Find a School

Annual Spring Conference

May 3-5, 2018
Park Central Hotel, San Francisco, CA
May 15, 2018


With 37 of 40 member schools participating, we hit record numbers with 56 in attendance!
As promised, below are the slide decks from our presenters for 2018.

MAINELAND Screening and Discussion with Director, Miao Wang

MAINELAND is the first film to look at the enormous wave of Chinese students studying in the U.S. and the sociocultural impact this “parachute generation” is having on schools, families, and local communities. MAINELAND invites discussion around the expectations that Chinese families and students have about America, the “culture shock” they often experience on arriving, and how schools and teachers can work together with local and international students to help foster cross-cultural understanding and build resources for mutual dialogue and acclimation. View the trailer here.

  Download the MAINELAND Discussion Guide here.

Keynote Speaker - Dr. Teri Solochek: Anxiety in Adolescents

Her topic will deal with anxiety that teens experience in today’s world. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. With this level of prevalence, boarding schools need to understand anxiety and what it may look like in different individuals. It is important to be able to screen for anxiety in the admissions process, understand what your particular school may or may not be able to manage, how anxiety may be manifest in students to aid you in identifying current students who may be struggling, and what supports can be put in place to help even typical students.

   Download the slide deck Anxiety in Adolescents here.

Mark Mitchell: Changing Landscape of Financial Aid

It’s been a decade since the Great Recession hit independent schools head on. That experience has forged a ”new normal” in terms of affordability strategies, financial aid demand, and the use and distribution of pressure aid dollars. Let’s examine how goals such as access and socioeconomic diversity are shaping up amidst the dynamics driving tuition pressure on families and financial sustainability concerns for schools. Where do boarding school stand? Where are they headed?

   Download the slide deck Changing Landscape of Financial Aid here.

John Williamson: Emerging Markets for North American Boarding Schools

With 350 boarding schools in the United States and 480 in the United Kingdom, yes, trying to second guess an emerging market and predict when it will come on line has been the topic in many recent conferences. How do we recognize which countries will come online next, and will they trend to North America, or be a much better market for the Swiss and British schools. We will examine some of the up-and-coming markets, and how to lay claim to them before others (hopefully) even discover them. It will be an entire ”round the world” review of what’s hot and what’s not in the upcoming 3 to 7 years for the North American boarding school market.

   View the Prezi Emerging Markets for Boarding Schools here.

Steve Henderson: Understanding Cognitive Diversity

This session will discuss the opportunities and challenges in recognizing cognitive diversity in the student admissions process. Steve will explain the psycho-educational evaluation, including updates in the west five, and examine the implications for teaching and learning in the context of divergent student learning profiles and learning differences.

  Download the slide deck Cognitive Diversity here.

Christina Dotchin: How to Win Students and Influence Parents

You see them when they come on tour. You send personalized emails. You track their visits to your website and invite him to shadow current students. But, do you know what really motivates a family to apply for your school? Given the myriad challenges facing enrollment leaders in today’s competitive market, many of which are beyond our control, it is critical that we make the admissions process more accessible and family-friendly. To aid enrollment leaders in this endeavor, The Enrollment Management Association surveyed thousands of parents immediately following the 2016-2017 application season. Come prepared to reflect on the survey results and consider the practical applications this information can have on your work.

   Download the slide deck How to Win Students and Influence Parents here.

Peter Mason: TABS Update on NABI

Peter Mason, TABS Field Marketing Consultant will conduct a working breakfast on the North American Boarding Initiative for all conference participants. WBSA schools will learn all the “breaking news” about NABI – where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.

   Slide Deck not yet received... coming soon.

Shane Whalley: Making Safer Spaces for Trans and Gender Non-Binary Students

In 2018 there is more visibility in conversation around people who identify as trans and gender non-binary than ever before. People are identifying at younger ages and it is important that schools are doing all they can to make their spaces as safe and inclusive as possible. In this workshop, we will cover the barriers that trans and gender non-binary students face, the latest language being used and discuss what the latest practices are for welcoming and inclusive policies.

   Slide Deck not yet received... coming soon.

We thank everyone for their active participation and support of our shared interest in promoting boarding in the west! Once the survey results post conference are tallied, we will share our destination for 2019 and any new initiatives for the association. It is with your help and continued involvement that this volunteer-led organization thrives.

Western Boarding Schools Association
Steering Committee

Kristen, Tyler, Lawrence, Susie, Bernadette, Jamie, Kila and Al