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Making the Grade: The 2020 Private High School Report Card

The start of a new school year means that it’s time for us to examine some of the area’s top private schools to see how these revered academic institutions are helping students recognize their potential both in and out of the classroom. We worked directly with the schools to glean information on key areas like average SAT scores, the percentage of students attending four-year colleges, tuition rates, student-to-teacher ratios and much more. In addition, we had the chance to speak to several school officials to find out how they are dealing with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HIGH SCHOOL | TUITION, PER YEAR
Trinity Prep | $23,910
Windermere Prep | $23,075
Lake Highland Prep | $22,400
The First Academy | $19,880
Montverde Academy | $18,350
Lake Mary Prep | $16,700
The Geneva School | $16,305
Foundation Academy | $14,355
The Master’s Academy | $14,268
Bishop Moore | $12,480*
*Increase for non-Catholic students

HIGH SCHOOL | SAT TOTAL AVERAGE SCORE
Trinity Prep | 1317
Lake Highland Prep | 1311
Windermere Prep | 1229
Lake Mary Prep | 1225
The Geneva School | 1215
The First Academy | 1207
Bishop Moore | 1181
The Master’s Academy | 1163
Foundation Academy | 1154

HIGH SCHOOL | TOTAL HIGH SCHOOL ENROLLMENT
Bishop Moore | 1,417
Lake Highland Prep | 756
Montverde Academy | 675
Winderemere Prep | 605
Trinity Prep | 524
The First Academy | 400
The Master’s Academy | 335
Foundation Academy | 287
Lake Mary Prep | 180
The Geneva School | 142

HIGH SCHOOL | STUDENT-TO-TEACHER-RATIO
The Geneva School | 8:1
Lake Highland Prep | 11:1
Lake Mary Prep | 11:1
The Master’s Academy | 11:1
Trinity Prep | 11:1
Montverde Academy | 12:1
Foundation Academy | 14:1
Bishop Moore | 15:1
The First Academy | 15:1

HIGH SCHOOL | PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS ATTENDING 4-YEAR COLLEGES
The First Academy | 100%
The Geneva School | 100%
Lake Mary Prep | 100%
Windermere Prep | 100%
Montverde Academy | 99%
Trinity Prep | 99%
Lake Highland Prep | 98%
The Master’s Academy | 94%
Bishop Moore | 86%
Foundation Academy | 79%

A PRIVATE CONVERSATION
We spoke with several school officials to get a grasp on a very different school year, the misconceptions about private school education and how they look to cultivate students into young adults.

What have been some of the biggest challenges caused by the pandemic?
“School had to be reinvented—everything from class meetings on video conferences, to tests and quizzes online, to doing orchestra or choir with everyone in a separate place. Teachers were so creative and really stepped up their games to keep kids learning. A key component of the success has been communication. It’s difficult because all communication must be very deliberate. You don’t realize how much happens in casual conversations in the hallways, on a break in the quad or at lunch. Teachers, administrators, students and parents have really had to identify the necessary communication channels under difficult circumstances.” — Dr. Stephanie Dryden, director of learning and instruction, Trinity Prep

“Balancing the need to have students and teachers together while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols has been the No. 1 challenge. At Windermere Prep we are working hard to focus on the combination of a safe environment and continuity of learning at the same time. The need to create distance on campus and reduce group sizes poses significant logistical challenges.” — Dr. Steve Lyng, head of school, Windermere Prep

In your view, what are some of the misconceptions people have when it comes to private education?
“The meaning of personalized learning. This does not mean that every child has their own personalized learning plan or lessons, it means we really get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses so we can provide them with support and challenge them to continue to grow as a learner.”  — Angel Nguyen, director of admissions and marketing, Lake Mary Prep

“Common misconceptions include the notion that a private school education is only suitable for academically elite students or wealthy families. Granted, most private schools test for admission, and they also charge tuition. However, there are many opportunities for students not in the top of their class as well as financial resources to assist those who desire what is typically a smaller school program providing more connections with teachers and more chances to take on leadership roles.”  — Kedi Milajecki, advancement coordinator, The Geneva School

Besides a quality education, what kind of things do you hope a student walks away with after they graduate?
“At Montverde Academy, our students gain a solid work ethic and an understanding that achievements are earned. Our mission is to inspire students to become leaders with a passion for knowledge, global vision and innovation while developing character in a nurturing and diverse community.”  — Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, head of school, Montverde Academy

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lake Highland Preparatory School (LHP), and since the beginning, LHP has been committed to its mission of instilling Christian values, inspiring patriotism, developing leaders and nurturing lifelong learners within an atmosphere of love, concern and mutual respect. Today, LHP continues to prepare young men and women with extraordinary academic rigor and opportunities to thrive in arts, athletics, academics, leadership, and service. Last school year, students contributed more than 45,000 community service hours and found innovative ways to help the local community and nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  — Candace Watson, communications coordinator, Lake Highland Prep

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s October 2020 issue.

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