Working at Private and Independent Schools

Wondering what the difference is between a "private" and "independent" school?   

The terms private and independent, are often used interchangeably when we think of schools outside of the public realm.  A private school refers to any learning institution that does not receive public funding from its state government. Independent schools are private schools. They are overseen by a board of governors or trustees. Within the independent and private school world, there are several categories our schools can be placed in. It is important to understand that all of our schools are unique. Each school instills an exceptional learning context for students. 

There are a host of other categories, but this should give you a broad overview to get you started in understanding our educational context. 

Independent Private Schools:  All independent schools are under the umbrella of private schools. They have a board of governors or trustees that is truly independent of any other organization, whereas a different private school can technically be governed by any outside entity, from nonprofit organizations.  

Private Religious Schools: These schools are also independent, but they are run by a sect of a particular religion. While guided by religious principles, their curriculum is in line with state and federal standards.  

Boarding Schools:  At boarding schools, students live on a campus in dormitories, similar to college. Local students often have the option to attend as a day student. Many faculty members also live on campus and there is a significant amount of structure in terms of oversight and planned activities.  

What is it really like to work in a private or independent school?   

  • Our teachers do not teach to the test, rather they attend to the holistic view of the student; to instill and inspire lifelong learning and develop strong leaders.   

  • Though an education background is preferred, teachers are not required to have NYS teaching certification.

  • The average class size is about 10-15 students.  

  • Our schools have few discipline issues when compared to public schools.  

When surveyed during the 2015-2016 school year, our teachers described our schools as:   


Agreed that our schools have a welcoming and accepting environment. 


Agreed they felt comfortable and valued at their school. 


Agreed their school was welcoming and accepting of teachers from different backgrounds.