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The Independent School Advantage

San Domenico Lower School San Domenico Middle School San Domenico Upper School


What makes an independent school worth the trouble of applying and—yes—paying the expense to enroll your children?

We are extremely proud to be California's first independent school. The Dominican Sisters were quite visionary establishing SD as an independent school, providing our educators with the opportunity to always look forward and make choices based on the needs of the times, but also in preparation for a quick-changing future. Here are just a few reasons to choose independent:

  • Excellent teachers. Independent schools have the freedom to determine teacher credentials and, free from state mandates, to allow teachers more creativity in their teaching. With more autonomy within the classroom, teachers are able to develop a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually.
  • Selective admissions. Independent schools admit only students appropriate to the mission of the school.
  • High academic standards. Independent schools nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, and encourage critical thinking. A larger percentage of students at independent schools are enrolled in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools.
  • Small classes and individual attention. Independent schools have low student-teacher ratios that encourage close connections with students. The median ratio in NAIS schools in 2012-13 was 8.6 students to 1 teacher.
  • Greater likelihood of a student completing a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree. The majority of independent schools see their graduates move on to successful careers in college and beyond.
  • Education for the whole child. Independent schools nurture not just students’ intellectual ability and curiosity but also their personal and social growth and civic conscience. Opportunities extend well beyond the classroom to athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and school leadership experiences.
  • Inclusiveness. Independent Schools maintain diverse and vibrant student communities and welcome and respect each family. Students of color made up 25.9 percent of total independent school enrollment in 2010-11. In addition, 11.4 percent of all faculty and staff in independent schools were people of color.
  • A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals for the student.
  • The opportunity to choose a school with a mission. You can select a school whose philosophy, values, and teaching approach is right for your child.
  • And most important: An education that will pay dividends for a lifetime.

Re-posted from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).