Home What is an Independent School?
An independent school is typically a nonprofit primary or secondary school that doesn’t receive public funding from the government.
Independent schools are primarily funded by tuition, donations, and endowments. This private revenue gives schools the ability to provide exceptional facilities and student programs. Independent school budgets are typically managed by administrative leadership and supervised by an elected board of trustees.
Unlike public schools which are funded through a combination of local, state, and federal dollars, a private school is any school that does not receive state funding. All independent schools fall under the broader “private school” category, although not all private schools are “independent.”
Due to their independent governance, independent schools have the flexibility to create curriculum that best aligns with the organization’s mission and/or educational goals. Independent schools will most often adhere to state educational guidelines and standards, but will follow an educational approach that meets their core mission. This may include a focus on project based learning, differentiating instruction, or including social justice and civic engagement as a core tenet. Independent schools may also utilize assessment tools that measure student understanding in a way that is centered on the child – keeping students in a proximal zone of learning as much as possible.
Most independent schools offer smaller class sizes that maximize student interaction with teachers and build a nurturing learning environment. The smaller nature of most independent schools also provides the opportunity for consciously building inclusive, diverse student and family communities that encourage active participation and engagement.
Park Day School is proud to be considered one of the best private and independent schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn about the benefits of our progressive education model.