Head of School Rene Gavic offers a message of gratitude and hope this Thanksgiving.
We give dozens of tours each year, and we often find that our guests ask similar questions. In this edition of View from Vis, we share some of the most frequent questions (and answers we provide) that prospective families ask. Come along for a tour and learn more about all that Visitation School has to offer.
What is the school's mission, and what does the community feel like?
We begin all tours in the Portress, which is the name for the entryway to the Visitation Monastery. We often have people comment on how the space is warm and welcoming. This space allows an easy transition into explaining the nature of our community: supportive, nurturing, loving and more. It also builds on our ever-important mission of providing an excellent education within a Catholic environment permeated by Salesian Spirituality and the living tradition of the Visitation Sisters.
What types of learning experiences are available?
We have a beautiful 60-acre campus that we showcase during our tour. Our families have the opportunity to see or hear about our state-of-the-art facilities, including an outdoor classroom and learning lodge, a STEM center, two gyms, multiple athletic courts and fields, a world language lab, a chapel, a 520-seat theater, and art, science and music spaces. Many of our teachers utilize the ponds, walking trails and general outdoor spaces for their classes in order to introduce a variety of learning experiences.
We are a college-prep school and pride ourselves on the academic excellence provided by our master teachers. Students in Lower School take Chinese, French and Spanish, and Middle and Upper School students have the opportunity to focus on one of those three languages. Upper School students may also elect to take any of the 12 Advanced Placement courses offered at Vis or a variety of honors-level courses.
What does faith formation look like at Visitation?
Visitation is an independent, Catholic school founded by the Sisters of the Visitation in 1873. We teach and practice Catholicism in and out of the classroom, and a large part of our identity stems from Salesian Spirituality. Our faculty, staff, students and families embrace the virtues of courage, gratitude, honesty, joyful optimism and so many others. The practice of Salesian Spirituality is inclusive for students of all faith backgrounds. Service hours and community service projects are included in curricula across all divisions.
How many students attend Visitation?
There are 582 students across all three divisions. This number breaks down to 148 students in our coed Lower School, 101 girls in our Middle School and 333 girls in our Upper School. We find that having a Montessori-12th grade environment is a benefit for all our students. We make sure there are several opportunities for interaction and leadership between grade levels and divisions -- from Prayer Buddies to WEB Leaders. Our youngest students get to look up to the older students, and, in turn, our oldest students have a nice reminder that they are the role models in the building. We make a commitment to families to keep our average class size low, around 17 students per class.
What financial grants are available to families?
Catholic school is an investment, and we recognize the commitment families make when deciding to send their children to Visitation. We desire to make a Visitation education accessible for as many students as possible, and all scholarships at Visitation are offered in the form of financial grants that total $1.5 million annually.
What types of sports and extracurricular options are available?
At Visitation, we offer a variety of sports options beginning in kindergarten and ultimately including 13 varsity level sports. We encourage all freshmen to try out for a fall sport, as all freshmen are guaranteed a spot on every team. We implemented this practice to build community among our incoming freshman class and between grade levels. In the Upper School, we offer three levels for most sports offerings, so girls have an opportunity to play at the level that best matches both their skill and interest levels.
What percentage of students attend college, and what kinds of colleges do the students attend?
At Visitation, 100% of students graduate from high school, and 100% go on to attend college. Our girls work closely with our college counselors to prepare for their lives after graduating from Visitation and to submit applications accurately and in a timely fashion. The college counseling department works in conjunction with students and their families to find college options that are the best fit for each student, rather than choosing a college based on its name.
These are just some of the many questions that shed light on the uniqueness and gift that is a Visitation education. If you have questions you would like answered, or if you know someone who may be interested in joining our community, please reach out; we would love to hear from you!
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