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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Tower Hill School
Tower Hill’s character-education program begins in pre-K, where good deeds earn the use of a Beanie Baby for the evening, perhaps Kindness Koala or Respectful Rhino. In middle school there are monthly themes on core values. Upper school courses include studies of people of character, as well as a community service requirement. Tower Hill recently expanded its Spanish-language instruction to start as early as 3 years old. Tower Hill prides itself on its rigorous physical education and sports program and is currently renovating the fieldhouse. The school also is working to increase diversity—not only ethnic, but also religious and socioeconomic, says admissions director Kelly DeShane.
The Ursulines are an order of Catholic nuns that operates schools for girls around the world. Though boys are welcome in pre-K to grade 3, from grade 4 up Ursuline is all girls. “Serviam,” or to serve, is the motto of all Ursuline schools, and students at the Wilmington school embrace the motto enthusiastically. Ursuline’s learning-with-laptops program has all students in grades seven through 12 using laptops in class throughout the school day.
Wilmington Christian School
At Wilmington Christian, curriculum and academics are approached from a biblical worldview and a Christian perspective, says Yvonne Deadwyler, director for advancement. Teachers challenge students to integrate biblical truth into their daily life and to impact the world through Christ. There is a strong focus on academics, athletics and the fine arts. In the past few years the school has built a new auditorium, expanded and upgraded gymnasiums, and renovated classrooms and laboratories.
Wilmington Friends School
The Quaker values that infuse the academic and social learning environment at Wilmington Friends is what most sets it apart, says admissions director Cathy Hopkins. “We are teaching students to always be working their hardest to do their best, whether it’s in the classroom, on the athletic field, or in their clubs and activities,” she says. The school’s new Quest Center is evidence of its focus on global education and preparing students for a diverse world. The center brings in guest speakers and encourages and supports student projects that engage them in the world beyond Wilmington. Environmental stewardship is emphasized at all grade levels.