How we see St. Stephen's School, Rome
St. Stephen's School was founded by a group of North American educators who took the American independent school as a model, though with the intention of superseding it, literally creating a “pace-setter,” in their terminology, that other schools would seek to emulate. Notably, it was non-denominational, firmly set within the liberal-arts ideal, offering a course of study toward educating students to take active part in civic life, locally and globally. The founders chose Rome because of its stature in world history and its proximity to some of the prime moral, artistic, and political antecedents of western life. Unusual for the time, it would also be an international school in the sense that we think of it today, one where students come from around the world to grow and learn together, gaining a sense not only of their talents, but also how to deploy them in international settings. In 1975 it became the first school in Italy to adopt the IB. Today the enrollment remains intentionally small, with a high student-instructor ratio, and is attractive to students who share a dedication to learning in a truly international and intercultural environment. The facilities are as good as it gets, sparkling in every way, located in a villa—one that itself sympathetically reflects the architectural heritage of the region—steps from a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Circus Maximus, Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Instructors also arrive from around the world, all bringing a close experience of the IB and a passion for what it can offer. A majority of students live locally, though boarding is available, and the school is rightly a draw for students arriving from IB programmes in the US and Canada. Throughout, St. Stephen's continues to realise the founders’ desire to create an institution that would be more than just another school, one that would exemplify the cosmopolitan ideal and serve as an important model of academic excellence.
How St. Stephen's School, Rome sees itself
"Give your child the gift of Culture, Academics, and Independence with a year or more abroad at St Stephen's School in Rome. Founded in 1964 and the first IB school in Italy, our enviable position in the Historical Center enhances signature courses and a wide range of arts, clubs, and sports. Our Boarding and Trips Programs allow exploration of Rome, Italy, and Europe. A rigorous, personalized Academic Program sees our graduates obtain both the IB Diploma and American HS Diploma and go on to top Universities worldwide."
"As we maintain the highest standards in all areas, both in and out of the classroom, we use the past to inform our learning, we encourage a passion for thorough knowledge, and we provide challenging intellectual opportunities to offer an enriching scholastic experience.
Students come to St. Stephen’s because they are high achievers looking to make their academic marks and distinguish themselves in their individual scholarly pursuits."
"Nestling at the foot of the Aventine, the most exclusive of Rome’s seven hills, and a stone’s throw from the city’s great imperial sites, our international non-denominational high school for Boarding and Day students has built its academic program and reputation on the classical heritage of our host country, Italy, and the rigor of two prestigious educational models: the American, independent college-preparatory curriculum, and the IB Diploma."
"Students mature through daily choices and decisions, and through a collaborative effort involving students, faculty, and parents, we sustain a healthy, supportive community that values each individual during his or her transformative time here. We cultivate relationships based on warmth, mutual respect, and genuine concern, essential qualities for living together harmoniously in a small community. The culturally rich and vibrant setting of Rome affords us endless opportunities for exploration!"
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"Over 50 years of academic excellence and cultivating diversity.
The first school in Italy to offer the IB - our teachers are experts in delivering it!
Small, tight-knit community in the heart of Rome.
57 nationalities represented among teacher and student body.
Graduates are accepted into renowned universities all over the world."
Top-down influence on the school’s direction and tone
Jill Muti, Ms.
Nestling at the foot of the Aventine, the most exclusive of Rome’s seven hills, and a stone’s throw from the city’s great imperial sites, our international non-denominational high school for boarding and day students has built its academic program and reputation on the classical heritage of our host country, Italy, and the rigor of two prestigious educational models: the American, independent college-preparatory curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
Mens Voluntas Gratia
Our students come from all over the world to pursue their high school education in an atmosphere of scholarly endeavor, creative exploration and multicultural exchange. Our motto articulates the dedication to academic excellence shared by students and faculty alike:
At 275 students we are small, forty boarders constitute our ‘nuclear’ family, the experiential dimension of our curriculum, which includes an extensive trip program, confers a ‘hands on’ feel to our academics and our location, in the heart of the Eternal City and at the crossroads of Europe, provides a rich cultural context in which to learn and grow.
The faculty at St. Stephen’s are scholars, artists, writers and scientists who are passionate about their subjects and illuminate the minds and lives of the students they teach, each day and every year.
We look forward to welcoming new students who wish to join us; we would love to hear from you again if you already belong to our global family. Meanwhile, from inside the walls of our cloistered campus, we invite you to tour our site, virtually, or in person, whenever you wish.
Most big schools provide your extroverted child with plenty of social opportunities and the ability to interact with different peer groups with a wide range of personalities, interests, values, etc. A larger student population and more extracurriculars—including activities like team sports, arts programs, and debate—will give them a broader scope of opportunities to participate in events that scratch their interpersonal itch. “This may also give them the opportunity to hone certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students.”
Throughout the continuum—from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) to the Diploma Programme (DP)—the IB offers plenty of group work, projects, and activities, which can be great for extroverts who often enjoy social and collaborative learning. Also, “Since IB schools have a strong emphasis on community service and activism, your child will have great opportunities to harness their outgoing and collaborative personality,” says Stacey Jacobs, Director of Clear Path Educational Consulting. These schools will also give your child the chance to interact and spend time with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them.
However, given the challenging curriculum and heavy workload of the IB, it can sometimes leave less time for socializing. This makes it especially important to ask about social opportunities at the school, including the ability to interact with different peer groups, both in class and out.
At a boarding school, your extroverted child will likely enjoy seeking out and interacting with peer groups from different backgrounds, away from home. In fact, studying and living with other kids for an extended period of time, as many alumni tell us, provides the unique opportunity to form close relationships that can last well beyond the school years. Many boarding schools also have large student populations and more extracurriculars—including activities like student council, team sports, and arts programs—which will give your outgoing child a broader scope of opportunities to feed off the energy of others, and possibly even become a leader, in a dynamic environment.
Keep in mind, though, “Being an extrovert can be a catalyst for getting involved in lots of activities, which can sometimes be hard to manage,” says Joanne Foster, Toronto-based education consultant and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. “For instance, a particularly extroverted child may try to end up juggling too many people and activities. While they still may thrive at a boarding school, it helps to know your child and how much social interaction they can handle comfortably.”
Make sure any prospective school, no matter what size, provides the right social environment to help your child feel at home, make friends, and develop confidence. This is especially important at big schools, which are sometimes more socially overwhelming and challenging for an introvert to find their bearings in. Of course, “Because larger schools usually have a more diverse student population, introverted kids are more likely to find a small group of people like them, a peer group they can relate to and find acceptance from,” says Dona Matthews, Toronto-based education consultant and co-author (with Joanne Foster) of Beyond Intelligence.
Bigger schools often have a broader scope of extracurricular activities, which is another way to help your child meet the right group of friends. “This may also give them the opportunity to develop certain skills,” say Ann and Karen Wolff of Wolff Educational Services. “For instance, they might run for student council to develop leadership and public speaking skills and learn to be a voice for other students. Remember, though, each child is different—so what works for one may not work for another.”
IB schools give your child the opportunity to interact and spend time with a bright, motivated, and ambitious group of kids who may have interests similar to them. Due to the IB’s heavy focus on group work, the programme offers a social and collaborative learning environment, which can help your introverted child overcome their shyness and get to know their peers well. This can relieve some of the pressure associated with having to take the initiative outside of class to make friends.
Just make sure any school you're considering offers enough independent work time for your introverted child—something which can vary widely between IB schools.
At a boarding school, your introverted child will be more motivated (and virtually compelled) to seek out and interact with different peer groups. Away from home and in a new environment, they’re more likely to take the initiative to form close friendships, which can boost their independence and confidence, and help them develop critical social skills.
"Consider, though, whether your child will be comfortable and confident while living away from home, and while having to navigate the various, and sometimes unforeseen social-emotional experiences, alongside the academic challenges,” says Joanne Foster, education expert and author of ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids. Finally, ensure support systems are in place to promote their social and emotional development, and that your child is willing and prepared to take advantage of them. Your child will often need to advocate for themselves at a boarding school, and they’ll need confidence and perseverance to do so.
THE OUR KIDS REPORT: St. Stephen's School, Rome
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