— Life Lessons: Independent schools prepare students for a successful life beyond high school

Article originally published in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Magazine (Winter 2018) by Amada Torres, vice president for studies, insights, and research at NAIS.

Many independent schools focus on educating the whole child and addressing social/emotional and physical growth as well as academic development. New research conducted by the research firm Gallup shows that this holistic approach to education may result in better long-term outcomes for graduates. A report summarizing the findings, NAIS-Gallup Report on NAIS Graduates: Seeking Critical Collegiate Experiences and Consistent Progression in Higher Education, was published in September 2017.

National Association of Independent Schools Student OutcomesNAIS worked with Gallup for several years to investigate the life outcomes and well-being of graduates of independent schools. Gallup’s analysis found that a higher percentage of NAIS graduates than public school graduates enrolled in college immediately after high school (85 percent of NAIS graduates compared to 69 percent of public school graduates). Nearly 100 percent of graduates from NAIS schools go on to college, with more than half attending the most selective colleges and universities.

Another key finding of the Gallup analysis is that NAIS graduates, including minority and first-generation students (those who were the first in their families to attend college), outpace their peers who graduated from public and non-NAIS private high schools in seeking out many key experiential learning and extracurricular opportunities in college. These differences persist even after accounting for personality type, which can influence students’ propensity to seek out activities in college.

NAIS graduates are more likely to be involved in a wide range of experiential learning and extracurricular activities during college, including participating in research with faculty, holding a leadership position in a club or organization, participating in intramural sports, being members of fraternities or sororities, and working on projects that took longer than a semester. Additional research from Gallup shows that these activities are strongly correlated with higher rates of well-being and workplace engagement later in life.

NAIS graduates’ participation in extracurricular activities and close work with faculty in college seem to be an outgrowth of their high school experiences. These findings are also reflected in the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. This survey collects extensive information from incoming first-year college students about behaviors in high school, interactions with peers and faculty, academic preparedness, and expectations of college, among other variables. The latest CIRP survey found that independent school students (NAIS and non-NAIS) expected to be more engaged than their counterparts in a number of extracurricular activities in college, including participating in student clubs or groups (57.1 percent versus 49.7 percent for public school students), recreational sports (35.4 percent versus 29 percent), and fraternities or sororities (21.8 percent versus 12.8 percent).

The extensive participation of NAIS graduates in collegiate activities represents a significant result given the long-lasting impact these activities have. Previous Gallup research revealed that alumni who were extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations in college were 1.6 times more likely to be engaged at work and 1.2 times more likely to be thriving in all five elements of well-being measured by Gallup (See “How Does Gallup Measure Well-Being?” following the article). Likewise, graduates who worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete were 1.7 times more likely to be engaged at work and 1.2 times more likely to be thriving in all five elements of well-being.

National Association of Independent Schools Student Outcomes

Gallup also found that NAIS graduates progress through college more consistently than their peers from other private and public schools. Seventy-seven percent of NAIS graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in four years or less, compared with 69 percent of non-NAIS private high school graduates and 64 percent of public high school graduates. Similarly, 22 percent of NAIS graduates transferred at some point during their undergraduate careers—a much lower rate than the 37 percent of public high school graduates and 31 percent of non-NAIS private high school graduates who transferred. These results were also true for minority and first-generation students graduating from NAIS schools.

These findings suggest that NAIS graduates enter their collegiate lives at a relative advantage over their peers from other types of schools and the benefits persist. Consistent progression through college is linked to financial advantages such as lower student debt and higher starting salaries. In addition to these financial benefits, Gallup found that NAIS graduates who completed their college degrees in four years or less and did not transfer during college are more likely to be interested in the work they do.

Overall, Gallup found that the student experience at NAIS schools is associated with important undergraduate opportunities which, in turn, relate to elevated levels of well-being and long-term career satisfaction. The NAIS experience helps position students well as they transition into college, setting them up favorably for lives of purpose and meaning.


— Celebrating Earth Day on the Coast

In honor of Earth Day on April 21st, our entire K-8 school community spent two weeks learning about our beautiful coastal environment.

We kicked off our learning on Tuesday, April 10th, with a special all-school assembly from the Pacifica Beach Coalition entitled Sea Stars, Sea Change.

Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day

On Wednesday, April 11th, students in grades 2-4 explored the fascinating world of sharks with a visit from the Greater Farallones Association Sharkmobile and shark expert, Peter Winch.

The second week, students in grades 5-8 explored the biology of pathogens and how they impact marine mammals in the Greater Farallones Association Germs in Our Waters, Infecting our Otters workshop.

Each grade level engaged in a unit of inquiry on one aspect of our amazing coastal environment. On Friday, April 20th, classes shared what they have learned with students in other grades during our Coastweeks Learning Celebration.

Learning more about our amazing coastal environment helps to inspire a spirit of responsibility and stewardship for all. We encouraged all students and families to cap off the Sea Crest Coastweeks experience by participating in one of the local beach clean-up events planned throughout the coast.

Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastal Environment, Ocean Week Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastweek, Environment, Ocean, Earth Day Coastal Environment, Ocean Week

— President of NAIS on Campus

On Wednesday, 21st March, Sea Crest School was honored to host Donna Orem, the President of The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Sea Crest is one of 1,541 K-12 NAIS-member schools in the USA, serving 675,115 of the nation’s children. Appointed in 2016, Donna Orem is NAIS’ first female President in its 56-year history.

Donna Orem NAIS California Assembly“What a true delight it was to visit your school. Your children are so engaged and self-directed in their learning.”

We began the day with a Coffee Meet and Greet with Faculty, Staff and Trustees, followed by an All-school Assembly and Classroom Tours led by our Middle School Admission Ambassadors: Olivia, Mayah, Mike, and Mimi.

Donna Orem NAIS California“When you ask kids about passions, you normally get very traditional roles. At Sea Crest, I’ve heard students respond with ways to change the world: explorers, scientists […] You are putting good citizens out into the world.”

— Emergency Preparedness

The safety and security of our Sea Crest School community have always been and remains a top priority for us. During the past five years, we have prepared extensively for emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophes.

In today’s world and especially in light of recent events, it is important for us to assure you that we will continue to provide a safe school environment by working with our constituents — faculty, staff, students, parents — security specialists and local law enforcement.

Our Emergency Preparedness Committee, comprised of faculty and staff, spearheads our efforts and meets throughout the year to further strengthen our safety protocols. They plan for drills (observed by local authorities), assess feedback, train staff and teams (first aid, communications, sweep and rescue, utilities, long-range and reunification) and update our Emergency Response Plan (recently validated by Joffe Emergency Services, a premier security agency with extensive experience working with independent schools).

“Sea Crest School has cultivated a well-balanced safety mindset […] There is an overall sense of preparedness amongst faculty and staff. Safety at Sea Crest is not a fear-based initiative, but one that is motivated by a sincere interest to protect the
community. Sea Crest has progressed further than many schools in establishing the safety foundations we
prioritize and highlighted above.”

~Excerpts from Joffe Emergency Services’ report.

Here are some Parent Resources:

Talking to Children About Tragedies (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Helping Kids After a Shooting (American School Counselor Association)
Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
Helping Children Cope with Terrorism – Tips for Families and Educators (National Association of School Psychologists)

— Kindness Project: Love is Everywhere!

Right before the break, our Learning Buddies, students from Kindergarten to 8th grade, celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week by writing and hand delivering messages of hope, kindness, and love to our senior neighbors at Half Moon Village. The residents were greatly surprised and went to their weekly coffee hour with the cards they had received on their doors!

Special thanks to fifth-grade parent Christy Conklin (part of the local Love Ninjas group) for inspiring our students at the morning assembly with the story behind the Hearts Around Half Moon Bay campaign. The students even had the opportunity to generate ideas for the next wooden hearts project. We love our Half Moon Bay Community!


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