School Life

For boarding school students, and many teachers, the campus is home. Explore dormitory living, get expert advice on learning and living away from home and learn more about what can be done to help your child transition to and succeed in boarding school. Find resources for parents, teachers and students. We’ll cover sustainability, boarding school jargon, and corporal punishment. Read first-hand accounts from parents of boarding school students, find graduation gift ideas, and learn why small classes are effective.
View the most popular articles in School Life:
Updated   May 03, 2016 |
Is Your School on Brand?
A boarding school is a business. Is your business on brand?

Boarding schools must never forget that they are businesses. Private schools must continually attract new students to stay in business. Public schools have a steady supply of students. That supply is more or less guaranteed by the fact that public schools must take every child living within their jurisdiction. Private schools do not have a built-in supply of new students. They have to go out and find those students the old-fashioned way, by selling the school and its attributes to every family they can. 

In several ways, boarding schools are a tougher product to sell than private day schools. As much as a boarding school makes great sense regarding the complete package it offers, many parents find it difficult to send their children off to a residential school in 9th or 10th grade. Parents may be aware of a couple of boarding schools which family and friends attended. On the other hand, most parents do not know much about individual boarding school programs. 

I have written this article with boarding schools which do not have a full-time marketing department in mind. These schools have talented admissions and administrative staff who have to wear many hats, often all at once. So, I hope that my suggestions and advice will help them stay on brand. You see, a boarding school has to market its story and make its case to a customer base which consists of families with children in 6th through 9th grades. Reaching these families is the key to full enrollment

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Updated   September 09, 2016 |
Corporal Punishment is Still Legal in Many States
As amazing as it sounds, corporal punishment is still legal in over 20 states. Fortunately private schools banned the practice many decades ago.

Do you realize that there still are nineteen states in which corporal punishment of students is still allowed? Merriam-Webster defines corporal punishment as "punishment that involves hitting someone :  physical punishment." Yes, it is legal to discipline students by hitting them in states in the South, the Southwest, and Midwest including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. It is legal to paddle students with a wooden paddle, While it was much worse ten or twenty years ago, it is appalling that in the 21st century the richest nation in the world still has nineteen states which permit a child to be spanked by an adult in a classroom. Corporal punishment has no place in schools.

Fortunately, I know of no boarding school anywhere in North America which permits hitting students. Period. Technically, the only states where corporate punishment is forbidden in private schools are New Jersey and Iowa. But our boarding schools, indeed our private schools as a whole, are enlightened exemplars of all that is good in education. Our private school Codes of Discipline and Conduct do not allow any form of physical abuse. For all kinds of good reasons. But most importantly our boarding schools understand what is required to create a better world, a world where children can mature into productive adults fully capable and confident of achieving whatever their dreams are. Corporal punishment is

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Updated   February 02, 2017 |
What Is Your Child Doing This Summer?
Summer can be a time for growth and enrichment. Summer schools and summer camps provide a wide variety of options from which to choose.
When I was a youngster, some time around Victoria Day weekend my parents moved the family  out to a cottage near the village of Chateauguay on the banks of Lac St. Louis. We were there until Labor Day. (In those days school opened after Labor Day.) My brothers and sister and I enjoyed swimming and sailing lessons, the occasional dance as we got older and the usual organized summer activities. Dad worked in Montreal and came out to the cottage in the evenings. Mother stayed at home and supervised us.

When we were bringing up our daughters, it was a bit trickier. We both worked. We had to find things for them to do, both to keep them occupied and to keep them from getting into mischief. A trip, a keyboarding course and even some tutoring, helped make those long summer days in Connecticut move along at a good clip.

Nowadays depending on where you live and the plans you have for your child's education, you will have a variety of options to choose from. Let's look at some of them.

Day Camp
Basically the idea behind a day camp is that you drop your children off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. The routine is similar to what you had when school was in session. The advantage to day camp is that it is usually a local operation. If you are lucky enough to have an established day camp in your
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Published   February 12, 2012 |
eBooks about Boarding School
Many of the more popular books about boarding school are now available in eReader format. Here's a selection of non-fiction and fiction for your reading pleasure.
 An eReader makes reading a very convenient pastime because you can take dozens of books with you just about anywhere you go. I have identified the popular formats in which you can find the following books about boarding schools.
 

k = Kindle
n = Nook
s = Sony
i = iPad

Most of these titles can also be dowloaded from your local library in eReader format. Happy reading!

Non-fiction

The Best of the Best: Becoming Elite at an American Boarding School by Ruben A. Gaztambide-Fernandez
This is a serious book written by a Harvard education student who spent 2 years embedded in an American boarding school.
(k,n,i)

Black Ice by Lorene Cary
Lorene Cary recounts her experiences as the first African-American female student at prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire.
(k,n,s,i)

Perfectly Prep: Gender Extremes at a New England Prep School by Sarah A. Chase
The author is a professional anthropologist who examines gender in all its manifestations in boarding school.
(k,n,i)

Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School by Adam Fortunate Eagle
The author attended an Indian boarding school run by the Federal Government back in the '30s.
(k,n,i)

Preparing For Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools  by Peter W. Cookson Jr, Caroline Hodges Persell
The authors are New York University sociologists. As a result Preparing for Power offers a documented, well-research look at private schools and the how's and why's of their success in positioning leaders of business, the professionals
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Updated   February 03, 2016 |
A Partnership of Three
The essence of a private school education is that strong partnership forged between school, parent and child.

Sending your child off to boarding school is not as simple as dropping him off at school, giving him a teary hug and kiss and then driving back home. Sending your child off to boarding school requires that you honor the contractual commitment which you signed when you decided to accept the school's offer of a place. Remember that binding, legal document called a contract? In it you agreed to a partnership of three: the school, you and your child. Let's look at what this arrangement involves.

The School's Obligation

The school spells out its obligations in great detail both on its website and in the various printed brochures and catalogs. The admissions staff will also discuss the school's various programs and school life with you when you visit and have your admissions interview. Most importantly, the school lists its obligations in the contract which you and the school signed.

1. The school will offer the academic instruction spelled out in its various materials. And it will ensure that the teaching is of the highest order. You expect nothing less. Private schools take academics very seriously. You won't have to worry about what will happen if the French teacher suddenly takes sick and has to withdraw. Her replacement will be in place quicker than you can say "Je ne sais quoi".

2. The school will act in loco parentis while your child is in its care. It takes its responsibility very seriously. Their students safety and well-being are paramount at all

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School Life

For Parents

This section covers issues and concerns for parents of boarding school students. Explore corporal punishment, get expert advice on preventing hazing, and read first-hand accounts from parents. Learn what to do if things go wrong, see what boarding school students do in the summer, and get words of wisdom from a reluctant parent.

For Students

Here you’ll gain knowledge about student life at boarding school. User our glossary of terms to learn boarding school jargon, discover the importance of a partnership between school, parent and child, and find great gift ideas for the boarding school graduate.

For Teachers

The articles in this section are related to teaching at a boarding school. Learn more about what is being taught, why small class sizes work, and the impact of sustainability on boarding schools. You’ll find a list of eBooks about boarding schools, be able to view pictures of boarding school life, and explore course offerings.

For Administrators

Advice and strategies for running your school