FAQ

Where is Southshire Community School located?

We are located at 24 Bank Street in the village of North Bennington, Vermont. Our campus is the historic Sidney Colvin Farm, a renovated 1850s farmhouse and barn on three acres of woods and meadow. We are within a 30-minute drive of Hoosick Falls, NY; Cambridge, NY; Arlington, VT; Manchester, VT; and Williamstown, MA.

What grades / ages does Southshire serve?

Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, ages 5 through 14.

Where do Southshire students come from?

We have students from surrounding communities in southern Vermont as well as from towns in neighboring New York and Massachusetts.

Is busing available?

Free busing may be available in New York for residences of Hoosick Falls, Cambridge, and other neighboring towns. Please contact the superintendent’s office of your local public school district to see if your family qualifies for free bus service.

What is Southshire’s enrollment?

Our average yearly enrollment is approximately 25 to 35 students in grades K-8, organized into three multi-age groups based academic and developmental level.

How many teachers and instructors does Southshire have?

Southshire has 3 full-time teachers and 5 part-time instructors.

What is the student-faculty ratio?

Roughly 10:1, though it varies by year. Our low student-faculty ratio enables students at Southshire to receive plenty of individualized attention.

Is Southshire Community School accredited?

Southshire Community School is approved by the Vermont State Board of Education for Grades K-8.

Does Southshire’s curriculum meet state and national education standards?

Southshire is approved by the Vermont State Board of Education, and our curriculum meets state standards.

What high schools do students attend after Southshire?

Many students continue on to area public high schools such as Mount Anthony, Arlington Memorial, Cambridge Central, Salem, and Hoosick Falls. Others attend private schools such as Northfield Mount Herman, Emma Willard, Ethel Walker, LaSalle, Miss Hall’s, and Burr and Burton Academy.

We serve a diversity of families and we prepare students for diversity of educational paths.

How is academic progress measured?

At Southshire, each child’s individual learning goals and work expectations are considered a key part of the academic program. Expectations are held with continuity and reflect the individual child’s learning style, ability, and need. The student is an active participant in the learning process. Progress is evaluated by a partnership of student, teacher, and parents—not by testing or letter grades.

In order to encourage intrinsic motivation, tests and grades are not used at Southshire.  There is inherent value in the accomplishments of children, and the recognition of this enhances the joy of learning that is nurtured in each student.

A child cannot fail at Southshire. Progress is assessed based upon the achievement of individualized goals and standards of excellence that are realistic for each student. The expectations of the Vermont State Board of Education for learning and achieving at each grade level are closely attended to at Southshire.

Each week, children meet individually with a teacher who reviews their work and supports them in planning and setting new goals. (If a child would like a parent present at their weekly check-in, parents can schedule a mutually convenient time with the teacher.) If a child is having difficulty accomplishing learning tasks, the parent is consulted. New learning goals are established when previous goals have been met.

Parents and teachers maintain an ongoing dialogue about students’ progress. In lieu of letter grades, teachers write two very comprehensive evaluation documents per year; these narrative reports are sent to parents in January and in June. Parent-teacher conferences, in which the child’s progress is discussed and parents are educated on how they can help their child to learn, are scheduled twice a year, in October and in January. Parents may request additional conferences at any time.

As an approved independent school that accepts students for whom the district of residence pays tuition, Southshire will use the assessment or assessments required to measure attainment of standards for student performance of those pupils. In addition, the school provides data related to the assessment or assessments as required by the Vermont Agency of Education.  

Is financial aid available?

Yes, financial assistance is available. Southshire has a long history of maintaining affordable tuition for all families.

Does Southshire offer instruction in foreign languages, art, music, and drama?

We partner with regional experts to offer instruction in rhythm and instrumental music, art, and foreign languages.

Southshire Community School does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender, religion, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admissions, or employment policies or practices.