In most communities, we are fortunate to have numerous options for our children’s education; including public school districts, public charter, parochial and other religious schools, homeschooling and independent schools. Navigating the landscape of available options can be challenging, but choosing the best option is the most meaningful gift we can give our children—and one of the wisest investments we can make in their future.
Founded in 1958, The Stanley Clark School was the first independent school in the Michiana area. Today, it is a fully accredited regional, co-educational day school serving students age three through grade 8. Families are drawn from seven counties in two states and two time zones.
But why choose an independent school? What sets it apart from some of the other options available to families?
Independent schools create an educational experience that meets the needs of enrolled students without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks or testing. In other words, independent schools maintain freedom from government bureaucracy because we choose not to receive taxpayer dollars. Instead, independent schools meet the cost of operations through tuition, philanthropic support and endowment revenue.
At Stanley Clark, a quality educational experience means teaching children for the sole purpose of educating them, instead of meeting state standardized testing requirements. We value a growth mindset and promote resilience as students pursue passions and discover innovative solutions.
Independent schools are often a direct response to the articulated needs of their community and deliver a mission-driven education. The mission of each school is unique. Some are traditional, and others progressive, some are secular, and others have a religious affiliation. Independent schools can be co-educational, or not, day schools or boarding schools. Some even focus on students with learning differences, the arts or STEM topics.
The mission of The Stanley Clark School is to inspire and challenge students to achieve excellence in academics, the arts, athletics, and character in a nurturing environment that fosters critical thinking, creativity, accountability to self and others and the discovery of each student’s strengths and passions.
Accountability and Accreditation
Regardless of an independent school’s self-defined mission, the common thread is accreditation, which is a rigorous process of peer institutions measuring how well the school implements its mission. Independent schools earn accreditation through a regional or national organization comprised of other independent schools that value providing exemplary education. Independent schools share their accreditations on their websites allowing families to learn about the high standards that have been met or exceeded. The ultimate accountability, of course, is in the hands of independent school families who choose to enroll and return each year. Independent schools thrive, or do not, as a result of the confidence of their enrolled families in the value of the education students receive.
Stanley Clark is proudly accredited by Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).
Independent schools tend to be in the highest academically achieving category nationwide. Small class sizes, individual attention, and exemplary faculty support this trend. In addition to academic excellence, independent schools nurture the whole child, which includes emotional and social growth.
At Stanley Clark, a breadth and depth of knowledge serve students well as they learn how to take calculated risks and to problem solve. Students are equipped for higher education by developing personal responsibility for study skills, critical thinking and life-long learning.
No matter which type of school you consider, remember to keep your family’s needs and values at the forefront of the decision-making process. Every child is unique and deserves a learning environment that best suits him/her. Whether an independent school or any other number of options, the right school for your child will help lay the foundation for a successful future.
About the Author
Director of Enrollment and Community Relations