Talk to people who are familiar with independent schools and you are likely to hear them speak of their schools in terms of their "values" and "purpose"- as well as lauding their strong teaching, academic rigor, individual attention to students, supportive atmosphere, and sense of community.
Diversity and Choice
Independent schools are rooted in the idea of choice. They offer families a range of educational options: coeducation or single sex; religious affiliation or nonsectarian; preschool, elementary, or secondary; day or boarding; and each has a distinct educational philosophy and mission. For everyone involved, an independent school is a conscious choice. Principals and teachers choose to work there and are highly committed to the school's mission and dedicated to serving the needs of each child. Families choose independent schools because they care about their children's education and support their schools enthusiastically.
Features in Common
For all of their diversity and widely varying philosophies, schools that are members of the Association of Independent Maryland & DC Schools (AIMS) have certain characteristics in common. Each is governed by a board of trustees, is independent in governance and finance, has stated policies of nondiscrimination in admission and employment, and is a nonprofit corporation. Each fosters a culture of learning, not only in classrooms and laboratories, but in every area of school life - on playing fields, stages, in music practice rooms, and art studios. Studies show that, for educating students in the classroom and, just as important, instilling a lifelong interest in learning outside of the classroom, families have the greatest confidence in independent schools.
AIMS member schools do not discriminate in admissions, the award of financial aid, or hiring on the basis of race, religious creed, ancestry, sex, national origin, or handicapped status in violation of existing state or federal law or regulation.