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Schools that are part of an educational organization like AAAIS have avenues for collaboration and professional growth not available to schools that operate more in isolation. AAAIS sponsors regular meetings for many groups within its member schools.
Tuition varies considerably from school to school. Because our schools do not rely on taxes, income must come from tuition, fund raising, endowment, and other non-governmental sources. Schools designated as “Special Purpose,” ones that serve children with unique learning needs, typically have tuitions higher than other schools because of smaller class size and the specialists they employ.
On top of tuition, costs can include uniforms (at some schools), lunch, and special fees. Inquiring at each school is the best way to get an accurate view of expenses. Schools also have varying expectations about parental giving, since “annual giving” is the central means for bridging the gap between tuition income and the actual expense to operate the school.
We at AAAIS do not think that ranking schools is realistic. Though rankings sell magazines and spark arguments at soccer games, they don’t represent the philosophy of seeking a good match between an individual child and an individual school. A school is “best” if it is a “best fit” for the children who attend it.
As in most large cities, and in many other cities, if a school has more candidates than it has available spaces – over time a sense of angst and nervousness develops. Sometimes parents see only one school as “the one and only one” school suitable for their child which limits possibilities for acceptance. In reality, more than one good match usually exists. , when in reality more than one good match may well exist
“Great question!” – and impossible to answer simply. Some parents – and their kids – have said that going to a second school (at the end of, say, 6th or 8th grade) led to greater socialization practice, new friends, and a good experience of two different kinds of learning environments. Those who stayed in one school until graduation have stated that they developed really close relationships, had a deep affinity for their school that lasted and lasted, and didn’t have to worry about fitting in after a change. Some parents state they do not want to go through the admission process twice, though we respectfully suggest that each family weigh each child’s situation individually and decide what will maximize their child’s abilities and potential.
Statistics and records about college placements for k-12 schools are easily discovered through either the school’s website or by inquiring through the school itself, likely through the College Counseling Office. Note that while Ivy League placements exist, as with applying to aeach AAAIS school, schools seeks to determine the college that will be the best fit for a good match for their graduates – not placement at all Ivy League colleges to make themselves look like Harvard or Stanford launching pads.
This stereotype may have been true in the past, but independent schools have been increasing their racial and socioeconomic diversity for some time. AAAIS schools are committed to nondiscriminatory practices, and diversity of many kinds is growing. Financial aid, diversity programs and committees, and an explicit intention to enrich the school community all have made AAAIS more inclusive, more accessible, and more rewarding for more people.
We believe in public education as a crucial right for all Americans – we also believe in the freedom of choice for families. Many children do well in their local public school – others might thrive in a private-independent setting. Typically smaller class size, more individual attention, significant challenge, an emphasis on values and character, a secure environment, no government mandates, potentially greater access to extracurricular activities, no overwhelming standardized testing and test prep, a clear mission and vision, strong teachers – these and other characteristics are ones many parents find as clear positives in AAAIS schools.