Why Independent Schools?

What are VAIS Independent Schools?
VAIS Independent schools are not-for-profit schools that are governed by an independent board of trustees and have non-discrimination policies in both admissions and employment. They teach different kinds of students and use differing educational strategies, giving families a large selection from which to choose. Independent schools provide educational excellence in a safe, supportive environment. VAIS schools have met rigorous standards as set out by our accreditation process. To be a VAIS member, a school must have an independent Board of Trustees and follow governance and professional development guidelines as part of their accreditation. In addition, they must adhere to the VAIS Standards for Membership and undergo a cyclical review process.

Why a VAIS Independent School?
Independent schools have unique attributes that translate into superior opportunities and services for students and families. The blend of a mission-driven approach and a resource-rich environment allows independent schools to meet each student’s intellectual, social, and emotional needs.

A small independent school environment requires that most students and their families participate in its athletic, art, community service, and other extracurricular programs in order to sustain them. In an independent school, most students can find areas in which they are able to excel.

Independent schools have the freedom to create programs and environments that are designed specifically for the students they serve. They can stretch, create and innovate, all while maintaining adherence to high academic standards. As a result, VAIS schools place students in excellent universities and colleges. VAIS schools track graduates to monitor their success and use that data to help improve or modify their programs to better meet the needs of students beyond school.

Inspired and Innovative VAIS Faculty
Independence allows schools to select faculty and staff whose qualifications can range from expertise in the business world to PhDs in a vast array of academic areas. All are teachers, but many offer a broader range of experience to bring to the classroom. Teachers who choose an independent school are sometimes independent school graduates and are often those looking for greater freedom to be innovative. 

VAIS Independent School Fast Facts

  • Are independently governed by an elected Board of Trustees, as opposed to a public school board.
  • May offer International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Reggio Emilia, Montessori or more traditional curriculum programs.
  • Provide an exceptional range of co-curricular opportunities that include leadership, community service, athletics, arts, and international travel.
  • Provide safe, nurturing environments for students.
  • May be coeducational or single sex.
  • May be day schools, boarding schools, or a combination.
  • May offer a religious curriculum or a secular one.
  • Offer a growing range of financial aid opportunities.
  • Are financed by tuition, charitable donations, and endowment revenue.
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