Summer Boarding School

A number of boarding schools offer summer programs. Summer boarding school can be a time to catch up on academics, participate in traditional summer camp activities, or get a feel for boarding school life. This article provides a more information.                                                            

Different Uses of Summer Boarding School Programs

Providing summer programs obviously offers an opportunity for increased revenue with year-round-use of facilities for schools, boarding schools included. While some programs are only for students enrolled in the boarding school, others are open to the general population. And while there are programs set up for different purposes—some focusing more on school-type experience, some more on camp-type experience, and some more like a sports camp—as a parent, you can view them through your own lens. For example, you can provide an alternative to your local summer camp experiences, provide a contrast to your child’s school year experience with a single gender experience, or “try out” a certain type of boarding school through a brief stay. Here are some ways that you can use a summer school program offered by a boarding school. 

• Help Your Child Catch Up—Summer is traditionally a time for extra academic help in core courses like English and Mathematics given over an extended period. Summer boarding schools may focus exclusively on this goal or integrate it with other goals. An example of the latter is Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire

• Introduce Your Child to the Away-From-Home Experience—If your children are homeschooled or you are looking for a camp that all your young children can attend, Summer Programs at The Bement School in Deerfield, Massachusetts have a Preschool Program for ages 15 months to 4 years, as well as an Adventure Day Camp for ages 5 to 15. 

• Acclimate Your Child to His/Her New School—If your child is going to attend a boarding school in the fall, having a chance to be there in a more relaxed time and become acclimated can be valuable. At Hargrave Military Academy, for example, students wear a “relaxed uniform” while experiencing a combined academic and outdoor program.

• Give Your Child a Chance to Focus on an Area of Talent or Academic Strength Some summer boarding school experiences give students an opportunity for enrichment over and above the basic academic program. This could include a focus on one or more of the arts, foreign languages, or subjects that are not customarily part of the standard K–12 school curriculum. For example, the STEM (Summer Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Program offered by the United States Naval Academy introduces students in grades 7–9 and gifted in these areas to new technology and career possibilities in the Armed Forces.

• Provide a First International Experience in a Controlled EnvironmentBoarding schools in other countries with a summer program can add a flare of adventure to the summer camp experience. For example, Stanstead College in Quebec, Canada, near the US/Vermont border, offers both a Language Adventure program that focuses on English, French, and Spanish, as well as an International Girls Hockey Camp and Tournament for girls 12–18.

Public Boarding School

The words “public” and “boarding school” are usually found in opposition to each other, on the assumption that boarding schools are private schools. But this is not always the case. Read this article to learn more about public boarding schools.

The History of Public Boarding Schools

The public boarding school is not a new idea. Residential schools with public financing have been used in the nineteenth century to educate Civil War orphans.

Public boarding schools also arose at about the same time to educate students with disabilities:

• Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) was established in 1885 and graduated its first class in 1892. Today, it educates students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and/or blind/low-vision, from preschool through grade 12.

In Vermont, towns have avoided the expense of building, staffing, and maintaining public high schools by “buying space” for public school  students in existing private schools, or independent schools as they are known in Vermont, which function as boarding schools for out-of-state and international students. This system has been operating since, would you believe, 1869. The schools that operate in this way are Burr and Burton Academy, Lyndon Institute, St. Johnsbury Academy, and Thetford Academy.

Other public boarding schools arose in the late twentieth century to educate gifted and talented students:

 North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) claims to be the first “public, residential high school with a specialized curriculum in science and math” in the United States. It opened in 1980 and accepts applications from sophomores to complete their junior and senior year at the school.

• Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) was established in 1982 as an alternative for either the final two or three years of high school. The “Arts” portion of the school curriculum focuses on the humanities and the fine arts and performing arts.

 Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) calls itself a “public residential preparatory institution for academically talented students” in grades 10 through 12, and first enrolled students in 1986.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM) is a magnet high school that offers “advanced curriculum and science and mathematics.” It opened in 1995.

Other schools have arisen to teach other populations, with a recent focus on disadvantaged students:

• SEED School (Schools for Educational Evolution and Development) are two college preparatory public boarding schools in urban areas aimed at serving disadvantaged youth. Currently there are a) a charter school in Washington, D.C. that opened in 1998 and b) a public school in Maryland, which opened in 2008 and houses students from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon each week. There are plans for further expansion.

Plans are underway in Cincinnati, Ohio, working through the Farmer Family Foundation, to build an Ohio SEED School, hopefully for the 2012–2013 school year. In Tennessee in early November, 2010, the Knoxville Charter Academy’s application to become a charter school was turned down, but it was encouraged to reapply. It hopes to be a residential school for students in grade 7 through 12 with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Boarding High Schools

Boarding high schools are the most common type of boarding school in the US. They exist both as freestanding schools for grades 9 through 12 and as part of a wider range of grades, and provide coeducational and single sex education. Read on for more.

Types of Boarding High Schools

Boarding high schools can be categorized in several different ways.

 • Students Accepted—Boarding high schools may be coeducational, all boys, or all girls schools. At this point in history, there are more coeducational boarding high schools in the United States. Coeducational boarding high schools often have separate dormitories for boys and girls.

 • Grades Offered—While there are a number of strictly grade 9–12 schools, there are also a large number of schools that fit other configurations, including:

  • 9–12 with a post-graduate year available
  • 7–12 with or without a post-graduate year
  • 6–12 or 8–12 schools are fewer, but still a fair number, with and without a post-graduate year
  • 5–12 and 3–12 are rare, but do occur
  • 11–12, 10–12, and grade 12 alone are also rare, but do occur.

It’s important to note that a school may have different offerings for day school grades and boarding grades. Thus, a school that is boarding for high school may include a day program for younger students, for example.

Location—Boarding schools of various types are found across the United States and in Puerto Rico.

Focus of Schooling—There are a number of different missions and philosophies undertaken by boarding high schools, including the following:

College Preparatory—Many boarding high schools are aimed at providing students with an outstanding preparation for college through a rigorous academic program provided by highly-qualified faculty. These schools often feature a well-endowed athletic program and other extracurricular activities as well.

• Sports Schools—While a number of college preparatory schools offer a range of athletic programs as intramural sports, for example, some schools have a special focus for all students on a particular sport. For example, Burke Mountain Academy, a coeducational school that combines a college preparatory curriculum with ski racing training in Burke, Vermont, which claims to be “the first sports academy of any kind in this country.” North American Hockey Academy in Stowe, Vermont is a grade 9–12 (and post graduate) boarding school for girls who wish to pursue hockey as well as a high school education.

• Other Special Interest Schools—Other special interest schools take various forms, ranging from the public boarding schools with a focus on science, engineering, and math to  Interlochen Arts Academy High School with its focus on writing, visual arts, and the performing arts.

• Therapeutic Boarding Schools—These schools, which may range from wilderness and other outdoor programs to family-style settings, have a shared focus on the treatment of a wide range of issues along with addressing the academic needs of students.

• Military Academies—Often with a Junior ROTC program, and with an emphasis on leadership training and a more or less military atmosphere, these schools combine a college preparatory curriculum with an intent to train civic leaders and potential military recruits.

• Religious Schools—Often offer a college preparatory curriculum in a faith-based setting. There are also military academies with a religious affiliation.


Catholic Boarding Schools

The tradition of religiously affiliated boarding schools is a long one, and this is certainly the case for Catholic boarding schools. This article provides information about and tips for finding Catholic boarding schools.

Basic Information to Know About Catholic Boarding Schools

Here is some basic information to know about Catholic boarding schools:

• Catholic boarding schools may be all-girls school, all-boys schools, or coeducational boarding schools.

• Catholic boarding schools may focus on the high school grades, but there are also Catholic boarding schools that accept younger students.

• If you think for a moment about the history of the United States and where immigrants from Catholic European countries settled, you will not be surprised to learn that there are a large number of Catholic schools in California, which formed part of the region that was part of Spain’s colonial holdings in the New World.

• California aside, there are more Catholic schools in New England and the northern Midwest than in the Western states.

• Georgetown Preparatory School is the only Jesuit boarding school in the US, and is one of the oldest boys’ schools here, having been founded in 1789.

• Not all Catholic schools were founded in the distant past. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria, for example, was founded in 2007.

Mistakes to Avoid in Seeking a Catholic Boarding School

There are several assumptions that people might have about Catholic boarding schools. Let’s take a look at dispelling them.

• You may know of the Catholic schools that take their names from St. Catherine, Saint John, Saint Mary, and Saint Lawrence, but not all Catholic boarding schools have a saint’s name in their name, so you could pass one by without ever knowing it. Examples of schools that might not be immediately recognized as Catholic schools include:

            • Canterbury School

            • Gilmour Academy

            • Oaklawn Academy

            • Subiaco Academy

            • Chaminade College Preparatory School

            • Georgetown Preparatory School

            • Villanova Preparatory School

            • Cotter Schools

• The Catholic Boarding School Association (CBSA) has a list of Catholic boarding schools on its website here: but don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is a complete list of Catholic boarding schools in the United States: it’s only a list of Catholic boarding schools that have chosen to affiliate themselves with CBSA, and is not the only association to which Catholic schools belong. For example, Augustinian schools may belong to the Augustinian Secondary Education Association (ASEA) and Dominican schools may belong to Dominican Association of Secondary Schools (DASS).  In addition, Academy of the Holy Family in Baltic, Connecticut; Donahue Academy of Ave Maria in Ave Maria, Florida; Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie, Pennsylvania; and Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California are four examples of Catholic schools that are not listed.

• Don’t, on the other hand, assume that searching on with ‘Catholic’ selected in the search criteria will get you a complete list either The list at this site only includes 14 of the 30 listed at CBSA.


Boys Boarding Schools

Does boys boarding schools conjure up images of institutions like the one in “A Separate Peace” or “Dead Poet Society”? There’s a lot more to boys boarding schools than that, and this article lays out the range of choices available.

Types of Boys Boarding Schools

Boys can attend boarding schools that were designed for boys only, or that offer a coeducational education, making both, in a certain way, “boys boarding school.” Even among schools that only accept boys, there are distinctions to be made. There are boarding schools that include the traditional years of high school, many that offer a post-graduate year, and there are junior boarding schools. There are boarding schools that have a religious affiliation, and those that are secular. There are boarding schools that allow students to board for 5 days and return home at the weekend, and 7-day boarding schools. There are boarding schools well equipped to deal with learning issues, such as learning disabilities, and those that are not.

College Preparatory Boys Boarding Schools

When most people think of boys boarding schools, it is the well-furnished college preparatory school, with classes in Latin, high academic standards, and a panoply of sports teams that most imagine. These schools, often well-endowed and with an excellent faculty, are considered effective by those who rank them if most of their students go to the Ivy League, MIT, and/or Stanford or if they have the highest standardized test scores and the smallest class sizes. But there are other attributes that can make such schools attractive, and many happily graduate from those that don’t attain a top-30 or top-100 ranking.

Military Academies

Military academies, contrary to what many believe, are not the place to send young men who need to be made to “straighten up and fly right.” Rather, they are, like college preparatory schools, institutions with high academic standards. They seek not only to educate their students to a high level, but also to provide them with leadership skills, achieved in part through a more or less military atmosphere. Junior ROTC may or may not be an obligation of enrollees.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Therapeutic boarding schools are specifically designed and equipped to help the student how is struggling. Using a variety of philosophies—from 12-Step, to Bible values, to wilderness experience, to various other therapeutic models—young men are counseled and assisted to overcome difficulties as diverse as addiction, rebellion, mood disorders, low self-esteem, and more, while continuing their education. Quality therapeutic boarding schools hold both an accreditation for their academic program, and a license for their therapeutic program, as well as employing licensed staff on both the clinical and the educational sides of their programs.

Special Focus Boarding Schools

You can also find boys boarding schools with a special focus on a particular academic area or areas—such as mathematics, science, and/or engineering—or the arts, such as performing arts or visual arts. There are also boarding schools with a focus on the environment or sustainability, or fine-tuned sports programs, in any area from climbing to cycling to water polo.

Military Boarding Schools

Often referred to—by themselves and others—as “military academies,” military boarding schools, which may be boys-only or coeducational are a segment of college preparatory schools that have an additional focus on discipline and leadership. Read on for more.

The Secondary Military Boarding Schools

While the branches of the United States Armed Forces offer schooling to their recruits that could qualify as “military boarding school” because it’s run by the military and students stay on campus, what is usually meant by the term is the secondary level military academies. Now both coeducational as well as boys only, they were all boys schools once, when only boys could serve in the US military. A number of them still have an affiliation through Junior ROTC, which may be mandatory for enrollees. They may also call students cadets, and have a hierarchical  structure for younger and older students, with the most promising holding internal leadership positions.

Another name by which they are known is “military prep schools,” a name that speaks to both their focus on college preparatory academics and the foundational training in leadership and discipline that are considered hallmarks of the military.

Graduates of military boarding schools are very likely to attend college. Some will go on to military service, or enrollment in the officer’s training academies of one of the branches of the US Armed Forces.

There are both public and private military boarding schools, and while most include the high school years (grades 9 through 12), some include one or more middle school years (8–12, 7–12, or 6–12), and there is at least one junior military school. About a quarter of the military boarding schools offer a post-graduate year. About half of the private military boarding schools are coeducational, and half boys only. Public military school are coeducational and are much more likely to serve students in grades 9 through 12 only, and they also are day, rather than boarding schools.

Whereas the majority of the private military schools are in the southern half of the country, including the Southeast, the majority of the public military schools are in the Midwest, with the largest contingent being in Chicago. Nearly all the schools—both public and private—have academy in their names, and most have military academy.  Several of the private military academies have a religious affiliation, including those whose name includes a saint’s name, as well as Texas Military Academy, which has an Episcopalian link.

A number of military boarding schools offer a summer program. This program is sometimes created to provide a transition into the school, particularly for students for whom it will be the first boarding experience. Summer school can also be an opportunity for academic remediation, on the one hand, fitting in an extra course, or getting ahead in a particular subject. Some military boarding schools offer summer-camp-like programs, that combine sports, arts and crafts, theater, and games, while others offer opportunities that have more of the character of athletic training, and some are a combination of all these, and may offer workshops in engineering, technology, and other high-interest topics.

ADHD Boarding Schools

In the 21st century, the range of boarding schools that are prepared to accept a student with ADHD is very broad. This article explores types of boarding schools that are prepared to assist a student with and how to find them. 

Boarding School Programs for Students with ADHD

There are certain boarding schools that aim to address ADHD and other issues that may require intervention and treatment, and other boarding schools that have other missions and goals, but are equipped to help students who happen to have ADHD meet fulfill those missions and meet those goals. While the first group might address ADHD in the context of poor school performance or other issues, the second handles it only as it affects a student’s ability to prepare for college, function in a military-type atmosphere, excel at a particular sport, explore his or her gifts in the arts, provide leadership or community service, etc. That is, they are prepared to assist students with ADHD (and other disabilities) meet their goals, but the goals are not ADHD-specific.

How to Search for ADHD Boarding Schools

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not a type of boarding school. Rather, it is a disability that some boarding schools are prepared to treat, while others may not have staff with the training to assist such students. Since a student with ADHD is unlikely to function well in an environment that does not include staff who are knowledgeable and trained in working with the disorder, finding a boarding school that will work requires addressing the issue specifically.

For therapeutic boarding schools—those that have a specific aim of treating and counseling students with learning or other issues—their commitment to students facing ADHD will be much more obvious. Besides being clearly referenced in their mission statements, you can easily find such schools by using the keyword search on the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) here: Searching on “ADHD” will provide you with a list that includes wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, residential treatment centers, transitional independent living facilities, outdoor therapeutic programs, and more.

For programs that are not focused on therapeutic issues—for example, college preparatory boarding schools, military academies, arts academies, and sports academies—a good source is the search here:

In the sixth section down from the top called “Must offer these programs,” check the ‘ADD/ADHD’ checkbox. Then review the other choices to add or change any other criteria you would like to filter by, and click the ‘List My Schools Below’ button.

From the point of finding schools, your questions will likely be similar to those you would ask in a public school. It’s important to know if all faculty and staff are familiar with ADHD, or if a deep understanding is limited to one (or a few). Are there current students with this disorder whose experience has been good? What kind o success do students with ADHD at this boarding school have in terms of grades, social life, graduation, and acceptance at a college of their choice?

Coed Boarding Schools

Once unheard of, coeducational boarding schools are now very popular. There are many types and kinds of coed boarding schools. This article helps sort them out for you.

 Types of Coeducational Boarding Schools

Coeducational boarding school can be college preparatory, can focus on building excellence in a particular subject area—like music or mathematics, may help train students to an exceedingly high level in a particular sport, like equestrianism, can take place in the disciplined atmosphere of a military academy, or can be combined with therapeutic treatment. In any of these cases, an affiliation with a religious sect can color the atmosphere. There are, for example, religiously-oriented college preparatory schools, military academies, and therapeutic boarding schools.

One of the main categorizations of coeducational boarding schools is public and private. While there are many private boarding schools that are for boys or girls only, public boarding schools are uniformly coeducational. It’s also important to know that coeducational may mean several things. In general, it means separate dorms, for a start. But sometimes there can be elements of the program, large or small, that male and female students do not participate at the same time, and in some cases, though the boarding school is technically coeducational in accepting boys and girls, they may be on separate campuses entirely. This is, as a rule, only the case in therapeutic boarding schools at which—while both boys and girls may receive treatment—it is more productive to have them separate.

Searching for Coeducational Boarding Schools

Finding a complete list of any type of boarding school can be a challenge. The National Center for Education Statistics provides a private school search that allows a filter for coed schools, but no means to distinguish boarding schools, and requirements that require going state-by-state as the largest area. clearly does not list all boarding schools. The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) has a valuable search for therapeutic boarding schools. It lists over 90 coeducational schools and programs, but it’s not known if there are other accredited coeducational boarding schools that are not listed.

Given what’s available, an analysis of the coeducational boarding schools included in ( ), though it is incomplete, still helps provide a general sense that the majority of the coed boarding schools in the United States are in either the Northeast or, secondarily, on the West Coast. There are none showing in Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and few in Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, and Indiana. The programs listed in NATSAP, on the other hand, heavily favor the South and West, with the largest number of programs in Utah.

If you are looking for a coeducational boarding school, another source to help your search is the list of Boarding School Networks on the website. This list includes a number of organizations of boarding schools and provides links to their websites.  While this does not provide you with a comprehensive search, the names of the boarding school associations (like “Association of Military Colleges and Schools in the United States” AMCSUS or Southeastern Association of Boarding Schools, SABS) may help in a focused search.


Girls Boarding Schools

If you have little background knowledge about girls boarding schools, you may hold an image of college preparatory schools with strait-laced ways. If this is once true, it is true no longer. Read more to understand the wide range of girls boarding schools.

Girls Boarding School Basics

The two main divisions in types of girls boarding schools is that there are boarding schools that only admit girls as students and boarding schools in which girls may be students along with boys. Some of the latter were formerly boys-only schools, and some of them have always been coeducational.

There are other ways of looking at girls boarding schools, too. There are boarding schools that have a religious affiliation and those that do not. There are those that are essentially high schools, and those that serve younger students or an extended age range. There are those that offer a post-graduate year, and those that do not. There are those equipped to assist students with special needs of various sorts, and those that are not so equipped. There are those that offer a 5-day boarding program in which students go home for the weekend, and those that house their students 7 days a week, except for school vacations. And there are those girls boarding schools that are private, and some that are public.

Girls College Preparatory Boarding Schools

The college preparatory boarding school for girls is the most common type of girls boarding school. Whether coeducational or girls only, the best of these schools are well-endowed, well-equipped institutions, with beautiful facilities and very well-qualified faculty.

Girls Sports Boarding Schools

While sports are characteristically offered at girls college preparatory boarding schools, there are also girls boarding schools with an explicit sports focus. For example, Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont—the first sports academy in the US, having been founded in 1970—accepts students for a program that focuses on both ski racing and academics.

Girls Special Subject Area Boarding Schools

Along with the public boarding schools that offer a focus on science, math, technology, and engineering, there are boarding schools for girls that focus on performance and visual arts, for example. Other schools have other focuses, such as Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York, which is focused around its Sustainability Program.

Other Girls Boarding Schools

Other types of girls boarding schools include therapeutic boarding schools, at which students have an academic curriculum, but the school is specially licensed to deal with one or more issues. These issues may include a wide range of situations, including substance abuse, self-esteem issues, pregnancy, defying authority and truancy, poor school performance, poor choices, violence, and more. Programs range from family-style residences to wilderness and other outdoor experiences, and last for various lengths of time.

There are also girls boarding schools that are military academies. These schools, which are always coeducational, having grown out of all-boys institutions, focus on military-style discipline with a college preparatory academic program. They aim to help their students attain leadership skills, and may include a Junior ROTC program.


Christian Boarding Schools

Christian boarding schools are not always recognizable by name, and include schools from a number of denominations, as well as non-denominational schools. To learn more about Christian boarding schools, keep reading.

Christian Boarding School Denominations

While there are many secular boarding schools, the focus of which may be college preparatory, therapeutic, military, or athletic training, there are also religious boarding schools. The Christian boarding schools vary in the role that religion plays in their programs, and many, if not most, admit students from other denominations, though all students may be required to attend chapel, for example. Boarding schools in the United States include the following denominations and descriptions:

• Anglican

• Assemblies of God

• Augustinian (Catholic)

• Baptist

• Catholic

• Christian

• Dominican (Catholic)

• Episcopal

• Free Methodist

• Moravian

• Non-denominational

• Presbyterian

• Quaker

• Society of Friends

• United Methodist

Christian Boarding Schools and College Preparatory Schools

Some of the most famous and most highly-regarded college preparatory schools are Christian boarding schools. Trinity School in New York City, which Forbes named as the best prep school in America in 2010 is a school with an Episcopalian heritage where attendance at Chapel is required, and a school chaplain who is an Episcopal priest is present, but students of all faith backgrounds are welcome. St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, also with an Episcopalian affiliation, is number 8 on the Forbes list. At the Groton School, 15th on the Forbes list, the Episcopal affiliation is longstanding, but besides daily chapel, the worship requirement is that students attend one of the following:

• the Buddhist-Hindu Sangha

• Catholic Mass

• Episcopal Service

• Islamic Society Meeting or

• Jewish Services,

providing for a diverse student body, while attempting to keep the spiritual life in focus for all.

Christian Boarding Schools and Military Academies

A number of the military academies have a Christian affiliation. For example, the Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia is a Catholic institution. The Texams Military Institute, TMI in San Antonio is also known as The Episcopal School of Texas, clarifying its heritage as a military academy with a religious bent.

Christian Boarding Schools and Therapeutic Schools

As with other types of boarding schools, there are also various types of therapeutic schools with Christian affiliations:

• Evangel House® Christian Academy., is a therapeutic boarding school that affiliated with the Assemblies of God. It is located in St. Martinville, Lousiana and accepts girls aged 12–18 who have behavior problems, academic issues, family problems, mild to moderate mood disorders, or issues with substance abuse, providing its curriculum through Lighthouse Christian Academy.

• Clearview Horizon, Inc. is a Christian-based therapeutic boarding school in Sandpoint, Idaho that uses the 12-Step program in girls age 13–21 deal with destructive behaviors, eating disorders, learning disabilities, sexual abuse, and substance abuse.

Turn-About Ranch is a coeducational treatment ranch that helps boys and girls 13 to 17 deal with defiance of various types.