Pat Bassett, past president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), believes students and teachers matter most.
In his recent article, “What Really Counts in Schools,” Bassett explains that factors like class size and test scores do not determine the quality of a school. Instead, Bassett believes, students and teachers do.
“Because kids quickly adapt to the environment they find themselves in, and because the peer culture dominates the environment from middle school on, the quality of the student body is one of the only two factors that really matters,” Bassett writes. “If the student body is serious about high achievement in academics, athletics, and the arts (the “three As”), then achievement-orientation in all undertakings becomes the norm for the school. Kids, especially from middle school on, but even in pre-school, take their cues on what’s expected of them from their peers.”
A school’s culture of high expectations is, ultimately, determined by its faculty.
“Teachers are the force that creates the intentional culture that produces students who are “smart and good,” students with the academic and character outcomes great schools aspire to produce: kids who are inventive, creative, and analytical problem-solvers; kids with character (integrity, empathy, resilience); kids who are “team players,” Bassett writes.
Cannon School is a JrK-Grade 12 independent school located in Concord, NC.