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Why Independent School?

There are a wide variety of educational options for your child. Choosing between a public, private, or independent school depends on your family’s preferences, values, and priorities. As for similarities, both private and independent schools rely on tuition to support the needs of the School as opposed to local, state, or federal government funding. While all independent schools are private schools, not all private schools are independent. Explore what makes independent schools unique in this article. 

Independence & Governance
Independent, not-for-profit schools are run by a governing board or entity. They do not receive local, state, or federal funding and instead rely entirely on tuition dollars and charitable donations from their community. Tuition dollars are used to operate the school, recruit and retain qualified educators, and provide academic resources, tuition assistance, and technology needs.

Mission-Driven Education

A mission-driven educational approach is guided by a specific set of values, principles, and goals that are outlined in an independent school’s mission. This is the guiding compass for the school's curriculum, teaching methods, policies, and overall educational philosophy. Mission-driven education goes beyond simply imparting academic knowledge; it aims to instill specific principles, character traits, and skills in all students. 

Individualized Admissions Process

Independent schools make an effort to ensure they welcome mission-fit families to their community who find a connection to the school’s values, beliefs, and philosophy. The Admissions process typically includes a visit to campus for a personalized tour and a chance to see the academic experience in action, inquiry-based communications with parents, a comprehensive teacher questionnaire that asks discovery questions about the prospective student, a parent interview with a member of school leadership, and an assessment and shadow day experience for the student. This holistic process allows the school to form a genuine connection with the student and their family.


Beyond academics, an independent school culture fosters empathy, understanding, kindness, and a profound sense of interconnectedness. That culture relies on a strong school-to-home partnership and a collective commitment to evolve to meet the needs of students. Independent schools often believe that by embracing the diverse perspectives of others, the school can create graduates who are not only well-prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing world but are also equipped with the care, compassion, resilience, and insight needed to make a positive global impact. 

Inclusion & Belonging 

Inclusion and belonging are the pillars that uphold the independent school culture. Students are empowered to embrace their identities, learn from one another, and collaborate to solve real-world problems. Independent schools provide an environment where differences are not just accepted but valued, and where a sense of unity exists from celebrating differences. This shapes the way independent school students learn, grow, and thrive.

Redefining Success
Independent schools nurture the academic, social, and emotional development of students. They support the unique talents, interests, curiosities, and individual definitions and pathways of success. While academic achievement and growth are priorities, independent schools also value the development of the social and emotional skills necessary to take on the many challenges students will face in life. High academic achievement and a lifelong love of learning are not possible if students do not also have a sense of belonging, engagement, or well-being. 

Modern Learning Spaces 

Each student is one of a kind and physical academic spaces should support the personalized needs of such dynamic and inquisitive learners. In independent schools, the combination of exceptional indoor and outdoor areas ignites students’ individual potential through curious, collaborative, and exploratory learning opportunities. Modern learning spaces offer many advantages for the whole child, including benefits for health and well-being, school culture, and academics. They encourage communication and critical thinking, as well as enhance academic performance and engagement. By providing a calm and relaxing environment, independent schools nurture students’ self-awareness and responsibility in understanding themselves as learners and collaborators. 

Discover the Dawson Difference


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Meet the Team

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Ask a Family

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