TORONTO, May 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada has some of the finest boarding schools in the world. Yet few Canadians know this or consider boarding.
That was the message Anne-Marie Kee, Executive Director of Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), delivered today in an address at the Economic Club of Canada. Citing a just-released study conducted by Innovative Research Group, Inc., Ms. Kee says that the vast majority of Canadians, 95%, simply do not see boarding as an option.
But that's about to change.
CAIS, representing Canada's top independent schools, is launching a comprehensive brand marketing campaign designed to "bust myths and boost awareness" on behalf of the organization's 28 boarding school members. Employing the tag-line "Experience More", the campaign highlights the many advantages of "learning where you live."
"We have great schools here in Canada attracting terrific kids from all corners of the globe. But we have been too reticent in communicating the benefits of boarding closer to home," said Ms. Kee. "By any measure, the majority of boarding students at Canadian schools emerge more focused, motivated, more independent and more university-ready."
One myth Kee would like to put to rest is that "boarding school is only for the rich".
"Yes, the sticker price can be high," said Kee. "But a significant number of families of boarders are not wealthy - for example, 20% with children currently in boarding report incomes of $100,000 or less. Schools offer need- and merit-based financial aid, more than $14 million in aggregate," Ms. Kee added.
Some benefits of boarding are obvious - the convenience and travel-time reductions associated with living where you learn. Ms. Kee aligns the 21st Century boarding experience with the skills needed to succeed: initiative, collaboration, independence of thought and action, and resilience. "Skills that will ultimately allow them to be more successful at university and in life. The students themselves report that they emerge from the boarding school experience much more self-confident and self-assured".
One way to measure success is university admissions - and CAIS schools do extremely well, with 98% of graduates going to the university or college of their choice - top-ranked schools in Canada, the United States and around the world.
But according to Ms. Kee, the greatest benefit from boarding derives from the very experience of living in harmony with others from diverse backgrounds.
"Half of our 5,000 boarding students come from international settings," she said. "For Canadian boarding students facing an increasingly interdependent world, this gives them an invaluable exposure to different cultures and viewpoints - something that will serve them well for the rest of their lives."
Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) represents Canada's 93 pre-eminent independent schools. For a longer version of this release, please visit http://boardingschools.ca/cais/news-events/.
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