Fast Facts

Founded in 1866, Fay serves 475 students in Pre-K through grade nine on its 66-acre campus in Southborough, Massachusetts.


Mission & Philosophy

The mission of Fay School is to educate each child to his or her full potential through a broad, balanced, and challenging program that establishes a solid foundation for a productive and fulfilling life.

Dining Room, Fay School

The Power of Tradition



Fay's admission team is available to help you with every step of the admission process. Find out more here.



Click here to read about the steps for admission to our Primary, Lower, and Upper Schools.


Admission Events


Secondary School Counseling

Fay's graduates are coveted by secondary schools, who welcome our students' strong skills, interests, and commitment to their communities. Find out how our secondary school counselors help each student find a school that's the right fit.


Effort Grades

A unique hallmark of Fay's program is our system of effort grades, which emphasizes focus, determination and follow-through.


Distinguished Faculty


Athletics Facilities

Take a virtual tour of Fay's athletic facilities, which include a 36-acre athletic campus, gym, batting cages, basketball courts, and more.



Fay’s coaching staff is composed of faculty and staff as well as outside specialists, who are committed to supporting our athletes in an atmosphere of challenge and fun.


Everyone Plays


The Spirit of Creativity

Fay students build creativity and confidence through courses in art, music, drama, and dance.


Arts Facilities

See our studios, classrooms, practice spaces, and performance venues.


Visit our Virtual Gallery


Character Matters

Fay students learn and grow in a community that emphasizes responsibility, respect, inclusion, empathy, and effort.


Global Community

Fay welcomes students from across the United States and 20 countries. Find out what it's like to be part of a global community.


Circles of Connection


Diversity and Inclusion

At Fay, diversity is an asset, an experience, and a process. We believe that a broad range of experiences and viewpoints enhances learning and enriches life.


After-School Programs

Fay offers an extended day program until 6:00 pm and a rich array of after-school clubs for music, art, athletics, science, and more.




Living on Campus

Boarders at Fay enjoy busy days that are structured and well supervised, but also full of friendship, warmth, and fun.


Meet Our Dorm Parents

Our dorm parents are Fay faculty, staff, and coaches - all specially trained to meet the needs of middle school boarding students.


Why Boarding at Fay?


The 2016-17 Fay Fund

The Fay Fund makes up 8% of Fay's annual operating budget and helps fund educational programs, facilities, and books and supplies. Give now!


Ways to Give

There are many ways to help Fay continue to provide an extraordinary educational experience for every student


Give Online


Fay School Blog

Private Schools and Independent Schools - What's the Difference?

Posted by Fay School on Feb 19, 2018 12:13:00 PM

180212 Upper School Boarders in Dining Hall.jpg

When you research alternatives to public school, you will see some schools referred to as “private” schools and others as “independent.” Often these terms can seem interchangeable, but there are distinct differences between the two that can make a world of difference to your child.

A private school is any learning institution that does not receive public funding from the government. Private school funding can come from a variety of sources, non-profit groups, religious organizations, private individuals, and for-profit corporations that can influence the curriculum and school culture in a variety of ways.

Independent schools, on the other hand, represent a much smaller subset of the private school world. They are strictly non-profit entities and are run by a board of trustees or governors, independent of any outside organization. They are self-funded by student tuition, which is supplemented by donations and an endowment.

Mission and core values

As a result, some independent schools may come with a higher price tag. That said, the financial independence of this category of schools is one of its greatest assets. Most independent schools have their own unique mission statement that outlines their educational ethos. Independent schools also tend to be more selective in the types of students that they will accept, looking specifically for applicants who will fit well into their culture and program. At Fay School, for example, “Earnest Effort” is one of the school’s core values. Students are encouraged to give their best effort in all facets of school life, an idea that is reinforced by the bi-weekly awarding of effort grades in each subject including the arts, athletics, and general conduct.

Assessing school performance

While many families are interested in private schools because they are unencumbered by government mandates and standardized test prep that eats up valuable teaching time, parents do need some means of assessing a prospective school’s performance. One useful assessment tool is to examine a list of the secondary schools or colleges that its graduates attend after completing their educational program. Parents should also ask in-depth questions about the the math and language arts curriculum, the course of study, how the curriculum is determined, and how student performance is assessed.

Affiliations and accreditations

Unlike private schools, independent schools go through a rigorous accreditation process through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). NAIS accreditation is a long-term commitment that recognizes the individuality of each school’s environment and mission while holding all member schools to set of rigorous common standards. This commitment ensures that each school is adhering to best practices, policies, and procedures. (To learn more about NAIS standards, click here.)

Most independent schools are also closely affiliated with their state’s or region’s association of independent schools. Here in New England, for example, the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) is a vibrant organization that provides professional development, workshops in best practices, and numerous opportunities for teachers and administrators to collaborate and share ideas across schools. If you’re considering independent school as an option for your child, the websites of these organizations are a great place to visit to learn about the range of schools open to you. If you’re thinking about boarding school, you can also visit the websites of the The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and the Junior Boarding School Association (JBSA).

Beyond the brochure

Finally, if you are choosing a private school because of a desire for more than a prescribed, cookie-cutter approach to education, make sure that the school’s educational philosophy is more than just a mission statement. Look for concrete ways that the the school’s unique philosophy is expressed through the curriculum. At Fay, for example, we believe that our public speaking program is one of the distinctions of our academic program. Students in grades three through nine craft a speech each year that they deliver in front of their classmates and families. Our students gain confidence and poise with each successive year and learn how to craft an argument, speak persuasively, and share their opinions on important topics.

When it comes down to it, the most important factor is that the school is a great fit for your child and your family. Online research will get you part of the way there, but the single best way to know if you’re on the right path is to visit the campus and see for yourself.

Want to learn more about Fay School? Let us know!



Topics: Private School Admission Process

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