Private schools are just as varied as public schools. From Catholic to progressive, military to special needs, private schools offer a lot of options. Take a comprehensive look into the many types of private schools, weigh the pros and cons of each, and get helpful tips on choosing one that works best for your child.
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How about living on a working farm for a semester? Or investigating marine life in The Bahamas? Perhaps you grew up on a farm and are hankering to explore a major city like New York? A semester school offers those experiences and more.
Semester schools offer enrichment to your high school experience. The semester school, like its big cousin, the year abroad, offers you a chance to experience different worlds, different environments and different cultures or gives you time to do some substantive research. And you can, in most cases, enjoy this incredible experience without leaving the country. The Island School located in Eleuthera, Bahamas and Swiss Semester located in Switzerland are the two exceptions on the list of programs below.
The cost? From no cost to several thousands of dollars not including extras. Is there financial aid? Yes. Ask the individual program providers for complete details.
When do you go? Typically students like to spend part of their junior year away from their home school. It's practical and doesn't interfere much with the academic sequence, testing, college applications and all the other features of your senior year.
- Chewonki Semester School
- Coastal Studies for Girls
- The Conserve School
- The Island School
- The Mountain School Program Of Milton Academy
- The Outdoor Academy of the Southern Appalachians
- The Oxbow School
- The Rocky Mountain Semester
- The School for Ethics and Global Leadership
- Swiss Semester
- The Woolman Semester At Sierra Friends Center
Progressive schools have been around since the early 1900's. Some educators think that progressives are rebels against traditional rote learning. The progressive educators like to think of themselves as reformers. The truth is somewhere in between the two points of view.
The movement has an interesting history. Read about John Dewey (1859-1952), the modern founder of the movement in the U.S. You can only wonder what might have happened to public education had some of his ideas taken root. As it is, progressive educators and schools which employ their philosophies are pretty much confined to the private sector. A list of private schools which embrace the progressive ideals, teachings and curricula is given below.
- Bank Street College of Education
- Buxton School
- The Calhoun School
- The Children's Community School
- The Children's School of Oak Park
- The City and Country School
- Dalton School
- Foundations School Community
- Friends Community School
- Greenwood Friends School
- The Little Red Schoolhouse and Elisabeth Irwin High School
- The Little School
- The Manhattan Country School
- The Miquon School
- Oak Lane Day School
- Oakwood School
- Our Community School
- The Park School of Baltimore
- The Park School of Buffalo
- The Philadelphia School
- Presidio Hill School
- The Putney School
- San Roque School
- The School in Rose Valley
- Sequoyah School
- St. Francis School
- Westland School
- Windrush School
- Wingra School
Educating the young has been a mission of the Roman Catholic Church for as long as anybody can remember. While curricula and teaching methods have changed dramatically over the years, one thing is immutable: these schools do a great job educating their students as evidenced by the very high pecentage of their graduates who go on to colleges and universities all over the country, indeed, around the world. With many boarding schools charging $43,000-48,000 for their services, these boarding schools offer good value as such things go. A couple of schools are single sex schools. The rest are co-educational institutions.
Many of these schools are operated by Roman Catholic orders such as the Jesuits or Salesians which specialize in teaching. The standards are high. Most schools have uniform or dress codes. Core values are also taught together with plenty of instruction in the Catholic faith. The result is graduates who are firmly anchored on solid spiritual and academic foundations for advancement in later life.
Check out the profiles of these schools. Many of them also take day students, so if you live in the area, you can have the best of both worlds.
- Canterbury School, New Milford, CT
- Convent Of The Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT
- Cotter Schools, Winona, MN
- Flint Ridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Canada-Flintridge, CA
- Georgetown Preparatory, Bethesda, MD
- La Lumiere School, Portage, IN
- Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, RI
- St. John's Preparatory School, Collegeville, MN
- Subiaco Academy, Subiaco, AR
Private schools are generally set up in one of two ways: as for profit entities or not for profit (nonprofit) entities. The for profit version is typically used by either a corporation or a private individual in order to make a profit but not be eligible for contributions which are tax-deductible to the extent provided for by law. Not for profit status is what most private schools chose to organize under so that they may make money but also receive contributions which are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
What then are the advantages and/or disadvantages of a for profit versus a not for profit school? Is one kind of school better than the other?
For Profit Schools
The way in which a for profit school is set up is to allow it to be controlled by an owner. That owner could be an individual or group of individuals as is often the case with many pre-schools and some elementary schools. Another form of ownership is a corporation. This often is a corporation owned an operated by a group of local individuals. More typically, for profit private schools are owned by a corporation which has schools in several locations. For profit schools are usually in business to make money or turn a profit. They pay taxes on those profits. Parents pay for the school's services just as though they were customers. Examples of this sort of school include Le Rosey in Switzerland, Sylvan Learning Centers, the Nobel Schools, as well
Christian schools as a genre have been around since the 1950's. Recently a subset of Christian schools known as classical Christian schools has become popular. This seems to have come about because standards in public education have steadily fallen. Many parents simply will not tolerate shoddy disciplinary standards, sloppy dress codes, violence in our schools and underachievement and low expectations. As a result they start their own schools.
A classical Christian school proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It also adheres to the principles of a classical education as set out by educators such Dorothy Sayers, John Milton Gregory, St. Augustine and Douglas Wilson. Parents and students enroll in a classical school because they too embrace the mission and teachings of the school. Teachers are required to sign a statement of belief as well. The result is a school community which is tightly focussed on its aims and objectives. Put another way, if you cannot subscribe to these beliefs, then you need to look elsewhere for your child's education if you are a parent.
You won't find computers and fancy technology being used in classical Christian schools. They use the trivium (grammar, rhetoric and logic). A classical Christian school seeks to produce excellent students well-schooled in their faith.
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