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As part of its ongoing Promoting Independent Education Project, the National Association of Independent Schools this month released two publications aimed at helping parents find out more about independent schools.

The release of "Affording a Quality Education for Your Child: Financial Options'' at the group's recent conference in San Francisco was prompted by a national public-opinion poll commissioned last summer by N.A.I.S. showing that parents give independent schools high marks for academic standards, individual attention, and small classes, but believe they are too expensive.

"Many families are showing an interest in our schools who are not familiar with them,'' said Margaret W. Goldsborough, N.A.I.S. director of public information.

The seven-page booklet provides information about the needs-based financial-aid offered by most independent schools. Loan programs and extended-payment plans are also discussed.

The second publication is the "Parent's Guide & Directory of Independent Schools,'' which provides geographic listings of N.A.I.S. member schools in the United States and abroad.

In addition, the 80-page guide offers answers to questions parents may have such as "What is an independent school?'' and "How do schools make their admission decisions?''

Initially, both guides will be distributed through each of N.A.I.S.'s 900 member schools, with copies advertised and made available more widely later.

In the wake of the American Association of University Women's recent, much-discussed report on how schools shortchange girls, the National Coalition of Girls' Schools last week released a summary of a symposium on improving the teaching of mathematics and science for girls that it sponsored last June at Wellesley College.

The eight-page summary examines the needs and learning styles of girls and offers strategies to teachers for combating gender stereotyping and reducing inequities.

Math and science teachers, for example, should avoid male metaphors such as "tackle'' or "master'' in class discussions in favor of terms such as "interact with'' or "integrate,'' Judith Jacobs, of the Center for Science and Math Education at California State Polytechnic University, told the 82 educators from 46 independent schools.

Educators should involve girls more by using a collaborative and cooperative teaching style, including calling all students by name and making eye contact with female students, said Bernice Sandler, of the Center for Women Policy Studies at the Association of American Colleges.

A complete volume of symposium materials will be available this summer.--M.L.

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