Our curriculum is about more than getting into the right high school and college, it's about succeeding in the right high school and college. We take the job of guiding students and families through the process of school application and selection as seriously as any other endeavor.
The steps toward secondary school begins during the seventh grade year, when the upper school director meets with families to review the timeline for the secondary school application process. At that meeting, the various components of the application are explained in some detail, including SSAT testing, the interview, the school visit, and the school transcript. Families are encouraged to begin narrowing their choices according to some basic questions around boarding vs. day, single sex vs. co-ed, size of school, types of programs, and location. Families are also encouraged to thoroughly investigate and consider any and all available public school options. We are fortunate to have excellent local public schools, and many of our graduates attend and are happy and successful in that environment.
During the fall of the eighth grade year, students work closely with the upper school director on interview skills, in life skills class and individually, and they may participate in a school led SSAT preparation class. Families meet individually with the upper school director to discuss specific school options and to develop a timeline and application plan; during those meetings, families are provided with historical and anecdotal information about the schools in question; additional schools are sometimes suggested for exploration. During the application progress, the assistant to the head of school manages all application materials from the school, including student transcripts and letters of recommendation.
Both the head of school and the director of upper school have extensive knowledge of local schools, both public and independent. In most cases, they enjoy close working partnerships with admission and guidance officers and are able to advocate directly for the candidacy of individual students. In the case of local independent schools, the head and upper school director meet in person with admission officers to provide supporting detail on student applications. At the same time, guidance is provided to families regarding financial aid applications and any other issues that may arise during the process.
When options for students and families are clear in mid-March, the head of school and upper school director assist as needed in the decision-making process and continue communications with admissions offices regarding the status of students who may be on wait lists. In the case of public schools, teachers and the upper school director make recommendations regarding class placement and advocate for recommended placement as necessary.