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Choosing the Right School

Private schools have a well-deserved reputation for quality.

Seventy-eight percent of Americans describe the education that children receive in independent private schools as “excellent or good;” sixty- nine percent say the same about parochial or church-related schools, while only thirty-seven percent think that way about traditional public schools. Results come from Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll conducted in August 2012.

Private schools have a long history and a respected record of strong student performance. They give students a well-rounded education. They provide families with unique educational options and alternatives to government schools. They are free of excessive government regulations and standardization that can stifle success, hinder creativity, and compromise a school’s identity. They reflect the beliefs and values of a particular community and weave those values into lessons that matter most for living a productive, happy and meaningful life.

Choosing a school for a child is one of the most important decisions parents must make. The right school for a child depends on that child’s specific needs. Just like children, different schools have different characteristics, and finding the right match between child and school is worth the time.

There are several steps involved in finding the best school for your child. First, consider your family’s values and beliefs and decide whether you want a school that supports and nourishes those values.

Second, look at your child. What kind of environment is best for him/her? A school that promotes creativity, is structured, supports special learning needs, focuses on particular gifts, or responds to a certain learning style? Is a particular pedagogy best suited for your child?

Third, visit the school and talk to administrators, teachers, and parents. What evidence does the school provide that students are thriving, growing, and succeeding? What is the school’s curriculum, assessment program, extra-curricular activities, fine arts, and sports programs? Does the school educate the whole child: intellectual, spiritual, physical, social, cultural, aesthetic? What happens to students once they graduate? Is the school safe and orderly? Do students respect one another and their teachers? Are they focused on their work? Does the school welcome parents and see them as partners?

These are just some of the questions parents must answer when choosing a child’s school.

To start the selection process, find out what private schools are in your area by visiting AISNE’s web site at aisne.org

Material provided by the Council for American Private Education.