Boarding Schools in a Minute

Updated June 08, 2016 |
Boarding Schools in a Minute
Boarding Schools in a Minute gives an overview of independent residential schools in North America.
Boarding Schools in a Minute gives an overview of independent residential schools in North America. There is much more to boarding schools than these brief headlines convey. Hopefully these bullets will encourage you to explore this very special education option in depth.
 
95% of these boarding schools are high schools serving grades 9 through 12 with many schools offering a Post-Graduate Year or Grade 13. A handful of junior boarding schools serve grades 6-9.
 
Most boarding schools operate within a traditional school year of September through May. A few schools begin their year in August. A couple end in June. One school only operates during the summer session.
 
In 2015 there were approximately 450 boarding schools. Tuition at these schools ranges from free to well over $50,000 per year. Boarding schools come in many shapes and sizes. Some are small with 125 or so students in grades 10 through 12. Others are large with over 1200 students in grades 9 through 12. Most fall into what is best described as a medium-sized school with a population of 350-450 students.
 
Many boarding schools are non-sectarian, i.e., they adhere to no particular religious denomination's teachings and views. What they offer instead is an amalgam of mainline religious thought and philosophy. Other schools follow the teachings and beliefs of a particular religion. For example, Jesuit boarding schools adhere to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
 
Boarding schools offer a wide variety of programs. Most boarding schools are what are traditionally
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Updated April 03, 2018 |
The Boarding School Application Process
Applying to boarding school requires completing a sheaf of forms. We look at how to accomplish this important task.

Back in the 80s when our daughters applied to boarding schools, the process was entirely paper driven. The schools sent us thick envelopes full of forms which we had to complete. Then we mailed the completed applications to the schools. Thirty-five years later, I am very pleased to report that most schools applications processes have gone digital. That makes things so much easier. These days there are essentially four ways to apply to boarding schools:

1. Complete the application forms which the school has on its website. 
2. Complete the common application which you can find on the SSAT website. 
3. Complete the common application which you can find on the TABS website.
4. Complete the paper application forms which you have either downloaded or received from the school.

Applications on Individual School Web Sites

If you are applying to just one or two schools, then it might make the most sense to simply go to those schools' websites and complete the applications right there. Many schools allow you to complete the main application form online. You will still have to download teacher recommendation forms and requests for school transcripts, as well as addressing and putting stamps on the envelopes required.

You can also pay the application fee online with your credit or debit card. But, if you choose to use the school's application forms, just remember that those forms are specific to that school. They cannot be used for applications to other schools. That's the basic difference between applying on a school

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Updated January 16, 2018 |
5 More Schools and Their Founders
A private school in its infancy is quite different from the mature community it becomes over time. I wonder what the founders of these five schools would think about them today. I bet they would be very proud of their creations.
It is fascinating to delve into the beginnings of a private school. It's the time when the  school is so malleable and so strongly influenced by its founder's zeal and lofty goals. The community is tiny compared to what it will morph into over the years, indeed over the centuries, in some cases. The hardships and sacrifices which are endured are almost unimaginable in this day and age. when new schools seem to pop out of a delivery box fully funded and all set to go.
 
I hope that you will explore these five schools against the backdrop which I have set out above. They are unique as private schools always are. They have great personalities, character and rich histories. Yet they share a common theme and purpose: to provide the very best well-rounded education for their students so that their graduates can make a difference in the world today.
 
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Founded in 1881 Number of students: 436 Grades PK-12: Boys and girls day school PK-8. Girls boarding and day: 9-12 Religious Affiliation: Nonsectarian Setting: Urban
 
Overview: The school was established by an Episcopal bishop. James Paddock with the financial support of businessman Charles Wright. Bishop Paddock named the school in honor of Wright's daughter Annie. The school was a girls' school until the earthquake of 1949 damaged Lowell School, the local boys' school. AWS set up temporary quarters for boys. The coeducational program expanded to 8th grade in the 1970s.

AWS offers challenging academics as evidenced by
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Updated February 19, 2018 |
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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Updated February 05, 2018 |
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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