About Boarding Schools
Something which intrigues most of us parents when we think about boarding school is the idea that the school provides everything in one very well-crafted package. The academics, the sports, the extracurriculars, and the supervision are all part of the deal. For parents whose careers involve a lot of traveling knowing that their child is fully occupied and properly supervised is reassuring. As you begin to dig deeper into boarding schools and what's involved, you begin to encounter concepts as well as tangible things which in many ways are unique to residential schools. These are what make a boarding school experience so special.
Codes of Conduct
Codes of Conduct in boarding schools have teeth. They mean what they say. They can and will be enforced. Yes, public schools have codes of conduct too; however, the enforcement process can be cumbersome and time-consuming because public school students have constitutional rights. Private school students have rights too. Those rights are spelled out in detail in the contract which you and the school signed. I mention this because you cannot assume anything with respect to the rights your child enjoys in a boarding school. Read the contract carefully. Have your attorney review it. Ask questions. Understand the terms of the contract as it applies to the code of conduct. Finally, explain the consequences of infractions of the school's code of conduct to your child. That said, codes of conduct are one of the reasons why your child will be safe in most
If you have begun to think about sending your son or daughter to boarding school, I offer the following suggestions and guidance from one parent to another. Transferring from a public high school to a boarding school is a big deal for us grownups. But it is an even bigger deal for your child. Why? Because you literally are uprooting her from those familiar surroundings and routines, she has known ever since birth. While I understand that every young person views change differently, the reality is that going off to boarding school is a very big change. With that in mind, let's you and I look at some of the things we can do to facilitate this change.
Familiarize your child with what's involved.
You can familiarize your child with boarding school by involving her in the process from the beginning. In other words, don't present the idea as though the deal is done. If your child thinks that going off to boarding school is her idea, then you are off to a great start. The important thing to understand is that your child's viewpoint will be different from yours. She will focus on the immediate change to her familiar routine. She will have strong feelings about leaving home and her family and friends. She won't be thinking long-term or about the benefits which a boarding school education can provide her.
I advise that you engage an experienced educational consultant right from the beginning of your boarding
Editor's note: I asked Whitney Retzer, the Senior Associate Director of Admissions at St. Timothy's School, Stevenson, Maryland, to answer some questions which I know most parents have about boarding school. Here are her answers. ~Rob Kennedy
RK: 1. Can't my child get just as good an education in my local public school? Why should I go to all the expense and trouble of sending her to a boarding school?
WR: There are benefits to a private boarding school that cannot be matched. Students are given more support, encouragement, and differentiated instruction that is only possible in small classes and with greater access to teachers. St. Timothy’s school has a teacher-to-student ratio of 8:1 which means students can be in classrooms as small as six students and as large as twelve per teacher.
Also, the majority of St. Timothy’s faculty hold advanced degrees, and many live on campus and are therefore accessible and available to students outside the classroom. In this environment, students truly get the time and attention to flourish as 21st-century learners that are critical-thinking, curious, and caring global ambassadors.
RK: 2. What advantages can a boarding school offer parents looking to send their son or daughter to a private school?
WR: Boarding schools offer students once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to study and collaborate with friends from all over the nation and world. St. Timothy’s has students from 20 different countries and 15 different states who are all living and studying together. Students change roommates twice a year and assigned lunch seating changes
From time to time publications ask us why parents would consider sending their child to boarding school as opposed to leaving them in public school. What follows are my answers to some questions which were recently posed to me. I hope that you find my answers helpful as you weigh the pros and cons of sending your child to boarding school.
1. Why should you consider sending your child to a boarding school, instead of to one of the many private day schools and charter schools in the area?
In a perfect world, most of us parents would decide to send our children to schools which meet all or most of our requirements and needs. When you are fortunate enough to live in an area which has good public schools, then it makes sense to comparison shop carefully. Tune out any prejudices you may have about any kind of school, and try as much as possible to compare apples to apples.
For example, if your child has special needs, you need to look carefully at the quality of instruction which she will receive in order to continue enjoying learning. Boarding schools which offer programs for students with special needs tend to do a good job simply because they offer plenty of individual instruction. The other advantage they have is that most, if not all of their students have some special need of one kind or another. Boarding schools which specialize in learning disabilities such as dyslexia often called reading disorder; dyscalculia