The Power of An Independent School Education

by Head of School Muddy Waters

I have been a member of independent schools since Kindergarten which adds up to 60 years (where does the time go?) and therefore, I admit to having a clear bias when it comes to my opinion of independent school as an important foundation for life.  Much of my view on the topic is anecdotal as I have seen the difference it has made in my life, the lives of my own children, and in the lives of the thousands of students, I have had the good fortune to encounter along the way.  That is why I was so interested to see the latest issue of Independent School, the magazine published by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  The issue is entitled “Into the Deep”  and shows how data can be used to help schools tell their stories.

In an article, “Life Lessons”,  by Amanda Torres, the Vice President of Studies, Insights, and research at NAIS says, “Overall Gallup found that the student experience at NAIS schools is associated with important undergraduate opportunities which, in turn, relate to elevated levels of well-being and long-term career satisfaction.  The NAIS experience helps position students well as they transition into college, setting them up favorably for lives of purpose and meaning.  While the article tended to focus on the transition from secondary school to college, it reinforced my belief that many of the advantages cited by the study are equally if not more true of the benefits of attending an independent Pre-K to Grade 9 school like Pike.

Our graduates often tell me that they felt more prepared than many of their secondary school peers. This, in turn, made them more comfortable with jumping into new opportunities like clubs, sports and electives. Often, those early starts translated into leadership opportunities in those groups. The Gallup study also talked about NAIS students being more likely to be engaged as learners or to enjoy meeting the academic challenges presented to them.  At Pike, children are surrounded by peers who are curious, want to learn, and come from families that value education.

Recently, I heard from a parent whose nephew attended a nearby independent secondary school.  That nephew said that everyone could tell who the Pike graduates were because they were well prepared and confident. This Gallup study helped support the anecdotal data I have heard for years and makes me more proud than ever to be able to work in independent schools.

Explore some of the stats from the Gallup Study here.

The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page

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