Three small schools. One sprawling campus. Endless opportunities. That’s the condensed version of what it’s like to be part of the St. Paul’s Schools community. We learned more from Elouise, an eighth grader at the St. Paul’s School for Girls; Ari, a junior at St. Paul’s School for Boys; and Andrew, a fourth grader at St. Paul’s Lower School.
McDonogh prides itself on being a school where students find joy in work and play. And that proclamation resonates clearly with students in all grades. Jack, a senior; Mya, an eighth grader; and Ayden, in third grade, share glimpses of fiercely dedicated teachers, deep school pride, and a sense of gratitude for the special campus where they learn and play.
Tenth grader Brinley and eighth grader Sureena brim with enthusiasm when they share details of their educational journey at Glenelg Country School (GCS). Extensive academic and extracurricular opportunities match in scope the school’s sprawling 90-acre campus. And while these two students have chosen to explore different options, their experiences share one common thread: a supportive environment that encourages all students to achieve.
A joyful learning experience. Inspiring teachers. The space to grow authentically and with confidence. These are just some of the themes that emerge from the voices of Garrison Forest students Ella, a senior, and Sunny, a junior.
Boys’ Latin’s small size promotes the formation of tight bonds among both students and faculty. Two rising seniors, Jacob and Jimmy, share how this deep sense of connection and school pride permeates Boys’ Latin, from the athletic fields to the hallways to the classrooms.
THE BRYN MAWR SCHOOL, GILMAN SCHOOL AND ROLAND PARK COUNTRY SCHOOL
The Bryn Mawr School, Gilman School and Roland Park Country School share more than two bridges that physically connect their campuses. Often referred to collectively as the Tri-School, each individual school offers coordinated classes during the upper school years, providing students access to broader course selection and perspectives. The students appreciate this opportunity, while remaining committed to thriving within their respective single-sex communities. Here, student leaders Ben (GS), Grace (RPCS), and Olivia (BMS) provide some insight into what they treasure most about their schools.
Searching for an independent school can be exciting, yet overwhelming. Visit any number of them and you’re likely to find sprawling campuses, small class sizes, and an array of extracurricular activities. But look beneath the surface and you’ll note distinct differences that can’t necessarily be discerned by a quick trip to a school’s campus. So, how can you tell them apart and find the best match for your child?
Baltimore has a rich culture and history of independent schools. These institutions dispense inspiring mentors, instill enduring values, and provide foundational experiences. We sat down with four graduates of Baltimore’s independent schools, all at different points in their professional lives, to discuss their education’s lifelong impact on them.
How the pandemic pushed educators to embrace the best of technology for learning
Students at Gilman School are taking more virtual field trips. At Roland Park Country School (RPCS), students are using platforms like Quizlet and Kahoot to make their own in-class learning games. The Bryn Mawr School is launching a fully accredited online high school.
Educators throughout Baltimore say the technologies they relied on in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when classes abruptly shuttered and learning went remote, are still in use now that students are back in the classrooms.
The software, apps and other tools don’t replace hands-on, in-person learning, but instead provide new opportunities for creativity and collaboration. Zoom can help students connect with off-campus experts and learn from virtual tours. Combined with devices like the Swivl robot or Owl camera, it enables students to participate in classroom discussions from afar. Technologies like Google Docs and Office 365 allow teachers to critique assignments collaboratively with students, who can see and respond in the same document in real time.
Families are often wowed by first impressions of independent schools: scenic campuses, state-of-the-art labs, modern athletic facilities, theaters, and more. But it’s the things you don’t see on tour that truly make independent schools special.
Locally, there’s no shortage of independent schools heralding these intangible traits, nor families who choose to enroll their children in them. Maryland is home to 66 schools within the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) that educate more than 25,000 students annually. To uncover some of the awesome invisible advantages that lure families to these special learning institutions each year, we turned to their champions—from committed families to staff members.
Our seventh annual Baltimore Fishbowl Guide to Independent Schools is out! Over the next few weeks, we’ll share on Baltimore Fishbowl stories you’ll find in the guide about the students, teachers, administrators, and programs that make up the independent school community. Check out the digital version above, and read our Notes from the Editor, below, to learn more about this year’s guide.
Siblings KHARY and KAITLYN have thrived at the Waldorf School of Baltimore (WSB) where learning is made meaningful through imagination and deeper engagement. The sixth and third graders have embraced all aspects of the curriculum and feel most at home in the school’s extensive outdoor space where they can share a book, sketch nature and enjoy being together. As the school enters a growth phase, outdoor classrooms will be more available, especially with the addition of a Forest Kindergarten dedicated to outdoor learning.
At The St. Paul’s Schools, students in all divisions share the vast campus, long-standing traditions, and innovative programs. St. Paul’s School for Girls senior ASHANTI and St. Paul’s School for Boys senior KEAGAN reflect on their experience and appreciate all of the opportunities that await lower schooler OLIVIA.
At St. James Academy (SJA), students explore interests and opportunities that help them develop into curious lifelong learners. Seventh grader CLAIRE and fifth grader ANDREW have found opportunities for leadership, creativity and academic engagement. Here they reflect on what makes their school so special and what they most appreciate about their day-to-day SJA experience on the vibrant, expansive campus.
Poised to complete their Mercy education, seniors ARRYN and EMMA have contributed to nearly every aspect of their school through their work in the classroom, on the athletic field, in the theater, and on the debate stage. They share their experience at the entrance to the Sisters of Mercy Field, the only Catholic girls’ school field in the area with stadium lights and a digital video scoreboard, which also served as an outdoor gathering place for the entire school when the girls returned from COVID.