The Small Boarding School Association establishes a forum for personal and professional dialogue, which promotes and supports small boarding schools.
While the membership in the organization has grown since its founding, its central purpose remains essentially unchanged. SBSA continues to exist today to provide those who work in and with small boarding schools of various types an opportunity to share and to learn from one another. As such, the annual conference is the centerpiece of the organization and is the primary reason most schools and consultants join SBSA. Held each spring on the campus of a member school, the SBSA conference has developed a reputation as many people’s favorite among all the conferences they attend each year. What makes this conference so attractive is its informality and its opportunities for sharing and collaborating. Attendees come prepared not to listen passively to a host of experts speak, but to actively participate in discussions whose topics are generated by the attendees themselves. They don’t have to find time between sessions to have meaningful conversations with their friends and colleagues; those conversations are the conference.
The Small Boarding School Association was founded in 1987 by a group of people who felt that small boarding schools needed their own gathering to address those issues unique to their type of school. The first conference was held at Hoosac School in Hoosick, NY. Attendees participated openly in several sessions, which focused on the benefits of small boarding schools, and ways in which their nurturing environment could effectively be marketed. Participants felt they could be candid about problems they faced in competing with schools, which offered a plethora of academic and athletic options. The feeling of camaraderie and friendships, which evolved from this conference, has sustained itself and has become a tradition. See list of locations of past conferences here.