While they share much in common, each independent school is unique. You can find schools that fit your student’s needs using our detailed School Search
, which profiles 2,000 fully accredited, non-discriminatory NAIS member schools.
What Makes Independent Schools Special?
Independence in the truest sense of the word. Independent schools are governed by a board of trustees, not a public school board. They are primarily supported by tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowment revenue.
- Independent school teachers have the freedom to create educational experiences that meet each child’s needs, without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks, and testing.
Mission-driven education. Whether co-ed or single sex, day school or boarding school, each independent school is driven by its own unique philosophy, values, and approach to teaching.
- The wide diversity among independent schools allows you to find a school that is a great fit for your student.
High academic standards. Independent schools nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, encourage critical thinking, and promote a lifelong love of learning.
- More students in independent schools enroll in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools.
Small classes that allow for individual attention. Low student-teacher ratios encourage close connections between instructors and students.
- In 2019-2020, the median ratio in NAIS schools was 8.5 students to each teacher.
Excellent teachers. Independent school instructors usually teach in their areas of expertise. They strive to develop a full understanding of each student’s learning style, interests, and motivation.
- Graduates of independent schools have a greater likelihood of completing a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.
Education for the whole child. In addition to academics, independent schools also nurture students’ personal and social growth and civic conscience.
- Outside the classroom, students participate in school-sponsored athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and leadership experiences.
Inclusiveness. Independent schools foster diverse and vibrant student communities that welcome and respect every family.
- In 2019-2020, students of color were 33.3 percent of independent school enrollment, while 3.4 percent of students were from other countries.
A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals.
- As a parent, you can actively engage in your student’s education, because the staff and teachers want and value your participation.