What Private School Education Has to Offer Your Child

In my role as Director of Enrollment, I get many questions from prospective parents/guardians, but the one I enjoy the most is this: “What is the value of a Shipley education vs. a public school education?” I love that question because for me, for Shipley, it’s an easy one.

We all know Shipley provides an outstanding academic education; our record speaks for itself. But Shipley offers so much more. We couple our high academic standards with a foundation of strong support so that students know they can stretch themselves. From Pre-K on up, students take academic risks and get support when they need it.

Branching Out of the Classroom

In fact, risk-taking in a safe, supportive environment is one of Shipley’s hallmarks. Michael Turner, our Head of School, talks about this all the time. Kids are encouraged to branch out and explore areas they may not have considered academically, athletically, on the stage, and socially.

In Lower School, for example, students have the opportunity to practice public speaking and engage in leadership roles from the very beginning so it becomes second nature. During Middle School, kids experiment with every sport before choosing one for each season. In the Upper School, the depth and breadth of our curriculum allows for students to explore new areas of interest and fields of study that they may not have had the courage to try elsewhere because at Shipley, there is no social penalty for trying. In fact, it is very much a part of our culture to try new things.

Building Strong Relationships

The bonds students form with teachers further help to provide encouragement and support. Without the demands of government-mandated testing, our teachers have the extra time and the freedom to get to know our students at every level: in the classroom, on the playing field, and after school with extra help or special projects. Our teachers pass along information about our students from grade to grade so that we, as a school, develop an institutional knowledge and understanding of each individual child. Nothing demonstrates Shipley's knowledge of and affection for its students so deeply as the celebratory and detailed citations that are read for every graduating senior each year. Thanks to small class sizes, we truly know and love our students.

Looking Towards the Future

I know that when our students graduate, Shipley gave them the opportunity to develop into the people they were meant to be at that point in life. They go out into the world ready with all the skills needed to be successful—and by that, I mean all the skills, not just the academic skills. They have the ability to take on leadership roles, to ask the hard questions, to look for guidance, and to have the humility to do so. They have the courage to reach for the challenge, and above all, be good people. I see it in our graduating seniors and our alumni body.

Shipley educates the whole child all the way through. To me, the value of that is priceless.


About the Author

Rafhia Foster

Rafhia Foster, Director of Enrollment, brings to Shipley an intimate knowledge of, and extensive network within, some of the region’s finest educational institutions. Rafhia holds a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University and has done graduate work in nonprofit management and marketing at the New School University and West Virginia University.