Real learning goes beyond a competition for grades. It is not just about being proficient at reading, counting or reciting which religious policy Maurya has changed under which offspring of the Indian Emperor or explaining how Newton’s First Law can be used to predict behavior in situations. Few would dismiss the importance of the latter, but many would oppose a singular focus on them at the expense of skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
Experiences, inside and beyond the walls of classrooms, are some of the best teachers for courage and character. From exploring the great outdoors to humanitarian missions, the sooner you can start collecting them – under the guidance of qualified teachers – the better.
Henry Ford – a true Midwestern car manufacturer and world changer – once said, âLife is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, although sometimes it’s hard to realize it. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and heartaches we experience help us move forward.
Here are four American schools where young learners can gracefully succeed and fail, learn from them, and grow stronger in the process.
Scattergood Friends School
Scattergood Friends School is a place where you can be who you are because you get more than just degrees. This powerful combination is what sets the Scattergoodians apart. Inspired by the values ââof hard work, integrity and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, students are ready to grow not only academically, but also to flourish personally, with many adventures along this dynamic course.
Scattergood is a small school with small classes, but it is big on attention and achievement. At school, students take a college preparatory course with progressive lessons, experiential and hands-on learning, and more individualized and self-reflective assessment. All students must be accepted into a four-year college to graduate – armed with in-depth disciplinary knowledge and a suite of critical reasoning, communication, and practical skills, they achieve this easily.
Off campus, they cross-country ski at Camp North and in the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota; they enjoy comfortable winter cabin retreats in state parks; they backpack, canoe and camp in the Ozarks; and they’ve even cycled 1,300 miles from the start of the Natchez Trace in Mississippi to Scattergood.
The purpose of Scattergood’s off-campus trips is to do more than just get adrenaline pumping. Month-long service trips are held every spring, sometimes even to Latin America, where they stay with local families and participate in many community action activities. Their efforts resulted in a new medical center, more efficient stoves made from scratch, and clearance tracks.
The campus is just as stimulating. It is located – just 15 minutes from the bustling college town of Iowa City and three hours from Chicago – on a 126-acre organic farm that includes a 27-acre main campus and 26 acres of restored prairie. Here, staff and students work together to take care of their homes. Whether it’s harvesting produce from his bountiful farm and preparing for a storm, or keeping the campus grounds pristine, it’s clear that a sense of shared responsibility is the beating heart that keeps this school in great shape.
Scattergood was founded by the Quakers in 1890 and, as the above shows, its spirit of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship persists. The result? The growth of every student – body, mind and spirit. To learn more about this inclusive, affordable and open-minded boarding school, click here.
Winston Salem Christian School
For more than three decades, Winston Salem Christian School in North Carolina raised the academic bar, encouraging students to aim high and go far. Located in Forsyth County, this community is made up of 43% African American, 37% Caucasian, 13% biracial, 5% Hispanic and 2% Asian students. Its diversity is an asset for all families looking for an education that broadens cultural perspectives.
From young learners in the early learning center to young adults in high school ââ every student here receives Bible-based instruction; as well as community prayer and worship sessions in the weekly chapel. At all levels, the holistic approach nourishes hearts attached to volunteering. After all, the school emphasizes the fact that before students lead, they must serve.
To maintain its reputation for producing high performing students, the school offers a wide variety of AP courses for students in grades 9 and up. The program allows them to earn college credits, as do dual enrollment and a wide range of enrichment courses.
The combination works. At Winston Salem, 63% of graduates receive scholarships to reputable institutions such as UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, High Point University, University of Miami and Liberty University – among many others.
Besides academics, several factors facilitate these results. One of the most crucial is Experimental learning. High school students participate in a number of field trips that broaden their horizons and enhance the classroom experience. Eighth grade students travel to Washington DC every February. Once they join their elders in high school, they have the opportunity to visit four different cities before they graduate. Next year, the school plans to go global, with adventures planned in London and Paris.
San Marcos Academy
San Marcos Academy is a co-ed school for grade 6 to 12 boarding schools and kindergarten to grade 12 day students. Nestled between Austin and San Antonio, in the beautiful Texas Hills region, its 220-acre campus is where a unique educational experience is offered.
This fully accredited Christian school offers a college prep program designed to engage and inspire students, preparing them not only for success in college, but in life. This is done through the âTeaching for Transformationâ program model which provides a framework for students to learn about the history of God while discovering their place in that history. These authentic and transformational learning experiences expose students at all levels to discipleship concepts such as worship, truth, righteousness, service, and community.
Athletics also play a central role here. All SMA students are encouraged to get involved in sport to develop values ââof fair play, integrity and character. The student recreation organization also hosts weekly and monthly events such as board games, karaoke, card games, crafts, holiday-themed festivities and more.
âLeadership opportunities are plentiful and students are encouraged to get involved in campus organizations, athletics, the fine arts and service to the surrounding community,â said President Dr. Brian N. Guenther.
The academy offers two boarding options, the first of which is a traditional seven-day boarding program. The second, the five-day boarding program, was designed for families residing within 70 miles of campus. Faculty members not only supervise and mentor, but build personal relationships with the students in their charge.
Riverside Military Academy
Riverside Military Academy (RMA) is the country’s main military school for boys. Academic programs are rigorous, athletics is competitive, and discipline is strictly enforced. Make no mistake, this is an elite college prep academy that prepares students for success in college and beyond.
Located on a beautiful 200-acre campus in northern Georgia, RMA is where more than 500 cadets in Grades 7-12, representing 30 nations and 30 states, transform into future leaders. RMA Leadership Development Program organizes all cadets into a leadership structure that is modeled after a battalion hierarchy in the US Army.
This structure is the catalyst for all rank assignments, assigned duties, subordination / command relationships and leadership opportunities within the Corps. Cadets are immersed in difficult conditions which become more complex as they advance in their abilities and experience. With each challenge, they learn and apply the art and science of leadership.
The academy’s military advantage promotes courage, discipline, and determination, but that is by no means its main feature. RMA is a military school for teenagers unlike any other – it’s a private school, boys’ school, and boarding school – all in one – where heart, body, soul, and spirit are educated. Here, they have an unprecedented place to hone their creative talents through activities in visual arts, theater, music and video production, among others.
As Admissions Director Ben Allen says, âRiverside Military Academy is unique from other military schools in that it teaches students the personal values ââof honor, patriotism and selflessness, not only through the discipline and structure of a traditional military school environment, but also through every facet of cadet life.
* Some of the institutions featured in this article are Business Partners of Study International