Start anywhere west of the Mississippi, from Manitoba down to Texas; head west across the Great Plains and even past California and British Columbia all the way to Hawaii. On this voyage, you will find the many boarding schools represented by the Western Boarding Schools Association. These boarding schools can rival anything found in the East and, quite often, we offer more! For example, did you know that Hawaii Prep has 80% of the world’s ecosystems and a LEED Platinum Energy Lab? Or that one can safely predict that many of the ice hockey medalists at the Sochi Olympic Games will have attended high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota? Or that you can simultaneously watch condors fly overhead while on your way to surfing each day at Cate School in Carpentaria, California? Or that at my school, Brentwood College School, we can integrate marine biology and oceanography into our curriculum because we are situated directly on the Pacific Ocean?
As you work your way through the process of choosing the right boarding school for your child, you will find it very easy to get side-tracked. Nothing wrong with getting side-tracked. Just make sure that you get yourself back on track. There are three to five schools for you to visit. Lots of observations, evaluations, assessments and questions. Make sure that you have checked all the boxes.
The location of the boarding schools on your list is important simply because travel these days is never easy. Review the logistics involved carefully. Ideally you don't want to be more than a couple of hours from the school. That may seem unrealistic but practically speaking it is not. For example, there are dozens of schools within an hour of Boston's Logan Airport. From there you can get to many major metropolitan areas within two hours. Incidentally, those New England boarding schools are old hands at transferring students from campus to airport. Those are precision operations honed over many years so that just about every travel eventuality is thought of. Naturally, cellphones make communications with you waiting anxiously on the other end much easier than they were back when my daughters went to boarding school. So draw a circle 60-120 miles out from any major airport. If boarding schools fall within the circle, you should be all set.
Once you have more or less decided where you are looking for schools, then you can begin to get granular with that very important
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make.
Finding the right boarding school for your child is one of the most important and expensive decisions you will ever make. You might try to research thoroughly on your own, only to find that most websites look alike, and very few give information on the profile of typical accepted students. Families who want guidance often turn to “independent educational consultants” or, IECs.
IECs are professionals who are paid by the family to advise them on the boarding school search and admissions process. Many offer full-service comprehensive packages that span over a year’s time, and others have shorter packages or an hourly rate. A typical consultation starts with a focus on the student’s background and interest in boarding school. This includes a review of his transcript, testing, activities, interests, and academic successes and challenges of the past. An IEC talks with the student and parents about goals for the future and what they hope to get out of the boarding school experience. Consultants might give examples of schools that are nurturing or offer learning support, or those which give extra help to students when they need it, whether they ask for it or not! IECs discuss the pros and cons of the more rigorous schools or might help a family decide whether to repeat a year. Families might hear about how the schools are different from each other, and why a single-sex school might be beneficial, or why a rural, primarily boarding community, will feel different than a suburban school
There are almost 40 boarding schools west of the Mississippi River.
There are almost 40 boarding schools west of the Mississippi River. If you were to drive west from this great river, the landscape and climate slowly change and, likewise, a perhaps previously unexplored region of boarding schools will begin to unfold before you. Like the Louis and Clark expedition many years ago, this voyage of discovery will be an astonishingly educational experience.
Academically, our western boarding schools stack up with the best of them. Unfortunately, there still permeates a mindboggling misconception
In the United States and throughout the world, it is well-documented that even though boys score as well as girls on standardized tests, they are less likely to receive good grades, take advanced courses,and attend college. Learn how boys schools can help address these concerns.
Since the educational reform movements of the 1970s, major efforts were made to promote girls’ improvement within the education system. Unfortunately, instead of creating an equal learning environment, classroom teaching styles heavily favored female students at the cost of the success of their male cohorts. Now, boys are an average of 1.5 years behind girls in reading ability, a gap that persists through college and even upon entering the workforce. Extensive research is being conducted to identify characteristics of positive learning environments for boys and methods for introducing those findings into schools across America.
Active Classroom Environment
The environment a teacher establishes in the classroom is a major contributor to how effectively students learn. Traditional classroom environments, in which all children are expected to sit quietly while following along with the teacher, presume that all children learn in the same way. Those who have trouble with the format may fall behind despite their capacity to learn. Additionally, this isn’t necessarily a structured environment, nor is it necessarily an engaging one that will foster a passion for learning.
To engage all students, teachers should instead employ an active learning environment. This type of setting stimulates self-motivated learning within a flexible yet disciplined atmosphere. By teaching students learning strategies (a written record of assignments, note taking strategies, time management techniques, and study methods), educators teach students how to learn or “the process of learning,” and students become empowered to pursue knowledge more eagerly and successfully. An active classroom also
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
May 03, 2018
The quality of a summer camp depends very much on the quality and experience of the folks running it. When you select a summer program run by a boarding school, you are getting a program with experienced, well-organized professionals at the helm. More here.
March 22, 2018
Some cynics think single-sex education is old-fashioned. The Kiski School shows how educating boys in a single-sex school is successful.
March 08, 2018
The wide range of fine academic, athletic, and other facilities found in boarding schools underscores the determination of schools to provide the very best for their students.
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