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Creating a Culture
How private schools work to create the right atmosphere for students and their families.

by Chelsea Valcourt

Whether it’s the challenging academics, smaller class sizes, extra-curricular offerings or otherwise, area private schools offer South Jersey parents numerous ways to help their children grow as well-rounded individuals. To get a better sense of how these institutions look to build a culture of community, we spoke with several administrative leaders about what life is like on campus.

“We pride ourselves on being a tight-knit community. It’s a spirit you catch when you walk through our building; you enter as a guest and you leave as a family. ... The Camden Catholic culture calls students to live differently. It’s a culture that began in 1887 and still perseveres in the year 2023. Our students are rooted in the Camden Catholic tradition but have expanded to 21st skills and beyond.”
– Kayleigh Bianchini, director of enrollment management, Camden Catholic High School

“Westfield Friends honors each student’s individuality, developing creative thinkers, problem solvers and humanitarians who will contribute compassionate, responsive and responsible leadership throughout their lives. We focus on forging meaningful bonds, fostering an inclusive, supportive atmosphere throughout the school. Westfield encourages strong community ties with active parent and guardian involvement inside and outside the classroom.”
– Lily Taylor, director of advancement and communications, Westfield Friends

“Moorestown Friends School students benefit greatly from our low student/faculty ratio (6:1). This provides for small class sizes and great opportunities for students outside the classroom - performing arts, athletics, clubs, student media and much more. Moorestown Friends School’s culture is rooted in our foundational Quaker values. These values shape every aspect of how our students relate to their teachers, interact with each other, approach opportunity, exceed expectations and confront challenges. Students are known and supported by all of their teachers. We find that our enduring principles resonate with families of all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and belief systems, especially in a rapidly changing modern world.”
– Julia de la Torre, head of school, Moorestown Friends School

“Our Catholic identity is the primary drive behind our school culture, which is one of mutual respect. Behind every school decision is an understanding of the sacrifice families make to send their children to Paul VI; while we strive to provide the students with the tools they need to succeed, we also make a conscious effort to simplify as much as we can for the parents. Our students, in turn, seem very aware of all that is being done on their behalf, and you can see their appreciation in the mindful way they approach their education.”
– Kathleen Stewart, director of admissions, Paul VI High School

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4.
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