US private schools offer an education and an experience with many benefits. Anecdotally, parents and alumni credit these schools’ higher academic standards for their success, grades or otherwise. Teachers are more invested, influencing their students to live up to their expectations.
More extracurricular activities prepare them better for the vagaries of today and tomorrow, in addition to helping students gain skills outside the classroom that go on to aid lifelong passions. In short, private schools ensure a well-rounded education.
Data backs these testimonials. According to the National Centre for Education Statistics, private schools are on average smaller than public schools, allowing more personalised attention. Private school students also test better on knowledge and skills. They are likelier to receive a bachelor’s degree or higher. Parents report more satisfaction too, according to other studies.
Here are four US private schools inspiring tomorrow’s changemakers:
Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School
If you’re looking for a school that combines a world-class experience both inside and outside the classroom, then Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School is the place for you. Located in the scenic Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, Wyoming Seminary is an independent college preparatory boarding school with a curriculum that benefits students of different passions and interests.
Here, students learn within a diverse cohort of students from more than 30 countries. They offer more than 160 courses and 22 Advanced Placement classes. STEM-based learning, for instance, is infused into its curriculum, extracurricular clubs and activities, as well as their surrounding community through a lecture series and Saturday events. There is a STEM/STEAM Concentration and a Climate Science and Sustainability Concentration, both of which are four-year programmes that allow students to specialise in their studies, similar to a major in university.
Wyoming Seminary is home to a highly developed arts programme. Their performing arts (music, theatre, and dance) and visual arts programmes are taught at a high level with world-renowned faculty, while their orchestral musicians have the unique opportunity to play side-by-side with professional musicians.
Students can choose from numerous clubs and activities to develop their passions and interests outside of the classroom. With more than 20 sports offerings for both boys and girls and over 40 clubs ranging from academic to social and community service, students are spoiled for choice.
Its safe location is highly appealing — the campus is a stone’s throw away from coffee shops, shopping malls, sports arenas, and theatres. Wyoming Seminary is within driving distance to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The Knox School
At The Knox School, students excel within a liberal arts programme infused with artistic and athletic pursuits. Programmes here are built on a history of excellence — founded in 1904, The Knox School is the oldest and most established private school in Long Island, New York.
At this co-educational boarding and day school for grades six to 12, located on a beautiful waterfront campus on the North Shore of Long Island, you’ll find the total well-being of every student is top priority. The backdrop? A serene environment acting as the perfect setting for reflective and concentrated study.
Knox’s small faculty-to-student ratio provides students with an invaluable opportunity to receive nurturing and mentoring from faculty and administration that care for and guide them through their academic studies.
“At Knox, every student’s potential is unlocked and maximised,” shares Virginia Riccardi, Head of School. “We offer the highest levels of academic, artistic and athletic programming including Advanced Placement classes and dual-enrollment courses for college credit. Our STEM lab is a gathering place for students to explore technology, computer science, and engineering.”
Every student is inspired to “go higher.” This means they strive for excellence beyond academics. They achieve just as well in arts and athletics. Together with staff, they build character and become responsible, global citizens.
“Our school community lives daily by the core values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, Kindness and Scholarship, and our graduates bring these values with them when they leave the gates of our campus after high school, ready for every challenge that lies ahead,” explains Riccardi.
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
Located in New York City’s most historic neighbourhood and fastest-growing residential area, the Financial District, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School is an IB World School that prepares students from as young as 12 months through grade 12 to be confident leaders and global citizens with a sense of purpose. This is a co-educational independent learning community committed to educating, empowering and inspiring students.
“Starting in The Centre for Early Childhood Education and continuing through the Upper School, we use an inquiry-based approach to learning that builds conceptual understanding, creativity, and communication skills,” explains Head of School Maria Castelluccio. “By Kindergarten, our students have the literacy and numeracy competencies that enable them to meet their academic journey with success. We graduate students who are inquiring, open-minded, and resilient risk-takers.”
Léman Manhattan is a school with small classes, but it is big on attention and accomplishments. Students are provided with critical thinking skills and breadth and depth across disciplines, preparing them for success at top-tier universities and beyond.
Here, students benefit from rigorous academics, personalised instruction, and a diverse global perspective. As an IB World School, students graduate as engaged leaders who excel in collaboration, communication, resilience, cultural awareness and compassion. The Personal Learning Plans foster student growth through goal-setting and honouring each student’s distinctive passions and interests.
The school offers a wide array of learning experiences for students across the arts, athletics, technology, and service. This cultivates curious, engaged learners who emerge from the Léman experience as principled young adults with a sense of purpose.
Located at the foothills of the Green Mountains in Saxtons River, a gorgeous corner of New England, Vermont Academy is where students are supported to be their best selves and are able to flourish academically, emotionally, and physically in preparation for college.
At this private boarding school, over 200 students from 20 states and 21 countries in grades nine through to 12 — plus a postgraduate year — get to take part in an empowering combination of experiential learning and outdoor experiences. Both the arts and athletics are embraced here — this means students can hike, ski, compete in writing and poetry contests, star in a performance, learn a new instrument, and win regional athletic championships. An iconic centrepiece of the campus is the on-campus ski hill where many students enjoy a Sunday afternoon during the winter months.
Its small size and emphasis on relationships ensure every student is known personally by teachers which allows for tremendous academic and personal growth. Through its signature MAPS (My Action Plan for Success) program, students work on documents that allow advisors, teachers, coaches, and parents to give feedback to them and help keep track of their progress.
These documents cover several areas, from student self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses to learning preferences and goal setting with action steps for success. “My first week at Vermont Academy I began working with my advisor on my MAPS plan. It was a great way to start thinking and talking about my future and the classes that interest me,” says alumnus Will Svensson. The MAPS programme is housed in the Center For Learning at Vermont Academy which is the office responsible for student growth and learning.
*Some of the institutions featured on this article are commercial partners of Study International