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Results tagged “boarding school benefits” from Boarding School Blog - onBoarding Schools

Diana Costello has written a snapshot of the school and family sides of the private school admission process in the lower Hudson River Valley for the Journal News and ("Parents still paying up for private schools").

She chronicles the thinking and decisions of families as administrators work to keep their schools full and parents cut and sacrifice to afford an opportunity they believe important.

"The Geber family of Nyack, for instance, is shelling out $55,000 a year to send two children to the Rockland Country Day School, where both have been students since kindergarten. One is in eighth grade, the other is a senior who has been accepted to Columbia University.

"It's like buying a Mercedes E-Class once a year and then driving it off a cliff," said David Geber, 58, a member of the board of trustees at Rockland Country Day who is also the dean of faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. He wasn't the only one to make that joke.

But, he quickly adds, he can't think of a better investment.

"If we don't spend our money on our children, what are we going to spend it on?" he said. "We do not drive fancy cars, do not go on vacations, we just make things meet." (

There's an unstated idea in this piece that strikes me- that few people seem to be acknowledging- schools and families seem to be making very resourceful efforts to meet each other in the middle regarding tuition and costs. I think there's still a way to go in terms of school lowering costs, but the opportunities and willingness to make changes and adjustments seem to be taking hold.

Walter Johnson, headmaster of The Hackley School in Tarrytown told the Journal News:

"People have made philosophical decisions to keep their kids in public schools, but if you have the sense that that decision is becoming more challenging because of the economic struggles your schools are facing, that's when you may start to consider something different." (

Photo credit: s_jelan

Highlighted in the current National Coalition of Girls' Schools newsletter is a UCLA study confirming the lasting affects of a girls school education on graduates. I find the most interesting aspect of the study coming from its longitudinal view. Alumnae seem to carry and benefit from their girls school experiences deep into college and graduate work. I'd love to know if girls school alumnae and their coeducation alumnae ever gain equal education footing? Just how deep into life do these advantages carry?

Interesting work.

"According to the UCLA report, which was commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, girls' school graduates consistently assess their abilities, self-confidence, engagement and ambition as either above average or in the top 10 percent. Compared to their coed peers, they have more confidence in their mathematics and computer abilities and study longer hours. They are more likely to pursue careers in engineering, engage in political discussions, keep current with political affairs, and see college as a stepping stone to graduate school...

    (Skipping over data conclusions)

As the UCLA study points out, girls' schools graduates rate themselves more successful and engaged in precisely those areas in which male students have historically surpassed them - mathematics, computers, engineering, and politics. The findings may undermine opponents of girls' schools, who argue that single-sex education accentuates sex-based stereotypes and widens the gender gap."
Twenty-two of my thirty-two years in independent schools were spent in day schools, some very good and some fairly mediocre, but all of them had good students with dedicated teachers. Their debate teams did well; the football teams reigned supreme. Most went on to colleges and parents were fairly pleased with their investment. However, it wasn't until I went to my first boarding school as an assistant headmaster that I realized that these are schools that take education to another level. And by that, I don't mean that boarding schools are repositories for more advanced placement or honors classes, nor am I suggesting that the college placement was any better. All of those are features of schools that can be found anywhere. Where a school defines itself is where its soul is, and the soul of a boarding school lies in its development of a unique community of adults and students all living together; sharing a common purpose as defined by the mission of that school. Such schools are places that are not defined by the culture of the immediate surrounding community but by the multitude of experiences of their students, many of whom come from regions of the country and the world unknown to the average independent day or public school student. Boarding schools are places where students develop an appropriate sense of independence that all parents inherently wish for our children. Boarding schools, by their very nature, encourage and guide their students to learn to develop those emotional intelligence skills we often find so elusive in a seventeen year-old.   

How these schools do this is something that can only be discerned by walking the campus and spending time listening and observing. Doing so, one will find, for the most part, motivated students with a common purpose happily engaged in the lives of each other. Artificial barriers to understanding and acceptance tend to disappear; social cliques can be rare; and intellectual risks can be taken without fear. The possibilities for expanding the education of a child beyond the classroom are enormous. As an example, I often think of a boy who came to us some years back as a sophomore from a local public school. We soon found that he had an extraordinary voice, but his talent had been unrecognized by his school. Freshmen rarely get recognition for their talents in large schools, often because they are too fearful to even attempt to share their talent. Yet, he was auditioning for our school musical and, yes, he had an extraordinary voice. He went on to become the highlight of our entire theater program and is now on a full scholarship studying opera at a conservatory back East. I do not believe this would have happened had he not transferred to a boarding school like ours.  

Imagine a place where your son or daughter rooms with a student from Malawi or Kiev. Imagine students with a range of religious backgrounds living in the same hall together. If we have learned anything of the events of this new century, it is that the days of cultural isolation are over - we are all so interconnected. It is inevitable that our children, when they become adults, will be faced with a completely different kind of world - a world that requires a different sort of individual. I am not certain children can learn that worldview without venturing beyond the block they live on. Boarding school students experience the world through classmates and teachers who come from cultures and places different from their own. They are poised for success in the new, global environment. Experience a boarding school and you will understand.  

Leo Marshall serves as the Director of Admission and Financial Aid at The Webb Schools in Claremont, CA- a coed, boarding school offering grades 9-12.

Call For Southern Boarding School Thoughts & Ideas

Northeastern boarding schools tend to capture a good bit of the spotlight. They're more well known, make more frequent sustained appearances in popular culture (movies, stories, and books) and benefit from their physical concentration in New England. The conflation of wealthy cities and deeper educational roots makes Eastern boarding schools more of an assumed educational option for Eastern families.

But, as we're fond of pointing out, we have good boarding schools across the country- not just in the concentration of New England schools, but seek and ye shall find.

We're currently working on piece highlighting Southern boarding schools; our goal is to present the spectrum of options of boarding school opportunities in the South. Disclaimer, we will work to focus on AdmissionsQuest member schools in the South. That said, we'd love to hear any interesting ideas, angles, stories, insight or topics that might interest you (our audience) regarding Southern boarding schools.

Join the conversation if you've got an angle or insight that might make a good topic for a general article on Southern boarding schools. Send your thoughts and ideas to [email protected] or leave a comment below.

Milton Hershey School: A Boarding School with a Distinct Mission

Milton Hershey School's Founder's HallThe Washington Post published a super piece on the Milton Hershey School Sunday. Milton Hershey is one of the boarding school world's great places. Endowed by chocolate, the school dedicates itself to providing first class opportunities to students whose background and family finances would normally keep boarding school beyond their educational opportunities.

Milton Hershey's fortune allows it to serve one of the great roles that I often explain when talking about the "whys" of boarding school. Milton Hershey serves as the consistent environment for students. M-H supports its students and students know what to expect of the school.

Dedicated to its role, Milton Hershey knows and goes the extra mile in providing the basic family functions that we often take for granted. Like a traditional boarding school for its students, Milton Hershey serves as a safe, consistent environment for its students. Milton Hershey becomes home- providing health, mental health and dental care along with daily safety and structure of a routine that makes sure you know and have time to take care of your responsibilities.

As Milton Hershey communications director told the Washington Post, "Basically, we're looking for good kids in really difficult situations who deserve a shot at a normal life."

With the support of and structures of a family Milton Hershey students frees its students to explore and excel.

The Washington Post piece is long, but more than worth the read; the personal stories are great. To learn more about the school, visit their site.

Photo: Milton Hershey School's Founder's Hall
Photo Credit: Eric F. Savage
Editor's Note: "A Parent's Boarding School Admission Journal" will move to a regular Thursday publication schedule. Check-in each week to read the Boarding School Mom's latest entry.

By this time we felt like professionals, our son was more confident; and we were more knowledgeable. We realized that the first impression gained in the admission office can tell you a lot about the school. We also learned to chat up the tours guides more. The best tour guide, the one from the school our son now attends, happened to be the student council president and his enthusiasm for the school and his thoughtfulness about the strengths and weaknesses of the school were most engaging. Many were memorable however. There was a school where our son had competed and didn't get that "friendly feeling", but we thought he should consider where the tour guide confessed in the chapel (I am not kidding.) to being on probation for alcohol abuse but as she hadn't been drunk very often, she appreciated the school's several strike policy. This was not what I wanted to hear as the mother of a then 14 year old. There was the tour guide who gave us a long tour of the gym and the multiple rowing tanks but just walked us by the outside of the academic buildings with the comment that he was at the school because his sister went to another school on our list, and she said he wouldn't be able to do the work at her school. This is the same school where the admissions representative told our son the kids in the dorm would think he was weird because he reads books. One school my husband and I really liked, our son ruled out; because the tour guide pointed out another tour guide and said "if you come here, don't talk to him; because he's weird."

Two of the best experiences were at smaller schools. At one school we were given a tour by a member of the faculty while our son went out with a member of the cross-country team, which is one of his sports. While our son was being interviewed, the headmaster made a point of introducing himself to all the parents in the waiting room. When we met with the admissions staff, other members of the girls and boys cross-country team introduced themselves to our son. The other really positive experience also paired us with a runner for a tour guide, and the cross-country/track coach visited with us in turn while the other was being interviewed.

The actual writing of the applications was no less stressful for doing it the second time only the pain was condensed as he had to get them done by the end of Christmas Break by mandate of his school's placement office. There was no delaying until the deadline. He reapplied to the two schools where he had previously been rejected and which remained his first choices. These were the long shots. He applied to two schools which seemed likely and two which we were pretty confident would take him.

This time when the day of determination arrived, he was accepted at the two "back-up" schools, wait-listed at the two "likely" schools, rejected at one of the competitive schools and accepted at the school he had wanted to attend since seventh grade. This school which is large and as our son says, "doesn't have to have a lot of rules, because there is so much work there's no time to get in trouble" seems to be a perfect fit for him. He's been there a month and loves it. He is stimulated and challenged by the academics, enthusiastic about the sports and gamely exploring new activities from debate to break dancing. In retrospect, it was a blessing that they did not accept him initially as his year at a junior boarding school gave him the confidence and study skills to succeed in this relatively unstructured and academically challenging school.

Recognizing and Understanding the Best Fit for our Daughter
Now we are embarking on the same adventure with our daughter.

To maintain privacy and confidentiality, our author writes under the pen name "Boarding School Mom" and all family, child consultant, and school names will be changed or omitted. You can reach AQ's Boarding School Mom at [email protected].
Editor's Note: "A Parent's Boarding School Admission Journal" will move to a regular Thursday publication schedule. Check-in each week to read the Boarding School Mom's latest entry.

One of the benefits of working with a consultant is that she was able to provide feedback from the interviews. Some of this was positive, but from others we learned that our normally voluble son had been uncommunicative and distant. I was also dismayed when sometimes he would hardly speak to the tour guide. Nevertheless, I made sure he followed-up promptly with a thank-you note, and we proceeded confident that he would be accepted at a competitive school. In fact against the advice of the consultant, he only applied to four schools.  Of these schools, three he would have been happy to attend and one we would have been happy to have him attend.

Then came the dark day when the consultant called to tell us that he had been rejected at two schools and wait-listed at two schools. As we recovered from the blow, she was terrific at helping us explore our options. One, we could push to get off the wait lists. By this time we only considered one of the wait list schools an option based on some things we had learned about the other school, but our son felt the school's strength - outdoor winter sports- didn't align with his interests. Two, she felt some of the schools at which he had interviewed but to which we hadn't applied, might accept him. We considered this as we had liked the feel of these schools very much, but felt that if they were the right fit, we would have applied there initially. Three, she suggested he attend a junior boarding school for a year and reapply the next cycle.

We knew next to nothing about junior boarding schools but our consultant gave us background information on the three she felt were most appropriate. All were within two hours of home and all terrific schools, but one she felt would be the best fit for our child. She arranged for us to visit on short notice. The tour guide was an intelligent, friendly boy and our son said that despite the rain, the school had a happy feel. The paperwork was submitted immediately, facilitated by the brevity of junior boarding school applications in comparison to the many essays required by prep schools. In one of the nicest touches we've experienced in our admissions journey, the school's Director of Admissions called shortly thereafter to tell us personally that our son had been accepted.

That Speed-bump Worked-out for the Best
He had a great ninth grade year at that school. In a supportive environment that truly understands boys, he studied with bright, engaging teachers, was coached by enthusiastic, talented adults who encouraged good sportsmanship and dedication, had terrific opportunities to participate in theater and the academic team and had the fun of living with boys from all over the world and this country without the pressure of trying to impress girls. He was able to prove that he could thrive in a boarding environment and that he could succeed at sports he had never been exposed to in his small school at home. He also had a fresh set of references from a school well-known to the high schools to which he next applied.  

The school has a great placement office with which we worked, but we also chose to retain our consultant again. She knew our son better than the placement office and also was supporting a smaller pool of kids. This time we again looked at nine schools, six of which were new to us. Although we understood the benefit of looking farther afield, we were clear that we wanted him within two hours of home.

To maintain privacy and confidentiality, our author writes under the pen name "Boarding School Mom" and all family, child consultant, and school names will be changed or omitted. You can reach AQ's Boarding School Mom at [email protected].

Photo Credit: bwats2
We're always expounding on the boarding school experience and the fact that relationships set the boarding school experience apart. For students and faculty, the crux of the boarding school experience is what you make of your opportunities and relationships.

We recently found this reflection by a Phillips Andover alumnus and we like it- a lot.  It doesn't sugarcoat the boarding experience, but the author makes a nice, concise argument as to why boarding school is a great fit and experience for some students.

Read Chelsea Page's column from the Georgetown Voice.

Back in March, we wrote about Eagle Hill School's role as a cultural hub in central Massachusetts and spoke of my hardhat tour of the school's under-construction Cultural Center.  As summer draws to a close, the school is now set to draw the curtain on their sparkling new facility.

The Cultural Center will house two theaters, a dining and function hall, gallery space, music rooms, a recording studio, visual and graphic arts classrooms, a set construction shop and an amphitheater.

As Eagle Hill Headmaster P.J. McDonald explained to the Worcester & Gazette, "The Cultural Center is a celebration of the arts and education coming together in three components.  First and foremost, it's for our students, whether they're acting on the stage, building the sets, marketing shows and accounting for the center's finances."

Congratulations to the folks at Eagle Hill.

Photo Credit: johnthurm
We write so often about boarding schools and boarding students that we lose sight that almost every boarding school has a day student component and that day students make significant contributions to boarding school life. In some ways, day student participation and contribution comes at some personal sacrifice. Transitioning to a boarding community takes them into a new setting away from friends with whom they may have grown-up and known since kindergarten. It's just plain tough to change school and shift priorities and friendships without moving.

Three students recently talked with the Monadnock Ledger about their opportunities, growth and successes as day students at Cushing Academy commuting daily from Rindge, NH. Alexa Barry and Breandan and Kara Garland have found athletic success and great opportunities at Cushing and believe that change and sacrifice of leaving their comfort zone has broadened their world and opportunities.
Gilmour Academy (Gates Mills, Ohio) celebrated two National Forensic League champions this past June. Gilmour seniors, Nathan Blevins and Rachel Kenney won first place in their events. Blevins took home the top trophy in Student Congress. Kenney reading Katharine Hepburn's "Me: Stories of My Life" won the prize in Prose Interpretation as well as the the Jefferson plaque in the Humorous Interpretation event. This fall Kenney will attend Northwestern University and Blevins will attend Yale.

Only one other school in the nation- Newton North (MA), enjoyed two national champions in this year's competition.

To read more about Gilmour and it's students visit their site.

If you're unfamiliar with the National Forensic League and its programs, we certainly urge you to learn more.
St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, MD graduated its first class of International Baccalaureate students this past spring. The IB program is an international program of rigorous coursework and achievement. Students completing the IB program demonstrate the skills and intellectual tools necessary for acceptance into worldwide higher education. Beyond direct educational achievement, IB students also gain exposure to broad intellectual perspectives and ideas.

Accreditation to the IB program demonstrates commitment to a strong, wide ranging curriculum. St. Timothy's is the only all-girls boarding school in the United States offering the IB.

St. Timothy's website has more information about their IB program.

Gould Academy Takes to the Snow

We recently spoke with Mark Godomsky, Gould Academy's On-Snow program director. On-Snow results from Gould's commitment to using and connecting the school to its surroundings. In Bethel, Maine, this means students on and in the snow- in programs ranging from recreational skiing, to ski patrol, to a competition program the trains year round.

Question (Q): Can you tell us about the genesis of the On-Snow program? What are its roots? Did it grow out of an earlier program?

Mark Godomsky (MG): It's not a stretch to say that skiing has been at Gould for nearly as long as it has been in America. I've got a pair of jumping skis that belonged to an alum from the class of 1933. They were presented to me by the former Gould Nordic coach, a man by the name of Dick Taylor who was also captain of the 1964 U.S. Olympic X-C Team. There is a lot of tradition here of outstanding snow sports and outstanding coaches. People like Dick and going back to the 1950's people like Paul Kailey, a Middlebury alum who helped develop the competitive skiing program here and who was also a pioneer in developing Sunday River. Gould's On-Snow Program today is a continuation of a historically strong offering that is steeped in tradition. Along the way we've added "newer" elements like the competitive freestyle and snowboarding programs and Ski Patrol. Like those before use, we continue to look for ways to make the programs better and continue the tradition.

Q: Why On-Snow right now? Anything special about the opportunities or timing?

MG: These high quality programs offer a variety of opportunities for student-athletes in the winter that are tough to find within the traditional boarding school realm.  

A student at Gould can spend six days a week on the mountain snowboarding or freeriding, developing his/her skills and staying fit. Another student might spend six days a week learning life saving skills, working toward certification as a member of the National Ski Patrol. And finally, a student can train hard six days a week with a qualified, full time coaching staff made up of former NCAA Division I racers and coaches. There is something for everyone who enjoys being on the hill or on our 40km on-campus trail system.

Q: Do you envision On-Snow growing into a pillar or major component of the school?

MG: I'd say it is a large component and one of many unique programs that sets Gould apart from other traditional New England private boarding schools. We're only six miles away from Sunday River Ski Resort. The backside of the mountain is the backdrop for our campus. Our relationship with and proximity to arguably the best ski resort in the northeast with some of the most varied terrain is very attractive and difficult to find anywhere else in the East. But, it's not about being a pillar or a major component. As I heard recent alum and current U.S. Ski Team member Bump Heldman '07 say this past fall, "At Gould, I got a great education and could ski with the U.S. Ski Team." He was a standout catcher on the baseball team, a positive member of the community, a great student who was accepted at strong schools, and was the recipient of this year's Eastern Ski Writers Association Award. One of our core values at Gould is to develop the whole person. The On-Snow Program is part of the package.

Q: Can you lay out the pieces of On-Snow and what each might mean to a participating student? Competitive versus non competitive?

MG: Gould's Competition Program provides student-athletes the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level in a number of disciplines: Freestyle, Snowboard, Alpine and Nordic. Skiers and snowboarders compete between 30-50 times a year, travel all over the country and the world, and are on-snow four hours a day six days a week including school vacations. During the off-season, they train in trampoline and water camps and in a variety of summer conditioning programs both on-snow and off. Due to the number of hours required, the Competition Program requires a student-athlete who is truly committed to athletic and academic success.

For students who enjoy competition but are looking for a less rigorous program, Gould offers its Prep Program. This is designed as a traditional prep school team sport, where student-athletes participate in a school race league and compete once a week. The program requires a commitment of three hours a day five days a week when school is in session.

On the non-competitive side, Gould offers some very unique programs. A large number of students take advantage of the Rug Rats Program, teaching local elementary school kids how to ski and snowboard three days a week. Those who participate find the experience to be very rewarding.

Gould's Ski Patrol Program is the only one in the country that helps students become certified members of the National Ski Patrol. The program requires training six days a week including one day of classroom work. Students work with full-time Sunday River patrollers. It typically takes three years of training before a student becomes a certified member and requires a strong commitment.

We also offer a Ski & Ride Program which gives students the opportunity to spend four days a week on the mountain with one day of conditioning. This is a popular program that gives students a way to stay fit and enjoy Sunday River. There are no weekend commitments and the groups are small averaging eight students to one teacher.

Q: How large is the program? What percentage of the student body participates in On-Snow?

MG: It is a large program. This past year approximately 80 percent of our student body (roughly 250 students) were involved.

Q: Is On-Snow designed to work and serve as the focal point of winter sports? Either way does this mean anything for other winter sports such as basketball and hockey?

MG: It is certainly a very popular and robust program, and we have a different class day schedule in the winter to maximize day light hours on the mountain and Nordic trails. The program has little to no impact on our basketball program. Our varsity boys' team won the western Maine Championship two years ago and were in the post season again this year as was the girls' team. Overall, our competitive athletic programs are strong.

Q: On-Snow seems outdoor oriented, does Gould have any notions of expanding On-Snow into the fall or spring programs- giving them any more of an outdoor flavor?

MG: We offer a lot of opportunity for dry land training and conditioning in the fall and spring. This summer we are offering an on-snow training camp at Mt. Hood in Oregon. Going back to our whole person core value, along with academics, athletics, arts and community life, we believe that intensive experiences in the natural world is an important part of developing the whole person. Our location in western Maine on the edge of the White Mountains is a terrific asset and plays a role in our identity. Gould also offers rock climbing, fall student orientation trips, an eight day winter camping trip for the junior class, and each fall the entire school takes a day off to climb a mountain together.

Brewster Academy offers a unique take on the boarding school experience. We recently had the opportunity & pleasure to ask BA's Dean of Studies, Peter Hess, what Brewster's approach to boarding school means to students.

A graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (B.S) and the University of Minnesota (M.Ed. Special Education), Peter joined BA in 1988 and held a number of positions (instructional support and math center teacher, team leader, and director of lower school) prior to becoming Dean in 2005.

Many thanks to Peter for taking the time to participate in our Q&A series.

Question (Q): What's different - for the student - about going to school and learning within the Brewster program?

Peter Hess (PH)
: This is a comprehensive question. There are lots of ways that a student's learning experience is different at Brewster. The first thing that springs to mind is the individual attention that students get. The whole program is designed to be more responsive to individual needs - from leveled outcomes, to instructional adaptations, to the Instructional Support program - we are very intentional about serving all of our students well.

This individual attention is also characterized in the relationships that students build with their teachers. Comments like the following are common reflections at Brewster:

"Brewster is a lot different then past schools because the teachers really know you more as a person, and are more involved with you in and out of the classroom. They learn about your personality and how to teach you best, and there is always time to go talk to them because even when you aren't in class you see them all over campus," Mike '09.
Another key difference is our recognition system, which rewards students for meeting responsibilities independently.  As a whole, students want to 'earn status' and are motivated to meet expectations in the classroom, in the dorm, and on the athletic field. In any given marking period more than 80 percent of our students earn the privileges associated with the recognition status that they have earned. Some of these privileges include studying in the dorm at night (instead of a classroom), taking "nights out," exclusive use of the library mezzanine lounge area, and use of the Student Center during study hall.

Q: How does the Brewster program shape the student's classroom experience differently?

PH: The key component of our program that makes the classroom experience different is our commitment to the concept of 'best practice'.  Brewster supports practices in the classroom that have a proven record of positively influencing student learning, and we put lots of structures in place to help ensure that these practices are implemented with integrity.

What does this mean for the student? It means that when information is presented in class, students can count on having lots of opportunity to do activities in class that call on them to practice and get feedback on their learning. It means that when they are working within cooperative groups, the activity will be structured so students have to help each other, teach each other, and check on each other's learning.

Q: Does Brewster place any special, different, or unique requirements/performance-demands/responsibilities on students?

PH: Brewster is committed to the concept of mastery learning. Students must demonstrate that they have learned the requisite content and reached a requisite skill level on assessments to progress in the curriculum. If a student fails to demonstrate mastery, the teacher assesses the reasons for lack of mastery and then works with the student toward mastery and further assessment. This helps ensure that no student is allowed to progress through the curriculum without staying up to speed.

The other demand that we place on students is to demonstrate their learning in authentic ways. More and more we realize how important it is for students to develop the 'habits of mind' that call on students to inquire, apply, synthesize, research, create, and problem-solve. This has always been part of our design, but we are now looking at even better ways for students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of formats. Technology is an invaluable resource in accomplishing this goal.

Q: What are the different feelings, perspectives, and experiences felt by students as they pursue academics and classroom experiences at Brewster?

PH: It is hard for me to speak for students but some tangible evidence comes from surveys done by students on each of their teachers twice a year. These surveys are overwhelmingly positive (average item ratings over 3.4 on 4.0 scale) and reflect the high level of respect and appreciation that Brewster students have for their teachers.

Comments made by students include:

"Ms. Chaffee is a great teacher! She uses many great techniques to help EVERYONE to learn, and she moves at the perfect pace, and gives us SO many opportunities to ask questions and study in class, so if we have questions we can ask our team, or her. She is also big on STAD groups which is also [great], cuz it really helps us learn and help each other a lot! Ms. Chaffee is an awesome teacher! Keep up the good work!"

 "I thought history was a boring subject but with Mr. Weeks it is fun. The learning environment is very comfortable. Everyone is involved. Mr. Weeks also tries to tie in real life scenarios with the topic we are doing."

 "Ms. Cornwell is a very good IS [instructional support] teacher. She has helped me with setting goals for this year and also has helped me organize and manage my time. Her IS block isn't like a study hall, which is good, but from time to time she will help me organize my thoughts to write a history paper or an English paper."

Q: Given that the student's academic work occurs within a defined teaching team, how does this shape/effect the student's interaction and relationships?

PH:When we first implemented this structure 13 years ago, there were some concerns expressed by students. Now that it is very much a part of the way we do things, students are used to it.  Students interact quite a bit with students on other teams whether it be at meals, in athletics, on clubs, or on weekends.
Q: What's the greatest affect of the Brewster program on students/what does every student know or experienced upon graduation?

PH: The biggest affect the program has had on how students are different by the time they graduate is that Brewster students have shown that they can handle challenging academic tasks in a responsible manner.  They have developed skills that will allow them to be successful in college.  As evidence, 96 percent of our students return for their sophomore year in college (the national average is about 70 percent). On a 5-point scale, students rated how well they felt Brewster prepared them for college at 3.8.  Nearly 70 percent of graduates say that Brewster gave them an academic advantage in college. More than 92 percent of the graduates of the past six years (1999-2004) have said that if they were to do it over again that they would attend Brewster.

Q: What's the best praise about Brewster's program that you've heard from an alumnus?

PH: We get a lot of positive feedback from alumns on how the Brewster program has helped prepare them for the challenges of all areas of college. Here's just one recent comment from a 2006 graduate:  "Over the past few months I've really had time to reflect on my years at Brewster and have come to realize that they have not only changed my life in a positive way, but have truly allowed me to achieve and put me where I am today. ... I've been able to maintain a 3.94 GPA throughout my first year and a half, am playing varsity lacrosse, and having a great time in college. ... You folks at Brewster support the students and do so much to ensure that we are set up for college and the rest of our lives."

Visit to learn more about the school and it's programs.

School Visits - an ongoing series

One of the really fun things that we get to at AdmissionsQuest is visit boarding school campuses. This give us an opportunity to talk with people at each school and learn more about what makes them unique.

The entry that follows this one about Hyde School is the next in what will become an ongoing series of our thoughts and observations from our campus visits.  

An Inspiring Story

We often write about and mention the potential of boarding schools to become the safe consistent environment for students.  With drive and a series of invested supportive adults, Shamila Kohestani made her way from Afghanistan to Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ.  

Read this great story in the NY Times about Shamila finding her way to and through an American boarding school and how the school and it's students reached-out to help and learn.

Update: Browsing the Time's site I found a video that accompanies the article. Figured I'd pass it along.

Some boarding schools operate summer boarding programs and one school, Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School (right), operates exclusively as a summer boarding school. Summer boarding sessions usually last from 4-6.5 weeks; they offer a variety of classes and academics mixed with recreational, athletic and artistic activities and trips on afternoons and weekends.

Here's a list of reasons to consider a summer boarding program:

  • Looking for a fun summer experience with more purpose than straight summer camp.

  • To improve skills in a particular subject area e.g. reading, math, writing, etc.

  • To get ahead, earn a course credit so that you can move into a more advanced course in the fall.

  • To make-up a failing grade.

  • To prepare for transition to a new school in the fall.

  • To strengthen an application to a new private or independent school.

  • To gain a feeling for what boarding school is like.
If these thoughts are part of your summer planning, you might consider a summer boarding school program.  

5 Reasons to Consider Boarding Schools!

Considering boarding schools? Here are 5 reasons for you to attend!

Over the years we've written a number of in-depth articles that spell out the many benefits of boarding schools. onBoarding Schools gives us another outlet to talk about this topic, which we'll consistently do over the coming months. To get things started here are 5 reasons to consider boarding schools:

  1. Challenging Academics
    Generally speaking boarding schools offer a wide range of courses with many being of the honors and AP variety.

  2. Small Classes
    The small class size at most boarding schools offers students an amazing opportunity to participate. Each student's voice can be heard in this environment.

  3. College Guidance
    Boarding schools typically employ full-time college counselors to help guide you through the college admission process. An invaluable resource in this age of highly competitive college placement.

  4. Family Atmosphere
    Boarding schools are committed to fostering a tightly-knit community. Warm, friendly, family-like atmospheres are found in many boarding schools.

  5. Opportunity to Try New Things
    Boarding Schools are great places to try out new activities. Many offer unique opportunities in the arts, athletics, etc.

If you're interested in reading more I encourage you to visit AdmissionsQuest's article library. You'll find detailed entries there including this one on the benefits of boarding schools.

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About onBoarding Schools

AdmissionsQuest's blog dedicated to boarding school admission & schools.

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