There are so many different kinds of schools: public, private and boarding, single or mixed gender. When it comes to boarding schools, the UK comes to mind right away. However, there are also many excellent boarding schools in the US, often located in expansive, picturesque surroundings.
What makes boarding schools special is the idea of living, studying, playing, learning and being supported together while making friends for life with people from all walks of life. Indeed, pupil integration cannot be ignored in these racially and ethnically diverse spaces; it can either make or break a student’s overall experience at a school, especially if he or she is living far away from the familiar surroundings of home.
Excellent boarding schools take pupil integration very seriously. These are the schools that emphasise pastoral care, academic support from all teachers, nutritious meals, comfortable housing, and supervision during co-curricular activities. The result? Happy and fulfilled students who go on to succeed at university and beyond.
Here are four US boarding schools that best fit this bill:
Cardigan Mountain School
For the past 75 years, Cardigan Mountain School’s structured and supportive pre-college preparatory academic programme has been preparing boys in grades six to nine for a successful transition to secondary school and beyond.
The Cardigan Way has helped the all-boys school identify several unique points to ensure smoother pupil integration. Firstly, the student-teacher ratio is just four to one, which means more attention can be given to each boy to develop his maximum potential especially at this crucial growth stage.
Secondly, the school’s strong focus on individual growth is combined with their core values of compassion, integrity, respect and courage in the unique PEAKS (Personalised Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills) programme that enables all boys to identify and nurture their hidden strengths. The dedicated PEAKS Department helps boys explore which learning style fits them best over four days a week; PEAKS coaches are also available after school hours for mentoring and guidance.
Thirdly, the Gates Invention and Innovation Programme, an annual competition spanning from fall to spring, provides a rich opportunity for boys to put on their creative thinking caps to research and present practical solutions for everyday problems.
Finally, with access to excellent facilities, plus extensive co-curricular offerings in the arts and athletics, students here can hone their leadership and artistic skills on top of their academic pursuits to become all-rounded students. To learn more about how the school nurtures not just academic achievement, but also the physical, social, ethical, and personal growth of pupils, click here.
With six English-style boarding houses managed by full-time heads on a 500-acre campus overlooking the idyllic Silver Lake at Lookout Mountain Range located just nearby the interestingly-named Rome City, Darlington School students can expect their boarding school experience to be memorable. Darlington School consists of Primary School, Lower Grades, Middle Grades and Upper School — all Grade 9-12 students are eligible to board there.
Darlington School’s teachers are known for their professionalism and care. They oversee every student’s development at all levels through the Cycle of Learning which starts and ends with “The Portrait of a Graduate.” Students are actively learning via the Skills-Based Curriculum that identifies their learning personality through classes, sports or even co-curricular clubs.
One unique aspect of studying at Darlington School is its commitment to ensuring all students have proper care and attention through 10 identified points of Community Wellness: Social, Creative, Academic, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, Financial, Physical, Relational and Cultural.
Darlington School’s Teaching and Learning Center complements this with its individualised academic support to all students with learning difficulties at all levels. It is the only one in Georgia to offer a special programme for dyslexic learners — the Accelerated Learning Programme for Dyslexia — at grades two to five.
Hilton Head Preparatory School
Located close to the ocean and the Sea Pines Forest Preserve within Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the accredited Hilton Head Preparatory School is home to 400 students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 level. With a class size average of 11 students, and a ratio of 12 students to one teacher, parents can expect their children to receive a supportive education in one of the most beautiful resort island settings.
Hilton Head Preparatory School’s faculty are passionate educators; recruited from across the US and overseas, at least 60% have master’s degrees, and several are doctorate degree holders. With the belief that every child has a different way of learning based on their own strengths and interests, all these teachers find opportunities to support their students accordingly.
Besides having access to in-house and external Sports Academies which prepare scholar-athletes for college, the College Counselling programme for advice and help in the college admission process, and the Lower School Prep Plus Programme, students here can also participate in a variety of arts programmes, and perform community service.
International students can take advantage of the Intensive English Programme if they need extra help, and board at the co-educational Myrtle residential home.
Founded in 1922, with over 70 student clubs and organisations, the co-educational Concord Academy, nestled in a 39-acres campus in Concord, Massachusetts, offers over 230 courses across eight disciplines including English, Computer Science, Modern and Classical Languages, History and Performing Arts.
Class ranking systems and academic prizes are not practised here; instead the faculty provides midpoint and end-of-semester evaluations, which allows students to enjoy their studies rather than competing with each other.
Among the 395 students, 36% are of colour and 10% are international; around 60% are day students. Six boarding houses along Main Street cater to the remaining 40% boarders — four house faculty look after them with assistance from the Student House Head and the House Manager.
New boarders can also request to apply for the CARE (Concord Academy Residential Enrichment) programme where they meet a CARE family, usually local parents of Concord students, to experience life at Concord.
Concord students enjoy a close bond with the 68 world-class faculty members whose independent teaching style decides how their students learn a subject in the best and most creative way. The small class ratio for six students to one teacher allows teachers to spend more time with each student.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International