The Private School Primer
What makes a high school right for your young student? Great academics? A moral foundation? Terrific arts? Competitive athletics? Here are the traits that distinguish each from the other.
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With 10 to 15 students per class, Aquinas Academy offers personalized instruction that adapts the curriculum to the child’s strengths and needs. The school uses the St. John Bosco educational method, which recognizes that “students are children of God with infinite value” and emphasizes character formation in the way teachers interact with students, says vice principal Marie Redfield. This year, Aquinas expanded both its Aquinas Scholars honors seminar program and its Emmaus program, which provides extra support to students with language-based learning differences.
Vice President Joe Biden might be Archmere’s most famous alumnus, but Archmere is looking to another to lead the school into the future when Michael Marinelli, class of 1976, takes over next school year as the school’s first non-Norbertine headmaster. Archmere bills itself as a “big small school” that offers lots of extracurricular variety along with individualized attention and an informal, intimate atmosphere in class discussions. And while the academic bar is set high, the school also places a priority on community service. A mandatory service requirement was instituted this year.
Calvary Christian Academy
Though Calvary Christian comes under the ministry of Calvary Assembly of God Church, it functions separately as an interdenominational Christian school. Teachers and administrators seek to partner with parents in raising their children, so they emphasize frequent communication and welcome parent volunteers. Bob Jones curriculum and Saxon math are used throughout the school. New this year is a distance-learning program that allows high school students to pursue advanced academic studies not regularly offered at Calvary Christian. The focus on service was strengthened this year with the institution of a community service day for all middle and high school students.
Capitol Baptist School
Capitol Baptist is a ministry of the Capitol Baptist Church in Dover. The school program “has a biblical foundation and places a strong emphasis on academic fundamentals through traditional classroom instruction,” according to the school’s Website. Students are expected to demonstrate good manners, high moral standards, respect for parents and authority, and patriotism.
Principal Donald Keister says that faculty and administrators take pride in fostering a family atmosphere at Caravel, something that is made easier by the wide range of ages at the school. “At our pep rallies, for example, we have everyone from first- graders to 12th-graders cheering together,” he says. Caravel is now in the second year of a new character-building initiative that features age-appropriate components for lower and upper school students. The character-building focus complements the school’s emphasis on service through initiatives such as its annual Relay for Life fundraiser. Thanks to a recent expansion, the school has a new cafeteria and additional classroom space.
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