Finding the Right School 2015
An annual guide to the area’s diverse selection of independent schools
Finding a school that’s a perfect fit can be as difficult as finding a rhyme for orange. Luckily, there’s an ever-growing bounty of options: for every need—be it academic, extra-curricular, special needs, or many other criteria—and for every child, there’s an institution eager to impart knowledge. To help readers
begin the selection process, we’ve compiled a list of the many independent schools in the area.
Apple Blossom School & Family Center
Enrollment: Nursery – K,
Apple Blossom offers formal parent/child programs based on the Waldorf method of education. Children learn to build their emotional strength. A new extended care program has been added, allowing parents to drop children off at 8 am to be picked up by 4 pm.
Avon Old Farms
Enrollment: 408, 9 – post-grad, all boys,
A boy’s boarding school that uses programs designed to help young men focus on healthy development during a time when distractions abound. Avon’s core values of honesty, integrity, and community permeate life at this bucolic campus. The distinctive Cotswold architecture accentuates a traditional approach to education.
Enrollment: 219, K – 9,
From classrooms to dorms, Bement aims to learn as a whole while encouraging individual accountability. Bement strives for an academically diverse and multicultural student body that works together to create an intellectually rigorous climate of acceptance and kindness.
Berkshire Country Day
Enrollment: 210, Pre-K – 9,
Dedicated to encouraging academic excellence at the highest level and to realizing each student’s potential for well-rounded development. Berkshire provides a stimulating and challenging education in a supportive and nurturing environment.
Enrollment: 399, 9 – 12,
Established in 1907, Berkshire School prepares 9th-12th graders for a global future. Pioneering programs—advanced math/science, advanced humanities, and sustainability and resource management—coexist with AP offerings in all disciplines. Students embrace the school motto: “Learning—not just for school, but for life.”
Enrollment: 929, Pre-K – 12, all boys,
A tradition since 1902, Brunswick’s teachers are specifically trained to focus on boys’ needs, challenge them, and build self-confidence. “Top-notch college placement, excellent academics, and strong values attracted us,” says one mother. The school also features outstanding facilities.
The Canaan Ridge School
Enrollment: 86, Pre-K – 4,
Multi-age classrooms on this 10-acre campus offer many opportunities for children to learn at their own pace. Extracurricular activities include chess, yoga, French, Mandarin, and drama, as well as a science program popular with both parents and students.
New Milford, CT
Enrollment: 357, 9 – 12,
This Catholic college-prep day and boarding school hopes to inculcate a love of learning in its students to prepare them for life after high school. The campus boasts a warm family atmosphere that is created by a committed faculty and talented students who want to be part of this community. Gathered from 21 states and 16 countries, students strive to embody five values: honesty, respect, compassion, spirituality, and self-reliance. Academically challenging, the school offers its students an array of classes, including more than 20 AP courses and each student is paired with an advisor who serves as a link between school and life.
Chase Collegiate School
Enrollment: 402, Pre-K – 12
Chase believes that strong students deserve a worthy challenge, so it keeps class sizes low—between 11-13 kids. Comprised of a motivated, ambitious, and passionate student body, the Upper School (grades 9-12) offers 14 AP classes for those who wish to deepen their education, and the Lower School has exciting features, such as a Gardening Program, to encourage continuously growing learners.
Enrollment: 351, 8-postgraduate
This co-educational, college preparatory school boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio of 7:1 and average class size of 12. Cheshire strives to inform its students of international issues, thus creating global citizens. In addition to a curriculum based on English, math, science, history, and foreign language, the academy also offers an international baccalaureate program for students wishing to push themselves further.
Choate Rosemary Hall
Enrollment: 865, 9 – Post-grad,
Spread over 400 acres and offering 240 courses, Choate Rosemary Hall provides programs to satisfy every student and parent. Offers programs in China, France, Spain, Japan, and Jordan.
Christian Heritage School
Enrollment: 457, K - 12,
It combines Christian values with a rigorous curriculum and strong athletic program. Through a challenging environment, students learn to face tough problems and take responsibility. Seventy percent of students participate in athletics.
Connecticut Friends School
Enrollment: 75, Pre-K – 8,
With 75 students in only 6 multi-age classrooms. The school establishes a formidable environment that challenges and enables students. Interweaves the best of Quaker education with the best of homeschooling.
Convent of the Sacred Heart
Enrollment: 740, Pre-K – 12, all girls,
Teaches academic excellence, spiritual foundation, and modern facilities. Steeped in a solid academic tradition, Convent of the Sacred Heart educates women to have independence of judgment, personal freedom, and strength of character so that they can become leaders.
Dana Hall School
Enrollment: 466, 6 - 12, all girls,
An independent boarding and day school for girls, Dana Hall fosters growth for each individual and prepares them for college and rich, rewarding lives. Students are exposed to challenges and develop analytical and creative thinking abilities through rigorous core requirements that focus intensely on academic skills, like writing and research. Teachers fuel each classroom with fresh information and perspectives gained from their enriching sabbatical travels. Dana Hall also features an excellent Riding Center Horsemanship Camp.
New Lebanon, NY
Enrollment: 107, 9 - 12,
Features an expansive curriculum that focuses on core courses in the arts, science, history, math, English, and foreign languages. Class sizes on average have nine students and an enviable 4:1 student-teacher ratio. The school is also a leading proponent of sustainability, as it is incorporated into the curriculum and the community’s way of life.
Enrollment: 101, K – 8,
A school created for intelligent students who experience difficulties due to learning disabilities, Eagle Hill helps children build a foundation to enhance their self-esteem and build social skills. Each student has six daily academic classes, which aim to develop all skill sets such as those used for reading: decoding, comprehension, vocabulary, and oral expression.
The Ethel Walker School
Enrollment: 254, 6 – post-grad, all girls,
The Ethel Walker School, founded in 1911 as a college preparatory boarding and day school for girls, is a diverse community dedicated to scholarship, athletics, the arts, community service and wellness. It offers a critical academic experience with a solid foundation, as well as the opportunity to create lifelong friendships for a memorable educational experience. Ethel Walker also boasts a nationally acclaimed equestrian program, which allows students to enjoy the 600-acre campus, and a brand new apiary.
Enrollment: 145, K – 8,
Ezra Academy helps children become independent, lifelong learners and caring citizens committed to the Judaic Faith.
Fairfield College Preparatory School
Enrollment: 901, 9 – 12, all boys,
Located on the 200-acre semi-rural Fairfield U campus, Fairfield Prep is a traditional Jesuit high school of excellence. Its mission is to offer the finest college prep, to inspire a love of learning, and to invite each student to deepen his relationship with God. As part of its new 1:1 program, all students will use iPads as educational tools that enhance their learning experiences.
Fairfield Country Day
Enrollment: 258, Pre-K – 9, all boys,
Parents like the individual attention small class sizes allow in addition to extensive extracurricular and academic opportunities. Located on 25 acres, including student constructed outdoor classroom, 4 playing fields, 1 gym, and 1 hockey rink.
Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict-Magnet HS
Bridgeport, CTEnrollment: 750,
Fairchild Wheeler follows a brand new, STEM project-based curriculum for students from Bridgeport, Trumbull, Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford, Easton/Redding, Monroe, and Milford. Students can choose either IT, biotechnology/zoology, physical science, math, or aerospace engineering. The school aims to develop future leaders passionate about solving problems.
Enrollment: 206, 9 – Post-grad,
A co-ed boarding and day school for students who face dyslexia, ADHD, and other difficulties, and is based on the Forman program, a rigorous college-prep curriculum. With the guidance of trained professionals and state-of-the-art assistive technology, students are taught to make thoughtful, value-based life decisions.
Enrollment: 170, Pre-K – 8,
Fraser-Woods knows, understands and accepts its students, aged 18 months to 14 years, and offers them a space to learn and grow. Students are given assignments with the freedom to self-guide as well as ample time for individual help.
Glenholme School, a Devereux Center
Enrollment: 100, 5 – Post-grad,
A boarding school for students with special needs, the Glenholme School offers individually prescribed learning environments coupled with a steadfast academic curriculum.
Great Beginnings Montessori
Enrollment: 86, Pre K - 6,
Develops each child’s potential through work and activities that promote social competence, physical coordination, academic excellence, and spiritual nourishment.
Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School
Great Barrington, MA
Enrollment: 212, Pre-K – 8,
Since 1971, GBRSS has provided a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to learning for its students on a 32-acre campus. One of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide, the school offers a curriculum that integrates fine and practical arts with the sciences, mathematics, literature, and cultural heritage, to foster a lifelong love of learning, clear and precise thinking, a rich and healthy emotional life.
Great Barrington Waldorf High School
Great Barrington, MA
Enrollment: 35, 9 – 12,
In its 13th year, this co-ed college-prep school provides education for truth-seeking adolescents with imagination. A 2:1 ratio of students to faculty creates an atmosphere of academic excellence, artistic fulfillment, openness, and mutual respect with a mission to be affordable to all admitted students.
Greens Farms Academy
Enrollment: 695, PreK – 12,
A day school committed to helping students through a diligent course of study, Greens Farms embodies the motto “Each for All” by developing critical, creative, and independent thinkers with passion for knowledge. As students progress, teachers place more emphasis on independent learning. Classes are often gathered around the Harkness table, where students are able to engage one another in spirited conversation and debate.
Enrollment: 802, Pre-K - 12,
Founded in 1827, it is the sixth-oldest girls school in the country, and is umcompromisingly dedicated to building the character of girls and young women. One parent says, “We chose GA because we felt strongly about single-sex education as a tool for building self-esteem.”
Greenwich Country Day School
Greenwich, CTEnrollment: 893, Pre-K - 9,
Founded in 1926, this coed day school defines itself as a “family” that fosters academic excellence. Creative teaching methods instill a lasting love of learning in students.
The Gunnery School
Washington, CTEnrollment: 295, 9 – post-grad,
With the development of character, strength, a lifelong love of learning, it produces students who are strong in every regard.
Enrollment: 835, K - 12,
Defined not only by outstanding academics, but also by friendship and the belief that character is higher than intellect.
Hamden Hall Country Day School
Enrollment: 565, Preschool - 12,
Hamden Hall Country Day School is an independent, coeducational Preschool throughGrade 12 day school that fosters the individual growth of every student. We challenge students to develop a strong sense of personal integrity, social responsibility, and aglobal perspective while preparing them for demanding programs at the collegiate level. Hamden Hall understands and celebrates its greatest gift—the continuity of family and community that has defined our campus for more than a century since our founding in 1912. While rigorous academics will always be our priority, we also care about the kinds of people our graduates become
The Harvey School
Enrollment: 342, 6 - 12,
Located on a wooded, 125-acre campus, the school educates highly motivated students of above average ability in a warm, supportive setting. An average class size of 11 students allows teachers to get to know individual learning styles, while also offering advanced courses. Harvey also offers performing arts, sports, and community service.
Enrollment: 145, 5 - 9,
Known as “a small school with a big heart,” Hillside offers a carefully balanced curriculum to prepare students for a challenging and successful future. With its 7:1 student to teacher ratio, students are provided the attention and dedication they need to thrive in this boarding and day school. The only school in the Northeast to be approved by the Daughters of the American Revolution for its supportive environment, Hillside stresses the importance of farming and sustainability. Bonus: the dining hall is praised as one of the finest among boarding schools nationwide.
Enrollment: 730, 9 - 12,
Holy Cross provides a total Christian education for young men and women. It prepares students for college placement and a successful professional life while stimulating intellectual growth. Qualified juniors and seniors are given the opportunity to complete college courses through the university’s online program.
New Haven, CT
Enrollment: 710, 7 - 12,
The headmaster of Hopkins School, which is located on an impressive 108-acre campus, says students are challenged to try on the “habits of mind that historians, writers, linguists, scientists, artists, and athletes bring to their disciplines.”
The Hotchkiss School
Enrollment: 600, 9 - Post-grad,
An independent boarding school founded in 1891, Hotchkiss’ diverse student body migrates from all over the United States and 28 different countries.
Housatonic Valley Waldorf School
Enrollment: 150, PreK-8,
Based on the ideas of educator and philosopher Rudolf Steiner, a Waldorf education fosters the ability to think with clarity, to feel with compassion, and to initiate change with confidence.
Enrollment: 160, 9 – 12,
An independent, college preparatory boarding school, Hyde is devoted to preparing its students with the necessary tools to succeed and excel after graduation. With an average ratio of 6:1 and class size of 12, students can build strong relationships with their teachers with whom they can always go to seek guidance. The curriculum aims to build character by requiring all students to participate in athletics, performing arts, community service, and campus jobs.
Indian Mountain School
Enrollment: 277, PreK - 9,
The school promotes growth and academic excellence in a diverse learning environment. As students learn to be active participants in their education, teachers draw out opinions and engage children in the conversation of learning.
Enrollment: 565, 9 - 12,
With classes such as screenwriting, Mandarin, and biotechnology, the faculty is there to help as students take on these challenges. One program allows students to build their own course.
King Low Heywood Thomas
Enrollment: 683, Pre-K - 12,
The school believes individual accomplishment must link with respect for others and embrace human and cultural diversity.
Enrollment: 477, 9 - 12,
The school prepares girls to become competent, confident, and compassionate young women. It offers a stern curriculum that highlights critical thinking skills and problem solving.
Litchfield Montessori School
Enrollment: 100, Pre-K - 8,
Committed to helping each student acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed for life-long learning.
The Long Ridge School
Enrollment: 120, Pre-K - 5,
Long Ridge believes children should be valued by their talents and that children achieve their highest potential in a challenging academic environment. The 14-acre campus is a natural laboratory for the study of biology, botany, and ecology and is home to the school’s sun-filled academic buildings, and the arts and athletics center. Students spend two years with the same teachers.
Enrollment: 650, 9 - 12,
The mission of Loomis Chaffee is to advance the development of spirit, mind, and body in boys and girls drawn from diverse cultures and to inspire in them a commitment to be their best.
Enrollment: 74, 6 - 12,
Founded in 1945 by parents seeking better education opportunities for their children, Maplebrook has grown into a prominent coeducational boarding and day school for students with learning differences and/or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Maplebrook is a school devoted to the growth and guidance of the character of each student.
Marianapolis Preparatory School
Enrollment: 391, 9 - Post-grad,
Dedicated to building character and compassion with a strong foundation of Catholic values. The student body represents 22 countries and each classroom has an 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio. On the nearly 150-acre campus, students stay in renovated dormitories, use a new theater and dance studio, and join many clubs ranging from the Chit Chat Club to Student Ambassadors.
The Marvelwood School
Enrollment: 160, 9 –post-grad,
Though Marvelwood does have a variety of honors and advanced placement courses, it is known for its unique support programs that reflect its dedication to the individual. On Wednesdays, all students and faculty participate in the community-service program.
The Masters School
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Enrollment: 650, 5 - 12,
Located just 30 minutes from New York City, Masters encourages academic achievement, artistic development, and athletic endeavor. Community service plays a large role here: from volunteering to fundraising and more.
The Mead School
Enrollment: Pre-K – 8,
The Mead School offers an intimate setting in which traditional academics combine with hands-on learning. Children are nurtured as lifelong learners and contributors to society.
Enrollment: 284, 9 - 12,
A small, co-ed college preparatory boarding school where nurturing and stimulating relationships between students and teachers have been the school’s hallmark since its founding in 1931. Millbrook is also home to Trevor Zoo, the only zoo to currently exist at a high school in the country.
Miss Hall’s School
Enrollment: 205, 9-12,
An all girl’s school boasting an 80-acre
campus in the middle of the Berkshires,
Miss Hall’s School believes in teaching students
to be the leaders of the next generation.
To graduate, each girl must participate in
Horizons, an off-campus community service
and internship program.
Miss Porter’s School
Enrollment: 306, 9 - 12,
A community of 306 girls, Miss Porter’s school has an average class size of 10 and a competitive student to teacher ratio of 7:1. The school’s mission is to provide an exemplary education to young women, with core characteristics of curiosity, global citizenship, integrity, and courage.
Wilton (lower), 203-834-0440, Norwalk, CT (upper), 203-840-1850, Enrollment: 250, Pre-K - 8,
The mission is to adhere to the philosophy of Maria Montessori and to maintain the standard of the Association Montessori Internationale. The school aims to create a joyful community that provides an atmosphere to support the growth of the child.
New Canaan Country School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 630, Pre-K - 9,
For 95 years, NCCS has combined a deep belief in tradition and the educational value of fundamental skills with an ongoing commitment to creative teaching and self-evaluation.
Notre Dame Catholic High School
Enrollment: 483, 9 - 12,
Offering unique graphic design classes and opportunities to earn college credit in high school, Notre Dame Catholic High School has students from over thirty different towns.
Our Lady of Fatima
Based on the principles of Catholic values and teachings, Our Lady of Fatima is a private, co-ed school that seeks to build confident students willing to put the needs of others before their own. The rigorous curriculum provides students with a challenging and thought-provoking environment that better prepares them for high school. In addition to an excellent sports program, students in grades six to eight can also run for student council, which plans school activities and dances; join the children’s choir, or participate in a full-scale school musical for grades four to eight.
The Rectory School
Enrollment: 255, K - 9,
Responsibility, respect, honesty, and compassion is The Rectory School’s creed that speaks to its passion to nurture the individual needs of its students. Founded in 1920 and located in Pomfret on a 138-acre campus, Rectory has a diverse student body with 70 percent from the U.S. and 30 percent from other areas overseas. Academically, Rectory prides itself on the Individualized Instruction Program (IIP), which serves the middle and elementary school. Students enrolled in the program meet with an instructor five days a week in a one-on-one setting and each session is crafted around students’ personal learning needs.
Enrollment: 286, Pre-K - 8,
Parents choose Ridgefield Academy, and its affiliated Landmark Academy pre-school, for three main reasons: a school culture immersed in strong values, a comprehensive academic program, and the close partnership that both students and parents share with teachers. A cutting-edge media center and a fabulous new food service—farm-to-table—can be found there as well.
Rippowam Cisqua School
Mount Kisco, NY (lower), 914-244-1200, and Bedford, NY (upper), 914-244-1250,
Enrollment: 513, Pre-K - 9,
On two campuses, but one mission: to promote critical thinking, individual development, and personal excellence. Parents are drawn to RCS because of the small class sizes, supportive learning environment, and dedicated teachers.
Rumsey Hall School
Washington Depot, CT
Enrollment: 324, K - 9,
An independent boarding and day school, it prepares students for the discipline required in secondary schools, through small co-ed classes and sound academics. Students also have the opportunity to participate in theater productions and sports.
Sacred Heart Academy
Enrollment: 507, 9-12
A private, Catholic high school that instills Christian values in its students while providing them with a well-rounded curriculum as well as a vast array of electives to choose from. The school also has a Summer Internship Program for juniors, allowing them to gain real-world experience in a career field of their choice. Other extracurricular activities include the math league, Students Against Destructive Decisions, or fall, winter, or spring sports.
Enrollment: 310, 9 - 12,
The school instills in boys a vibrant enthusiasm for learning and the self-confidence needed for intellectual, physical, moral, and spiritual development. No other school has a better balance between challenge, opportunity, and support in a traditional, college preparatory academic environment. Its 700-acre campus provides solid academic and athletic facilities.
South Kent School
South Kent, CT
Enrollment: 190, 9 - Post-grad,
Provides students with the intellectual, moral, physical, and social framework for scholastic achievement.
St. Aloysius Catholic School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 188, K - 8,
The Catholic faith is the foundation upon which the curriculum rests.
The Stanwich School
Enrollment: 350, Pre-K - 12,
Rigorous academics, competitive athletics, a signature arts program, character education and values based on the Judeo-Christian tradition are hallmarks of the Stanwich experience. Stanwich creates confident students with a passion for academic excellence and compassion for others. Wildwood Cottage, the school’s Pre-K and K program, is opening in a newly renovated facility for the 2014-2015 school year.
St. Joseph High School
Enrollment: 830, 9 - 12,
St. Joseph’s encourages students to realize their full potential and helps them excel in higher education. On the 25-acre campus, students have the chance to participate in 24 varsity-level athletic teams.
St. Luke’s School
New Canaan, CT
Enrollment: 527, 5 - 12,
A secular, college-prep day school that attracts families from over 25 towns. Challenging academics and an innovative Center for Leadership distinguish St. Luke’s. A supportive, diverse community inspires students to exceed expectations.
St. Mary School
Enrollment: 266, Pre-K - 8,
A popular choice for Catholic parents who want their children to grow in their faith. Faith, academics, and a sense of community are the mission of Saint Mary. Besides building a strong faith, there is a focus on world languages, fine arts and music, science, technology and math.
St. Patrick’s Schoo|
Enrollment: 190, Pre-K - 8,
Find out the difference a values-based Catholic education can make at St. Patrick’s School in Bedford, a caring school community where academic excellence is enriched by faith. For 60 years, this co-educational Catholic elementary school, founded by the Sisters of Charity, has served Northern Westchester and nearby Connecticut. Facilities include a state-of-the art science lab for hands-on learning at all levels. Special courses include honors math, music, art, gym, Spanish, computers and religion. Early drop off, aftercare and extra-curricular activities available. Acceptances and scholarships received to top high schools.
St. Stephen’s Nursery School
Enrollment: Nursery - Pre-K,
Teaching basic math, reading, and science concepts while helping develop social skills.
The Storm King School
Enrollment: 165, 9 - 12,
Students and faculty recognize the importance of embracing challenges and debates, as these moments promote growth, in an environment that encourages stepping outside the comfort zone. Storm King believes strongly in outdoor education and has various programs, ranging from boat building to international service expeditions, for students to become immersed in.
The Taft School
Enrollment: 576, 9 - Post-grad,
Students from 33 states and 30 countries gather on the beautiful 220-acre campus of this coeducational boarding and day school. Taft prides itself on building the whole person through an education that is academic, personal, moral and ethical. The school’s motto is “not to be served but to serve.”
Enrollment: 305, 7 - 12,
Trinity Pawling is set on 150 acres with its own arboretum, tennis courts and faculty family housing. It embraces and enforces its core values of integrity, tradition and community. In April, students and faculty traveled to Hong Kong, for the third time in five years, in a cultural exchange with students at St. Paul’s College, the first Anglo-Chinese school in the world.
The Unquowa School
Enrollment: 177, Pre-K - 8,
The Unquowa of Fairfield offers a traditional liberal arts curriculum with a progressive approach to families of both boys and girls since 1917.
Washington Montessori School
New Preston, CT
Enrollment: 250, Pre-K - 8,
Dedicated to the intellectual development of students, with a special focus on self-reliance and developing each child’s unique capabilities. WMS provides a joyful learning community built upon the Montessori philosophy.
Westbrook Nature School
West Redding, CT
Enrollment: Pre-K - K,
Its curriculum is nature-based, taking kids out of the classroom so they can develop culturally.
Enrollment: 203, 9 - 12,
Provides an environment that inspires the intellectual, artist, athlete, and philosopher and challenges young women to think independently to embrace diversity, and to grow intellectually.
Enrollment: 385, Pre-K - 8,
America’s largest Montessori school, accredited by the American Montessori Society and International Baccalaureate. Its diverse student body represents 40 countries
Williston Northampton School
Enrollment: 530, 7 – 12, 413-529-3000,
Founded in 1841— a student-centered institution with a Middle School and Upper School of students from 25 states and 27 countries.
Winston Preparatory School
Enrollment: 100, 4 - 12,
An offshoot of its sister school in New York
City, specifically caters to students with learning difficulties.
The Woodhall School
Enrollment: 42, 9 - 12,
The Woodhall School’s individualized approach includes an interpersonal and intrapersonal component.
Enrollment: 380, K - 12,
For more than 80 years, this coed day school on 127 acres has instilled a sense of community, self-help, and service. Its self-help program has students take responsibility for school upkeep. n