Where does tuition go? Private school fees explained
“Where does the tuition go?” is a common question for parents considering a private school. While private schools may cost more to attend than your child’s other options, the reasons can extend far beyond notions of exclusivity or a better education. To help you make your decision, we’d like to share 15 ways tuition is used at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) to provide students with truly exceptional experiences.
- A Balanced Education
We believe that a child’s education should be more than a series of classes punctuated by short breaks. At STS, our goal is to balance curriculum with co-curricular activities like athletics and fine arts. There are currently over 90 different programs for students to participate in.
- Teacher Salaries
Most of the tuition we receive goes directly to our teachers. Not only do we have more staff than a public school, each one is an expert or specialist in their field. Having more teachers also means smaller class sizes and more time for meaningful class preparation.
- No Extra Activity Fees
At many schools, the extra fees required to participate in sports teams, field trips, and arts programs can really start to add up. At STS, co-curricular activities are, for the most part, all-inclusive with your child’s tuition (with the exception of travel and accommodation, when required). That means open access to teams, bands, and clubs — without having to choose one activity over another.
- Inclusive Programs
“Making the team” isn’t as much of a factor at STS.There is room on sports teams, in the school musical, and in the Model United Nations for anyone who wants to be a part of those activities. Simply put, if you want to participate, you get to participate.We provide a multitude of options to ensure that every student gets the chance to have fun, nurture their passions, make friends, learn about teamwork, and develop their leadership abilities.
- Extraordinary Facilities
STS is located on a 220-acre campus full of stimulus-rich spaces. Students have access to purpose-built facilities that help make their educational experiences rich and meaningful. Most recently, we added a 65,000 square foot expansion — housing a new elementary wing, and expanded fine & performing arts spaces — paid for with $24M of donor funds.
- Resources & Equipment
Within our state-of-the-art facilities, you’ll find top-of-the-line resources and equipment not offered by the public school system. We support learning disabilities, high performers, and different learning styles with our full-time learning strategists, tailored learning plans, and student success centre. If a student needs support, or a quiet place to study or work, it’s theirs for the asking. Any structural facility enhancements or expansions at STS are paid for through philanthropy, and not tuition.
- Collaborative Leadership
Because tuition funds our diverse programs, teachers and coaches aren’t competing for resources. This ensures an environment where staff can work together to facilitate a student’s scheduling conflicts — like missing a band practice to play in a volleyball tournament — rather than forcing the student to choose one program over another. If your child wants to play basketball, be in the school musical, and be on the debate team in addition to their classes, we’ll help them make it work.
- Student-Led Clubs
Activities don’t end with the school’s official offerings. Student-led clubs are encouraged and supported as much as possible.The current roster of clubs attracts members with passions as diverse as coding, fashion, and the environment. One club dedicated entirely to bow ties even persuaded us to add their custom design to the school’s uniform options.
- Campus Convenience
Parents often double as chauffeurs for students participating in team sports, the arts, and other activities outside of school. Our diverse programs are all hosted on our campus, so whether a student arrives early or stays late, you’ll know where they are all day and won’t have to worry about shuttling them to other locations around the city. In addition to our extensive regular busing system, we offer early-morning and after-school buses to accommodate activities and make it easy for students to participate.
We believe in holding our curriculum and faculty to a high standard.To that end, we pay to belong — and to be audited — by notable accreditation programs like International Baccalaureate, Round Square School, the Canadian Association of Independent Schools, the Association of Experimental Education, and COR certified health and safety programs. Not only do these accreditations allow STS to provide even more exceptional programming and experiences for our students, but they ensure we are going above and beyond at all times.
- No Outside Contractors
All of the classes and co-curricular activities at STS are taught and led by our faculty — a rarity in the private school industry. We have no outside coaches or tour leaders. Over time, students build a long and trusting bond with their teachers inside and outside of the classroom, and teachers become more attuned to the needs and issues of each student.
- Teacher Development
Our teachers are also students.We facilitate exceptional and diverse professional development so our teachers stay passionate and inspired, continue to improve, and keep enriching our students’ learning experiences.
- Less Dependence on Public Funds
Public schools receive a government grant for every attending student. We do as well, but only a portion of what public schools receive, per student. We make up the difference through tuition, to be able to offer an exception educational experience. To ensure we are accessible to all great students, we also offer scholarships and bursaries funded by generous philanthropy.
- Healthy Food Options
Many of our students bring meals from home, but there are always healthy food options available in our campus cafeteria.Your child’s wellness is important to us, so you won’t find a deep fryer in our kitchen. Every meal has been dietician-reviewed and is lovingly prepared by our on-site food services team.
- Post-Secondary Preparation
100% of our Grade 12 graduates continue on to post-secondary education. We know that some of the jobs students will have in 10 years don’t even exist yet, so we help them develop universal skills like communication, design thinking, teamwork, and the importance of advocating for themselves and others. We also have a university guidance counsellor on staff to help students identify their skills and aptitudes, and to guide families through post-secondary requirements and applications.