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5 REASONS great boys GROW great INTO at

men

chestnut hill

academy

A PARENT’S GUIDE TO CHA


5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n at C h e s t n u t h i l l a c a d e my


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D e a r Pa r e n t s , As you consider school options for your sons I hope you will thoroughly explore Chestnut

Hill Academy — a school founded in 1861 that speaks to 21st century parents as if it were created expressly for today’s boys. Boys of all backgrounds excel in this small, innovative school with a curriculum designed to be just right at every stage of a boy’s academic, artistic, social, and physical development. Many of our families had never considered an all-boys’ school before learning about CHA. But after visiting they become intrigued and excited by the idea. They immediately recognize how their sons will thrive in an atmosphere

devoted to boys that celebrates boys. We understand that boys can succeed in many types of schools, but we know that boys do succeed at CHA. Today’s culture is focusing on the very question of how boys thrive — ­ you’ve seen the many books, headlines, and documentaries about boys lagging behind girls in school, new advocacy groups aimed at helping boys and bestsellers like The Dangerous Book for Boys that celebrate boys. All this focus on boys has piqued an intense interest among parents in the advantages of CHA. So, we’ve put this parent guide together to hone in on five specific reasons boys do so well here. It may surprise you that among the five is the fact that we have a sister girls’ school right next door, Springside School, which allows us to combine the

power of both all-boys

and coeducation into one developmentally appropriate sequential curriculum. Our partnership with Springside sets CHA apart even from other boys’ schools and also makes it possible for families with both sons and daughters to be part of one great community. After being a student here myself, teaching here, seeing generations of graduates go out into the world and succeed in a multitude of ways, and now having watched my own CHA son become a young man I’m very proud of, I can honestly say that educating

boys who become great men is what this school is all about. I hope you enjoy getting to know CHA. Best wishes,

Frank Steel ’77 | Headmaster


When parents visit they see smart, engaged, active boys and young men designing and conducting experiments in science labs; discussing novels, plays, and films in seminars; working with artists in residence in our art gallery; and figuring their next plays on the field.

They see boys who love school. Boys who are great friends. Boys who are funny, responsible, and at ease with themselves; who can articulate their ideas; who are creative and insightful; who attend their pick of colleges — boys who have the humanity to care about more than themselves.


5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n

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ONE

The Expertise to bring out the Best in Boys

Facts & Figures “By almost every benchmark, boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind,” wrote Peg Tyre in “The Trouble with Boys” (Newsweek; January 30, 2006). One of the article’s main points is that boys haven’t changed as much as schools have. The move to an increasing emphasis on early reading and language skills, standardized tests, organization, and the ability to sit quietly clash with “what psychologists call the ‘boy brain’ — the kinetic, disorganized, maddening, and sometimes brilliant behaviors that scientists now believe are not learned but hard-wired.” And it’s a simple fact that most boys develop language and fine motor skills later than girls. This clash doesn’t happen at CHA, where we recognize the brilliance of boys and know how to nurture it.

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mong schools today there is much talk of academic excellence and what it means. Is it the student who discovers his interests and passions and pursues them to success? Is it the academically gifted student doing cancer

research and headed for the Ivy League? Is it the C student who makes the honor roll by his senior year? Or is it the three-sport star athlete who discovers his artistic talent and is admitted to a top art school? At CHA we define excellence in all these ways. At the core of CHA’s excellence is the ability to ignite and expand the inherent intelligence, character, and goodness within each boy. Teachers know how to engage the intellectual curiosity of boys collectively and individually. They embrace the big energy of boys, integrating purposeful physical activity into everything from art to physics. They also know that intellectual, social, and behavioral development and success are too connected to focus on academics alone. We know from experience that when boys and girls are able to grow in environments tailored to their strengths and abilities, they excel. Without the self-consciousness that often arises when in the presence of the opposite sex, they are more likely to go out on a limb and risk exposing those sides of themselves that are traditionally associated with the other gender. The pressure to pursue only traditional gender roles diminishes when all roles are open to them, so they take advantage of a wider range of learning and leadership opportunities. CHA’s ability to bring out the best in boys is rooted in generations of firsthand experience, an innovative faculty, and a powerful body of research about the way boys learn and develop. Our expertise lies in giving boys the opportunity and support to explore and push their innate gifts to their fullest. Bringing out their best is the natural result.

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Faculty Experience and Expertise Many of our teachers have taught in public schools as well as private coed schools. We asked them to describe what’s different about teaching at CHA. Active Learning “One of the first things you notice here is a lot more discussion and a lot more action in the classes,” says one teacher. From 4th graders animatedly hashing out world geography in small groups to a 10th grade English class in which the teacher says, “Their hands stretch in the air like 15 aggressive New Yorkers vying for a single cab. They are excited about the reading and can relate it to their lives, or connect it to other works.” Dynamic Classrooms At CHA boys are up and out of their seats working with partners far more than listening to the traditional teacher standing in front delivering a lecture. “There’s no chalk and talk science here,” says an Upper School biology teacher. “Rather it’s a good mix of discussion, questions, and getting into the lab to take a look.”

Mind and Body One teacher calls this an integration of boys’ physical selves and their learning. “Boys often connect how they feel physically with what’s going on in the classroom,” he says, “So not knowing how to do a math problem can become ‘I have a stomachache.’ They don’t always know how to articulate that the issue is with the math problem.” By incorporating their physical selves into class projects — getting them interacting, not asking them to sit in one place when it’s not necessary — what they’re feeling and what they’re learning can work together. “Do I have to teach them that they have to be able to sit still? Yes,” he says. “That’s part of the physical as well, but it’s not the only part.” Building Character In addition to creating “a dynamic class which makes the best stuff float to the top,” says another teacher, “I really like that we are here to work with the boy’s character as well as his brain. It begins in the Lower School where they learn at a young age not to stifle themselves expressively and emotionally. Then by the time they’re in Upper School, talking about character is not a new concept. They can build on what they’ve learned and what they know.”


5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n

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TWO academic power

c

HA’s academic power lies in a sequential curriculum that

serves. Teachers enable children to work on things they care about

spans Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade and is tailored

and enjoy, to take initiative, to make choices, to take risks, to think

to fit each phase of a boy’s academic, artistic, social, and

ahead, and to learn from mistakes.

physical development. From innovations in the early years that can

Middle School

accommodate developmental unevenness in young boys to opportu-

During early adolescence, boys will experience significant physical,

nities in the Upper School for rigorous independent research, CHA

social, emotional, and intellectual changes. Our excellent faculty

considers the big picture of each boy’s education, ensuring that he has

is dedicated to helping boys navigate those changes, learn, grow,

the challenge he needs within each grade and is prepared and con-

and appropriately develop into young men. At CHA, we have

fident to engage every opportunity. Our Upper School program is

high academic, artistic, athletic, ethical, and personal standards.

unique in Philadelphia — combining the academic power of its own

Through a balanced and rigorous liberal arts program, boys engage

program and that of its sister school, Springside School for girls, to

in genuine intellectual inquiry, effective expression, problem

provide Upper School students with the benefits of both single-sex

solving, research, and creativity. We also enthusiastically believe

and coeducation. (See next chapter for details.)

in getting out of the classroom and doing what we talk about. So,

Lower School

leadership and teamwork are learned not only on campus, but also

One of our prime goals is to help boys discover who they are as

by doing things like mountain orienteering, researching science

learners. Self-knowledge and a willingness to take responsibility for

in the field versus the lab, and exploring history while camping

one’s own progress are essential qualities in determining success.

on a Gettysburg battlefield. All boys participate in weekly com-

Our goal is that boys should leave Lower School as critical and

munity service both on campus and off; an interscholastic

flexible thinkers with a strong set of basic skills, with extensive

athletic program emphasizing skills, participation, and sports-

background knowledge, and the ability to locate, organize, and use

manship; and extended class trips to the Chesapeake Bay, New

information effectively. Technology is integrated in the classroom

York City, the Pocono Mountains, Gettysburg, and the Jersey Pine

and used thoughtfully as a tool to enhance learning. Activities are

Barrens. By providing many opportunities and requiring active

designed to let boys experience the fun of learning and the satisfac-

involvement, our students gain the experience to develop respon-

tion of a job well done. Lower School faculty and administration

sibility, self-discipline, and respect for the community. Our high

subscribe to the concept of curriculum as a flexible vehicle which

expectations are supported by attention to individual strengths and

should be finely tuned to the needs and interests of the boys it

concerns, coupled with care, understanding, and compassion. continued

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5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n

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TWO

academic power

Upper School In a complex world of rapid technological advances, moral ambiguity in politics and business, athletic records that seem to keep falling, and frontier-stretching work in the arts and music, the teachers at Chestnut Hill Academy know that the four years between Middle School and university life are crucial for intellectual, character, artistic, and athletic development. CHA students take college prep courses, including Honors and Advanced Placement options, that year by year raise the bar on what is expected of them and what they expect of themselves. But an excellent education is not synonymous with merely taking demanding courses. Taught by a dynamic and experienced group of educators, most with advanced degrees, students find themselves challenged to discover their own interests and talents while they develop deep-rooted skills in creative problem solving, critical analysis, and independent thinking. An average of 15 students in a class means students must involve themselves in their own educations. Our teachers encourage students throughout their Upper School career to soar to great intellectual and personal heights through independent study projects, concentrations in disciplines in which students may have a particular interest, classroom debates, research projects, a senior speech program, dozens of leadership opportunities, a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., freshman year, and a culminating month-long, off-campus senior project. Upon graduation CHA students have mastered impressive curricula in the sciences, English, history, mathematics, the arts, music, and foreign languages. One hundred percent of our seniors graduate to attend some of the best and most highly competitive four-year colleges and universities — young scholars and leaders destined to have an impact on the world in just a few years.

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(con’t.)

Facts & Figures While acknowledging that acceptances to selective colleges are not the only proof of a strong academic program, it is worth noting that CHA ranks among the most competitive schools in the country in terms of sending its graduates to Ivy League universities, top liberal arts colleges, and top military and arts institutions. CHA graduates are currently attending: Amherst College Bowdoin College Brown University Bucknell University Case Western Reserve University Colgate University College of William and Mary Columbia University Cooper Union Cornell University Dartmouth College Dickinson College Duke University George Washington University Harvard University Haverford College Howard University Johns Hopkins University Morehouse College New York University Northwestern University Princeton University School of the Art Institute of Chicago Skidmore College Stanford University United States Military Academy United States Naval Academy University of Michigan University of Pennsylvania University of Southern California Vanderbilt University Washington & Lee University Yale University


Facts & Figures “One of the best two-for-one deals in secondary education today” — Harvard Independent Insider’s Guide to Prep Schools CHA boys — and Springside girls — truly appreciate the chance to have their own world and a coed experience as well. One student summed up what many say this way, “On the one hand we’re an all-boys’ school and that’s good because we can be boys up here. At the same time, we can have classes with girls at Springside and have friends and a larger social world there.” CHA parents say the adjacent campuses have a collegiate feel and call the combined resources “phenomenal” and “a school that grows with your child.” The CHA-Springside partnership also means parents with sons and daughters can have the benefits of single-sex education within one cohesive, extended school community. It’s a partnership unlike any other — both unique and uniquely attractive to families.

Combined facilities and resources available to students through the CHA-Springside Partnership include: • A 55-acre combined campus • Nearly 100 faculty members • 100 courses in 8 departments • 41,000 volumes in 4 libraries • 7 computer labs • 15 music and art studios • 7 science labs • 12 playing fields • 8 tennis courts • 10 international squash courts • 4 auditoriums • 4 gymnasiums


5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n

REASON

three

2 Schools in 1: The Cha-springside partnership

a

cornerstone in CHA’s strate-

and benefit from each other’s views rather

the Upper School years, students at each

gic curriculum is its partner-

than alter their interests or performance

school continue to have separate leader-

ship with Springside School

because of one another. Coed classes

ship opportunities through student orga-

for girls, giving CHA boys the unique

begin with art, music, and foreign lan-

nizations such as publications and student

advantage of the best of both all-boys and

guages in 9th and 10th grade. By 11th

government at their home schools.

coeducation. Unlike other boys’ or coed

and 12th grade, all academic subjects are

With a foundation of confidence built

schools the CHA-Springside partnership

coed on both campuses and students can

in an all-boy environment the change to

allows the school to match the ideal setting

choose their courses from a single course

coed classes in Upper School is an ideal

and scope of activities to what research

catalogue of both schools. Throughout

transition to college.

indicates boys need to excel. The CHA-Springside partnership is a Lower-Middle-Upper School sequence that

THE CHA-SPRINGSIDE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP combines all-boys and coeducation in a Lower-Middle-Upper School sequence that includes:

includes: LOWER SCHOOL

MIDDLE SCHOOL

9th & 10th GRADES

11th & 12th GRADES

ALL Boys Academics (English, history, math, science) Interscholastic Sports Trip Program Leadership Development Service Student Government Clubs

ALL Boys Interscholastic Sports College Counseling Senior Projects Leadership Development Service Student Government Clubs

• All boys in Lower School when key skills develop at different rates in girls and boys; • All-boy classes and extracurricular activities in Middle School to continue a non-threatening learning environment conducive to boys’ self-expression and intellectual risk-taking, with the addition of coed drama, field trips, community service projects, and dances. • The introduction of coeducational classes in Upper School at a time when boys and girls are each more confident, mature, and equipped to pursue knowledge together

All Boys Academics Arts Service Fitness Enrichment Activities COED Special Assemblies Visiting Authors

key

ALL Boys Academics Arts Interscholastic Sports Trip Program Leadership Development Service Student Government Clubs COED Drama Service Ski Trip Dances

■ ALL Boys ■ COED

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COED Academics (art, foreign languages, music) Social Activities

COED Academics Leadership Development Drama Multicultural Programs Eco-Club Social Activities


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5 R E A S O N S g r e at b o y s g r o w i n t o g r e at m e n

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FOUR

cha Teaching by Example

..........

..........................

so ns

reasons

t

he high expectations teachers have for their students they also have for themselves, and that inspires students to reach for the best in themselves as well. You can’t teach values you don’t have. CHA teachers mirror the integrity, intellectual

curiosity, creativity, and hard work CHA wants to instill in its students. As one CHA teacher said, “I am effective because I tell the truth and I think kids respond to that honesty. I know my content area very well, but I know people, too, and this gives me an edge.” By the same token, she says, what she values in her students most is their honesty. “Rarely are they obsequious or grade grubbing. This is not because they are not interested in doing well, but because they take responsibility for their own success.” Students say “each teacher has something special about them” and they see their teach-

Facts & Figures

ers constantly exploring new ideas and new techniques in the classroom. “We’re a closely

CHA’S VALUES*

knit faculty, which makes for cohesion and collaboration between the Lower, Middle, and

Loyalty A steadfast dedication to school and community members

Upper divisions — there’s a constant exchange of ideas,” says one teacher. Students see the care and help adults give one another. It is no doubt one of the reasons students also take care of each other and older students are happy to befriend and mentor younger ones. Says one alumnus, “The teachers we had led by example. I may have been learning how to write a better paragraph or solve a theorem, but I had as an example someone with character, integrity, hard work, and discipline. Chestnut Hill Academy is a place where a community exists that believes in these principles and is united to individually give them to every young man who walks through these doors.”

*Rather than a coat and tie, CHA’s youngest students wear the CHA jersey. The jersey stripes represent CHA’s five values — a daily reminder to all members of our community that values are inseparable from learning.

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Integrity The self-discipline to lead an ethical life Honesty A life based on the trust and respect of self and others Courage The confidence to make life’s difficult decisions Sportsmanship The unquestioned esteem for both game and opponent


CHA is an old school for a new world — from using cuttingedge research about the ways boys learn to creating a hybrid all-boys/coed model, to being selected by The E. E. Ford Foundation to develop a new model in character education to exploring a new way of assessing high school student achievement (similar to the National Student Survey of Engagement for college undergraduates). But the best proof that CHA combines the classical and the innovative is the boys themselves. They have the talent and integrity to step up and contribute in work, in life, and in the world — modern, global vision and what another era might have called everyday heroism.


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FIVE A Culture in which Boys of All Backgrounds Thrive

a

sk current CHA students what they want boys thinking about going to CHA to know and they will invariably say something like this Upper School boy’s comment: “Don’t worry about fitting in because you’re

going to. You kind of feel that everyone in your class — really everybody here — is like your brother.” These bonds of brotherhood are formed within one of the most socio-economically, ethnically, and religiously diverse independent school communities in the area. The boys themselves say their feeling of brotherhood comes from CHA’s size and its traditions. Indeed, the school’s small size gives it a human scale that allows students, families, teachers, and school leaders to really know each other. And that leads to a down-toearth culture, authenticity, and genuine warmth of community. As one parent said, “In

Facts & Figures “I like the fact that this school has made itself uncomfortable. It has taken what it was 25 years ago, reexamined it, and worked to become a 21st century school. This has happened in obvious ways like becoming an expansive school serving students and families of many different backgrounds and configurations. It has also happened subtly in the way we teach. Faculty members take the word ‘independent’ very seriously here, presenting, reacting, and discussing topics with kids in sophisticated ways. It’s not flashy; it’s bright people making kids think.” — College Counselor

marketing terms you can sell the sizzle or you can sell the steak. CHA is the real deal.” Size alone does not account for CHA’s sense of community. Our traditions also bring boys together: the coat and tie; expectations of loyalty, integrity, honesty, courage, and sportsmanship; and the value people here place on being able to look someone in the eye and shake his hand friend to friend. As often as the boys here mention the word “brother,” parents mention the word “gentleman” — not an antiquated, elite notion of gentleman, but one that speaks to a boy’s character and concern for others. As one alumnus said, “It’s not a concept. It’s not an esoteric thought. I can clearly point to at least a dozen people in my life right now with whom I went to CHA and formed friendships. They became my brothers and like brothers in life they continue to be my family. I don’t call them for help with math problems anymore. It’s life things we talk about now.”

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C H A Pa r e n t S tor i e s

What do current parents want you to know about CHA? Read their stories about the moment they knew CHA was right for their sons, their favorite things and biggest surprises about the CHA experience, and what they love about how their boys have grown and changed at CHA.


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 1

Bethany and David Meyer “Our CHA experience began when our oldest son, Trevor, entered Pre-K. Ron Colston, a physical education teacher, and Laine Jacoby, the former head of the Lower School, were there on the circle that first morning lending a hand at drop-off and greeting everyone warmly. We thought that it was a nice gesture on their part to extend such a warm welcome to all the new and returning families on the first day of school. When it happened the second day, we were even more impressed. Laine has since retired and Annie Nichols has taken her position as head of the Lower School. There have been rainy days, windy days, bitter cold days, steamy days, and every other kind of day in between; yet, through all this time, we cannot remember a morning in which Trevor, and now our second son, Sammy, have arrived at school without being greeted by Ron, Laine, or Annie. For us as parents, a gesture like that validates the school’s commitment to our children. Every morning we are reminded that we have made the right choice when we see them there setting such a positive tone for each and every day. We always say there is an ‘intangible’ that makes it difficult to describe why we felt immediately connected to CHA. We knew after visiting CHA for the first time that it was the right place for our sons. And over the years the school has repeatedly lived up to that initial connection. The faculty recognizes us (and all of our sons) and greets us by name with a smile. The teachers are always accessible when we need to speak with them. It is important to us as parents that we are involved in our kids’ school experience, and CHA allows us to volunteer and be present in so many capacities. CHA addresses the whole boy in that each student is required to play sports and play the violin at different times in his school career. The academics are still a primary focus, but CHA allows boys the flexibility to be an athlete or a musician as well. Knowing that our sons will graduate as well-rounded young men is exciting!”

Occupations: Bethany is a stayat-home mom, and David works in sales in the promotional advertising industry. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA Kindergartner and Pre-K student. (“We also have another 2-year-old son at home and a baby boy due in August.”) Distance from home to CHA: 4.2 miles Neighborhood: Flourtown Gardens How they first heard about CHA: “Our pediatrician’s oldest son was in Pre-K at CHA when we began researching schools for our oldest son. He said, ‘Look at CHA. They know boys better than anyone!’ And he was right!” Biggest surprise about CHA: “How integrated we’ve become in the school community in such a short period of time. We feel it’s a place for our whole family, not just our sons’ school.” Favorite thing about CHA: “We love the diversity CHA offers our sons. We stress in our home that families come in all different packages…two parents, one parent, grandparents, samesex parents…and the common thread is love. As a student at CHA, that abstract theory becomes tangible.” What they hope prospective parents know about CHA: “The safety of same-sex education allows your son the freedom to become who he aspires to be without the bias and pressure of gender stereotypes.”


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 2

Colleen Boyle “Driving over to CHA on the first day of my son Nick’s twoday visit to the school, I could tell he was a little anxious. But as soon as we walked into the school, as I looked over at him I knew the nervousness had left — he had this huge smile on his face that lit up the room. You could see his excitement and enthusiasm. I will never forget it. As I said good-bye to him and watched him walk confidently down the hall with two CHA students to spend the day, I knew I was in trouble. ‘He absolutely wants to go here,’ I thought, and I need to find a way financially to send him here. That was the day I realized my son was becoming more independent. What impresses me about CHA is how the faculty encourages the boys to try things that they would never imagine doing, and from that encouragement the kids feel more confident to do and try other things that would be out of their comfort zone. The students also cheer each other on no matter what. I have invested in CHA financially and emotionally because of my son. I see how much he loves the school. His enthusiasm rubs off on me. Seeing him get up every morning and wanting to go to school impresses me even today. I believe we all want our children to grow up and be well-rounded adults. CHA students and faculty are a diverse group. They come from different backgrounds, which is how the ‘real world’ is. They spend so much time together and interact with each other ever day, and it allows them to get to know each other and be comfortable with each other. So I know when my son goes off to college, and he is ready for his career, he will be well prepared to handle the people he meets and the hard work it takes. He will also believe in himself as a leader.”

Occupation: Colleen works as a legal secretary. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA 9th grader Distance from home to CHA: About 5 miles Neighborhood: Roxborough/Manayunk How she first heard about CHA: “My brother-in-law and my nephew attended CHA.” Biggest surprise about CHA: “How quickly the faculty responds to your questions or concerns.” Favorite thing about CHA: “The small class sizes and how well teachers and coaches know my son.” What you hope prospective parents know about CHA: “CHA is such a family-oriented atmosphere. The faculty and students are very friendly, helpful, and giving. With the opportunities students have and the diversity of people who work at and attend the school, your son will leave CHA with the tools and knowledge he needs to be successful in life — as a well-rounded young man with leadership qualities and a caring heart.”


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 3

Jennifer and E.G. Rall “The magnitude of what happens at CHA really hit me when our oldest son ‘graduated’ from Lower School. The kids sit by grade with the littlest guys in the back and the oldest in the front, each group taking the stage as the ceremony progresses. First, you can’t help but be struck by the dramatic developmental change from the five-year-olds to the twelve-year-olds going off to Middle School. I stood there watching the boys and then I looked at all their teachers who were also there — all these people who had played such an intricate role in moving these boys from little boys to young men. It was clear to me that raising our son had been about so much more than the effort my husband and I had put in. Forming their minds and their manners is beyond the effort any parent makes. That’s what makes CHA an investment for us — both emotionally and financially — seeing the investment all these people at the school make in our sons.”

Occupations: Jennifer works part-time managing family properties and E.G. has a landscape design firm. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA 11th grader, two CHA 7th graders, and a Springside 4th grader Neighborhood: Fort Washington How they first heard about CHA: “CHA has a wonderful Pre-1st program — that transition year between Kindergarten and 1st grade — that was just perfect for all of our sons. They started in Kindergarten but we chose CHA because of the Pre-1st program.” Biggest surprise about CHA: “The long-term benefits of single-sex education. We didn’t understand when we first came to the school how positive an experience that would ultimately be. In Middle School they have plenty of friends who are girls from Springside, but the drama of adolescence does not exist for them the way we think it can in a coed situation. When they’ve faced certain challenges and opportunities over the years, they’ve felt really supported by their male friends. We’re not sure they would have felt that same kind of support in a coed environment.” Favorite thing about CHA: “Its close-knit community, diverse community, and the comfort level our children feel there — it really is like a second home to them.”


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 4

Ellen and Tony Lordi “From the beginning, our son, Michael, looked forward to each school day. With his older brother, Anthony, having paved the way, Michael was familiar with the campus and some of the teachers, and actually had the same Kindergarten teacher as Anthony. A specific moment that confirmed our decision of CHA for Michael as a correct one occurred during our first parent-teacher conference. His teacher’s insight into our child showed how much she cared and took the time to ‘know’ him. She recognized Michael as a unique individual with his own personality. He was not viewed as just one in a larger group nor was he viewed as a clone of his older brother. A parent always hopes that their child is not ‘lost in the crowd,’ especially if their child is younger. Our teacher conference put us at ease that much effort is made to know the children almost as well as we know them. The responsibility for raising a child to become a happy and secure individual who is a decent, contributing member of society is a very serious one. We chose CHA because we view our children’s education as the largest investment in their future.”

Occupations: Ellen is a home– maker and Tony works in real estate development. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA 7th grader Distance from home to CHA: Approximately 5 miles Neighborhood: Lafayette Hill Favorite thing about CHA: The people What she hopes prospective parents know about CHA: “That it’s a great school! They like and know how to teach boys with traditional values. The dedication and accessibility of the teachers, coaches, and administrators impress me.”


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 5

Erica and Peter Bennett “We knew almost immediately after our initial admissions interview that we wanted to be a part of the CHA community. For us, there have been many pivotal moments that have solidified our decision. One moment that really stands out involves the support we received when our son’s teachers suggested he be evaluated for speech therapy. He has a bit of a problem with articulation, and instead of waiting to have the issue addressed later, his teachers along with the reading specialist encouraged us to have him evaluated. To help alleviate our concerns, they took the time to talk with us to help us better understand why they recommended an evaluation for our son. That kind of support is just priceless to us. We feel that the environment of CHA encourages this kind of individual attention. We are blown away daily by the commitment we see from both parents and faculty. Everyone works hard to create a supportive environment for the boys. We love the fact that Mr. Colston, the PE teacher, cares enough to stop us and give us an impromptu report about how our son is doing. We are moved when we see one of his teachers give him a hug. We love the fact that the head of the Lower School makes it a point to try to greet the students each morning. When we drop him off at school, it is an extension of home. This really means a great deal to us and to our son. He loves CHA, and although he is only in Pre-K, he has identified with the culture and feels very proud to be a part of the community.”

Occupations: Peter is a software applications developer. Erica is a stay-at-home mom. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA Pre-K student (“Solomon is the only one for now. When we have more, you can be sure they will attend either CHA or Springside.”) Distance from home to CHA: 7 miles Neighborhood: Bala Cynwyd, Lower Merion Township How you first heard about CHA: “Online research. We did a great deal of research about educational options. Even though we live in one of the best school districts in the state, we wanted a more diverse environment for our son where we would all feel like a part of a community, and we feel this every day at CHA. We are heavily invested in CHA and believe strongly that our son’s exposure to the school and all it has to offer will play a large role in shaping him and his future.” Favorite thing about CHA: Focus on boys and their unique needs and development What you hope prospective parents know about CHA: “That your son will feel immediately at home here and will love CHA. The teachers are very committed to the boys and work hard to know them individually. Your son will not feel like a number here and neither will you as a parent. There are so many opportunities to get involved and build a sense of community.”


Pa r e n t s tor i e s 6

Katie and Kevin O’Connell “Our son did well in public school but we knew something was missing. He would get off the bus with little to say about school. He was clearly not engaged. On the other hand, he spent the previous few summers at a boys’ camp in Maine and seemed to thrive there. Looking back, finding CHA was just meant to be. Our path to the school started when I happened to hear Dr. Leonard Sax, author of Why Gender Matters, being interviewed on a radio show. I was so taken by his research about the benefits of single-sex education and instinctively knew he was onto something. I told Katie and her immediate Google search turned up only two boys’ schools within a 50-mile radius. We combed over the school brochures and sought out friends and acquaintances who lived the single-gender experience and could speak to its pros and cons. We scheduled tours for both schools. We arrived at CHA for our first visit on a snowy February morning. From the moment we walked into the main building with the warmth of its fireplace and friendly people greeting us it seemed like a special place. Later in the spring, our son had his two-day applicant’s visit. After his first day his response to my usual, ‘How was your day?’ was, ‘This place is for me.’ He talked nonstop about his day at CHA the entire 45-minute ride home. We also met with the head of Admissions for a second time. That meeting was exceptional. We walked away with a better understanding of our son and the growing belief that this was both the right educational approach and CHA was the right school. It is incredible how much our son has learned, experienced, and been exposed to in just the first year. While our public schools are very good, we have invested in CHA because we think it is the best environment for him and we have one chance to get it right.”

Occupations: Kevin is a management consultant and Katie is a human resources communications director. Children at CHA and Springside: CHA 6th grader Distance from home to CHA: 30 miles (“Besides the financial hurdle, the long commute gave us pause. But the fit was so right that we knew we had to find a way to overcome our own hurdles to make CHA happen for our son.”) Neighborhood: Yardley Biggest surprise about CHA: “We especially appreciate the way the school reaches out to parents by email on a weekly basis to keep us informed of the thinking behind curriculum choices, policy changes, etc., and its welcome of parent response and input.” What you hope prospective parents know about CHA: “That the academics are excellent, that the school is committed to the whole child — from fine arts, to academics to athletics and community service, and that the teachers are outstanding both in their credentials and ability to teach and reach boys.”


C H E S T N U T H I L L A C A D E MY AT A G L A N C E

Founded in 1861 Boys’ day college-preparatory school

Arts Courses Art Dance Drama Music Photography Theater

Graduation Requirements English, foreign language, history, mathematics, music, physical education (includes health), science, arts and music, athletics, computer science, senior projects, senior speech, community service.

135 students in Middle School

Special Programs Advanced Placement exam preparation

Dress Code Lower School students wear khakis and school jersey.

225 in Upper School

Honors sections

Middle and Upper School students wear khakis, jacket, and tie.

Grades PK-12 Suburban, 25-acre campus 100% of graduates go to college Student Body 215 students in Lower School

575 students total 73 Zip codes represented 27% students of color Average Class Size 15 students Student-Teacher Ratio 7:1 Number of Faculty 76 (nearly 100 through CHA-Springside School partnership) 39 men, 45 women; two-thirds have advanced degrees AP Courses Biology Calculus Chemistry Chinese Computer science English European history French U.S. government Latin Physics Spanish Statistics World history

Independent studies Senior projects Expanded course offerings and resources through partnership with Springside School for girls Lower School Outdoor Program: an expedition-based, experiential edu- cation curriculum. Boys hike, bike, sail, and travel off campus to explore the outdoor world. Middle School Trips Program: week-long sailing and training, ropes course, leadership training, camping, canoeing, and trips to Gettysburg and New York City. 9th grade week in Washington, D.C. Athletics Chestnut Hill Academy is a member of the Inter-Ac League, the oldest prep school league in the country. CHA fields over 40 teams for its 350 student-athletes in grades 6 through 12. Fourteen sports are offered: football, soccer, cross country, basketball, wrestling, squash, indoor track, ice hockey, baseball, tennis, track, crew, golf, and lacrosse.

Endowment $30+ million Financial Aid CHA offers need-based scholarships and financial aid grants, and loans in the Upper School. Approximately 24% of its students receive aid. Accreditation CHA is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Pennsylvania Association of Private Academic Schools, and Pennsylvania Department of Education. CHA is a member of National Association of Independent Schools, Center for the Study for Boys’ and Girls’ Lives, International Boys’ Schools Coalition, and the Secondary School Admission Test Board. Contact Office of Admissions Chestnut Hill Academy 500 West Willow Grove Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118 215.247.4700 ext. 1133 215.247.8516 fax admissions@chestnuthillacademy.org www.chestnuthillacademy.org


Chestnut hill ac ademy

Every boy has the potential to become a great man — men we all want to know, the kind of men we want our leaders and colleagues to be, the kind of men we want our sons to be. 5 REASONS great boys grow

At CHA they fulfill that potential.

into great men REASON

ONE

The Expertise

To learn more about CHA, please visit us. We look forward to welcoming your family.

to bring out the Best in Boys REASON

TWO

partnership REASON

FOUR

Please call us with your questions or to schedule a visit at 215.247.4700, ext. 1133.

Teaching by Example REASON

FIVE

A Culture in which Boys of All Backgrounds Thrive

More information about next steps is also available on our website: www.chestnuthillacademy.org

Text: Andrea Jarrell

2 Schools in 1: The Cha-springside

Design: Turnaround Marketing Communications

REASON

THREE

Photography: Michael T. Regan ’94, Len Rubenstein

Printed on recycled paper

academic power


Chestnut Hill Ac ademy 500 West Willow Grove Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118 215.247.4700 215.247.8516 fax www.chestnuthillacademy.org


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