Choosing a School
Boarding schools come in two flavors: boarding schools and junior boarding schools. Boarding schools usually offer 9th grade through 12th grade. Junior boarding schools are residential schools which offer 9th grade and lower. Most junior boarding schools cover 6th grade through 9th grade. A few schools take boarders beginning as early as the 3rd grade. The Junior Boarding School Association lists ten schools as members. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing a junior boarding school.
They offer accelerated learning.
Probably the most compelling reason to send your child to a junior boarding school is to jump start his academics. Having experienced, credentialled teachers in middle school is a huge plus for impressionable adolescents. If your son is passionate about math and science, he will have the opportunity to give wings to that passion. That's what a junior boarding school can do awfully well. Junior boarding school students discover that despite all the pressures of adolescence, it is cool to be smart. Learning is challenging and stimulating, and always full of discovery. Your son will have the satisfaction of accomplishing many things at a time when his friends in middle school are being distracted by all the things which distract young teenagers. As you and I well know, most of those distractions have little to do with learning.
They have 24/7 supervision and mentoring.
You and I know that young people need plenty of guidance,
"I can't find any rankings!" "Which is the best boarding school in Massachusetts?" Hardly a day goes by without somebody asking about rankings of boarding schools. I know that you are trying to figure out how one boarding school compares with another so that you can choose the one which is best for your child. You probably even have tried looking for a site which ranks schools. Well, good luck! If you find one, let me know. There is no ranking system for boarding schools that I know of.
Try it yourself. Google "boarding school rankings" or "ranking boarding schools" and review the results. Yes, you will find several lists of "the best schools." However, what are the criteria used to select those schools? Maybe some of them are a good fit for your requirements. Maybe not. So, let's look at the reasons why this is the case.
1. Boarding schools are unique
This is the main reason why it is impossible to rank boarding schools. Each school is unique. Each school does its own thing. Schools are overseen and managed by trustees and faculty who have a particular point of view. For example, a Jesuit boarding school such as Georgetown Prep has a quite different approach to curriculum and teaching than The Putney School does. Yes, as you look at schools, you can compare basic criteria such as the number of students, what they teacher and the sports programs which they offer.
The broad strokes of the program
1. She will have fewer distractions.
The social static and inherent distractions which occur when you mix adolescent boys and girls together in a coeducational school just do not happen in a girls' school. The social expectations and stereotypes can be broken down. There will be time enough later for the distractions which members of the opposite sex provide. Fewer distractions mean a girl can focus on being herself, finding out who she is, exploring new worlds, lines of thinking and so much more. She can think outside the box with relative impunity. And that is a good thing.
2. She will benefit from teachers who are trained to teach girls.
Teachers in a girls' school are hired because they believe in this kind of education. They understand how girls learn. They provide the kind of nurturing and encouragement a girl needs in order to become all that she can and wants to be. They provide and cite role models which appeal to and encourage girls.
3. She will benefit from a focussed educational and community environment.
When a school does not have to accommodate both sexes, it simplifies the running and organization of the school. The only focus is