What Is a Private Independent School?

A private independent school:

Is governed by a Board of Trustees who set the mission, work to maintain the school’s financial health, and hire the Head of School. The Head of School is the Board’s only employee and acts as its Chief Executive Officer. He or she leads the school and oversees all of its operations from hiring faculty to improving facilities.

Is funded through tuition payments, fundraising, and interest generated from its endowment.

Admits only students who are appropriate to the school’s mission. In the case of Harford Day that means bright boys and girls who are academically motivated and achievement oriented.

Offers only one-year student contracts. Students are expected to work hard, play hard, and be good citizens to receive re-enrollment contracts from year to year.

Is committed to diversity of all kinds including socio-economic and offers need-based financial aid to families with mission appropriate children. To learn more about financial aid see the Admissions link or contact our Admissions Director Diane Russell at 410-809-2403.

Offers only one-year teacher contracts. There is no tenure in a private independent school. All teachers must maintain excellence in their instruction to be offered a contract in subsequent years.

Is not required to administer any state or federally mandated curricula or testing. Private independent school teachers are expected to choose their own books and generate and revise their own curriculum; teachers “own” what they teach and, therefore, are invested in seeing it work for their students.

Private independent schools may or may not be religiously affiliated. Catholic schools, in particular, are generally classified as Parochial Schools, rather than private or independent. The distinction is based on the Catholic Church's governance of a school's program and curriculum that is not present in traditional private, independent, schooling.

Being a Parent in an Independent School

Learn more by reading, Parents and Independent Schools, published by the Association of Independent Maryland/DC Schools (AIMS).

A Harford Day School education is a gift meant to enrich the mind, body, and spirit of every student; its benefits realized not only while in elementary and middle school, but into high school, college, and life.