A Partnership of Three

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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Updated April 19, 2018 |
5 More Founders and the Schools Their Gifts Established
Vision. Generosity. High-minded principles. These are the hallmarks of the benefactors of the five schools featured in this article.
In this article we examine five more remarkable private schools which were established with a vision and supported with munificence. The Phillips Family which established the Phillips Academies at Exeter and Andover back in the 18th century had the purest of motives in mind. They understood that a well-educated citizenry would ensure the future of the very young United States of America. "Above all, it is expected that the attention of instructors to the disposition of the minds and morals of the youth under their charge will exceed every other care; well considering that though goodness without knowledge is weak and feeble, yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous, and that both united form the noblest character, and lay the surest foundation of usefulness to mankind."  Echols, Edward (1970). The Phillips Exeter Academy, A Pictorial History" Exeter Press
 
What was taught in these early schools? Bear in mind that there were no schools in America when the colonists arrived. As a result, the early settlers did not have to follow traditions or laws governing the education of their children. Since freedom from religious oppression was the reason so many of the colonists had left England, they made sure that their religious teachings were the core of their academic curricula.  Also on the list of subjects were useful skills such as simple arithmetic and spelling. Schools ran year round.
 
Milton Hershey and Stephen Girard founded their schools in a different time in our nation's maturation. The industrial revolution had worked its
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Updated November 24, 2017 |
Why Boarding School? It's All About Standards
Teachers and parents are unanimous in wanting children to learn. Boarding schools make that learning possible.

I just read another one of those discouraging articles in the New York Times about the low esteem in which America holds its teachers in the 21st century. Author Sam Dillon is referring to public school teachers. This is a difficult time for most public school boards of education as they try to figure out what programs to reduce or eliminate to balance their budgets. Since local school districts are funded principally from taxes on real property, they cannot simply raise the mill rate. Historically, local residents will not pass budgets which have large tax increases. Inevitably, teaching positions are on the table. Teachers face salary and benefit cuts or, even worse, outright job losses. While I most certainly empathize with the teachers' predicament, I also know that private schools stand to reap the benefit of having some of these gifted professionals join their ranks. Besides being able to have a job in their chosen profession, why else would professional teachers want to teach in a boarding school? They would want to do so for many of the same reasons why you and I want our children to attend such residential schools. Let's look at some of the factors which might make an experienced public school teacher consider teaching in the private K-12 sector.
 
Academic Standards
 
Teachers want to teach. They love their subject. They know it inside and out at the level at which they have been teaching. They know all the tricks and

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Updated August 17, 2017 |
Parents' Biggest Worries About Boarding School
As you consider sending your child off to boarding school, you have concerns. Every parent does. We address some of those concerns for you.
One of our parental prerogatives is to worry about our children. That's probably because your child never came with an instruction manual and as a result, you have had to learn so many things about parenting simply by being a parent. No matter, worry is part of the parental landscape. Now, if you are thinking about sending your child off to boarding school, your worries will be quite specific. Probably along the lines of the follow questions.

Will my child be safe?

Boarding schools take your child's safety very seriously. Contractually a boarding school functions in loco parentis which is a legal way of stating that the school acts in the place of the parent when it comes to supervision of its students, your child included.
 
Here is an overview of Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut.
 


In many respects, your child is a whole lot safer at school where she cannot drive or go to somebody's house and get into who-knows-what. Drugs, drinking, and smoking are not permitted in a boarding school. Zero tolerance is the rule. Does it prevent teens from pushing the limits and experimenting? That's impossible, of course, as any parent knows. However, the limits are strictly proscribed and teens learn to respect those limits and rules or face the consequences. These are good lessons to learn.

Will she have time to herself?
 
Yes. Of course. Part of the structured life in a boarding school is downtime. Everybody needs
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