High quality private education doesn’t come cheap. According to recent statistical data from the National Association of Independent Schools, the median tuition for private day schools in the U.S. is $12,000 for grades 1-4, $13,000 for grades 5-8, and $15,000 for grades 9-12. While Annapolis tuition (thankfully!) doesn’t come close to these averages, it is still reasonable for parents to wonder whether the “return” of an Annapolis education is really worth the financial investment. It is my belief that one of the key metrics in determining the “ROI” of an Annapolis education is the degree to which Annapolis is able to meet and exceed reasonable expectations in the delivery of its mission.
When it comes to operating a quality school (public or private), certain minimum expectations must be met. The basic “social compact” a school makes with parents which forms the minimum expectations can be characterized thus:
“If I enroll my child in your school and my child applies himself / herself to the best of his / her ability, my child will be at no academic disadvantage for my decision.”
In the context of a private school, (presumably) the tuition and fees charged are calculated to approximate what it costs for each student to attend: to occupy academic buildings with light, heat, air-conditioning, and maintenance; to learn from real live teachers with expert knowledge and experience (who are paid a fair salary); to use books and computers and chemicals and all other necessities for a full curriculum. Based on these minimum expectations, parents sign a contract and begin to meet their financial obligations. Then comes …. (DRUM ROLL) ….
The Grand Surprise!
Annapolis offers far more than parents and students ever expected!
- Faculty are available, approachable, and responsive to student’s reasonable needs, routinely going above and beyond the call of duty in service to parents and students.
- Teachers return phone calls and emails in a timely manner; then follow through by making an appointment to discuss how best to help a student at risk of failing and take time to work with students after school or on the weekend.
- The guidance counselor and teaching staff convince a doubtful student that she should strive to distinguish herself by taking the Advanced Track in our high school and going above and beyond the minimum requirements for graduation.
- The middle and high school teachers personally intervene in the life of a student veering toward destructive behavior, academic apathy, social stigmatization, or spiritual uncertainty.
- The athletic director and coaches take a personal interest in a student athlete trying to balance the demands of the team with his or her academics and offer encouragement that also inspires that student athlete in the classroom.
- The college counselor uses her first-hand knowledge of a preferred university’s admissions officer to persuade on behalf of an applying student and works to prepare students for college selection beginning in the 9th grade.
- The business manager helps a family recently unemployed with a payment plan or a loan from the school’s bank that enable the family to keep their kids in the school.
These, and numerous other examples, begin to form the basis of Annapolis’ “value proposition”—the “added valued” that goes above and beyond minimum expectations and sets Annapolis apart.
In paying for a private school education, most people take for granted that the school has quality academics and a safe environment free from drugs, gangs, and negative peer influences. They take for granted smaller class sizes and more individualized instruction. But what about ….
- High quality fine and performing arts training in music, art, and drama regardless of age or ability.
- Opportunities for all students to develop physically and to participate in competitive athletics without fitting the Jock mold.
- High quality facilities and physical learning environments that evidence a commitment to the ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.
- Training in Cursive, Grammar, Latin, Greek, Logic, Bible, Rhetoric, Great Books, Socratic Discussions, debates, and biblical worldview (Where else can you go to get such a rich curriculum?).
- Integrated technology that enhances student learning and parent communication.
- High quality social opportunities such as junior high and high school retreats, ballroom dancing and etiquette training, European tours, and unique social and leadership opportunities available through a house system and service club.
- Teachers who are also mentors that care about character training, spiritual formation, and virtuous character as much as intellectual development?
I maintain that, in addition to Annapolis’ commitment to balance high quality academics with Christian formation, there is a direct correlation between these value-added propositions and parent and student satisfaction.
In meeting parent’s and student’s basic expectations with respect to school, Annapolis hits the target. But to the degree Annapolis goes above and beyond in operating an authentic educational community with “added value,” it hits “the bull’s-eye.”
Want to explore if Annapolis is a good fit for your family?