Concord Academy: Big curriculum, rich support

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Isabella Ginsburg left home for school halfway across the world. What she found at Concord Academy, however, was more than a school. It was a place of growth. Ginsburg’s critical thinking skills bloomed, as did her leadership prowess. Now a head orientation leader, Ginsburg reflects back on her growth at CA. “Since coming to CA, I’ve found my mind becoming more flexible,” she says. “I make connections between what I’m learning throughout the day, which has given me a deeper understanding of what I’m studying and how I think across disciplines.”

Ginsburg thrived on CA’s expansive curriculum. With over 200 academic courses, the depth and breadth of knowledge gained makes the perfect combination for students to prepare for college and university. “I found comfort in knowing that I would find my feet at CA and also would be well prepared for the challenges in college and in the future,” says Ginsburg .

Her most memorable class? Ginsburg has two: Macromolecules and Constitutional Law. “I loved Macromolecules because it combined my love for science and passion for cooking,” she says. “Each week, we learned about different principles of food science and then explored them using both traditional and practical labs.”

Concord Academy

Concord Academy offers an extensive curriculum focusing on academics as well as athletics and arts. Source: Concord Academy

Located in a small and historic New England town in Massachusetts, CA is ranked 10th in Niche.com’s “2022 Best boarding high schools in America.” The 39-acre campus is home to nearly 400 students in grades nine through 12 who come from nearby towns and far away cities.

At CA, they find a small, close-knit community with over 70 clubs and organisations to join. Students can expect afternoons filled with athletics, theatre productions, music group rehearsals and intramural sports.

Since joining CA, Ginsburg has made her mark in many activities. “I am a member of the varsity volleyball, squash and tennis teams, partake in Model United Nations as both a staff and delegate, and I am a peer tutor, tour guide, writing associate, and I am part of the Alumni Committee,” she shares. She notes that being a part of the volleyball team has improved her communication and leadership skills, enhancing how she learns in classrooms.

These activities don’t just happen on weekdays. Weekends are just as dynamic, with activities such as baking or hiking that are planned by the house faculty. “If I don’t have a varsity game of my own, I might go watch a home game and cheer for friends. Weekend activities also include movie nights, dodge ball and of course there is always laundry,” says Ginsburg.

CA’s ideal location makes it easy for students to get to shops, restaurants, banks and pharmacies. There is public transport to get to Boston, home to a number of world-class colleges and universities, which is just 20 miles away too.

Concord Academy

Students are appointed an advisor to support and guide them during their time at CA. Source: Concord Academy

What sets boarding at CA apart is its one-on-one advising programme. While most boarding schools have advising programmes, they are often in groups. These student-advisor relationships are typically not substantive.

That’s not the case at CA. Here, students meet once a week, individually, with their advisor. Not only do they know an adult on campus well, they also have someone who can be their advocate, a support system, and a guide as students learn how to exercise their independence responsibility.

“When I was struggling to communicate with my Maths teacher last semester, she helped me to reach out to him and I got the help I needed,” says Ginsburg. “She’s been an amazing sounding board for me to work through my ideas and I know that I can count on her when I need help.”

At CA, more focus is given to collaboration instead of competition. The school does not offer academic awards, publish GPAs or have class ranks. By doing so students are not motivated to learn by external factors but rather focus on their own love and curiosity for learning.

The goal is to ensure that once students complete their time at the school they will be prepared for college and for lives of service and impact. Their alumni of authors, ambassadors, entrepreneurs, engineers, dancers, doctors and more are proof of this.

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