Schools with Academic Support

Please share your experience or information you have about schools with academic support programs. It would be especially helpful to hear from parents or students that already have experience with these programs.

I can state from experience that Mercersburg has a very good support program . My child was supported his entire time there with general academic support and tutoring, and significantly supported this year during his senior capstone when things seemed to be crumbling around him… they met with him every day during free period to help him develop a plan and outline the steps he needed to take to get it done. We can’t say enough good things about them.

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@skieurope - Can you please pin this thread?

@hellomaisy : Did you have to pay extra for such support?

For the course-specific tutoring (chemistry, etc) yes; for general learning center support (which was daily or weekly, depending on the term), no.

Schools fall into various categories in terms of academic support. See a list of schools here.

Schools exclusively established for kids with learning challenges such as:

Forman School
Landmark School
Eagle Hill School
The Kildonan School

Schools with mixed populations (some without challenges) where support is generally part of tuition fees such as:

Avon Old Farms
Brewster Academy
Gunnery School
Salisbury School
Trinity Pawling School

Schools with mixed populations (some without challenges) where support is NOT part of tuition fees such as:

Proctor Academy
New Hampton School
Holderness School
Winchendon School

It is important that you have child tested and know the kinds of support that are needed before selecting a school.

Many schools in NH and ME have academic support services of various kinds.

Also note that even the most academically rigorous schools accept and provide reasonable accommodations to students if they can meet their admissions standards. Milton Academy is an example.

I appreciate this thread, thank you for starting it! I will continue to watch it over the next 18 months. I have an 8th grader who applied to BS this year, and a 6th grade son who may be applying to BS when he is in 8th grade as well. My 6th grader has been tested and was not diagnosed with any LD’s, although I feel there is something going on there that the tests did not pick up.

If anyone has experience with schools in the Mid Atlantic states, I would be very interested to hear about those options for my younger son. PA, MD, NJ, CT or lower New York State would be alright - I feel like we need to stay in a 3 hour radius from home. Strong boarding population is a must - 50% or more. I know there are a couple of NJ schools with good support (Hun, Pennington) but boarding is about 30% and looks to be mostly international. Same with Perkiomen in PA.

I looked at the CT schools on the list above, and what frustrates me is the jacket and tie requirement for the boys. I am afraid that would be a deal breaker for my son. I fully support a dress code - nice pants, a polo shirt or button down shirt - but why the jacket and tie?? They’re offering strong academic support yet making them walking around in a coat and tie all day? It doesn’t make sense to me.

My older son applied to George, Mercersburg and Blair, in addition to a local private day school. I appreciate @hellomaisy 's post about Mercersburg, but I think that overall M’burg may not have the kind of support my younger son would need. I feel like he needs a school that is a little less competitive with a little more support than what they offer.

@dramakid2, don’t be too put off by the coat-and-tie requirements. My older DS is a reformed soccer-pants-and-t-shirt-every-day kid who now wears a jacket and tie 6 days a week. I think he was put off when he first started looking at schools (he was committed to going to an all-boys’ school), but by the time he was applying, it didn’t phase him, and it certainly doesn’t now. At least at Salisbury, it’s jacket and tie for classes, certain lunches, and chapel, but there are lots of times that are “casual but neat,” collared shirt, etc. (such as dinner after they have sports practice and shower). It’s nowhere near as rigid as the Catholic school he could have attended, which requires short hair and very specific shirts, jackets and pants. His “default” at home is now khakis any time he’s leaving the house. My younger DS is starting to look too (and will need LD support), and although he’s a little more of a free spirit, I think he could deal with the dress code in an environment where he was comfortable overall.

dramakid2 it sounds as if Salisbury and the Gunnery are strong fits.

Salisbury is the "gold standard’ for boys IMO, and an excellent, high quality place.

Similarly the Gunnery if you want coed.

Coat and ties are simply tradition at these places. This is unlikely to change. These are, after all, traditional boarding schools where structure, discipline and respect for norms are part of the overall approach.

Ignoring schools because of a dress code makes no sense to me.

We would not automatically disqualify schools that have a formal dress code. Certainly, if my son feels that a school with a formal dress code is a good fit for him, then he would have to decide if he’s willing to deal with the daily coat and tie.

My 8th grader looked at schools with formal dress codes, and ultimately decided not to apply to any of those schools. However for him, those schools were an overall lack of fit for him - the dress code was not the deciding factor.

Solebury is small and has a smaller boarding population, but they seem to support kids with certain learning differences pretty well.

When we first started looking, our list included

New Hampton
Kimball Union
Proctor Academy
Vermont Academy
The Gunnery
Kents Hill
Cheshire Academy
Gould Academy

We’ve narrowed it down a bit, but more due to personal preference than because of anything to do with Academic Support. Some schools didn’t make our initial list due to location (we are only looking in New England), lack of a specific sport or being single sex, so this list is by no means comprehensive.

Would love any feedback on any of the above

For parents just beginning this process and have a child due for a neuropsych, I highly suggest telling the neuropsych that you are considering boarding schools and are looking for recommendations as to the type of support they would need to be successful in that setting. You can then look at those recommendations and ask more specific questions of academic support programs. I have found that the directors of the academic support programs are willing to look at your child’s neuropsych before you apply and give you feedback as to whether they feel they can meet your child’s needs.

Berkshire School has a very good academic support program. I have attended Berkshire for a few years now and having learning differences. Berkshire is extremely accomidation to my personal academic needs and is very cooperative and proactive in providing my accommodations. Many kids have accommodations. Berkshire has the Kenefick Center for Learning (KCL) which is used for academic support, subject specific tutoring, and executive functioning tutoring/planning. We have a Writing Resource Center that students can use for help and assistance with their writing skills and assignments, as well as a Math Resource Center that provides the same services (both for free). It is very common for kids to get help, have accommodations, or be tutored. Most students take full advantage of the math and writing resource centers, and it isn’t looked at as weird or strange whatsoever. If anybody has questions, feel free to PM me.

Two of my cousins went to Berkshire and they loved it! They both struggled with LD and found lots of support there. They were well prepared for college when the time came. I wish it was not so far away for us. The time and distance would be an issue, especially with an older brother who may be in a mid Atlantic BS. There are many great schools in New England that it makes me wish we lived in that area of the East Coast.

Pennington School in NJ offers pretty comprehensive academic support.

Our partial list last year for an arty outdoorsy girl with mild LDs who needs some support but is also a strong student created with help from our consultant. These schools are all “mixed” - not solely LD - and offer at least some support, most offer a menu of options from daily to bi-weekly. Many here but not all lean towards casual and/or progressive :

White Mountain
New Hampton
Williston North Hampton
Storm King
Oakwood Friends
NMH (best for support “light” imho but no extra fee and one of my fav schools)

Of the ones we toured, Dublin impressed us and daughter chose tiny underdog Darrow where she is having a good experience. I toured Proctor and Berkshire with my older daughter as well who did have an LD but did not need support beyond subject tutoring, and has since graduated from NMH. There is a wide range of acceptance rates at the above schools too so a little something for everyone. Happy hunting!

Thank you, these posts are all very helpful! Darrow was a school that caught my attention, I am glad to see @chemmchimney has a daughter there who is doing well. Millbrook also looks like a possibility, and it looks like Millbrook is practically on the way up to Darrow. I have searched for info on Millbrook on this site, but I don’t think I found any posts of kids or parents of kids who went there.

@dramakid2 I have a friend whose son is graduating from Millbrook this year - he transferred there from Proctor and has been very happy from what I understand.

@chemnchimney - do you know why he was unhappy with Proctor?