18th Aug, 2009 | Source : The National Association of Independent Schools
Finding a school where your child thrives provides a foundation for a successful future.
At independent schools -- private, nonprofit schools governed by boards of trustees—you can choose a school where the approach to teaching and the philosophy of the school are the best match for your child.
The independent schools that belong to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) are fully accredited, non-profit schools that are non-discriminatory. Each NAIS independent school is driven by a unique educational mission. They all share a commitment to providing a safe environment in which young people can learn academic skills plus the importance of hard work, leadership, and good citizenship.
At independent schools, you’ll find extraordinary teachers who are experts in the subjects they teach, who love children, and who are passionate about teaching. Small classes mean that teachers are able to develop a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually. These expert teachers nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, and encourage critical thinking.
The 2008 High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE), conducted by Indiana University, examined the experiences of students at high schools across the country. The survey found that more than twice as many students at NAIS independent schools often received helpful feedback from teachers on assignments, compared to students at all other types of schools. Students who attended NAIS schools were more than twice as likely as students at other schools to say that the school contributed “very much” to their growth in critical thinking.
In addition to nurturing intellectual growth, the rigorous academics at NAIS schools challenge students and help prepare them for success at the next level. A study from the U.S. Department of Education found that 99 percent of students at NAIS schools graduated and 90 percent of graduates attended four-year colleges.
NAIS schools also encourage children to become active and involved community members. The Freshman Survey Trends Report, a study conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute, found that NAIS school graduates were more engaged with their communities than students from other types of schools. Forty-one percent of NAIS graduates said they expected to participate in volunteer or community activities in college, compared to just 24 percent of the whole group.
The NAIS website, www.nais.org/go/parents, offers a school search to help you locate schools. You’ll also find timelines for admission, information about financial aid, and lists of questions to ask to find a school that will help your child thrive.
The NAIS website further provides information about financing an independent school education. Affording a quality education takes some planning, and most families employ several strategies to keep the costs within reach. In this planning it is important to realize that the family bears the primary responsibility for financing a child's education. Some families make use of tuition payment plans, which spread payments out over several months. Families may also take out loans to pay for educational expenses, and some get help with tuition from grandparents or other family members. Many independent private schools also offer need-based financial aid in the form of grants that do not need to be paid back.
The financial aid officers at the individual schools you’re considering are the best source of information about aid. They can explain the full range of options that the school offers and may be able to provide some information on the limited outside funding sources (such as scholarships from community organizations).
Searching for the best school for your child can be a challenging process, but finding a school that matches your child’s needs will result in an education that pays dividends for a lifetime.
For more information about independent private schools, please visit www.nais.org/go/parents.
Provided by The National Association of Independent Schools.