US boarding schools: Nurturing independent students, providing dynamic education

US boarding schools
Source: High Mowing School

Boarding schools offer the complete package. A chance to become self-sufficient — check. A deep understanding of core academic subjects — check. Eye-opening relationships with people from around the world —  check. Motivation — check. Such experience and self-discovery will prove invaluable to graduates as they enter college, adulthood and beyond.

Research has unearthed more benefits. Stable social environments with several ethnicities or races report product and process innovation, more creativity and problem solving, a “productivity dividend,” and more. As one British director, producer and screenwriter puts it, “The huge advantage of boarding school is that it throws you into the social fire. Every social interaction I’ve had since then has been a million times easier. Literally, ever since then, it’s all been child’s play.” Here are four US boarding schools that nurture well-rounded independent students ready to take on their ambitions:

Garrison Forrest School

Nestled on a beautiful 110-acre campus, surrounded by foliage during fall and cherry blossoms during spring, Garrison Forest School (GFS) in Baltimore County, Maryland is an all-girls’ day and boarding school that empowers students to discover their authentic voices and use them to serve and shape the world with confidence, creativity and integrity.Girls thrive here for many reasons. The academic programme, designed with girls at the forefront, is intentional in challenging, enriching and preparing young women in a way that values their individual needs. Research has found that girls’ school graduates have stronger academic skills, are more engaged in class, demonstrate higher science self-confidence, and are three times more likely to consider pursuing an engineering career. GFS’s 7.6 to one student to faculty ratio, rigorous college-prep curriculum and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) programme — an innovative partnership with Johns Hopkins University that puts talented students in Hopkins’ research labs for semester-long mentorships — ensure these benefits are realised at GFS.

US boarding schools

Source: Garrison Forest School

A strong emphasis on the arts and an award-winning athletics programme let girls discover their authentic voices and develop more confidence, creativity and integrity. Each girl has a unique path to success — at GFS, she will have her space and support to explore, grow and challenge herself, be it through winning championships as part of a competitive varsity team, ; performing with the Maryland Junior All State Chorus; getting their works featured in the Baltimore County Arts Guild student art show; joining the 100-year strong and nationally-recognised equestrian programmes; or immersing in a boarding programme that sparks personal growth.

To learn more about GFS’s all-girls’ educational experience that is informed by tradition but powered by innovation, click here. The GFS campus is conveniently located about an hour drive from Washington, DC, about two hours from Philadelphia and about three hours from New York City — take a campus tour here.

High Mowing School

Set on a picturesque 300-acre campus surrounded by local farms, mountain views, as well as rivers and streams, High Mowing School (HMS) is a coeducational, college-preparatory Waldorf boarding and day school serving motivated students from early childhood through grade 12. It provides a well-rounded education — which includes a variety of art, science, mathematics, languages, civics and history, in addition to a mix of immersive and outdoor programmes — so every pupil can reach their unique individual goals and contribute to a sustainable, generative, and peaceful future.

US boarding schools

Source: High Mowing School

HMS is home to about 300 students who come from all over the world, from South Africa to Australia, from Ecuador to China. In this warm, home-like atmosphere, faculty and staff with experience, life skills and diverse backgrounds connect, support and provide extra attention and help according to the needs of individual students.

What sets HMS apart is its size and location. HMS’s small size brings mighty perks. It’s easy to form lifelong friendships. Teachers can give personalised attention to each individual student. On-campus residential life staff provide 24/7 support for boarders. Every evening and weekend, there are activities to take part in.

At HMS, students can also explore in a safe environment surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes. The majestic New Hampshire outdoors, from the top of Abbot Hill in Wilton down to the Souhegan River and beyond, is fully utilised as a learning environment. There is an extensive trail system, team sports like basketball and competitive soccer in partnership with the internationally-recognised Black Rock Football Club, a swimming pool, facilities for circus arts, nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the winter months — all of which are ideal to foster teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship.

There is no shortage of attractions for families too. There is the Lakes Region in the northeast part of the state, the White Mountains in the north and the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean on New Hampshire’s eastern coast. Montreal, Canada is a four-hour drive to the north and New York City is a four-hour drive to the south. They make the perfect addition to college visits, of which there are over 600 colleges and universities in New England and in the neighbouring states of New York and Pennsylvania to choose from. To learn more about how HMS equips students with what they need to seek truth and fulfill their highest potential, click here.

Miss Porter’s School

Located in Farmington, Connecticut, Miss Porter’s School is a private boarding and day school that educates young women to become informed, bold, resourceful and ethical global citizens. The historic school was founded in 1843 and is now home to 332 students that represent 20 states and 29 countries. 

US boarding schools

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The 132 classes here are facilitated through small classrooms, with a student-teacher ratio of just 6:1. Here, an excellent liberal arts curriculum challenges the girls of Miss Porter’s, from grades nine to 12, to work collaboratively and creatively, making connections across disciplines and applying knowledge to increasingly complex problems. To do so, students are taught to think critically, analytically. They are guided to communicate authentically and to develop the necessary strategies to become competent, confident and compassionate leaders in a global environment –– all of which are attributes of a 21st century success story. 

Boarding houses at Miss Porter’s provide a safe and nurturing environment for young girls, which promotes character development and personal responsibility. Each dorm was designed to exude the look and feel of a private residence –– a personal touch that helps students feel at home –– making the transitional process smooth and enjoyable for young girls who have to be away from home for the first time. 

Episcopal High School 

Episcopal High School (EHS) is a private, 100% boarding school for boys and girls in grades nine through 12. EHS has been around for 175 years, and today is home to 440 students. What’s unique about EHS is that students are guided by four principles: honour, academic distinction, spiritual growth, and community. 

US boarding schools

Source: Shutterstock

Here, students learn by making connections from freshman to sophomore and junior to senior years. Teachers work alongside each pupil in an open classroom. While EHS encourages students to embrace the principles of a liberal education and appreciate a deep and rigorous learning process, they are equally encouraged to challenge, question and explore the content of that learning, to push boundaries and overturn expectations.

Learning also takes place outside the classroom. Physical activity is key to the EHS curriculum, which believes that it is crucial to the health of every teenage boy and girl. The habits and routines of exercise at a young age is important to lifelong health, as well as the other values gained from athletic competition, from sportsmanship to self-discipline and perseverance. A squash centre, a wrestling cage, a tennis court, and a field house — these showcase the school’s commitment to help EHS students earn these qualities through various athletic activities such as football, basketball, tennis, golf, cross country and so forth.  

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