The Best Private Schools Have These 7 Similarities - St. Johnsbury Academy (2023)

Finding the best private or boarding school for your child should not be overlooked as this will affect not only the current educational experience but future success as well.

In this article, we'll discuss the top seven things that the best private schools have in common. We'll also expand each of these sections to answer important questions that parents are asking and that others should be asking.

As a result of reading this article, parents will have more clarity and be better prepared to do more research and choose the best private school for their child.


1. College preparation

2. Quality education

3. Small classes and skill pooling

4. Extracurricular activities and sports

5. Boarding Opportunity

6. Financing through monthly fees and donations

7. Financial Aid

1. College preparation

As a child progresses from adolescence to adulthood, the best private schools play a crucial role in working with parents to prepare their children for college success. Each school is characterized by additional measures and additional opportunities made available to students.

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How does a private day or boarding school prepare your child for college?

Many aspects of private schools and boarding schools are excellent for preparing students for college. Challenging academics, high expectations, and a focus on independence and time management skills allow for an easy transition to college for most students.

Academically, private schools are inherently challenging. Students can take honors or Advanced Placement (AP) level courses, many of which allow them to earn college credit. This high-level course gives students a head start on entering college because they are already accustomed to the amount of work required to succeed at a college-level course.

Private school teachers have high expectations of their students and are willing to invest the time necessary to help them succeed. As many boarding school teachers live on campus, they are often coaches or mentors and are available to students in the evenings and weekends to help with schoolwork if needed.

Boarding school students generally have an easier transition to college because they are used to being independent. They are responsible for getting up on time, doing homework, getting to classes and other activities, and even doing laundry, all without parental support. By the time they get to college, all these routines become second nature and they can focus on their studies.

Most private schools and boarding schools offer many sports and activities outside of school hours. Students often participate in interscholastic sports that require daily practice, or activities such as the Science Olympiad or FIRST Robotics that are required after school and on weekends in preparation for competitions. All of these additional activities build strong time management skills in students, giving them an edge going into college.

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How can your child get a student loan?

At private schools or boarding schools, there are many options for students to earn college credit, including dual degree programs, international baccalaureate or advanced placement programs, among others. In a dual study program, a school cooperates with a faculty, which means that certain courses can be covered with university credit. Both the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs conclude with a final exam leading to college credit if passed. Recognition of these credits varies from college to college and must be considered by students and parents during the application process. Some students begin taking AP exams in their sophomore year, but courses that offer college credit are usually taken in a student's junior or senior year.

to St. Johnsbury Academy, for example, offers a variety of course options that can lead to college credit for undergraduates. It offers a dual enrollment program with Southern New Hampshire University, leading to college credit upon successful course completion, many AP courses, and the AP Capstone Diploma program.

How do Advanced Placement courses work?

Advanced Placement Coursehave been the gold standard for college credits earned in high school. Students enroll in an AP course at their school and receive college credit at most colleges if they pass the AP exam (grade 3 or better). These courses are often very challenging and prepare a student for success in college.

To give an example of the range of AP courses that a private school can offer, St Johnsbury Academy, along with other quality schools, offer AP courses including:

AP Capstone-Programm
Computer science
English Language and Composition
English literature and composition
environmental science
european history
French language and culture
Japanese language and culture
music theory
Spanish language
the statistics
studio art
United States Government and Politics
United States History

AP courses allow students to challenge and accelerate their learning in specific areas of interest.

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How can your child explore career opportunities and discover what he or she loves?

Private schools and boarding schools have the resources to offer programs that go beyond the state's basic high school requirements. Whether it's art, math, science, robotics, culinary arts, creative writing, etc., the depth of special programs at private schools gives students the opportunity to explore professional interests in a meaningful way while still in high school.

to St. Johnsbury Academy, for example, offers a large number of unique programs that allow students to explore areas of study or careers. From high-level mathematics to the SJA Field Semester, from the culinary arts to fashion design, it'sSignaturprogrammeigniting students' passions, often leading them to pursue careers in areas first explored in high school.

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2. Quality education

The pillar of strength that the best private schools are known for is the excellent quality of education consistently delivered year after year. The importance of quality education cannot be overstated.

The Wall Street Journal writes, "One of the biggest factors in college admissions and a determining factor in the overall chances of personal and professional success is the quality of the high school one attends."

How do you determine the educational quality of a private school?

Quality in education can be difficult to quantify as it consists of many different factors. To add to the confusion, parents and students looking for solid data often rely on review sites, which can be misleading and should be used with caution. For example, ranking sites that allow students to list colleges they would like to attend as part of an overall score don't use actual data about a school because students don't provide information about colleges that are actually accepted or attended. Also, on the spur of the moment, students sometimes leave negative reviews if they believe or disagree with what they write.

A good starting point for understanding the quality of education offered by a particular school is to look at the numbers. For example, ask about students' SAT scores and which colleges they attend.

Perhaps the most important aspect in determining educational quality is whether the courses offered by the school are challenging. If you take a closer look, you might want to find out the following:

  • Do strong academic students work hard on their courses?
  • Are there different levels for a given topic?
  • Are there courses that award college credit, such as B. Advanced courses?

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Another important factor in determining the quality of education is examining the quality of the faculty. Considerations may include:

  • Are they well qualified, do they have advanced degrees, even a Ph.D.?
  • In addition to their formal qualifications, do they love children?
  • Are faculty members passionate about what they teach?

The breadth of courses offered at a school is another thing to consider. You may want to do more research to determine the following:

  • If a student has an interest in art or music, does the curriculum adequately support their area of ​​interest?
  • Are there high-level math courses?
  • If a student is interested in writing, are creative writing classes offered?
  • What extracurricular activities are there?
  • Are there many opportunities for students to do what they love outside of the classroom?

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Finally, private schools, and boarding schools in particular, encourage academic excellence by collaborating with students who share similar ambitions. In boarding school it's really cool to be smart.

SeattlePi sums up the importance of quality education well: “Excellent private high schools provide a richer curriculum to capture each student's ability. The small classroom style, individual attention, highly qualified staff and welcoming learning environment at renowned pre-university schools determine students' journey to top colleges. Its purpose is to enhance academic excellence by fostering a culture of learning, creativity, social growth and the realization of talent through a student-centered educational approach.”

By carefully considering the above factors, parents and students can get a good picture of the quality of education a school is offering.Academicand support they need to work towards their future goals.

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3. Small classes and skill pooling

Many private schools are better able to cater to individual learning needs by offering smaller class sizes and skill groups.

How does class size affect learning?

Research consistently shows that small class sizes affect classroom learning outcomes. Some examples are "Why small classes work",e "The benefits of smaller classesPDF Download“ e „The Importance of Class Size in the Middle and Upper Grades“ em

Smaller classes allow students individual attention within their classes; Teachers also know their students best. Ideally, classes should have fewer than 15 students so that those students can get the most out of interacting with the teacher. at St. At Johnsbury Academy, for example, classes are limited to 15 students, reflecting the value placed on student and faculty involvement. The student-teacher ratio at the school is 8 to 1.

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What is Skill Grouping?

Another important tool used by private schools to properly challenge their students is ability grouping. Students are placed in a skill-based subject with peers of similar ability so they learn in the best possible situation. Unlike tracking, which can cause a student to struggle up or down based on their success in a subject,skill groupingit's flexible. For example, as a student becomes more comfortable with math, they might move from a basic math class to a standard or even accelerated math class. Students are not categorized based on where they start.

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4. Extracurricular activities and sports

Participating in extracurricular activities and sports prepares students for life after school andstrengthen skillsgo beyond the scope of the lesson.

How do extracurricular activities and sport affect student achievement?

These activities teach students about being part of a team and that the most successful teams are those that work hard and leverage their members' strengths. Whether students are on a robotics team or a Science Olympiad, singing with a choir, playing with a jazz band, cross-country skiing, ski racing, or participating in a traditional team sport like soccer or basketball, they they learn to work together and support their fellow men.

Boarding schools are characterized by exceptional sports and extracurricular activities. An extracurricular sport or afternoon activity is often a requirement for students and encourages them to become involved and part of the wider school community. As Newsweek recommended in an article: “Look into your arts and physical education programs when choosing a school; they are invariably much broader and their importance cannot be underestimated. They teach students valuable life skills like teamwork, responsibility and trust – things you can’t learn from books and chalkboards.”

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Many extracurricular groups allow their members to travel, sometimes across the state for a competition and sometimes on an international trip around the world. Students have the option to present in plays or fashion shows, compete as members of the Scholar's Bowl, or be a "mathematician" and compete in an online math competition against schools across the country. These students proudly represent their school, show maturity and composure, and learn to get along with others when traveling or competing. These groups improve performance and introduce students to interacting with people and even cultures different from their own.

And with successful sports teams comes school spirit, and with school spirit comes fun. Some students' favorite memories are the weekend back home, trips to championship basketball games, or cheering on their friends at a home soccer or lacrosse game. These memories last a lifetime. Traditions vary from school to school; at St. Johnsbury Academy, for example, celebrates one of the oldest rivalries in high school sports, our annual football game against our neighbor to the north, the Lyndon Institute. With 48 additional interscholastic and intramural teams, there is room for everyone to contribute and benefit from everything.athleticshas to offer.

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5. Boarding Opportunity

Opportunities offered by boarding schools often outnumber public schools. Boarding schools are funded differently, leaving more room for the arts, specialized academic programs, extracurricular activities, and in-depth courses. Classes are small and diverse, and students live with classmates who become lifelong friends.

What are the advantages of a boarding school over a public school?
Diversity of the student body

One of the biggest perks of going to boarding school, especially in New England, is the diversity of the student body. Boarding schools carefully select their students from various states and countries. For example, students at St. Johnsbury Academy generally represent around 30 countries and 25 states. The benefits for international and US students are many: they learn to be sensitive to cultures different from their own; learn to communicate with people who do not speak English as a first language; and perhaps most importantly, they learn that their similarities to people from other cultures far outweigh their differences. points out that “Students who attend schools with adiverse populationcan develop an understanding of the perspectives of children from different backgrounds and learn to function in a multicultural and multiethnic environment”.

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Close relationships with teachers and classmates

The community that is built in a boarding school is very different from that in a public or boarding school. In addition to teaching, faculty members serve as dorm supervisors, tutors and mentors, accompany weekend field trips, participate in sporting events and are generally a part of campus life. Because of this, students form strong relationships with teachers that often last well into adulthood.

Likewise, students form very close bonds with other inmates they spend so much time with, forming lifelong friendships.

See relatives:student life

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sports and artistic facilities

The sports and artistic facilities at the boarding schools are exceptional. For students involved in athletics, boarding schools are likely to have multi-building athletic complexes that may include a variety of indoor exercise facilities in addition to outdoor fields and courts. to St. Johnsbury Academy is home to a gymnasium, soccer field with three basketball courts, weight and cardio rooms, and a competition-size swimming pool.

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The art installations at the boarding schools are also impressive. Many schools have a dedicated arts building, which may include classrooms for various artistic genres: drawing, painting, ceramics and sculpture, photography, music, printmaking, and even a small theater.

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Higher Academics

Boarding schools provide excellent educational opportunities for a wide range of students. Larger schools typically offer more than 200 courses, including many advanced placement or honorary courses, pre-professional courses in the visual and performing arts, engineering and robotics courses, and a variety of foreign languages. at St. Johnsbury Academy, for example, we also offer technical training courses ranging from culinary arts to fine woodworking at our on-campus technical education centre.

small classes

It is a well-known fact that smaller class sizes lead to better student outcomes. Boarding schools offer very small classes. In addition, boarding schools often provide excellent academic support. All students, regardless of their academic level, homework habits, or past academic challenges, are given the resources to excel. In addition, at St Johnsbury Academy we have been very successful in supporting students who need help with organization and study skills or whose diagnosed learning disability requires specialist support, remediation and classroom accommodation. We offer a study skills program for freshmen and high school students, in which students learn tactics for succeeding in college and doing homework in a supportive environment. Our Guided Studies program provides intensive academic support with a focus on students with special needs who have had problems with their schoolwork in the past. Trained support staff work with faculty on study skills and guided study to help students deal with high school pressures and reach their academic potential.

Led Responsibility

Young adults entering college are often faced with more independence and responsibility than they can handle. They transition from a comfortable home with few responsibilities to life in an apartment or dorm where they are virtually independent. This often leads to a difficult adjustment period, during which students underperform and sometimes drop out of college. Boarding school helps students avoid these problems by gradually giving them far more responsibility than they would have at home, as well as providing mentors, rules, and structure as they grow into their new adult roles.

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6. Financing through monthly fees and donations

Private schools are funded differently than public schools, depending on tuition, income from endowments, and donations from alumni and other individuals for their funding. Well-funded schools offer smaller class sizes, more academic courses, more extracurricular opportunities, and better resources. As a Wall Street Journal article put it, "Probably the biggest contributor to differences in educational quality between public and private schools, and differences in quality between private schools, is funding."

How do private schools use tuition and donations?

Private schools fund their operations in a variety of ways, including tuition, donations, and interest earned on donations. Many schools use tuition and foundation income to fund day-to-day operations. Foundation income is also often used to fund endowments. Donations from alumni and friends are used for different purposes at different schools. You can fund a program or infrastructure improvements, such as B. a new building or renovations to an existing building. Having an endowment that generates interest income allows private schools to expand student opportunities beyond what could be paid for with tuition and donations alone.

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Some schools, such as St Johnsbury Academy, are independent city academies. As such, the school is funded in part by tuition paid by cities that do not have their own high school. These schools have successfully trained students in this way since the 19th century and have long been a part of the Vermont landscape. In cities where students are educated, families can choose which secondary school to send students to, prompting families to consider multiple schools and decide which one is right for their child.

How will the new tax law affect my ability to use 529 funds to pay college tuition?

The new tax law, which takes effect in 2018, will benefit parents who send their children to private schools.Parents can now receive up to $10,000 annually in distributions from their 529 plans to help pay college tuition.Parents interested in taking advantage of this facility should consult their tax adviser for details.

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7. Financial Aid

While many parents would like to send their children to a private school, it's not always affordable. Many private schools offer some form of financial aid, although this varies from school to school.

How can I pay to send my child to a private school?

Private schools and boarding schools seek to enroll students with strong academic potential, good character and diverse backgrounds from families who understand and share the school's values, regardless of their finances.

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Different schools offer different levels of financial aid, but all strive to help where possible for the benefit of the school.

Schools often ask if a student appliesfinancial helpat the same time, they ask for approval. Some schools are "necessary" and accept qualified students without regard to their financial needs; Most schools are “needs-based,” considering both the student's qualifications and financial needs as part of the admissions decision. Schools often have very limited financial resources available to international students. Most schools use an independent service to collect information about parents' ability to pay, for example. B. School and Student Service for Financial Assistance (SSS) or Financial Assistance for School Tuition (FAST). Student finance is financed from a variety of sources, including foundation income, individual donors or other funds made available for this purpose.

Some private schools offer various forms of financial aid. As an example, St. Johnsbury offers an innovative option calledGood Neighbor Program🇧🇷 To qualify for the Good Neighborhood program, families need only live (or own a vacation home) in Vermont, New Hampshire or Quebec. As this program reduces tuition for these families, income guidelines are not considered.

In summary, the best private schools prepare their students for success in college and life, provide quality education and small class sizes, enhance the learning experience through exceptional extracurricular activities and sports, use tuition and donations to enhance the student experience. student and provide financial assistance Help. To find the best solution for your child, you need to do your research and ask the right questions to find out which school best meets your specific needs.

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Is St Johnsbury Academy a good school? ›

St. Johnsbury Academy is overall an excellent school. There are many different classes offered. There's an excellent department for the arts, a career and technical institute, and of course, academics.

What are the 7 original public schools? ›

  • Charterhouse School.
  • Eton College.
  • Harrow School.
  • Rugby School.
  • Shrewsbury School.
  • Westminster School.
  • Winchester College.

What is the #1 private high school in Florida? ›

Ransom Everglades School

#1 Best Private High Schools in Florida.

What is the #1 private high school in America? ›

Phillips Academy

What is the number 1 elementary school in America? ›

1 best public elementary school in America for 2022. Pine View School in Osprey earned the top spot and was the only Tampa Bay area elementary school to crack the top 100 on Niche's annual list. According to state test scores, 99% of Pine View School students are at least proficient in math and 99% in reading.

What is the number 1 school in Texas? ›

These are the top Texas high schools for 2023, study says
2023 RankingSchoolMetro Area
1School for the Talented & GiftedDallas-Fort Worth area
2Liberal Arts & Science AcademyAustin area
3School of Science & EngineeringDallas-Fort Worth area
4Carnegie Vanguard High SchoolHouston area
6 more rows
Sep 27, 2022


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