Boarding School Visits 101

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Boarding School Visits 101
Visiting schools on your short list is very important. During your visit observe and ask questions.
Many parents feel that they know a boarding school because they have spent time on its web site. They 'liked' the school's Facebook page and are following it on Twitter. They also have watched all the YouTube videos the school has posted on its YouTube channel. They and their child are convinced that the school is a good fit for them and their requirements. So why bother actually hopping on a plane, renting a car, booking accommodation and taking all that time to go and visit the school? It goes without saying that you need to visit any school to which you are thinking of sending your child. The school will insist on it because they want to meet you in person whenever possible.
 
Your educational consultant may have given the schools glowing reports. Your great uncle has always spoken about his years at one of the schools on your short list with great fondness. In fact he has given generously to his alma mater. One of your colleagues in the Boston office has a daughter at another school on your short list. She apparently loves her school's equestrian program. But that's their opinion. You and your child need to set foot on each campus on your short list, scope each one out and use your own judgement about whether your child will be happy there for three or four years. Here is a list of things to look for and questions to ask.
 
Things To Look For and Check Out
 
The
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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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School Mottoes
Private school mottoes speak to the high-minded purposes for which most schools were founded.
Private school mottoes speak to the noble purposes for which most schools were founded. School mottoes typically are Latin phrases attributed to some of the great writers of antiquity. You will also find mottoes which are taken from scripture.  What is special about a school motto is that it captures the essence of the school in a brief phrase of just a few words. Here are some school mottoes and a bit about the schools to which they belong.
 
Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg, Florida
Admiral Farragut Academy's motto is Scientia Omnia Vincit which means “Knowledge Conquers All”. The Academy was originally founded in Toms River, New Jersey in 1933. It moved its campus to Florida in 1945. The school is coeducational and offers grades PK-12.
 
Fidelitas et Integritas or "fidelity and integrity" is the original motto of Choate School which was founded by Mary Atwater Choate in 1896 as a school for boys.
 
Fenn School, Concord, Massachusetts
Fenn School, which was established in 1929, is one of several private schools which uses its motto as a powerful tool to guide its students. "At the heart of the Fenn philosophy is our motto, Sua Sponte. When boys begin to understand what it means, not just as a motto, but as a way of life, they are well on the way to embodying the Fenn character." The school's motto translates as "On one's own responsibility."
 
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Using the Boarding Schools Admission Application Form
The Association of Boarding Schools has a common admissions application form which simplifies the admissions application process.
If you are thinking about a boarding school for your child, you will probably end up exploring the TABS site. The site has many useful features among them the Admission Application Form.
 

What's involved?
he Boarding Schools Admission Application aims to simplify the applications process. Back in the 90s, each member of TABS had its own application process and forms. As a result, if you applied to three schools, you had three completely different sets of applications to complete and submit. TABS identified the forms which most boarding schools commonly used. Thus was the Boarding Schools Admission Application Form created.

The manner in which individual boarding schools use the admission application package is up to them. The application package consists of the following forms:
  •     General Information
  •     Applicant Questionnaire
  •     English Teacher Recommendation Form
  •     Math Teacher Recommendation Form
  •     Head/Principal/Counselor Recommendation Form
Some boarding schools will use the entire set of forms. Others will just use the Recommendation Forms. And so on. Check with each school's admissions office to find out how they want their application prepared.

Whats next?
  • Download the forms. You can also view the forms online. They are all in Acrobat's PDF format which is viewable using the free Acrobat Reader.
  • Determine the forms for each school to which you are applying by contacting the admissions offices.
  • Determine the additional forms individual schools may require as part of their admissions application package.
  • Make a list of admissions applications deadlines.
  • Make a list of
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Choosing a School: Which school offers.....?
Determining which programs are 'must haves' is an important part of choosing the right boarding school for your child.
As you begin to refine your boarding school search, one of the things you will find yourself doing is circling back to find out which schools offer the programs your child wants and needs. Remember: you and your child need to discuss your wants and needs together. That way you will end up with a child who is enthusiastic about going to private school and feels that she has been involved in the process. Unlike the limited options which you will find in most public schools these days, private schools offer a rich array of programs.
 
Foreign languages
 
Mandarin, Spanish, French and Italian are the most common languages offered in private schools. You will find these most often at the high school level but they are increasingly common in the primary grades. If you really want to kick it up a notch, there are several private schools which actually teach everything in French, German and Hebrew, for example. Review the curriculum section of school web sites to determine what language courses are offered. You can find schools quickly by inputting "chinese language" as a search string on this site.
 
What about classical languages such as Latin and Greek? Latin is still to be found on course lists in many schools. Classical Greek is not as common. If a world view is important to you, then review carefully the language component at the schools which interest you. Being fluent in a language or two is increasingly important.
 
Science.Technology.Engineering.Mathematics
 
If STEM is your thing,
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