4 small US boarding communities that offer big possibilities
Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Small but colossal in impact, close-knit boarding communities are becoming a popular pathway for parents wanting to see their children evolve into confident, agile and driven individuals.

Due to the high demand, new small boarding schools are popping up all over the globe – including in the Chūgoku Mountains!

Granting young learners heightened student-teacher interaction, learners who enrol in a smaller boarding community feel a stronger connection to the classroom with extra academic attention and guidance from professors.

Overcoming the risk of unheard ideas and competing against 30+ extra student voices in the classroom, students thrive on a stage that allows them to present, perform and express without additional distractions.

Not only does a small boarding community benefit students, it also helps parents play a bigger role in education and have a greater say in how the school is managed. An integral part of a boarding family, parents feel closer to their child and their learning progression.

Teachers may also prefer a close-knit class of boarders as they get to know each student better on both an academic and personal level. Tailoring certain activities to suit each of their learners’ goals and aspirations, it’s the ideal way for them to strategise their studies.

One of the main ways to prepare your child for boarding school is to get familiar with the academic institution’s vision and mission. Scheduling a campus visit or reaching out over email or phone allows you to get to know the future faculty and staff members you’ll entrust your child’s education and development to.

By connecting with the school before enrolling, you’ll also see the sense of togetherness smaller boarding communities adopt, as well as how much they care for their students.

Here are 4 boarding schools that have a big impact on small student communities…


This year, Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) celebrates 150 years of girls’ education. Fostering an international perspective, this US boarding school inspires girls to pursue meaningful lives based on honour, respect and intellectual curiosity.

Founded in 1869, SBS is a girls’ boarding and day school nestled in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. Educating girls grades 7-12 and postgraduate on its 100-acre campus, Stoneleigh-Burnham is the only girls’ school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

Offering an array of challenging academic courses that launch students into focused study and leadership, learners enjoy the small class sizes and the research-based curriculum.

Inviting learners into a safe, inclusive and multicultural environment that encourages self-discovery, adventurousness and strong academic pursuit, Stoneleigh-Burnham is proud of its rich diversity of students, hailing from nearly 20 countries worldwide.

Outside the classroom, students develop their confidence through the nationally recognised Equestrian Centre, public speaking and debate programmes, performing arts workshops, athletics, international travel opportunities, community service, and numerous clubs and after-school activities.

Learning to speak with confidence and clarity lies at the heart of the Stoneleigh-Burnham experience and is the mark of a Stoneleigh-Burnham girl. With many successful alumnae stories, SBS graduates are defined as experts, advocates and award-winners that have had unlimited opportunities to explore their opinions, engage their voices and practice self-advocacy.


Defying traditional labels and erasing learning boundaries, every student at Kent School in Connecticut has their own set of unique, character-defining skills.

The Kent student body is a diverse, intelligent, motivated and talented group of young men and women who have the confidence to explore artistic, athletic and academic learning areas.

Influenced by Kent’s motto, “Simplicity of life, directness of purpose, and self-reliance”, Adwoa Baffoe-Bonnie, Kent Class of 2017 alumna reflects on her boarding school experience.

“I felt like the school’s motto ‘Directness of Purpose’ was embodied the most during my time at Kent. I always had an objective to complete whether it was homework or a club meeting or social event and put my best efforts into everything I did. With Kent focused on college prep, everything we did there in some way prepared us for our move into college life and I feel like I am really prepared.

“As soon as I started getting involved on campus and joining clubs such as FOCUS and Diversity and Culture, tour guiding, helping out on student panels, teaching faculty dance class, becoming a student research assistant, I felt Kent become more and more of a second home for me as I grew closer to the community,” Adwoa notes.


Homing in on student success, the Storm King School ranks among the top boarding schools in New York, serving students in grades 8-12 and postgraduates.

Blending the best of proven educational methods with new and emerging technologies, SKS meets the varying needs of each student through tailored programmes and varied academic disciplines. To ensure their students graduate equipped with a competitive edge, ready and eager to thrive in the 21st-century economy, the school helps them become rapid thinkers and problem solvers.

With an enrollment of 195 female and male learners, Storm King is ideal for those seeking a supportive and close-knit community.

A place where students can safely and extensively explore their individuality within a nurturing framework of human relationships, SKS provides an immersive athletics platform, innovative visual and performing arts department and exciting international trips and domestic travel experiences for study breaks.

“When we ask our students ‘How big can you dream?’ we aren’t just preparing our students for college. Our goal is to inspire them to start pursuing those dreams from the moment they walk through our doors,” SKS Headmaster Lamb concludes.


A well-accredited boys private boarding high school in Austinburg, Ohio, Grand River Academy was founded in 1831 and has a campus spanning over 200 acres.

Keeping class sizes small and providing dedicated student support, GRA combines academics with boarding school athletics to grow students into diverse, well-rounded individuals, enabling them to discover their character and activate their potential for lifelong success.

Encouraging parents to discover their son’s potential and help design his future, the academy also provides extracurricular summer camp activities to enable young men to activate their academic, emotional and social potential to prepare them for lifelong success.

Differing from the expected boarding route, GRA has unique signature programmes to support students during teenage years.

For instance, the Foundations Learning Programme (FLP) is an elective that provides comprehensive academic support for students with learning differences. Offering daily meetings with an FLP instructor, progress monitoring, test preparation and planning for effective time management, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

With experienced and dedicated faculty and staff members who are experts at teaching boys, every young man develops qualities of character, honour, sportsmanship, empathy and a passion for lifelong learning.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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