By Bob Bryant, Principal, San Marcos Academy
Every school claims that it is the best at certain things. Some take pride in their massive taxpayer purchased facilities. Others note the large programs in the arts, and athletics. Still others beat their chests about their school being “Recognized” by the state as a high performer, even though Texas schools rank forty-second of fifty states in SAT scores. Yet here at the Academy, we are pleased to acknowledge fifteen advantages of boarding schools for San Marcos Academy students that are either so unique that you will not find them anywhere else on the planet, programs that are trendsetting, or among the top performers in the nation.
We often tend to look at the things that still need improvement and compare ourselves to larger schools with much more revenue, and are probably our own worst critics. Other items we take for granted, like parents being able to see grades in real time 24-7. At the same time, San Marcos Academy is genuinely providing your child with some of the most unique opportunities that you will find anywhere. There are many items that could be added to this list that we would say are noteworthy. These fantastic fifteen are truly items that are extremely rare for any school, much less a small private Christian school.
Advantages of Boarding Schools at SMA
- 1:1 Laptop Campus—While laptop campuses are now all the buzz, and many schools have teachers who simply hide them under the desks, SMA has been actively working with them for almost five years. Many of our teachers perform the “Best Teaching Practices” from the National Education in Technology Standards for Teachers. Thus, SMA teachers are evaluated each year on how they integrate the technology.
- One-of-a-kind teacher evaluation system.—The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the most prestigious teacher certification system in the nation. Those who successfully pass the rigorous requirements are considered certified to teach in 42 states. In 2003, SMA created a NBPTS evaluation system that holds teachers to these standards. An added domain to the NBPTS standards was Christian Worldviews, where our faculty are evaluated on how well they can integrate the Christian faith into the subject matter. There is no other school, private or public, that has a system that meets the NBPTS standards.
- Blended Learning courses—Another popular term in education, which has all of the public schools moving in that direction is “blended learning.” Again, SMA envisioned the best of classroom and online learning eight years ago, and began to create online coursework to allow students 24-7-365 learning opportunities. We are one of the few private schools in the nation to do so.
- Exposure to international students and cultures—While other schools have to read about far off places in static and often dated textbooks, your child gets to rub shoulders with international students from all over the world every day. Not only do we enroll many of these students, but also we have streamed online classes from Korea and Kenya. As the economy becomes more global, SMA students will have a great advantage at international relations and commerce.
- Excellent JROTC program—It is indeed rare that a small, private school would have a JROTC program at all, much less one that received the highest possible rank of “Honor Unit with Distinction” from the U. S. Army.
- An Excellent Online School— In only its seventh month of operation, San Marcos Online Academy (sanmarcos-online.org) has been marketed to thirty states, and is already enrolling students from around Texas. Through strategic partnerships, the program is able to offer 53 different high school courses, ten AP courses, and over 163 college courses from six Christian universities.
- The highest level of math instruction possible—College students often return to the Academy and inform us that they were so much better prepared in math than other students. SMA has a long tradition of excellent math preparation, where a student can go all the way to acquiring college Calculus credit. There are only a few schools that are able to offer college Calculus credit on a high school campus without trying to offer AP classes.
- Christian Nurturing—We welcome all students who need the tender loving care of the Christian community, regardless of their personal beliefs. Because we show unconditional love, while at the same time holding to standards of behavior that would honor God, hundreds of students have come to faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, both boarding and day students are safely nestled under the umbrella of caring Christian adults.
- Highly qualified coaching staff—There has never been a private school with the quality of coaching as enjoyed at SMA. From a Hall of Fame baseball coach, to the only volleyball coach in Texas to coach teams in state competition in UIL, TAPPS, and TCAL, along with two former head football coaches in 5-A public schools, and top-tier basketball coaches.
- Classical Studies —Many college preparatory schools would love to have a Ph.D. in Classical Studies who was a Department Chair at Baylor University, yet SMA enjoys just that. Dr. John Thorburn and his team who teach in that area have provided the best possible instruction, teaching our students the greatest works in Western Civilization.
- A World-Class Behavior Management System—The Levels System in the Residential Life program is a one-of-a-kind system. Other boarding schools do not structure a student’s experience to coincide with character development. For eleven straight years, research data shows that the longer a student is enrolled at SMA the better he or she performs in both the dorms and school.
- Interventions for At-risk Students—Most private schools are not geared to working with students who need intervention. SMA has a sophisticated web of study halls and interventions that provide unique reinforcement for students who are still learning how to learn.
- Learning Specialists—It is rare for a private school to have qualified learning specialists on staff to help those students with learning differences. SMA is just such a school.
- Excellent Equine Program—What other private school has a comprehensive equine program that trains students in horsemanship and trains them to ride in a Mounted Color Guard.
- Amazing Facilities—Although public schools enjoy taxpayer funded megapoli, SMA’s two hundred acre debt-free campus is unique for a private school. As a result, we don’t have to charge another $6,000 in tuition per student to pay for everything. When one considers the brand new $3.8 million special event center, this is truly a miracle.
Learn More about the Advantages of Boarding Schools at San Marcos Academy
If you would like to learn more about the advantages for San Marcos Academy students and how we can help your son or daughter check out our website or contact or Admissions Department.