SHARON– The board of The Sharon Academy (TSA) in Sharon, Vt., voted unanimously at its annual meeting Saturday, June 25, to adopt an open enrollment policy. The policy takes effect immediately for all grades, 7–12.
“The board has affirmed as official policy what is already our practice– embracing all applicants,” said Head of School Michael Livingston. The new policy also streamlines the application process, reducing paperwork from applicants and their families. “We realized that some families have felt intimidated by our application process,” said Livingston. “We want to make this easier for them. We want our school and our student-centered approach to education to be available to as many people as possible.”
The information in a student’s application provides faculty and staff with vital information to serve students more specifically, and to know what types of supports and challenges they need. Livingston said such information would now be requested only after families have decided to send their children to The Sharon Academy.
While the open enrollment policy is designed to make the school more accessible, Livingston stresses that this is not about becoming a bigger school. “We are very clear that our educational model–to know and value each student as a person so that we can challenge each student to reach his or her full potential–relies on TSA remaining a small school,” he said.
TSA prides itself on offering mentoring and personalized educational goals. In addition to providing an excellent education, one of the school’s aims is to teach “21st century skills.” These skills–including communication skills, learning strategies, and creative inquiry–equip graduates to take advantage of opportunities after graduation, whether in the job market or college or other postsecondary education. TSA students accounted for one quarter of the total number of Vermont’s National Merit Scholar semifinalists in the 2015-2016 school year. Livingston noted that the school also serves students in the OHI (Other Health Impaired) and SLD (Specific Learning Disability) categories.
The Sharon Academy is an independent school serving grades 7 through 12 in Sharon, Vt. For further information, visit sharonacademy.org.