Where do College School graduates go to high school?
Eighth grade graduates of The College School have a wide array of high school choices. In recent years, one-third of graduates have enrolled at an independent high school, one-third selected a parochial high school and one-third chose a public high school. Some of the popular choices are: John Burroughs, Whitfield School, St. Louis University High, Nerinx Hall, Clayton High, Ladue High and Webster High. There are many good high school programs and the key is for students and families to find the right fit. What is important to us is that students can excel in any school they choose. Our alumni report that they were "more than prepared" for high school, as they brought strong core skills, as well as added skills (communication, public speaking, active participation, leadership, etc.) to their high school careers.
How do students transition from The College School to more traditional secondary schools?
Alumni and their parents report that the transition goes very smoothly. After all, students choose the high school they want to attend, so they are attracted to the environment and offerings of that school. They often shadow a current student and attend several orientation sessions before beginning the program. In addition, they expect high school to be different, just as high school students expect college to be different. After several weeks, they get comfortable with their schedules and learn exactly what is expected of them, and then they rise to the challenge. The most notable difference is that they work mostly from textbooks in high school classes. Alumni tell us that their greatest challenge is social-establishing friendship connections in a new place. They tend to join clubs and activities and that smoothes the social transition. Our graduates report feeling well prepared for all their freshman classes. In particular, they report an ease with writing, contributing to class discussions, giving presentations, and approaching their teachers, which their freshman peers tend not to share.
Do TCS students take standardized tests?
Middle school students take the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Comprehensive Assessment Test in the fall of sixth, seventh and eighth grades. On average, over 60% of our sixth grade students each year are recognized by Duke University's Talent Identification Program, which commends the top 5% of students in a ten-state region. Those students can elect to take the ACT or SAT with high school juniors for additional recognition. Our goal is to help them feel comfortable and accomplished in taking standardized tests, which they will encounter with greater frequency in high school. We expect our students' scores to match the score profile of other independent schools, which is a higher benchmark than national or suburban norms, and every year they do.
Why does The College School incorporate outdoor education experiences?
Outdoor experiences are typically woven through theme studies at our school. Research has proven that outdoor experiences help children learn teamwork, develop confidence and grow in self-knowledge. Our goal is to safely and supportively take children a bit outside their comfort zones, beyond what they think they can do. By successfully achieving a slightly out of reach objective, students expand their concept of what is possible. They grow in confidence and are more willing to tackle new challenges. They also learn by doing in the field, applying understandings gained in the classroom to real life situations.
Do children take frequent field trips?
The College School owns three school buses and 45% of our teachers hold commercial bus driver licenses. This enables us to connect students easily to the community around us. Teachers simply need to reserve a bus to be able to access learning opportunities all around us. For example, third graders studying "Community" can travel to Cahokia Mounds to see what it was like to live in the area before it was named "Missouri and Illinois" or they can travel 30 minutes to study natural communities on the 28-acres of land which is our LaBarque Property, an extended campus. A field trip can be a visit to the zoo for a class on insects or a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden. As the children grow, it can be a trip to a variety of local communities, Spanish restaurants or an 9-day trip to the southeastern United States to study different ecosystems as field scientists. The various trips are essential to the learning philosophy of the school. On each trip, students have a focused plan for the outing, so they can maximize the learning that comes from each trip. We often ask children to write about their experiences, which gives them a rich source of information to draw from to express their ideas.
How can parents be involved in the school?
Parent involvement is valued in our school community, and there are many ways to participate. Parents serve on our Board, work on Board level committees and run the Parent Crew. Parents help with classroom activities and parties and accompany students on many field trips. Parents also serve on the Auction Committee, which raises on average $100,000 for the school each year. Parents with a particular expertise can teach a lesson in a classroom or share their special knowledge with a class by inviting students to their place of work. Parents are valued partners in the school community.
Why do parents choose The College School for their children's education?
Most of all, parents value the educational philosophy of the school and the wide range of experiences their children get to have during their years here. They also value the expertise and passion of the teachers and the collaborative relationship between teachers and students. Many parents appreciate that the school extends through the middle school years, giving their children an anchor through early adolescence. In addition, the school has a cooperative, rather than a competitive culture, which appeals to many families.
Are there additional expenses I can expect besides tuition?
Each grade level has an associated activity fee, which covers field trips and related expenses. The fees range from $240 in preschool to $500 in fifth grade to $920-$1400 in middle school, where the students take longer trips. Tuition covers 90% of the cost of educating a child at The College School. The remaining 10% is covered by proceeds from the Annual Adventure Auction and Annual Fund. Families can donate an item or attend the Adventure Auction to support this effort. Families donate according to their means for Annual Fund. We just ask that all families participate in some way, as Annual Fund helps keep tuition costs lower for all students in the school. All independent schools conduct an Annual Fund effort to help cover annual operating expenses.
How can I afford to send my child(ren) to an independent school?
The College School offers need-based financial aid for families that qualify and also offers Diversity Scholarship grants to supplement need-based aid. We are one of the most socio-economically diverse independent schools in St. Louis, so many families do find a way to send their children to school here during their formative early years. A solid foundation provides a base for future educational endeavors and success and shapes the child as a person with character and maturity.