Thursday, November 17, 2016

"How to Cultivate an Excellent Student" A Talk Given at Yinzhou High School, Ningbo, China

On my recent trip to China, I was invited to give an address to Chinese educators at a high school in Ningbo on how independent schools "cultivate excellent students." I think my remarks are relevant for the Gaston Day School community and anyone interested in sending their children here. So here is a summary of my remarks.

1. Great teachers are the starting point for a great education for an excellent student. Great teachers are masters of the content of their subjects, but they are also more than that. They know how to challenge, inspire, and convey meaning tot heir students. Independent schools hire and develop great teachers. If a teacher is poor at an independent school, they are not allowed to remain. So an excellent student learns from excellent teachers.

2. Independent schools provide excellent students with the core subjects they need for college--English, math, science, social studies, foreign language, technology, and fine arts--and with the most challenging course available within those subjects. These include Advance Placement Courses. An excellent student takes the most challenging course available in an independent school and performs well in them.

MS class in Ningbo
3. Independent schools offer a rich variety of extra-curricular offerings and service opportunities. These include sports, clubs, and projects. An excellent student is well-rounded and participates fully in school life outside the classroom.

4. Independent schools encourage their students to enter local, regional, and national competitions in various subjects and fields. An excellent student receives recognition for a high level of performance in competitions open to students from other schools.

5. Independent schools offer strong advice and counsel in the college admissions process. This process begins in the 9th grade and becomes most active in the 11th and 12th grades. Students are prepared for the SAT or ACT tests. Students are advised on the right colleges to which they should apply. An excellent student scores well on college entrance exams and selects a college that best suits his or her educational needs. 

I believe that Gaston Day does all these things well. The success of our graduates in college is the best proof. Gaston Day graduates attend great colleges and universities and they succeed at higher levels of education and in life. 

American independent schools are some of the best in the world. That is why Chinese parents, who can afford to send their children to school anywhere in the world, choose us. They are willing to sacrifice so that their children can benefit from the best education available.