01 Dec What to Consider When Choosing a Private School
Today’s public schools are struggling with a myriad of issues such as large class sizes, outdated technology, bullying, and the No Child Left Behind act. A well-developed mind is the single most important thing a person can have, and that’s why many of today’s parents are looking toward private school as an alternative to public schooling.
Private school classrooms are much smaller and have a more advanced academic curriculum, and about 60 to 80% of private school teachers have advanced degrees. These can be great assets for the mental development of your child, but what other qualities should you look for in a private school? If you’re considering private school, consider the following:
Your Child’s Needs
The first thing you should consider when looking for the best private school is what your child needs. Private school may sound idyllic, but does your child have specific needs that can only be met by a private school? Consider their academic, emotional, and social needs.
What about the school’s educational focus? If your child needs a little more attention in a certain academic area such as math or science, does that school specialize in that area? Do the students that attend the school have high achievements in the area your child needs help in? You can also consider the gifts your child has and invest in those talents. If your child is gifted in art, sports, and so on, does the school you are looking at offer these extracurricular activities?
Also, consider the method or style of teaching at the school in question. Are the classes small? Are the teachers willing to work one on one to understand how your child learns? Is there a plan set in place to monitor your child’s academic progress?
If your child needs more in the area of academic/career guidance or mental health, look at the school’s staff of guidance counselors, psychologists, tutors, and other specialists.
It is also important to look at the school’s overall achievements in the public view before considering getting an inside look:
- What do the statistics say about the private school you are looking at?
- Does the school have high rankings for its student’s performance on standardized tests?
- If it is a high school, do the children typically go off to college or seek higher education once they graduate?
- Do they have any notable achievements that may have been in the news, or have there been any scandals.
You should also look to see how the private school you are interested in handles discipline. Do they have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying?
Consider doing a “lobby test.” Arrive at the private school you are considering 15 to 20 minutes early and observe the lobby area. This will allow you to see how students and teachers interact in an unscripted way. Are there children running in the hallways? Is there anyone being picked on or bullied? Are there any children straggling after the bell rings? If so, take note as to how they are disciplined.
Once they are inside the classroom, pay attention to how students interact with each other and with their teacher. Take a survey of the classroom, if you are allowed. Is it diverse? Are the students sitting in groups? Is there a child sitting alone?
Cost and Location
It is also important to consider the cost and location of the school. Is it in a safe environment? Consider your everyday commute. Is it close to home or will your child have to travel far five days a week?
The cost of the school is also important. Private schools cost considerably more than public education does. Consider everything you and your child will receive. Is it worth the price? If it is over your budget, are there any scholarships to help cover the cost?
Choosing a private school for your child can be difficult when you do not know what to look for, and it is important that you have the school’s faculty and staff to support you on your journey while choosing. That is why here at Carden Conejo, we take pride in putting the child’s academic, social, and emotional needs first, and we will support you every step of the way. Schedule a tour today!