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.
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Updated   February 10, 2016 |
What's Your Marketing Team Doing This Summer?
The ideas and suggestions offered here are aimed at the small to medium-sized schools which have limited marketing resources.
Summer is often an ideal time for administrators in a private school to take stock of what worked and what didn't work in the year just finished. It makes sense for the marketing team to step back and spend a few hours reviewing their campaigns. Because marketing sometimes feels more like an art than a science, it is even more important to examine the tools which your school is using. This is what prompted me to ask what your marketing team is doing this summer. 
 
In particular the ideas and suggestions which I offer here are aimed at the small to medium-sized schools which have limited marketing resources. My long years of observing and writing about private schools have taught me that these small to medium-sized schools are hidden gems. Their message deserves to be heard and seen. Hopefully using social media effectively will make that a reality.
 
Boarding schools offer unique marketing challenges.
 
Whether yours is a small or large school, you have to get your message out. Getting your school's message out is made tougher by the mere fact that yours is a residential school. There aren't many boarding schools in the United States anyway and they tend to be misunderstood by most people especially the media. Ask about boarding school outside your circle of friends and acquaintances. The answers you will get are precisely the challenges which you as the marketing professional must overcome. "Those schools are just for rich kids." "That's where you send a kid who doesn't
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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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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   June 08, 2016 |
Why Small Class Sizes Work
Small class sizes are one of the main reasons why you send your child to boarding school. Here's why small class sizes work.
Small class sizes work. In fact, small class sizes are one of the main reasons why you send your child to boarding school. Here are some reasons why small class sizes are so important.
 
1. There's nowhere to hide in a small class.
 
Imagine your child is in a large high school class of 30-35 students. She's not good at math. Most of the students in her class don't understand math and could care less about it. So your daughter hangs out in the back of the class, keeps quiet and tries to pay attention. The distractions and cutting up going on around her mitigate against any meaningful learning. Your daughter falls further and further behind in math. Sadly, public school class sizes are increasing as school districts struggle with budget deficits. Class sizes of 30-35 students are common.
 
Contrast that learning environment with 12-14 students seated around a Harkness Table in a boarding school. A Harkness Table is an oval table. The teacher sits at the table with his students. Immediately students are placed in a situation where they have no choice but to engage and interact with each other and with their teacher. A Harkness table creates a climate for learning. This video discusses teaching in large versus small classes.
Implicit in the small teaching groups is a climate of tolerance. The views of each individual are expressed. The critical thinking skills are practised and polished precisely because the small group allows time for that. Large groups
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Updated   May 25, 2017 |
What Is Being Taught?
You need to know what is being taught before you decide which boarding school is best for you.
One of the most important considerations in choosing a boarding school for your son or daughter is what goes on in the classroom and in the larger school community. In other words, what are they teaching and how are they teaching it?

You must never assume that, just because a school enjoys a solid reputation, has been there forever and looks wonderful on the surface, it will provide the kind of teaching you want and expect for your child. Doing your due diligence with respect to curriculum and how it is taught has to be one of the most important parts of your school evaluation process.

Here's how to proceed.
  • Observe
  • Question
  • Research
Observe
 
When you visit the school for your admissions interview, try to do so while school is in session. Summer visits are often more convenient for all of us, but you won't be able to observe any classes. Summer sessions do not usually offer a typical classroom experience. So you cannot judge the teaching or what is being taught by what you see during the summer. The teaching staff is frequently not the same as the faculty who teach during the year. Because it is summer, the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed.
 
When you visit the school and observe a class, is the class size small? Do students interact with the teacher and each other? Are they students learning how to think analytically? Are they using texts? Laptops? Are they sitting around a table in the Harkness-style classroom? Does
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