized society. To succeed and become leaders in this new world, they must acquire a far different set of knowledge, skills, and perspectives than previous generations. For our students to gain the new skill sets and mindsets they need to be contributing global citizens, PDS is putting the world into our world-class education experience through the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated global curriculum.


There used to be a time when a regional or limited worldview sufficed. We also used to think that cities like New York or Los Angeles had global ties and global necessities, but not cities like Memphis. The global economic activity that Memphis and Tennessee enjoy might surprise you. According to the Tennessee International Trade Report, Tennessee exports for 2011 were about $7.4 billion, up $1.5 billion from 2010.  The state’s rate of export growth was 25.4%, 13th best among the American states. Tennessee’s trading partners include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Singapore, the U.K., Colombia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, and Germany, to name a few.

Memphis plays a significant role in the global supply chain, originating or terminating millions of tons of international freight each year. The Port of Memphis is an international port and offers the world’s most sophisticated distribution services, excelling in intermodal freight services via rail, ship, truck, and air. In 2009 over $23 billion of goods flowed through Memphis. More than 30 international freight forwarders operate in Memphis and, of course, FedEx offers the world’s fastest and largest cargo hub. Working on a cross-cultural team is a likely reality, even if one lives in Memphis.

Global education focuses on teaching students to see the world through multiple perspectives of diverse people and their culture.

For the last ten years, PDS has been focused on not just being a great school in Memphis, but truly a world-class educational institution that innovates and models leading practices in teaching, student learning, use of technology, leadership, and curriculum. Our motivation in doing this is to prepare our boys for the new global realities that we know to be true. We are also motivated by our understanding that education is at the core of our global competitiveness as a nation as well as the source of individual global competencies.

Largely because of technology, the world is shrinking. How far from Memphis is Azerbaijan? Just one click. Internet tools like Facebook, Skype, OoVoo, Twitter and more allow our students to talk, see, and interact with teachers and students all over the world. Technology allows world news to reach us in a relentless 24 hour news cycle. We can feel and see the interconnectedness of the world’s communities as we watch events like the economic crash of 2008 as it sieged through global financial markets like a virus, or the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring as the uprisings spread from Tunisia through Egypt to Libya. Converging are powerful economic, political, demographic, and technological forces that require citizens from all nations to become more internationally knowledgeable, competent, and adept in world languages and cultural understandings. In short, PDS boys must be able to compete, and to cooperate, with their peers from all over the world as students, and as the leaders they will become, working on cross-cultural teams, solving problems and issues with global components and considerations. Providing a well-designed global education will prepare boys for their worldly futures because global education prepares young minds to understand and interact in a culturally diverse and globally interdependent world. Global education focuses on teaching students to see the world through multiple perspectives of diverse people and their culture. Because of the interconnectedness of the world’s people and the big issues they face, being able to comprehend the complexity of issues caused by the layers of cultural perspectives is an essential skill. While young people may be aware of world events because of the Internet and media, studies show their information is often slight and superficial. Much of their information comes in snippets and sound bytes that may create awareness but, because of their lack of depth, also reinforce stereotypes, generalizations, and misinformation.

Global education purposefully seeks to dispel cultural stereotypes and misconceptions. Global educators guide students in replacing misconceptions with information on the complexity of cultures, cultural conflicts, and global issues. This deeper understanding is developed through exploring the complexity of people’s histories, cultural ideas, and values, especially those of people different from ourselves. Learning to dismiss generalizations and to engage multiple, and even conflicting, perspectives is an important discipline and critical thinking skill. Learning to detect and understand biases and misinformation, for example in a news story, leads to developing deeper, more agile thinkers and problem solvers.




Led by Darilyn Christenbury, Director of the Crain Center for Global Curriculum and Bible teacher for PK - SK, the Teaching and Learning Committee has undertaken the challenge and opportunity of re-engineering the PDS curriculum to give it a more global focus. They have met on a regular basis for the last few years to discuss questions like:

  • Which countries will be relevant and significant for our students to know in depth in the 21st century?
  • How can we study and understand non-western history, politics, religion, and culture?
  • How can we globalize teacher preparation and teacher learning?
  • How can world conflicts be explained by population migrations and economic factors?
  • What is our role in global problems like poverty, global healthy, water availability, education, endangered species, environmental sustainability?

The committee adopted the following definition of global competence: Global competence is the capacity and the disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.



In order to accomplish the goal of nurturing global competency in its students, PDS believes that global education cannot be a subject that is taught in isolation. Instead, the opportunities to develop global competence are being integrated into all subjects and across all grade levels through the use of these four dispositions of global competency:

  • Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment
  • Communicate ideas with diverse audiences
  • Take perspective (both others’ and their own)
  • Take action (ethically, critically and creatively)

image-2Global education includes the study of world cultures and religions, world literature, the interconnected views of world history, global issues, global economic, technological, environmental, and political systems, and cross-cultural communication skills. PDS teachers were asked to audit all their coursework and to find ways to integrate world literature, other countries, and diverse perspectives in the examples they emphasize in class. Math teachers have already been participating in World Math Day, but there is a new insight and awareness that math is akin to a world language, a universal code, and that mathematicians from all over the world have collaborated on complex math problems for decades.

Social Studies is a natural platform to weave in strong global information and perspectives. At PDS each grade level is structured to explore a big idea around which they ask seven essential questions. These essential questions direct the learner to actively engage geography and its relevance to creating problems and solutions; to be on guard for biases in intermediating sources; to consider viewpoint and cultural perspective; and finally to reflect upon his responsibility as a global citizen.

Our desired outcome is for PDS boys to be astute and active investigators and communicators who value the perspective of others and have the knowledge, skills, and desire to take action regarding the issues that affect our world.

In Language Arts, teachers at each grade level are identifying and selecting books for their grade level that will help boys gain a larger picture of the world around them. Also integrating technology into our language arts curriculum helps students publish and share their writing with the world. Through the use of web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, voice threads, Skype and others, PDS students sharpen their communication skills and expand their voice as they collaborate and communicate with people throughout the world.

Learning a foreign language has long been one of the principle components of international study.  Research has shown that the mastery of a foreign language is greatly enhanced when a young child is exposed to the sounds and syntax of that language at a young age. Students in the Early Childhood Division at PDS are exposed to both Mandarin and Spanish during PK, JK, and SK. Upon entering first grade, each student selects either Mandarin or Spanish as the language he will learn in grades 1–6. In 2008, PDS was the first school in Memphis to offer Mandarin, the most commonly used Chinese dialect. Although mastery of Mandarin is not within reach of PDS students, or high school students for that matter, because of the difficulty of the language, learning Mandarin is extremely important because of China’s rising power in the world.

The Crain Center for Global Curriculum enhances the PDS curriculum in world languages and Social Studies. The Crain Center offers travel grants for PDS teachers to travel abroad so they may enrich their teaching practice by becoming students of the world, connecting to teachers from a variety of countries, and experiencing another culture firsthand. Teachers are also encouraged to participate with global action research teams that connect them with peers from around the globe who are doing similar research.


World Leadership School

Whether for teachers or for students, there is no substitute for learning about a culture by experiencing it first-hand. PDS is creating opportunities to experience other parts of the world and their cultures through two exciting initiatives: a strategic partnership with a school in Argentina and a service learning trip to Costa Rica hosted by the World Leadership School (WLS).

Whether for teachers or for students, there is no substitute for learning about a culture by experiencing it first hand.

The mission of the WLS is “to empower young leaders to find new and innovative approaches to the world’s pressing problems.” The outcome they strive for is to teach children to lead in an increasingly global and interconnected world. The WLS facilitates a relationship between local schools and sister schools in Africa and Latin America to create global education programs based on long-term relationships. Their programs begin with service and leadership trips and continue with Internet-based distance learning exchanges.

In partnering with the WLS, PDS boys will travel to Costa Rica in the summer of 2012 to investigate global problems such as climate change, endangered species conservation, and poverty. They will learn that these big global issues demand new, powerful forms of leadership, cooperation, and collaborative thinking to impact the many layers of these complex and entrenched problems. Three teachers, Russ Norment (Spanish grades 3 - 6), Mark Fruitt (assistant principal), and Cindy Brock (technology coordinator), will accompany the PDS students.

To give students and teachers many opportunities for cultural immersion and collaborative learning, PDS and St. Andrew’s School in Buenos Aires, have formed a strategic partnership. St. Andrew’s School is an independent K–12 school of approximately 1,900 students that is widely considered to be one of the leading schools in Argentina. This relationship will allow for ongoing collaboration and sharing between the two schools. The partnership will include classes working collaboratively on some projects, a teacher exchange, and a 6th-grade student exchange. Funding for this strategic initiative is from the Crain Center for Global Curriculum. The relationship with St. Andrews offers exciting possibilities of teacher development and teacher learning as well as student exposure and immersion.

We live in a dynamic, interconnected and diverse global community. Online technologies make global interaction with people from around the world easy, effective, and increasingly common. As men, our students are highly likely to work on global teams with people from different backgrounds and upbringings. In preparing boys to be scholars, citizens, and leaders of the world they will inherit, we must make certain they are equipped to face challenges with self-knowledge and confidence, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, a deep sense of ethics and moral courage, and global competency. Layering our curriculum with opportunities to deeply understand diverse viewpoints and cultural tensions, to accept and handle the complexity of issues and problems in our world, and to develop the skills of connection, cooperation, and collaboration across cultures will offer PDS boys world-class preparation for a world that very much needs all they have to contribute.

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