One of my big beliefs, and is at the core of MPH's mission statement, is the need for the middle school to pursue academic excellence. I think it's inherent in an independent school's DNA. Below I pasted some stats from NAIS for parents on this topic:
Among the findings about private school students:
They have to work harder to graduate. “Private high school students typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools students,” according to “Private Schools: A Brief Portrait,” a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education).
They study core knowledge to advanced levels. Private school graduates are more likely than their peers from public schools to have completed advanced-level courses in key academic subject areas. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics’ “National Educational Longitudinal Study” (NELS), 85 percent of NAIS students study a foreign language before the eighth grade, compared to 24 percent of students overall. The NELS study also showed that students at NAIS schools were more than twice as likely to complete algebra in eighth grade (70 percent of NAIS students, compared to 32 percent of all students polled). By completing gateway courses early, NAIS school students are able to take the most advanced courses during their final years of high school.
They volunteer more. Private high school students are four times more likely than public high school students to have a community service requirement for graduation, according to “Private Schools: A Brief Portrait.” “The Freshman Survey Trends Report,” a survey of first-year college students that’s conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute, found that 90 percent of NAIS students had participated in volunteer work in the preceding year, compared to 83 percent of all students.