Local Private Schools Offer a Multitude of Options for Area Families

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Local Private Schools Offer a Multitude of Options for Area Families

By Celeste M. Smucker –

Parents wanting a private school education for their children have much to choose from in the Charlottesville area.

If finding the right private school is a priority for your family, take time to review these overviews from a variety of local institutions describing the remarkable opportunities offered by each. 

Blue Ridge School
Founded in 1909, Blue Ridge School is an all-boys, all-boarding college preparatory school for grades nine through twelve. We offer small classes, a structured and supportive environment and a strong sense of community defined by an honor code and a host of strong traditions. We develop character by nurturing qualities such as integrity, courage, perseverance and empathy.

BRS enrolls 185 students, and the average class size is nine. Experienced, passionate and well-trained faculty provide students with academic programs geared specifically for boys based on the latest gender-specific educational research. A rich mixture of fine and performing arts, outdoor adventure programs and 20 team sports offers students a wide-range of activities and opportunities for success.

The School’s student body includes boys from 19 states, the District of Columbia and 25 foreign countries.

 For more information visit www.blueridgeschool.com.

Charlottesville Catholic School

The nationally recognized Charlottesville Catholic School (CCS) offers Pre-K through 8th grade curriculum. The school welcomes students of all faiths, believing that nurturing Christian values along with excellence in education fosters character and leadership development and inspires good citizenship.

With a focus on their three pillars, Christ, Community, and Scholars, CCS is dedicated to excellence in education and to the spiritual development of youth within the framework of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the tradition of the Catholic Church. Its fundamental task is educating the whole person, instilling in students a lifelong commitment to learning, to developing Christian virtues, and to fostering community service.

As a result of its strong academic performance and demonstrated dedication to learning, CCS was awarded the National Blue Ribbon for Academic Excellence in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Education. Continuing its tradition of excellence, the school was awarded the National Blue Ribbon for Academic Excellence for the second time in 2014. Looking to the future, Charlottesville Catholic School continues to innovate in its curriculum and instruction with hopes of being a third-time recipient of this award, when eligible again next year.

 CCS is thrilled to have opened a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) wing in the Fall of 2016. The new wing houses two science lab spaces for elementary and middle school students, a new music room, a performance space, and an expanded kitchen.

CCS has the unique opportunity to include religion into the STEAM programs through the incorporation of the Catholic faith and Christian values in everyday interactions of the students and faculty, which when interwoven into the daily curriculum, makes it a STREAM program.

Comprehensive information about CCS is available on the school website,  www.cvillecatholic.org.  For further information or to schedule a tour, contact the CCS Admissions Coordinator, Katrina Kuhn, at (434)964-0400 or email at admissions@cvillecatholic.org .

Charlottesville Waldorf  School
The Charlottesville Waldorf School offers a revolutionary notion: that in the midst of our high-speed world, children should be provided a timeless space in which to do their sacred work. We nurture the innate imagination, empathy, and will in each child as they learn with head, heart, and hands.

We hope you’ll join us to explore our newest Early Childhood Program geared towards 2 to 3.5 year-olds.  Our Toddler Class respects a small child’s desire for predictable rhythm.  We mark the days, the weeks, and the seasons with warm, wholesome, daily snacks prepared together, open-ended indoor and outdoor play, the celebration of seasonal festivals, and interaction with different artistic and nature-oriented activities.  

Our Early Childhood program supports the healthy growth of young minds and bodies by nurturing a sense of wonder while instilling reverence and joy for the goodness of life. The curriculum features a home-like and rhythmic atmosphere in which the children learn independence and creativity naturally through play and their love of activity. They enjoy rich sensory experiences such as bread baking, snack preparation, water color painting, and handwork projects (such as knitting), and develop cognitive and linguistic skills through storytelling, poetry, song, and poetic recitation.

At the Elementary School level, the Charlottesville Waldorf  School engages children in the world of traditional academics through an experiential, movement-based, multi-disciplinary approach that supports each child’s unique development. During these development times, speaking, writing, reading, and mathematics are all introduced and reinforced through imaginative, cultural stories including fairy tales, fables, myths, and legends.

Strong work habits and positive social skills are developed and supported by a passionate and committed team of teachers who help round out the child’s education with subjects like Spanish, handwork, movement, orchestra and music.  They also engage the students in studies that encompass the animal kingdoms, grammar, cursive writing, geography and map-making, decimals and fractions, and the history of ancient civilizations, understood through powerful, imaginative, and practical experiences.

The students’ experiences are further enriched through class trips, plays, and relevant activities, such as farming and gardening.

The Charlottesville Waldorf School’s Middle School program promotes a courageous exploration of the self and the community during the middle school grades, the phase of adolescence wherein students begin to understand themselves and their place in the world.

The middle school student will experience a human centered and artistic approach to education investigating the explorations of western civilizations including biographies of writers, artists, and thinkers from Ancient Rome to modern times.

They will refine observational skills and scientific thinking through the study of natural phenomena and strengthen abstract thinking through geometry, algebra, and other mathematical concepts. There is also a multi-faceted fine and practical arts program and varied sports opportunities.

Come and witness the future of education for yourself. Set up a tour today!  

Contact our Enrollment Coordinator (enrollment@cwaldorf.org or 434-973-4946 x102) for details.

Field School
Field School, a middle school for boys, has a mission to “develop well-rounded boys of character and accomplishment.” 

Field School offers a traditional, academically rigorous curriculum in English, social studies, math, science, Latin, Spanish, and arts and music, along with character and leadership development. 

Daily team sports participation emphasizes physical fitness, teamwork, fair play, and sportsmanship. The school features regular field trips to expand the classroom and to increase the vitality of learning experiences.  Eighth Graders complete a year-long project culminating in a trip to Costa Rica.  

In order to make the Crozet site more convenient to Charlottesville parents, the school provides a daily shuttle from several stops in Charlottesville and offers a daily lunch program.

For more information, visit www.fieldschoolcv.net.

Fork Union Military Academy
Fork Union Military Academy was founded in 1898 by Dr. William E. Hatcher in the village of Fork Union. Today it is one of the nation’s leading college preparatory military schools for boys in grades 7 to 12 and postgraduate. Nationally known for its emphasis on Christian values, top quality academics, and superior athletic programs, the school remains true to its motto of “Body, Mind and Spirit.”

FUMA offers a unique One Subject Plan of instruction. To make sure every cadet receives the individual attention he deserves, class size is kept small. The Academy teachers are dedicated to the challenge of helping young men achieve academic success—and their involvement doesn’t end in the classroom. FUMA’s faculty members are experts in helping young men learn responsibility and self-discipline in a structured boarding school environment. The Academy is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.

For more information on FUMA visit their website at www.forkunion.com or contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-GO2-FUMA.

Free Union Country School

Who We Are
For more than 30 years, wonder and discovery, not tests and mandates, have driven the education of Free Union Country School students, preschool through fifth grade. Just 15 minutes from downtown Charlottesville, Free Union’s six acres allow plenty of room for kids to be kids. Small class sizes and personal relationships accord teachers the chance to deeply know their students and to encourage the intellectual, social, and physical growth appropriate to each child.

 How Students Learn
At Free Union Country School, kids learn by doing and questioning and expressing themselves—powerful forces for learning.

Free Union students don’t just read about Colonial America, they become colonists, stage their own Boston Tea Party-style protest, and craft a Declaration of Independence. Doing is reflected in students’ independent research projects, work in the school garden, maintaining stats on favorite teams, or monitoring the school’s energy efficiency.

Each day there is ample time for kids to play (“the work of childhood,” according to philosopher Jean Piaget), an often-undervalued yet indispensable ingredient in early problem solving, creativity, self-discipline, emotional balance, and an ability to get along with others.

You Will Find

  • Parents who appreciate that their children are known and valued
  • Students who speak publicly with confidence to audiences of adults and peers
  • Plenty of outdoor space to play, explore, and learn—with stream, nature trail, and  outdoor classroom
  • An understanding that service to community and world is important for all
  • Children who like school and are excited by what they learn, every day

For more information visit www.freeunioncountryschool.org or call us at 434-978-1700

Miller School of Albemarle
Miller School of Albemarle (MSA) is a coeducational and college preparatory day and boarding school for grades 8 to 12. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, MSA has been educating the Minds, Hands, and Hearts of students since 1878.

With a visually stunning 1,600-acre campus, MSA offers its 175 students ample opportunity to broaden their intellectual horizons, while gaining life enhancing experience in a wide range of extracurricular activities.

MSA provides a challenging and structured curriculum through which students not only learn their subjects, but also develop a life-long love of learning. This curriculum includes sixteen AP course offerings, and special programs in applied engineering, humanities, and land management.

MSA is known for combining academic understanding with practical hands-on experience, so that students gain know-how as well as knowledge. Students participate in year-long community service partnerships on campus and in Charlottesville. MSA offers a broad selection of athletics and afternoon activities.

Average class size is ten students. Sixty percent of students are boarders.

Miller School of Albemarle is located 12 miles west of Charlottesville, Virginia. Start your adventure at www.millerschoolofalbemarle.org

Mountaintop Montessori – Pantops Mountain
Mountaintop Montessori offers an authentic Montessori education to children ages toddler through middle school. Montessori promotes the development of the whole child by balancing social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual growth.

The learning environment honors the importance of individualized instruction, practical experiences, time in nature and creative expression in order to nurture confident, compassionate young people. This progressive educational approach is supported by cognitive science and psychology research. 

Mountaintop’s 9-acre campus is recognized as a wildlife sanctuary by Audubon International and the National Wildlife Federation. It is home to extensive gardens, a greenhouse, chickens, bees, fish and kitchens for the exceptional Garden to Table program.

Instruction in ecology, performing and visual arts, innovation, physical education and Spanish round out the students’ experience at Mountaintop. 

Mountaintop Montessori is fully accredited by the American Montessori Society and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. Read more at www.mountaintopmontessori.org.

Oakland School
Oakland School is a specialized learning environment appropriate for both traditional learners and those who have learning differences. Boys and girls ages 6-13 at admission are eligible for potential enrollment.

Typically, students return to a traditional school after two years of individualized instruction in Reading, Math, English, and Study Skills. Students are in small classes with an average teacher to student ratio of 1 to 5. They also receive at least one daily one-to-one session with their main teacher.

Founded in 1950, Oakland is located in Troy right outside of Charlottesville on a beautiful 450-acre property.

Recreational activities include club sports, art and music, nature activities, horseback riding, and much more. The Pillars of Character are stressed throughout the program and community service is an important part of the curriculum.

Both day and boarding options are offered. A five-week summer camp is part of the school year, but may also be attended as a separate session.

Oakland is known for its nurturing environment and professional and experienced staff. It is a unique environment that blends tradition with technology to create an ideal learning space for all. Included in the tuition are books, materials, supplies, weekly horseback riding lessons, a freshly prepared nutritious lunch every day, and much more!

Visit oaklandschool.net for more information.

The Peabody School
Founded in 1994, Peabody School serves 200+ gifted and academically advanced students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade with a differentiated educational program.

Peabody offers a rich and challenging curriculum that allows teachers and students to form partnerships to nurture learning, cultivating independent thought and deeper understanding through true intellectual exploration. In addition to five core classes (Language Arts, Science, Math, History and World Language), students take a number of specials classes, including Art, Drama, Music, Technology and Physical Education.  

The Pre-Kindergarten program focuses on children ages 3 – 5 years old and is an academically oriented program designed to prepare students for Kindergarten. The curriculum is developmentally supportive and allows plenty of time for creative play and cultivation of social and cooperative skills.

Peabody’s Lower School serves children in grades K-5, and teachers take into account students’ learning styles, readiness, interests, and motivation when planning and teaching differentiated lessons. Classes are small, so that teachers can provide individual and small group instruction with an emphasis on social and emotional needs.

Students recognize that they are responsible for their own learning, that they learn as much from each other as from the teacher, and that there are many paths to an answer. Students exhibit a love of learning and a curiosity about the world around them that is nurtured throughout the years. When students move into the Middle School, they are well on their way to being lifelong learners.

The Peabody Middle School equips each student with the skills required for academic and social success in high school. In grades 6-8, differentiated instruction and a variety of teaching approaches offer all students the necessary tools to be successful and comfortable in the ninth grade in any school.

Students earn up to six high school credits, including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, Spanish I & II and French I & II. After graduation, 95 percent of students transition into the accelerated academic tracks at area public high schools, while the remainder attend rigorous independent day or boarding schools.

Peabody School is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools and serves the areas of Charlottesville, Albemarle, and surrounding counties in Central Virginia. Peabody invites families to discover for themselves the difference it makes when “education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  www.peabodyschool.org

Renaissance School
Renaissance School is an independent, coeducational college preparatory high school (grades 9-12) for high ability students in the arts, sciences, and/or humanities.  It emphasizes both broad and deep learning through a balanced program equally strong in the arts and academics. 

Renaissance School embraces the whole student through differentiated and experiential learning and emphasizes creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.

Students and faculty alike are a friendly community of independent thinkers and learners.  There is a mutual respect and appreciation between students, faculty, the parent council, and Board of Directors.  This support carries into special traditions including Ninth Week, Arts Practicum, and our two-year Independent Study program.  Learn more about these compelling programs by exploring the school’s website.  

Renaissance School has had a 100 percent college acceptance rate for graduating seniors, ranging from Brown University to Berklee College of Music.  The average in grant and scholarship offers per applying student for classes 2008-present is $125,000 with some receiving full-tuition scholarships at the college of their choice.  

Renaissance School offers a remarkable high school experience to students who want to be engaged in life to the fullest. Courses are intellectually stimulating, rich in content, and highly interactive. Classes are small, and students are viewed as individuals.

The faculty is committed to providing each student the support he or she needs to work toward his or her full potential, academically, socially, and artistically. The comprehensive curriculum weaves together the intellectual, artistic, social, and humanitarian fabric to establish a strong foundation for the maturing adolescent’s lifelong interest in learning. 

Renaissance School is located in beautiful historic downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.  Its central location enables it to have a campus that includes the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, the McGuffey Art Center, Light House Studio, Music Resource Center, ACAC Fitness and Wellness, local galleries, great cafes and restaurants, convenient bus access to UVA and PVCC campuses, and so much more that Charlottesville has to offer.  

Renaissance School is currently accepting applications for the upcoming academic year.   To arrange a visit, please call Renaissance School at (434) 984-1952, and for additional information, visit our website at www.renaissanceschool.org.

St. Anne’s-Belfield School
The St. Anne’s-Belfield School philosophy is that the transmission of knowledge, the encouragement of curiosity, the development of rational thought, and the cultivation of responsible, honorable behavior are the great ends of education. In asking students to master a specific body of knowledge, they seek not to impart knowledge alone, but to instill the lifelong habit of learning.

Although they expect graduates to be prepared for the nation’s finest colleges and universities, their true purpose is to create a challenging yet charitable atmosphere where students gain skills necessary for both creative and disciplined thought, where they have opportunities to achieve in athletic and artistic endeavors, where they understand their responsibility as a member of a community, and where high expectations for both their personal and intellectual lives are complemented by the School’s commitment to nurturing students in the spiritual dimension of life.

The School holds integrity, curiosity, diversity, creativity, agency and impact as its six core values.

St. Anne’s-Belfield is a co-ed school with an enrollment last year of 940 students in Pre-School through grade 12, and with 19 countries represented in the student body. 

Approximately 74 percent of the faculty hold advanced degrees, and students enjoy an overall student/teacher ratio of 8:1. Approximately $5 million is given to 41 percent of the student body in financial aid per year.

On two campuses totaling nearly 50 acres, the school enjoys state-of-the-art resources and infrastructure. Recent additions include a LEED-certified, 105,000 square-foot Learning Village to serve students in Kindergarten through eighth grade, a new Pre-School building, an Upper School Auditorium seating more than 400, a five court squash complex, and two turf fields. 

In the summer of 2017, more than 1,000 solar panels were added to three different buildings on the Belfield Campus. 

Forty-five school sports teams compete against public schools and in independent school leagues, and the School produces approximately 25 musical and theatrical performances each year. 

 For more information on St. Anne’s-Belfield School, go to www.stab.org

Tandem Friends School
Tandem School was founded in 1970 by educators John Howard and Duncan Alling. Their philosophy, which continues to define the essence of a Tandem Friends education, was based on the conviction that learning thrives in an environment where faculty and students enjoy close, trusting relationships, values and ideas are freely examined, and decision making involves the whole school community.

The founders envisioned an economically and racially diverse school dedicated to academic rigor in the context of a curriculum embracing the arts, environmental stewardship, and community service.

In 1995, Tandem formally adopted the philosophy and practices of Quaker education and became Tandem Friends School, now serving up to 230 students in grades 5-12. The school’s mission statement best summarizes its goals:

Rooted in Quaker values, Tandem Friends School prepares young people for higher education and fulfilling lives of integrity, creativeexpression, and service. 

The school’s unofficial mottoes capture the Tandem philosophy: “Freedom with Responsibility” and “Kindness and Wisdom.”

Tandem has a no-cut sports policy and is a member of the Delaney Athletic Conference. A strong arts program features visual arts, music, drama and digital film.

The faculty/student ratio is 1:7 with classroom sizes ranging from 12-18 students. Tandem Friends is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, the Charlottesville Association of Independent Schools and is affiliated with the Friends Council on Education. Whitney Thompson is the current Head of School.

Find out more at www.tandemfs.org. Call Brandon Edwards, Director of Admissions, at 434-951-9314 to schedule a tour or visit. 

Woodberry Forest School
Woodberry Forest School, an independent, all-boarding community located just minutes from Charlottesville in Madison County, is committed to offering boys what they need for the future. 

Thousands of families have trusted Woodberry Forest with their boys in grades 9 through 12 over the years. We’ve honored that trust through our time-honored approach to an academic rigor and intellectual thoroughness, blending traditional values with the latest knowledge about how boys mature intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. At Woodberry, boys become men of honor.

Every boy at Woodberry is chosen for his potential to grow as a future leader. Our students come to us from across the country and around the globe, gaining the type of cultural fluency they will need to be successful adults.

Central to Woodberry is the boarding experience. Our residential character extends far beyond the extraordinary facilities on our stunning, 1,200-acre campus. It influences every aspect of life here, fostering common experiences in our dorms, on our athletic fields, and during whole-campus meals and weekly chapel services. Our exceptional teachers live with their families on campus, where they can participate fully in the life of the school—and the lives of the boys.

Woodberry is fully committed to single-sex education. Free from the distractions of a coeducational setting, a Woodberry boy gains the confidence to attempt new things—sports, artistic endeavors, a school play. He doesn’t see himself as girls see him. Instead, he learns to see the man he is becoming.

But nothing embodies Woodberry quite like our student-written honor system, which prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing. Established in 1899, the honor system upholds Woodberry as a community of trust in which everyone is safe, supported, and treated with respect. It’s truly a place like no other.

Our alumni are among the most supportive and deeply involved independent-school graduates in the country. They are dedicated to seeing Woodberry continue to thrive. And, as our boys move on to college and beyond, a built-in network of Woodberry men is ready and willing to lend them a hand.

We invite you to come experience Woodberry for yourself so you can see why it is one of the leading boarding schools in the nation. Meet with a member of our admissions staff. Tour our campus with a student guide. Check out our dorms and athletic facilities. You’ll begin to understand why Woodberry is the best school to launch a boy on his lifetime journey.

Visit our website at www.woodberry.org or call our Admissions Office at 888.798.9371 to learn more.

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