We all have blind spots.  One of mine is about boarding schools.   When we were looking at high schools for our son, we stalwartly ignored several suggestions that we look at a few: were certainly weren’t ready for him to be off on his own, and honestly I don’t think he was either.

But as an educational consultant, this is a bad blind spot to have: there are wonderful boarding schools within a few hours’ drive of Boston.  I decided I needed to know more about New England’s boarding schools, and to think more expansively about boarding school in general.  Why would a family choose boarding school for high school, or even for junior high?  Would there be situations in which I would recommend boarding schools for a particular student?

In search of answers to those questions last week I joined a group of IECA members in touring six terrific boarding schools.  The schools in question were: Brooks School, Hillside School, Cushing Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Concord Academy, and St. Mark’s School.   The experience was revelatory.  Each of these institutions does a superb job, they all have stunningly beautiful campuses, exciting curricula, and a range of academic, athletic, and arts offerings  – and they’re all different.

Now you’ll note that none of these programs has the word “gifted” anywhere in their names or mission statements.  Does that mean they’re not appropriate for a talented, motivated learner?  Of course not!  There simply is no one-size-fits-all solution to educating gifted kids.  The good news is, if you’re willing to shake up your assumptions and if you have the resources to consider a wide range of locations and alternatives, we here in New England are sitting in an astonishing cluster of educational opportunity.

In short: I could absolutely imagine recommending any of those boarding schools to the right student, under the right circumstance.

I look forward to visiting more boarding schools and to continuing to raise my consciousness.  But don’t worry: I still know that day school was the right decision for our family, and it may well be for yours, too.