Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions that you can make. As an independent college preparatory school, Bishop Seabury Academy offers strong academic preparation and helps develop young people who are confident, responsible, and ethically grounded. The fundamental aspects that drive the Bishop Seabury approach to education are summarized below.
Bishop Seabury maintains an effective 6:1 student-teacher ratio and an average class size of 10-15 students so that teachers can offer individual attention to each student. Teachers know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, their habits, and their passions.
Academic excellence is driven by a strong and inspiring faculty, 85 percent of whom hold advanced degrees. Many are authorized to proctor College Board AP Exams. The Faculty at Seabury have received many awards recognizing them as committed and engaging educators who excel at teaching. Bishop Seabury academics emphasize a core curriculum, and our honors courses are tailored to this end. The six year academic program is a graduated and logical progression of study that prepares students for the rigors of college.
Our standardized test scores indicate the success of our academic program. Our average SAT score is 200 points above the national average, and at Seabury, it is not merely our best students who take the SAT. In Kansas, statewide participation in the SAT is 7%, whereas 100% of our students take the SAT. Our ACT scores average 26 (the national average is 21). And we have more National Merit Semifinalists per capita than our regional public schools or fellow independent schools.
Despite the success of our students on standardized testing, our teachers do not simply “teach to the test.” Our goal is to develop confident, engaged, and broad-minded young people who can be successful in the real world and truly become life-learners.
BASIC EXPECTATIONS FOR BEHAVIOR AND RESPECT:
Seabury teachers are charged to teach students actively and deliberately to be morally thoughtful and honorable people. Central to nurturing students of strong character is an environment of clear structure and expectations. Students learn what constitutes “respect” in various interactions with teachers, parents, and peers as required by the Seabury honor code. Visitors generally are surprised to find that there are no locks on our student lockers — a practical symbol of the honor system at Seabury.
There is a distinct sense of community at Seabury that grounds all of its practices. Much emphasis is placed on creating a safe environment where students can focus on learning and positive relationships. Students learn from their first year to look after one another, no matter their age or grade.
Every school day starts with an all-school “morning meeting.” It sets the tone for the day, provides an opportunity to talk about important issues, to address problems and to encourage students to think about larger issues.
After morning meeting, students attend “altera familia” (Latin for “other family”), which is like a traditional daily advising group but given unique Seabury qualities. Each teacher advises 7-8 students and enjoys a mentorship with each advisee for a full six years. Older students also serve as mentors to younger students in the group. Altera familia is one of many ways that students receive solid guidance and make strong personal connections.
Lunchtime is also an important part of community life at Seabury. Students and faculty sit together in a seating rotation, encouraging wider social connections and underscoring the importance of manners, inclusivity, and conversation.
Visitors generally are surprised to find that there are no locks on our student lockers—a practical symbol of the honor system at Seabury.
At Bishop Seabury Academy, students begin each day with prayer. Morning meetings begin with prayer and end with the Academy Prayer, “Grant to us, Lord we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right,” reinforcing the school’s high expectations for student moral and ethical behavior. The community also speaks a prayer before being seated for lunch.
Weekly chapel services use an Episcopalian framework, and as an Episcopal school, Bishop Seabury celebrates faith in its multiple expressions while respecting the individual faiths of its students. Chapel services are led by the school chaplain and the faculty with assistance from the student vestry.
Students are required to be involved in both sports and arts during their time at Seabury. Our athletics program includes a variety of competitive sports. Unlike other schools, we do not cut students from our teams, providing to all students the opportunity to participate in athletics and to develop important skills in the process: confidence, stamina, physical skill, honor, and sportsmanship.
Our arts program is an ambitious one. Our theatre department produces four shows each year (including Shakespeare, classical drama, absurdist comedy, and other challenging periods and styles). Seabury also has a highly competitive forensics program and both lower-and upper-school choral groups. Seabury is also home to an exceptional visual arts program producing works of art annually displayed in the community.
Seabury also produces a yearbook, The Anchor, and a literary magazine.
SERVICE & LEADERSHIP:
Our students are required to put in a minimum of thirty hours of service work each year, and they work frequently at the Salvation Army, LINK, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Lawrence Community Services, as well as food centers, parks, churches, and shelters. We are known throughout Lawrence for our canned food drives. In addition to these efforts, our students learn to be leaders inside the school through social programs, athletics, arts, open house presentations, and Student Senate. With the help of committed parents and teachers, our students learn to be upstanding and committed citizens in our world.
As an independent school, Bishop Seabury Academy works very hard to ensure a diverse student body. To ensure economic diversity, ten percent of our annual operating budget goes to financial assistance for qualifying families. Bishop Seabury is also ethnically diverse. Twenty-four percent of our students are of minority background.
In all, Bishop Seabury Academy is unique. I feel blessed everyday to be part of this school, and I know that I am not alone. Our school is driven by powerful objectives to strengthen students academically, ethically, athletically, and artistically. As educators who thrive in such an environment, we teachers are honored to work at a school that truly values education and the mentorship of students as complex human beings—and as future leaders of our community. This isn’t just a job for us. I hope you will come and visit the school and experience first hand the opportunities available here.
-Dr. Don M. Schawang
Head of School