St. Louis has parochial, private and public schools. Surrounding all of these schools are different stereotypes like Priory or Visitation, John Burroughs or Mary Institution and St. Louis Country Day School, Kirkwood or Webster.
At the same time, parochial and private schools require tuition while public schools require tuition only when someone out of the district wants to attend the school.
At Webster, three students speak out about the differences between parochial, private and public school students:
“My siblings went through private school, and I noticed through them that it tends to be kind of clique-y and much more expensive. Also, at Webster, you have much more, classroom options like Desktop Publishing. We also have more diversity in students,” said sophomore, Louise Ricketts.
Stephan Cole sophomore agreed. “Private schools are stuck up.”
“Webster is superior [to other schools] because we actually care about people here,” said Maya Grice, sophomore.
A private school like Mary Institution and St. Louis Country Day School or MICDS, go from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. From kindergarten to grade four the tuition is $16,950, from grades five and six, $19,100 and from grades seven through twelve $20,550. Any miscellaneous fees tend to average around $300-500. For the 2010-2011 school years, the average financial aid per person was $12,300 according to the MICDS website.
At John Burroughs the admission process has five steps. The process begins with a school visit, an application follows, then a family interview, testing and finally recommendations. Tuition for the 2010-2011 school years is $21,200 with $1000 in additional charges throughout the year. The school is ranked among the top 50 in the nation and goes from 7 to 12 grades. Financial aid is available all according to the website.
In parochial schools, like St. Louis Priory School which is an all-boys school starting from grades 7 to12, the tuition is $17,950. Financial aid is available. Priory is a college preparation school, much like MICDS and Burroughs, and has a total of 14 different AP classes that students can take all according to the website.
Visitation Academy has a different, though very similar approach. Visitation, or Viz as it is more commonly known as, is a coed school in preschool and from kindergarten to 12th grade, an all, girls school. When applying at all ages, students must go through a serious application process including submitting an online admission form, printing copies of the student’s current academic form, does a school visit, and does an evaluation form. Viz is also known as a college preparation school with focus on academics, athletics and clubs, spirituality and community services all according to the Visitation website.
In public schools, like Kirkwood or Webster, the approach is much more different. Both schools offer college preparation classes, as well as advanced and AP classes, but also offers classes that aren’t as hard, like conceptual physics or conceptual chemistry.
Both schools also offer the A+ program which entails 50 hours of free tutoring, maintains a GPA of 2.5 or higher, have 95 percent or higher attendance record, and attend an A+ certified school for all four years of high school.
Most, if not all, of public, private, and parochial schools offer different options for different students. Advanced classes, better chances for scholarships, and so on. The schools listed above have all been ranked either nationally or locally, and each school does have both pros and cons.
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Just a few comments. The correct name is ‘Mary Institute Country Day School,’ or MICDS, not ‘Mary Institution and Saint Louis Country Day School.’ It was formed from the union of Mary Institute, the elite all-girls school, and the former Saint Louis Country Day School.
Also, the Saint Louis Priory School is not a ‘parochial’ school at all, but a private Roman Catholic school run by the English Benedictine Abbey of Sts. Louis and Mary.
None of the private Roman Catholic schools in St. Louis, like Visitation Academy, Villa Duchesne-Oak Hill School, Chaminade Academy, St. Louis University High School, and so on, are “parochial,” since they are run by Roman Catholic orders, but they are part of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
It’s unfair to categorize all private schools as “stuck up” or “clique-y,” just as it’s unfair to categorize all public schools as educational failures. It’s best for society if we have all kinds of schools so that parents and students have options, and good public and private schools mutually reinforce and ensure educational opportunities for all.