What is an independent school?
An independent school is a non-profit educational entity that is autonomous in its governance and finances. Embracing a unique mission, an independent school operates primarily through tuition income, endowment revenue, and charitable donations and is governed by its own board elected by independent means, typically self-perpetuating. An independent school is not subject to government oversight and regulations but is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) highlights four “freedoms” that characterize independent schools: the freedom to define their own unique missions; the freedom to admit and keep only those students well-matched to the mission; the freedom to define the qualifications for high quality teachers; the freedom to determine on their own what to teach and how to assess student achievement and progress.
Why will an independent school make a difference in your child’s life?
As consumers who look for value, we want to secure the strongest future possible for our children. Parents who send their children to an independent school frequently affirm the strength of their child’s experience. Specifically, they highlight the individual attention their child receives, small class sizes, teacher excellence, and high academic standards. They recognize that exceptional schools teach the importance of hard work, personal responsibility, leadership and good citizenship, and prepare children not just academic tests, but also for life’s tests. Simply speaking, they recognize quality.
Research affirms a number of reasons why independent schools are so successful, including:
- High-quality, dedicated teachers
- Supportive learning environments
- Individualized attention for students
- Hands-on learning opportunities
- Educational experiences beyond the classroom
- Actively involved parents
- Close, nurturing school communities.
Compared to their counterparts in public schools, independent school students are more actively engaged in the learning process and in the life of the school, positively impacting their success in college, the workplace, and in their social relationships. They typically have positive opinions of their teachers and the education they are receiving. Recent research affirms that 70% of independent school students feel they have at least one teacher to whom they feel close while only 20% of public school students have such a relationship.
Research also confirms that students who attend an independent school develop critical skills necessary to flourish in future endeavors. Almost all independent school graduates pursue a post-graduate education, typically pursuing majors geared toward professional fields. Compared to other students, they tend to maintain a strong focus on preparation for the future. The majority plan to complete an advanced degree. Research also confirms that independent school graduates are more satisfied with their careers, pursue a more active range of personal interests, and feel more optimistic about their future. They have a greater commitment to community service and civic participation.
Why should you choose an independent school?
As a parent, you have an opportunity to choose a school with a mission - a philosophy, values, and approach to teaching - that is right for your child, increasing the opportunity for you and the school to work collaboratively to ensure your child’s optimal success. Because independent schools are recognized for their high quality and high success rate, you are selecting a learning environment that will benefit your child for a lifetime.
Each independent school is unique, so you should consider carefully the independent schools available in your area before selecting the school that is right for your child.