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U.S. Private High Schools Accommodate Influx of Chinese Students

High schools draw affluent students from China
Hartsbrook School’s eight Chinese students live in a leased house near campus
Hartsbrook School’s eight Chinese students live in a leased house near campusPhotograph by Harry Griffin for Bloomberg Businessweek

Heads turned when a limo pulled up to Hartsbrook School on the first day of orientation this August. The Waldorf school in rural Hadley, Mass., is known for its alternative curriculum, based on the teachings of Austrian mystic Rudolf Steiner—not for flashy displays of wealth. Chickens roam the schoolyard. Pigs, sheep, cows, and oxen are fenced in nearby, part of an agricultural arts program. Classes are small, ranging from 8 to 20 students.

The limo’s elegant occupant had traveled from China to drop off her son Neil. The ninth grader is one of eight students from China and Taiwan who recently moved to America to attend the 265-student private day school. The newcomers are part of an enormous influx of Chinese students clamoring to enroll at U.S. boarding schools and, increasingly, day schools such as Hartsbrook.