The Ohio Valley continues to produce excellent students who go on to higher education or right into the work force, a tribute to those institutions of learning providing the educational groundwork for success.
In the private sector with 450 students from throughout the Ohio Valley, across the country and around the world, The Linsly School in Wheeling fills a unique educational niche both in the local community and in the independent school universe.
"Education at Linsly happens one individual at a time," said Headmaster Chad Barnett. "We believe that athletic participation, intellectual exploration and artistic creation all contribute to an individual's complete development. Full participation contributes to healthy adolescent growth and broad preparation for success in our students' college and professional lives."
Linsly, a private school, offers a traditional college preparatory program for boys and girls in grades 5-12 where academic excellence and character development are emphasized in every facet of student life.
"Founded in 1814 under the motto, 'Forward and No Retreat,' we believe that success emerges from hard work, perseverance, and commitment," said Barnett. "We believe there are many bright people in the world. True success, however, is earned by those who combine great character with analytical and creative abilities."
Since all Linsly students are known as individuals, they hear daily words of encouragement from many adults in the community who recognize recent academic, athletic, and artistic achievements. Additionally, Linsly's knowledge of individuals allows faculty to focus on the details of each student's development - how they wear their uniform, the quality of their handshake, their manners when interacting with adults, their poise in public speaking, and their determination to persevere through life's difficult moments.
In addition to knowing students as individuals and focusing on character development, Barnett also said that Linsly emphasizes academic achievement, and pointed out the many ways in which the school celebrates and promotes academic excellence.
"Every week we host an all school meeting and routinely feature academic departments and the great work our students produce," he said. "We also believe in inspiring our students with the best minds in their peer group."
He explained that presentation technologies allow Linsly to place the best minds in the nation in front of the school's student body.
"For example, we will 'invite' Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah, three young women who swept top prizes at the 2011 Google Science Fair, to speak to our student body through a remarkable presentation they delivered on a national stage," said Barnett.
"Launching off that platform, we will ask our students to talk with each other and their instructors about problems in the world they would like to solve. This theorizing may lead to their Senior Research Essay topic or an independent undertaking supported by a faculty member."
Barnett said 100 percent of Linsly graduates matriculate to a four year college or university. Linsly offers a variety of programs to prepare analytically talented students for the emotional, social, and academic transition to university life.
"Taken by all seniors, our Senior Seminar guides students through the college search and selection process," said Barnett.
"Through this seminar class, we help each senior identify scholarship opportunities, guide students through the financial aid process, and discuss philosophical aspects of their transition to college life.
"Linsly's curriculum far exceeds the requirements and pace of the standardized core curriculum. Our students often finish their Linsly careers with an AP capstone course in each discipline. Moreover, each senior completes a senior research essay. Remarkably demanding and self-directed, this project requires every senior to formulate a problem, evaluate and incorporate reference material appropriately, develop a logical argument, and interpret data and conflicting points of view."
On the practical side of college preparation, juniors and seniors are invited to join at no cost targeted practice sessions drilling specific question categories from the SAT.
Barnett further explained that Linsly's college counseling program begins in the freshman year, with a review and explanation of high school transcripts in relationship to the college application process, and continues throughout the junior year when individual meetings with the college counselor commence. The college counselor continues to works with each of these students throughout their senior year as they officially begin the college application process.
Barnett said the testimonials he frequently hears from young alumni just beginning their college careers points to the success that Linsly has in preparing students for higher education.
"We frequently get emails or visits from young alumni who are in their freshman or sophomore year at college telling us how well prepared they are for their college courses," said Barnett.
He shared an example of a recent email that Linsly's senior English teacher received from a young alumni in college:
"I just wanted to drop you a quick email and let you know I'm still using the skills I learned in your senior English class. I just turned in a paper yesterday that was one of many for this semester, but definitely my biggest and most difficult one. It was a research paper for which I had to use a good number of journal articles. So what did I do over Thanksgiving break? I read through all the articles and made source note cards, then organized the note cards according to an outline. Writing the paper when I got back to school was a breeze. So thanks for teaching me how to best organize my papers to end up with a great final product!"
Another young Linsly alumni in his freshman year wrote, "I want to thank you for the great preparation for college English. I just received my final cause and effect paper and I am happy to tell you that I received a 98 percent on it. I also want to share with you my final grade of a 98.25 percent, which is the highest average in my English 101 class. Last year I was unsure about how I would do in college English, but by paying attention in your class I was able to make a smooth transition and excel."