Frequently Asked Questions
Do families have to pay tuition for their students to attend The Sharon Academy?
Towns in Vermont without a designated middle or high school (sending towns) pay tuition for their students to attend a school of their choice. This year 87% of TSA’s students are publicly funded through their sending towns. Families who live outside of a school choice town are responsible for tuition. For 2017-2018, TSA’s tuition is $15,130 for both the middle school and the high school. This figure is based upon the Vermont Announced Average Tuition. The tuition figure is the same for students for both publicly funded and private pay students.
Which towns are “sending towns”?
The primary sending towns for The Sharon Academy are: For 7th – 12th grades: Brownsville, Pittsfield, Sharon, and Stockbridge. For 9th – 12th grades: Hartland, Strafford, Tunbridge, Washington, Weathersfield, and West Windsor, in addition to the towns listed above. If you are interested in finding out whether or not your town is a “sending town,” please contact your local school district.
Why does TSA set its tuition at the Vermont Announced Average Tuition when its per pupil cost is higher?
Unlike most public, private, and independent schools who establish their tuition based on annual budgetary needs, TSA’s tuition is based upon the Vermont Announced Average Tuition, an amount set by the state ($15,130 for 2017/2018), which is more than $3,000 lower than the actual average tuition of Vermont high schools. This low figure is the maximum amount that a sending town is obligated to pay to an independent school when educating one of their students. While most independent schools in Vermont charge additional tuition to families to make up the difference between actual costs and the Announced Average Tuition, TSA has traditionally kept our tuition at the low state rate in order to remain accessible to families from our sending towns, regardless of socio-economic status. Even though TSA is very frugal, it costs approximately $1,500 more to educate each TSA student than the state Announced Average Tuition covers. This is our Tuition Gap. To “Bridge the Gap,” TSA parents, grandparents, and friends join together in support of TSA’s Annual Fund as well as volunteering time and talent to help save resources.
Does TSA have any financial aid for tuition students?
The Sharon Academy Middle School is pleased to offer The Pat Woodin Scholarship to students enrolled in TSA’s 7th or 8th grade with a demonstrated need for financial aid. The Sharon Academy is offering six scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year. To learn more, please click here: Pat Woodin Scholarship
At this time, TSA does not have the financial resources to offer scholarships to high school students who live outside of school choice towns. Families from school choice towns who are experiencing financial hardship, may apply to have their annual fees waived.
Does TSA have to meet the same state requirements for curriculum and testing as a public school?
As a state-approved independent school, TSA is required to have our 7th, 8th, and 11th grade students take the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test. While additional testing is not required, TSA’s 9th–11th graders are also encouraged to take the PSAT every year in preparation for future college testing. The Sharon Academy’s graduation requirements meet and exceed the State of Vermont’s requirements for a high school diploma.
In order to graduate from The Sharon Academy High School, students must complete 4 English credits, 3 History and Social Science (including 1 US History credit), 3 Math credits, 3 Science credits (including 2 lab sciences), 2 World Language credits, 1¼ Art credits (including 3/4 studio art credits), 1½ Physical Education credits and 5¾ credits earned through electives or additional academic courses. In addition to the above requirements TSA also requires high school graduates to complete 40 hours of community service per year while in attendance and to complete two Research Exhibitions.
What AP or honors courses does TSA offer?
When admissions directors at some of the most selective undergraduate institutions are asked about the importance of AP courses at the high school level, they emphasize the need for students to take “the most rigorous secondary school curriculum available to them.” According to these schools, an ideal four-year preparatory program includes four years of English, with extensive practice in writing; four years of math; four years of science (biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course); three years of history, including American and European history; and four years of one foreign language.
The Sharon Academy prides itself in offering exactly this type of education for all students. All classes are academically rigorous and designed to challenge students with a variety of learning styles and strengths. Our classes, even those in math and science, challenge students in their writing and presentation skills. We also require juniors and seniors to complete an exhibition project each year which includes a research paper and a 25-minute presentation with a visual component. This exhibition project is a graduation requirement which is extremely successful in preparing our students for post-secondary education.
Due to our belief that all students deserve to be challenged and our aim to minimize hierarchy within the student body, The Sharon Academy chooses not to offer AP courses. Choice at The Sharon Academy lies in our electives, extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, independent studies, community service projects and students’ commitment to perform to their potential. Therefore, while all of our classes are small (average size 10–18) and academically challenging, we do not teach to a standardized test. If interested, students can arrange to take an AP test in a specific class and arrange any needed preparation with an appropriate teacher.
As a small school, what kind of educational opportunities does TSA offer its students?
Students are offered many unique opportunities which provide them with a wealth of experiences, often of their own design. Every fall, the high school suspends classes for a two week “immersion period” in order to produce and perform our annual Interim Musical, and every spring the middle school does the same for a circus.
We encourage students to be actively engaged in their education – many of our students design and participate in an Independent Study course. In the past, students have studied everything from Arabic, to statistics, to international relations. Others take courses at Dartmouth College or Community College of Vermont, starting in the spring of junior year. Our small size and faculty/student ratio allows us to offer students the opportunity to delve into their personal interests by customizing projects and research.
What sports and other extracurricular activities does TSA offer?
Over 67% of our students participate in sports: middle school, JV, and varsity soccer; middle school, JV, and varsity basketball; middle school baseball; varsity track; Ultimate Frisbee and cross country. We also offer a variety of opportunities for students outside regular academic classes, including: TASC (a technology and engineering competition at the University of Vermont), yearbook, prom planning committee, theater (musical/one-acts), Model UN, various community and international service programs, and more. Due to the distance that many students travel to school and our desire to encourage students to be involved in all types of extracurricular activities, many of these clubs/activities meet during lunch or are organized into an elective class. We encourage student leadership at TSA. If a student wants to create an opportunity, we help make it happen.
For which Special Education categories is The Sharon Academy certified?
TSA holds Special Education Certification in the areas of Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and Other Health Impaired (OHI)