As parents, we know that consistency is key. Each of us strives to make our home a stable environment, keep a schedule, and provide our children with consistent guidelines for behavior. When it comes time to send our kids to school, we look for a place that will provide that same sort of atmosphere.
Consistency has been a challenge this past year - especially for schools, as each tries to provide students with the best education possible while maintaining a safe environment. Due to the nature of how they are organized and how they are run, independent schools are well equipped to deliver a consistent experience during challenging times because each school has the ability to make its own decisions based on what is in the best interest of the school.
During COVID, independent schools have been able to:
react quickly to changing guidelines and protocols around opening, mask wearing, sports, etc.
keep the school's specific community in mind when making decisions. For example, decisions about opening may be made considering the school community's positive COVID numbers rather than state-wide or county-wide numbers.
try new things and adjust. Independent schools are more nimble as their decisions can be made by administration at the school rather than state and local bodies.
provide direct communication with parents. If a parent has a question, he or she can simply call the Head of School.
budget for necessary items. For example, schools vary greatly in terms of physical size and enrollment. One school may have classrooms that can accommodate social distancing, while another may need to spend a significant amount on plexiglass shields. Independent schools can budget according to their needs and get supplies quickly.
provide consistency. Since independent schools are mission-driven, all of these decisions can be made keeping the school's mission in mind. Whether students are learning in person or online, wearing masks, staying six feet apart, whatever the situation may be - the mission stays the same.
In non-COVID times (which we all can't wait to return to!), independent schools provide this same consistency for their students and families.
Decisions are made by people who know the school, its students, and its families. There is no outside agency imposing changes on the school. Also, parents have access to decision makers which allows parents to weigh in on important issues.
Since geography does not dictate which students may attend, there are no zones that can change from one year to the next as schools are opened, closed, or merged.
Entry criteria are consistent year to year.
Maximum class size does not change. Since more students in a class can mean less individual attention and fewer opportunities for differentiated instruction, a student’s educational experience in another school can change from year to year if a school’s student body grows.
Of course, all schools grow and evolve. Change at independent schools is driven by faculty and administration with guidance from the state, regional, and national accrediting organizations to which they belong. Independent schools strive to improve based on sound educational research and its relationship to the current curriculum. Schools are not immune to fads and buzzwords, and schools can jump on “educational bandwagons.” Since independent schools operate under their own specific missions, they typically only make changes that help to further those missions and do not compromise their standards or the quality of their curriculum.
As we grow and evolve at Mason Prep, we stay true to the things that lie at the heart of our school – the things that make a Mason Prep education special. Our family feel, the close relationships between teachers and students, recognizing the kindness of our Nice Knights, building community through pen pals and castles, and the bonding experiences of class field trips – these are the things that our alumni remember and our younger students look forward to. When families enter Mason Prep in kindergarten, they can rest assured that the qualities that helped them choose Mason Prep in the first place will remain the same through graduation.
Mason Preparatory School is committed to the education of the whole child in preparation for secondary education through the cultivation of respect, integrity, and personal responsibility within a nurturing environment that results in a productive citizen of a global community.