If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is of the utmost importance of student wellbeing. As lockdowns shuttered students at home, young people were cut off from more than just friends, classrooms, and extracurricular activities. Most were severed from teachers and staff who would usually help them navigate the highs and lows of their academic progress and adolescence.
The best schools, however, were prepared. They moved — seamlessly — to virtual classes, with a team of staff members ready to dispense advice to safeguard the emotional wellbeing of children. Teachers checked in regularly while counsellors and school psychologists held therapy sessions. This year, many returned to campus in a safe and secure.
If you seek a supportive, agile and innovative education that leads to success for your children, consider these schools in the US, UK and Europe:
Choate Rosemary Hall
Walk into 333 Christian Street in Wallingford, Connecticut today, and you’ll feel a new wave of energy and enthusiasm. Choate Rosemary Hall students have been back on campus since February, resuming in-person learning in a safe, healthy, and, in true Choate fashion, uniquely transformational manner.
At this co-educational boarding and day school for students grades nine to postgraduate, both adults and students have the support, programmes and expertise they need to expand their intellectual horizons. Academic exploration is encouraged here, with diverse perspectives, cultures, and student experiences valued. Choate is just the right size, with an authentic community and unparalleled facilities to make this possible.
In short, Choate is the school where students are undefinable. With a vast array of opportunities, studies and activities, combined with support and guidance from campus adults, there is no need for students to be constrained by one thing — be it sport, passion, or identity.
Signature Programmes let students build upon their interests and talents further. From Advanced Robotics to Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES), each option is completely immersive. There is also the Capstone Programme, where students use their creativity and curiosity to chart a concentrated course of study that culminates in a final project during the spring term of the sixth form year. Past concentrations have included China-US Relations, The Art of Dissent, and Preventable Exploitation in the Developing World.
Choate is an intellectually inquisitive community where students can widen their world and explore many different passions. They have the full support of faculty members ready to guide them in stretching their discoveries and passion in any area. If you seek an education that brings big changes and impressive transformations, learn more about Choate Rosemary Hall here.
A+ World Academy
A+ World Academy is no ordinary high school. It doesn’t even have a campus, at least not a conventional brick-and-mortar space. Instead, students sail the Atlantic — stopping at 20 cities in 14 countries on four different continents — while taking classes on the world’s oldest fully rigged tall ship, the Norwegian Sørlandet.
The academy follows an American curriculum. As they set off on their voyage at sea, students take high school or AP® level courses. At each port, students get to learn the most culturally and historically relevant aspects of the city through excursions and field experience. They also get free time — known as “shore leave” to explore each city with their fellow students.
The pandemic has changed some things. The academy has a comprehensive prevention and response plan — plus many backup plans in case countries close their borders. The voyage plan is now adjusted to include longer sails in-between ports to satisfy quarantine requirements (typically health officials accept the academy’s time at sea as quarantine since they are isolated) and changing or cancelling ports due to health risks or regulations regarding international travel.
“I’m actually impressed in how A+ have dealt with this crisis. First, they cancelled parent-port which in itself was bad news, but they made the best out of the situation by renting beautiful beach houses for us here on Bermuda …. We are able to be together, but also have some much-needed space,” shares student Maria M.
“We have access to a beach and a huge garden. We are also able to order food when it’s needed, on top of all the food in the fridge. All this happens in a safe way, so we are not taking any risks to be infected. So, I want to say thank you A+ for everything you are giving us, now and before.”
If you seek an exceptional boarding school experience with rich tradition and a modern outlook, head to Switzerland. At Le Rosey, students from eight to 18 years old split their academic year between two campuses in Switzerland: the Main Campus, set on a magnificent manorial estate in Rolle and the school’s Winter Campus, a beautiful village of chalets in the charming ski resort of Gstaad.
Here, students discover and develop their talents as they work towards earning the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (in English, French or as a bilingual diploma) or the French baccalauréat. Many Roseans also learn two or even three other foreign languages alongside. Beyond the classroom, they take part in programmes like sports, technology, the arts, service learning and cultural activities.
Academic standards are high, leading to over 30% of students progressing to universities ranked in the top 25 across the world including the Ivy League, MIT, Stanford and “Ivy League Plus” in the US, Oxbridge, and other Russell Group universities in the UK.
In 2020, Roseans had to leave the family-like community on campus for six months. Students and staff made significant adjustments in approaches to teaching and learning as classes went virtual.
Content coverage was reduced and the usual grading system was suspended. A system of Pass (P) Pass with Distinction (P*) and Does not meet expectations (N) was instituted. Pass with distinction recognises students who demonstrated superlative effort and initiative. At the beginning of September 2020, students started returning to campus.
Headmistress Jo Duncan describes Wycombe Abbey as “an exceptional place,” a phrase fitting for the modern full boarding school located in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
Here, teachers and staff care for the development of 660 girls as they evolve into confident, articulate, independent young women who are able to navigate a competitive, global, technology-driven world successfully.
“We are excited about encouraging curiosity, bold ideas, innovation, leadership and delight in learning – inside and outside the classroom,” Duncan says.
A commitment to pastoral care through boarding is at the heart of Wycombe Abbey’s success. The school promotes values of mutual respect, encouragement and trust. Within its 170 acres of magnificent parkland, each girl is treated as an individual, find flourishing friendships and enjoy great company.
Little wonder then that many achieve superb academic outcomes and secure places at the most prestigious universities globally.
During the pandemic, the school supported their communities by producing PPE (personal protective equipment) for front line workers and responded to recent calls from NHS Hospitals for oxygen cylinders, providing the Chemistry department and Medical Centre’s cylinders for use, among others. It also provided over 300bed sheets and pillow cases for the “bedding to scrubs” campaign.
*Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International