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.