The Independent School Advantage

What Are Independent Schools?

An official definition states, “Independent schools are non-profit private schools that are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission. They are also independent in the way they are managed and financed: each is governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments and charitable contributions. They are accountable to their communities and are accredited by state-approved accrediting bodies.”

Below are some Countryside attributes to keep in mind:

Independence in the truest sense of the word -- Countryside is governed by a board of trustees, not an elected school board. As noted above, the school is supported by tuition payments and charitable contributions.

High academic standards - We nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, encourage critical thinking, and promote a lifelong love of learning.

Teachers have the freedom to create educational experiences that meet each child’s needs, without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks, and testing.

Mission-driven - At Countryside, our mission is Joy in Learning, Excellence in Education.

Small classes allow for individual attention. Our average class size is 8-15 students per teacher.

Superb outcomes - Our students develop a love of learning with a curriculum stressing critical thinking, oral and written presentation skills, cooperation, and teamwork.

The Countryside parent community actively participates in its children’s education. We promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals. Students post photos, video, and messages to help parents make virtual classroom visits every week.

What Is NAIS?

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that serves more than 1,500 non-profit, independent, private K-12 schools in the United States, including Countryside. (

What is ISACS?

The Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) is a membership association that serves more than 230 independent schools from 13 states in the Midwest. ISACS oversees a rigorous accreditation process and provides professional development programs and support services for independent schools. (

What is accreditation?

  • Accreditation, awarded every 7 years,
  • certifies that a school is a true non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and determines its own mission and program, and
  • validates that the school has met more than 50 standards of best practice for independent education and admissions, and
  • requires the school undergo a financial audit, and
  • requires a survey of the school’s constituencies, and
  • requires a site visit by experienced outside professionals who confirm that the school delivers upon its promises.
Countryside School
4301 W. Kirby Ave. Champaign, IL 61822
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