Private Schools Column

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Enrollment in independent schools grew slightly last year, even in the face of the economic recession, according to a report from the National Association of Independent Schools.

Enrollment in a core sample of 736 N.A.I.S. schools grew by 0.7 percent from 1989 to 1990, according to the association's fall statistical report. Comparisons of the core sample eliminate the impact of changes in the N.A.I.S. membership. Enrollment in the sample increased from 308,250 in 1989-90 to 310,561 in 1990-91. Total enrollment in N.A.I.S. schools last year was 369,285.

Boarding schools appear to be suffering more from the recession, according to the report. Enrollment at member schools whose student bodies contain 50 percent or more boarding students dropped from 42,241 in 1989 to 40,798, a 3.4 percent decrease.

That may only reflect a decrease in the number of day students at some boarding-day schools, however, because the total enrollment of boarding students as a group increased slightly from 41,696 to 41,738.

Other highlights from the report show that membership of schools in the Southwest and West has grown by 25 percent since 1981; that 1 of every 40 students in a member school in 1990 was an international student; and that the proportion of minority students enrolled has grown from 9.1 percent of total enrollment in 1981 to 13.4 percent last year.

Copies of the report are available for $12 each for members, $52 for nonmembers, from the National Association of Independent Schools, 75 Federal St., Boston, Mass. 02110.

The American College of Sofia, an American-curriculum school in Bulgaria's capital city, has been closed since 1948, when the Communist government shut it down.

Now, given the political upheaval in Eastern Europe and new attitudes in the Bulgarian government, the school's board of directors is preparing to open it once again.

The U.S.-based board recently advertised for a director to help open the school by next fall. As soon as elections in the country are concluded this fall, a delegation will head to Sofia to find a school building and faculty housing. The school will primarily educate Bulgarians, according to Daniel Wagner, director of search services for International School Services, a Princeton, N.J.-based organization that assists overseas American schools.

An American school for children of diplomats and other expatriates has continued to operate in the Bulgarian capital even after the American College was shut down, Mr. Wagner said.

The American College there was rounded in 1860 to offer an American education to young Bulgarians.--M.W.

Vol. 11, Issue 06, Page 9

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