Private Matters

Way back when, a decent academic showing at one of the Main Line’s elite private schools was an all-access pass to Ivy League glory. These days, however, GPAs and SAT scores are just the beginning—and not just where the Ivies are concerned.

Hence the reasoning behind the more holistic approach taken by this month’s “Great Private Schools” cover story, which avoids number crunching and hones in on the broader educational experience. Knowing that each of the 24 schools we profiled has plenty to recommend it, we tried to pinpoint the things that make one unique from—if not necessarily better than—the other.

We settled on this strategy for a number of reasons—not the least of which was the touchy, evasive responses we’ve received when attempting to collect basic academic data from many of the places we’ve profiled. Thankfully, seasoned writer/reporter Jim Waltzer was willing to weather the initial storm of administrator skepticism and emerge (semi-intact) with compelling proof that our area is home to some of the most well-rounded and forward-thinking prep schools in the country.

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“I quickly learned that the word ‘ranking’ is anathema to many—if not most—of the schools, who felt burned by recent articles of that nature, particularly one that appeared in another local magazine,” says Waltzer of the dicey fact-finding process. “Plan B was to identify the ‘best’ schools for various studies, activities, etc. But everybody says—or implies—that they’re the best.”

So we went for the “snapshot” angle. “To do that, it was important to speak with each school’s lead spokesperson and get his/her unrehearsed response,” says Waltzer. “One that’s accurate but different than the standard marketing language.”

All said and done, the hope is that “Great Private Schools” will be a valuable first stop for any parent who’s considering an investment in one of the area’s many noteworthy independent private schools.

You’ll now find our biannual Guide to Health & Wellness within the pages of Main Line Today. Along with a new listing of health clubs, personal trainers, yoga studios and more, we’ve updated our directory of area hospitals and related health services. You can also pick up the guide for free at health clubs and other area businesses.

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!