About

The Semester Schools Network is a group of schools offering semester-long educational opportunities for high school students. Students leave their sending schools for one semester to attend our schools; they return with one full semester of academic credit, as well as a wealth of knowledge and new experiences to bring back to their sending schools. Our programs deliver powerful outcomes for students—from challenging them academically, to expanding their views of the world, to helping them understand themselves as learners, to teaching them the value of participation in a small community. We have enrolled students from hundreds of high schools all over the United States and the world. We believe that a semester away can be an outstanding complement to the college preparatory education offered by independent and public high schools.

Testimonials

See what educators, parents and students are saying about the Semester Schools Network.

Educator

I frequently recommend semester schools to students and parents so that students can enjoy their immense benefits, including the opportunity to pursue a passion; the experience of living away from home in a different setting and part of the world with a new set of friends; the excitement of learning by doing rather than just learning by listening; and the opportunity to paint on a larger canvas with new paints.

Pat Bassett
President Emeritus, National Association of Independent Schools

Student

The strength of The Traveling School is its emphasis or relevance and critical thinking. It was important to me to see what was happening in southern Africa not only as an event in southern Africa, but as an idea that can be broadened and molded into something different.

Sydney
The Traveling School

Student

I initially considered attending The Island School after hearing stories from a few of my classmates from school. Seeing their passion and excitement for the school inspired my research and is likely the primary reason why I decided to apply. Before going to Island School, I had very little experience with marine ecology or sustainability, but was interested in the topics. The Island School helped to foster my interest in these topics and has greatly shaped my views on our world.

Connor Alt
The Island School

Educator

For one short semester in Vershire, Vermont, work, scholarship, play and social time become indistinguishable for Mountain School students. Following their shared four month experience, alumni have the capacity to create ripple effects far beyond the little town in Vermont: they become bridge builders, community activists, idealists, and devout caretakers of their surroundings. They develop high standards for their relationships, turn important ideas into convictions and habits, think alternatively about life paths and the impact their actions can have on their community and environment. The Mountain School is so much more than a unique semester learning about sustainability in a residential, 24/7 environment. It is a grounding space and launching pad for young people who are enhancing their potential to make life-long constructive difference. There are few places that can do it better.

Katie Fretwell
Former Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Amherst College

Student

I can say with all my heart that Oxbow has truly changed my life. In just one semester I saw a development in myself that I never thought could be possible. The creative and supportive atmosphere that they have created here is something that I know I will never find again because it is so unique. The school aspect of it was so much more enjoyable and exciting then traditional schooling is. Oxbow bridges the subjects and makes connections between all aspects of life. I made connections and built relationships that will last a lifetime. If you have this opportunity take it!

Logan Larsen
The Oxbow School

Student

At the Alzar School I was hoping to expand my perspective, to better understand myself, to learn and grow, and I have gotten even more from this experience than I ever dreamed of. [It has been] the most challenging and rewarding experience and has impacted me for the best.

Elena
Alzar School

Student

Island School remains as the singular defining adventure of my life, it has made me, me.

Griffin Hunt
The Island School

Student

TTS will open worlds that you never even thought existed, and will teach you about not only how many galaxies there are outside of you but also how many there are inside of you.

Claudia
The Traveling School

Parent

The results were profound. Since returning, we have witnessed…[our daughter’s] ability to engage in meaningful and mature conversation. The confidence and self-reliance she gained at the Alzar School have manifested themselves as she takes on significant leadership positions in her senior year of high school.

Tucker
Alzar School

Parent

Our daughter's attendance at Oxbow will have positive effects on her life and her choices for many years to come. She gained confidence, true academic interest, increased artistic skill as well as learned how to handle all different types of personalities in her four months at Oxbow. She did not return home a different person but rather a more mature and better version of herself. Any school that causes a teenager to be more who she is rather than who she thinks she should be deserves five stars.

Stacey and Robert Trisch
The Oxbow School

Student

My biggest takeaway from the experience was a new appreciation for the value of a community and my role in it. The community I found at Island School was so different from anything I had ever experienced before, a community that supported me unconditionally but also constantly challenged me to be my best self. Ultimately, this resulted in increased confidence in my abilities and my personality as well as an increased self awareness, a combination that has completely changed the way I interact with others and with a group. Post- Island School Sage is a far more authentic, kind, and confident version of myself.

Sage McGinley-Smith
The Island School