Special Section

Meet Your New School

Finding the best independent school for your child begins with the open house.
By Rebecca Kirkman — October 2020

nne Arundel County Public Schools served Laura Dorsey-Elson and Omowale Elson’s daughter and son well through middle school. But with high school on the horizon, the family made the strategic decision to move their children into independent schools.

“We were looking for a smaller school environment at the high-school level,” Dorsey-Elson says. “Not just the class sizes, but the school itself.”

So the family looked into independent-school programs that would match their children’s learning styles and help them develop as students. “We did our research and thought about what would be the best fit four our kids,” she adds.

The Introductions: Open-House Season Goes Online

There are more than 120 independent schools in the Baltimore-Washington area and more than 30 in the greater Baltimore area. With so many options, it takes some dedication to find the right match.

The best way to get an introduction to an independent school is through an annual fall tradition: the open house.

Typically, the open house offers one-stop-shopping for families to see schools in person, talk with administrators, admissions and financial-aid representatives, and start narrowing down their choices.

This fall, however, things look a bit different due to physical distancing and gathering restrictions put in place in response to the coronavirus. While each school will take a unique approach, the essence of the open house is here to stay.

Before open-house season, it’s a good idea to come up with a list of priorities for your family, including must-have and nice-to-have qualities. This way, you can ask the same questions and look consistently at the same factors for every school.

Starting through word of mouth and exploring school websites, narrow down a handful of schools that seem like a good fit for your child. Then, make contact with admissions or attend an event to learn more.

Schools across the region are adapting their traditional admission events this fall to fit their community needs and stay as safe as possible. In most cases, however, the in-person events will be replaced with a series of virtual events where prospective families can hear from faculty, administrators, and current families. In addition, many schools offer virtual campus tours online and will facilitate one-on-one conversations with enrolled families.

“We’ve heard from a number of schools that are looking at different ways to do school tours,” says Myra McGovern of the National Association of Independent Schools. “For some schools, it might be a video walking the viewer through the campus. Some are looking at virtual reality, others at augmented reality where there’s additional information that pops up about each location.”

Friends School of Baltimore, a Pre-K through 12th-grade school set on 34 acres in northern Baltimore, has created a series of Zoom events, called First Look @ Friends, that engage prospective families with the head of school, as well as current students and parents. They have also updated their virtual tour platform, Experience Friends, with 360-degree views of facilities.

“Just as you can’t teach math the same way online as in the classroom, you’re not going to do admission work the same way either,” says Friends School director of admission Amy Mortimer about how the school has pivoted to an online platform. “We’ve kept many of the important pieces—access to students, head of school, faculty members, parents. Designing ways virtually for people to see the classroom is important to us, too.”

Despite some changes to the delivery methods of the fall admissions events, Mortimer says families still have the same goals: learning about a school and finding the best fit for their student.

“My advice is the same, whether you’re able to be on campus together or virtually: Make contact with someone in the admission office,” Mortimer says. Admissions officers are the best resource for families trying to get to know a school environment, she says, and she advises families not to be shy about contacting them directly.

“Right now, because it’s not a typical year, people have all kinds of different questions and needs, and they can be very unique to each family,” Mortimer adds. “People want to know about your math program and the culture of your community, but they also want to know what online learning looks like, and we’re happy to talk one-on-one with families.”

Especially this year, Mortimer also suggests families get to know a school’s culture by checking out their online presence and following social-media pages. This content can be a window into what the school values, or at least a glimpse into the people and places that make up the school community. “It’s an additional way to get to know them in this time of not being able to come and visit and walk around and play on the playground.”

Another key contact? Current families. “To figure out whether the school is the right fit for your family, especially considering the new things in the admissions process this year, talk to other parents,” says McGovern. “Most schools will have a list of current parents who are willing to talk to prospective families. That can give you a good sense of what the school is like, and, in the case that you select that school, it can be a great connection for the future.”

Making a Match: The Application Process

By networking with other families at the elementary level, Dorsey-Elson discovered the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST), a nonprofit that identifies and recruits high-achieving Black students in the greater Baltimore area who have the potential to thrive in an independent-school environment but lack the financial resources necessary to enroll.

BEST helps students admitted to the program through the independent-school admissions process, and continues support once students have enrolled. It’s one of many local and national programs aiming to increase equitable access to an independent school education (see sidebar for more details).

Dorsey-Elson’s daughter, Imani, was recruited through the BEST program. She began ninth grade at Friends School of Baltimore in fall 2017. Dorsey-Elson’s son, Asante, also applied to several schools through the BEST program, beginning his freshman year at Friends this fall.

Commuting from Severn in Anne Arundel County didn’t deter the family from choosing Friends, which they found to be the best fit for their children. “When we get our kids up at 5:30 in the morning to get them to school, the motto is, ‘This is an investment,’” says Dorsey-Elson, who is a tenured associate professor at Morgan State University.

In addition to advising the family through the independent-school application process, the BEST program signals to schools that the applicant is high-achieving academically and capable of coping with the school’s rigorous curriculum.

“That helped give another layer for the school to look at our son,” Dorsey-Elson says of the application process with BEST. “They can see he’s a kid who really wants to be here, and know he’s prepared to be here.”

By the time Asante began the high school application process in fall 2019, he already had several years of exposure to the Friends School environment, including attending school events with his family. “Watching his older sister thrive at Friends was the best marketing material Friends could ever ask for,” Dorsey-Elson says.

While he applied to multiple schools, Friends remained his top choice. “It wasn’t just because his sister was there,” she adds. “He felt the most comfortable there on his shadow day, so that sealed the deal.”

For families new to independent schools, the application process may feel overwhelming. Reduce the stress by starting early and making note of the deadlines and requirements for each potential school on your list.

Most applications require some combination of transcripts, standardized test results, teacher recommendations, student writing samples or portfolio, and a formal interview, depending on the age of the child.

Dorsey-Elson says the most challenging part of the application process for her son Asante was the standardized testing. “Our son had to put extra effort into the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) prep,” she says. “He scored moderately well the first round, and he thought he was done with it, but we decided he could take it again. For the six-week period between test one and two, he was frustrated.”

With more preparation, Asante was able to raise his scores. Dorsey-Elson says she looked at the tests as one of the hoops the family had to jump through to get their son into his top-choice school.

Admissions counselors are quick to remind families that, while important, standardized tests are just one of several elements used to determine if the applicant is a good fit for the school, and final decisions are made by looking at the big picture more than one single element.

But the entire admissions process also serves as a learning opportunity that gives students experience for college and job applications in the future.

“It’s a lengthy process, but it really does grow and mature your child in terms of how to represent themselves. How to interview, how to observe, and what to observe, how to prepare for tests, and then apply for scholarships—these are skills that totally translate,” she says. “I don’t want to say that admission isn’t the prize, but personal growth is a real close second. Families should remember that the process will benefit the child.”

Getting to know you,


In the past, visiting campus, school shadow days, and other in-person events have been a critical part of the private-school admissions process. This year, however, the coronavirus has forced schools to not only grapple with the safest way to deliver education to students, but also how to adapt admissions programming. We spoke with National Association of Independent Schools vice president of media Myra McGovern about how schools are keeping their communities safe, and why independent schools have an advantage when it comes to adapting to the virus.

► What advice do you have for families going through the admissions process for the first time?

“Something I encourage everybody to do any time they are considering a new school is to really think about what the child’s needs are, or the family’s needs.”
“In this current moment we’re in, that might include evaluating what happened in the spring [when schools stopped meeting in person] and thinking about what you wish you had, what was a struggle, and figuring out how you can get what you need for the fall and for the future.”

► What changes to the admissions process might we see this year?

“Some schools are rethinking their testing requirement or just approaching them a little differently. They might still require admissions tests, but perhaps the deadline to get scores in might be changed. On that same thread, some schools are rethinking their deadlines for admissions overall.”

► If classroom visits or shadow days are not possible, what’s an alternative?

“You can also attend or ask whether there are any opportunities for your child to attend an online course in the fall or a class meeting, just to see what that’s like. A lot of schools are taking quite different approaches, so it can help you get a sense of what it might really be like for your child should that continue in the future.”

► How can you get a sense of a school’s culture if the campus is closed to visitors?

“I would also ask the admissions director how the school fosters community during the COVID pandemic. It gives you a sense of what their approach is, and where their focuses are.”

► How are financial-aid offices adapting to the economic climate?

“Most schools have looked at their financial-aid budgets and at what has happened in the economy, particularly with unemployment rates, and worked to develop more flexible policies, especially for this year given the dramatic job losses that many communities experienced.”
“For the future, I suspect that they will continue to increase financial-aid budgets to accommodate changes. It’s the best course of action for families who are worried about their financial situation, or who might have a change in their financial situation, to talk to the financial-aid director at the school. It’s a conversation that directors have all the time, and it can’t hurt to ask what the school’s approach is.

► What benefits are there to choosing an independent school during times like these?

“Because of their size, independent schools have been able to offer multiple solutions to recent challenges. Some of the approaches for the fall are quite creative, and I don’t think they would necessarily be possible in a larger public-school district.”
“The other real benefit is that they are able to focus on the individual needs of each child, so there is an added level of support for families beyond academics, and that is very welcome in this time when parents are trying to do everything.”
“This hits on one of the things I say every year, which is that independent schools allow you to figure out how you can best meet the needs of each individual child.”

Save the Dates

Below is a list of open houses at schools in the Greater Baltimore region. The time of the open houses, when available, is printed directly after the name of each school. An asterisk notes school has an advertisement in this section that could provide additional information.

Archbishop Curley High School

Open house: 10/26 and 10/27, 10 a.m.-noon. 3701 Sinclair Ln. 410-485-5000. Grades: 9-12, all male. Enrollment: 560. Affiliation: Roman Catholic/Franciscan.

Archbishop Spalding High School

Open house: 10/27, 12 p.m.. 8080 New Cut Rd., Severn. 410-969-9105. Grades: 9-12, coed. Enrollment: 1,253. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

The Auburn School Baltimore Campus

Open house: Call for times. 7401 Park Heights Ave., Pikesville. 410-617-0418. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 65. Affiliation: non-sectarian.

Baltimore Lab School

Open house: Third Thursday breakfast tour each month. 9-10:15 a.m.. 2220 St. Paul St.. 410-261-5500. Grades: 1-12, coed. Enrollment: 137. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Beth El @ Federal Hill

Open house: Call for tour information. 1530 Battery Ave.. 410-528-6001. Grades: 2-5 years of age, coed. Enrollment: 40. Affiliation: Jewish.

Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School *

High school open house: 11/14, 7 p.m.. Middle school open house: 11/19, 7 p.m.. Lower school open house: 11/7, 8:45 a.m.. 3300 Old Court Rd., Pikesville. 410-486-1905. Grades: 15 months-grade 12, coed. Enrollment: 943. Affiliation: Jewish.

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland *

Open house: 12/5, 8:30-10 a.m.. 822 W. Lake Ave.. 410-377-5192. Grades: K-12, all-male. Enrollment: 630. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

The Bryn Mawr School *

Open house: 11/2, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.. 109 W. Melrose Ave.. 410-323-8800. Grades: K-12, all-female except coed The Little School. Enrollment: 678. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Calvert Hall College High School *

Open house: 11/6, noon-3 p.m.. 8102 La Salle Rd.. 410-825-4266. Grades: 9-12, all-male. Enrollment: 1,175. Affiliation: Roman Catholic and Lasallian.

Calvert School

Open house: 9/25, 10/3, 10/16, 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m.. 105 Tuscany Rd.. 410-243-6054. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 598. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Cambridge School

Open house: Call for times. 110 Sudbrook Ln., Pikesville. 410-486-3686. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 121. Affiliation: Christian

The Catholic High School of Baltimore *

Open house: 10/19, 9 a.m.-noon. 2800 Edison Hwy.. 410-732-6200. Grades: 9-12, all-female. Enrollment: 320. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

Columbia Academy *

Elementary and Middle school open house: 10/26, call for times. 10350 Old Columbia Rd., Columbia. 410-312-7413. Grades: Junior K-8, coed. Enrollment: 138. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Concordia Preparatory School

Open house: 10/12, 10 a.m.-noon. 1145 Concordia Dr., Towson. 410-825-2323. Grades: 6-12, Coed. Enrollment: 400. Affiliation: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Eastern Technical High School

Open house: 10/17, 6-8 p.m.. 1100 Mace Ave., Essex. 410-809-0190. Grades: 9-12, coed. Enrollment: approx. 1,174. Affiliation: nonsectarian, public.

Friends School of Baltimore *

Open house: 9/25, 9-11 a.m.; 10/22, 11/14, 9-11 a.m.. 5114 N. Charles St.. 410-649-3200. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 830. Affiliation: Quaker.

Fork Union Military Academy

Open house: Call for appointment. 4744 James Madison Hwy.. Fork Union, Virginia. 1-800-GO-2-FUMA (1-800-462-3862). Grades: 7-12, and post-grad program, boarding, all-male. Enrollment: approx. 367. Affiliation: Christian.

Garrison Forest School *

Lower school open house: 10/11, 8 a.m.-10:00 a.m.. Middle school open house: 10/16, 7:45-9:30 a.m.. Upper school open house: 10/17, 8-10 a.m.. 300 Garrison Forest Rd., Owings Mills. 410-363-1500. Grades: Pre-K-12, all-female except coed Pre-K. Enrollment: 550. Affiliation: Nonsectarian.

Gerstell Academy *

Open house: 10/12, 1 p.m.; 11/24, 1 p.m.; 12/13, 11 a.m.. 2500 Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg. 410-861-3000. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 400. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Gilman School *

Middle and Upper school open house: 10/26, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.. 5407 Roland Ave.. 410-323-3800. Grades: K-12, all-male. Enrollment: 1,020. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Glenelg Country School

Open house: 10/18, 11/5, 12/4, 9 a.m.. 12793 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City. 410-531-8600. Grades: Age 2-Grade 12, coed. Enrollment: 750. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Greenspring Montessori School

Open house: Call for times. 10807 Tony Dr., Lutherville-Timonium. 410-321-8555. Grades: 18 months-Grade 9, coed. Enrollment: 260. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Harford Day School *

Open house: 10/18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.. Middle school preview: 11/4, call for times. 715 Moores Mill Rd., Bel Air. 410-838-4848. Grades: Pre-K (age 3)-Grade 8, coed. Enrollment: 295. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Hargrave Military Academy

Open House: Call for times. 200 Military Dr., Chatham, VA. 1-434-432-2481. Grades: 7-12 plus post-graduate for boys. Enrollment: 140. Affiliation: Baptist.

The Highlands School

Open house: Call to schedule tour. 2409 Creswell Rd., Bel Air. 410-836-1415. Grades: K-12, coed. Enrollment: 92/rolling admissions. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Immaculate Conception School

Middle school open house: 10/17, 6:30-8:30 p.m.. Annual open house: 11/7, 9:30-11:30 a.m.. 112 Ware Ave., Towson. 410-427-4801. Grades: Pre-K (age 3) thru Grade 8, coed. Enrollment: 535. Affiliation: Catholic.

Institute of Notre Dame

Open house: Call for times. 901 Aisquith St.. 410-522-7800. Grades: 9-12, all-female. Enrollment: 354.
Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

Jemicy School *

Open house: Call to schedule tour. Upper school: 11202 Garrison Forest Rd., Owings Mills. Lower and Middle schools: 11 Celadon Rd., Owings Mills. 410-653-2700. Grades: 1-12, coed. Enrollment: 405. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

John Carroll School

Open house: 11/2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.. 703 E. Churchville Rd., Bel Air. 410-879-2480. Grades: 9-12, coed. Enrollment: 659. Affiliation: Catholic.

Krieger Schechter Day School *

Open house: 10/17, 12/4, 1/9, 9 a.m.. 8100 Stevenson Rd.. 410-486-8640. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 295. Affiliation: Jewish.

Loyola Blakefield

Virtual Visits, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.. 500 Chestnut Ave., Towson. 410-823-0601. Grades: 6-12, all-male. Enrollment: 1,000. Affiliation: Jesuit Catholic.

Maryvale Preparatory School

Upper school open house: 10/4 and 11/5, 8:30 a.m.. Middle school open house: 10/17 and 12/5, 8:30 a.m.. 11300 Falls Rd., Lutherville. 410-252-3366. Grades: 6-12, all-female. Enrollment: 380. Affiliation: Catholic.

McDonogh School *

Lower school open house: 10/10, 10/23 11/5, 9 a.m.. Middle school open house: 10/27, 12:30 p.m.. Upper school open house: 10/27, 3 p.m.. 8600 McDonogh Rd., Owings Mills. 410-363-0600. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 1,398. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Mercersburg Academy

Open house: 10/19, 12/16, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.. 100 Academy Dr., Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. 717-328-6173. Grades: 9-12, plus post-grad year, boarding and day. Enrollment: 442, coed. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Mercy High School

Open house: 10/19, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.. 1300 E. Northern Pkwy.. 410-433-8880. Grades: 9-12, all-female. Enrollment: 328. Affiliation: Catholic.

Mother Seton Academy

Open house: 11/3, 12-3 p.m.. 2215 Greenmount Ave.. 410-563-2833. Grades: coed 6-8. Enrollment: 75. Affiliation: Catholic.

Mount de Sales Academy

Open house: 11/3, 12-3 p.m.. 700 Academy Rd., Catonsville. 410-744-8498. Grades: 9-12, all-female. Enrollment: 510. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

Mount Saint Joseph High School

Open house: Call for times. 4403 Frederick Ave.. 410-644-3300. Grades: 9-12, all-male. Enrollment: 924. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

Nature Preschool of Baltimore *
(formerly Hunt Valley Country Day School)

Open house: Call for times. 200 A Lakefront Dr., Hunt Valley. 410-329-9867. Grades: Children 2-5 years. Enrollment: N/A. Affiliation: Non-sectarian, nature-based early childhood program.

Notre Dame Preparatory School

Open house: 10/12, 8:30 a.m.-noon. 815 Hampton Ln., Towson. 410-825-6202. Grades: 6-12, all-female. Enrollment: 800. Affiliation: Catholic.

The Odyssey School *

Open house: Call for tour times. 3257 Bridle Ridge Ln., Stevenson. 410-580-5551. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 162. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Oldfields School

Open house: 9/28, 11/11, call for times. 1500 Glencoe Rd., Sparks-Glencoe. 410-472-4800. Grades: 8-12, all-female. Enrollment: 120. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School

Open house: Call for times. 4801 Ilchester Rd., Ellicott City. 410-744-4251. Grades: Pre-K to Grade 8, Co-ed. Enrollment: 240. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

Our Lady of Grace Pre-school

Open house: Call for times. 18310 Middletown Rd., Parkton. 410-329-6956. Grades: Preschool, Coed. Enrollment: 35. Affiliation: Catholic.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Open house: Call for times. 1704 Old Eastern Ave., Essex. 410-686-4972. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 532. Affiliation: Catholic.

Our Lady of Victory Catholic School

Open house: 11/8, 9:30-11 a.m.. 4416 Wilkens Ave.. 410-242-3688. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 194. Affiliation: Catholic.

The Park School of Baltimore *

Open house: Call for times. 2425 Old Court Rd.. 410-339-7070. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 813. Affiliation Non-sectarian.

Pauline Mash School for Early Childhood Education

Open house: Call for tour information. 8101 Park Heights Ave.. 410-484-0411. Grades: 8 weeks-5 years of age, coed. Enrollment: 120. Affiliation: Jewish.

Peabody Preparatory Preparatory Institute of The Johns Hopkins University

Open house: Call for times. 21 E. Mount Vernon Pl.. 667-208-6640. Grades: Music and dance instruction for all ages and abilities, coed. Enrollment: Approx. 2,000 per week at four locations. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Redeemer Classical Christian School

Open house: 11/7, 6:30 p.m.. 6415 Mount Vista Rd., Kingsville. 410-592-9625. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 234. Affiliation: Christian.

Roland Park Country School

Middle and Upper school open house: 9/25, 4-5 p.m.. Lower school open house: 10/4, 10/30, 8:30-10 a.m.. 5204 Roland Ave.. 410-323-5500. Grades: Pre-school-12, all-female except coed preschool. Enrollment: 579. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

St. Francis of Assisi School

Open house: Call for times. 3617 Harford Rd.. 410-467-1683. Grades: Pre-K 2 to Grade 8. Enrollment: 260, coed. Affiliation: Roman Catholic.

St. James Academy *

Open house: 10/20, 1:30 p.m., 11/ 5, 9 a.m., 11/ 17, 9 a.m., 12/3, 1:30 p.m., 12/15, 1:30 p.m.. See website for virtual tour. 3100 Monkton Rd., Monkton. 410-568-7573. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 300. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

Saint James School

Open house: 10/19, call for times. 17641 College Rd., Hagerstown. 301-733-9330. Grades: 8-12, coed. Enrollment: 230. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

St. John’s Parish Day School

Open house: Call for times. 9130 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. 410-465-7644. Grades: Age 3-Grade 5, coed. Enrollment: 350. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

Sandy Spring Friends School

Open house: 10/20, 1-3:30 p.m.. 16923 Norwood Rd., Sandy Spring. 301-774-7455. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 622. Affiliation: Quaker.

The School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen *

Open house: 10/12, 11/3, 8:30-11:30 a.m.. 111 Amberly Way. 410-464-4100. Grades: K-8, coed. Enrollment: 340. Affiliation: Catholic.

St. Paul’s School *

Upper school info sessions: 10/10, 11/12. Middle school info sessions. 10/23, 11/20. Call for times. 11152 Falls Rd., Brooklandville. 410-825-4400. Grades: Pre-K-4, coed. 5-12, all-male. Enrollment: 575. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

St. Paul’s School for Girls *

Upper school info sessions: 10/18, 11/3, 11/19. Middle school info sessions: 10/22, 11/13. 11232 Falls Rd., Brooklandville. 410-823-6323. Grades: Infants-Grade 4, coed; 5-12, all-female. Enrollment: 475. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

St. Mark School

Open house: Call for times. 26 Melvin Ave. Catonsville. 410-744-6560. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 340
Affiliation: Catholic.

St. Timothy’s School *

Open house: 10/14, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., or 2-4 p.m.. 11/2, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.. 11/11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., or 2-4 p.m.. 8400 Greenspring Ave., Stevenson. 410-486-7401. Grades: 9-12, boarding and day, all-female. Enrollment: 200. Affiliation: Episcopalian.

St. Ursula School

Open house: Call for times. 900 Harford Rd., Parkville. 410-665-3533. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 626. Affiliation: Catholic.

St. Pius X School

Open house: Call for times. 6432 York Rd.. 410-427-7400. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 145. Affiliation: Catholic.

Severn School
(now merged with Chesapeake Academy)

Lower school open house: 10/17. Call for times. 1185 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Arnold. Middle and Upper school open house: 11/6. Call for times. 201 Water St., Severna Park. 410-647-7700. Grades: Pre-K-12, coed. Enrollment: 850. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Shady Side Academy

Senior school pen house: 10/19, 11 a.m., 12/5, 6 p.m.. 423 Fox Chapel Rd., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 412-968-3000. Grades: 9-12, day and boarding, coed. Enrollment: 442. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Springdale Preparatory School

Open house: Call for times. 1000 Green Valley Rd., New Windsor. 855-405-8600. Grades: 5-12, day and boarding, coed. Enrollment: n/a. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.

Tong Le Montessori School

Open house: Call for times. 805 E. Fayette St., Ste. 100. 410-929-1628. Grades: Ages 6 weeks-6 years. Enrollment: 35. Affiliation: Non-sectarian Mandarin Chinese immersion program.

Trinity School

Open house: 10/9, 10 a.m., 11/14, 9:30 a.m.. 4985 Ilchester Rd., Ellicott City. 443-744-1524. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 320. Affiliation: Catholic.

Waldorf School of Baltimore

Open house: Call for times. 4801 Tamarind Rd.. 410-367-6808. Grades: Pre-K-8, coed. Enrollment: 153. Affiliation: Non-sectarian

West Nottingham Academy

Open house: Call for times. 1079 Firetower Rd., Colora. 410-658-5556. Grades: 9-12, day and boarding, coed. Enrollment: 130. Affiliation: Non-sectarian.




These organizations help families navigate the application process and finance a private school education:

A Better Chance

A Better Chance’s College Preparatory Schools Program has helped over 10,000 academically talented students of color across the nation access the best educational opportunities for middle school and high school. It nationally recruits, places, and supports students enrolled in grades four through nine at more than 300 independent day, boarding, and select public schools.

Archdiocese of Baltimore Partners in Excellence

The Partners in Excellence Scholarship program provides tuition assistance funding to low-income families who wish to send their children to a Catholic school in Baltimore City. Grants are awarded annually, based on need and without regard to race, gender, or creed.

Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust

Founded in 1987, the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust recruits and supports through the admissions process academically ambitious, African-American students with financial need from the Baltimore area. Once students are enrolled, B.E.S.T. positions them for success through academic preparation, character and leadership development, and support programs.

BOOST Scholarship Coalition

The state of Maryland enacted the BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today) Scholarship Program in 2016 to give K-12 students from lower-income Maryland families an opportunity to find the best educational fit for their needs by awarding applicants with scholarships to attend nonpublic school.

Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore

This privately funded organization provides partial scholarships to low-income families in Baltimore City through a lottery system based on financial need, helping them afford the cost of tuition at the K-8th grade private school of their choice. To help keep families together, CSFB awards scholarships to all children in selected families.

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