5 Key Qualities of a Good Private School
In the age of the Internet and inflated costs of higher education, college is no longer a prerequisite for success, if it ever has been. However, the foundation and building blocks of success are still found in quality primary and secondary education.
Unfortunately, America’s public schools are struggling. Teachers are overburdened and students are slipping through the cracks. Involved parents have long sought out and weighed their options, and because this new generation will live the entirety of their lives in the rapidly evolving 21st century, the decision of which primary and secondary school to enroll their children in is more crucial than ever.
Enrolling your child in a great private school is a way to ensure they receive a quality education. When you’re searching for schools, here’s what you need to look out for.
1. Great Curriculum
Does the school offer advanced classes? What learning opportunities will you surround your child with? A specialized curriculum is a strong curriculum and is the backbone of a quality school experience for students.
As a parent, review and evaluate class offerings at each school you may potentially enroll your children in. Work with your child and their potential teachers to decide which class options are a good fit. Evaluate the breadth and depth of extracurricular activities a school offers as well, because children interested and involved in extracurriculars more often create prosperous lives for themselves as adults.
A truly well-rounded school will offer students a range of classes and extracurricular opportunities in the fields of drama, art, and athletics. Compare and contrast curriculums and extracurricular activities offered at each school near your home. Evaluate the pros and cons of each school, and ask questions.
A strong reputation goes a long way when evaluating a private school. People in the educational field will have a positive opinion about the academics and the governing body. A school’s reputation is everything.
Each school garners a reputation in their communities regarding the academic performances of their students, and the accessibility parents have with the school’s governing body. Private schools more often create strong reputations for themselves in their respective communities compared to the nearby public schools they compete with.
Evaluate school reputations near you by visiting and commenting on online forums and social media communities. Parents of children in school share their’s and the children’s experiences on these platforms to help other parents in their area choose the right school for their children. Read about positive and negative experiences other parents have had with teachers, administrators, councilors, and coaches.
Respected schools are built by respected leaders — learn who they are, what they do, and where they teach or lead. You will most likely find them in a private school. Children with the most prosperous futures ahead of them have positive experiences facilitated by reputable community leaders. Find the right school, and enroll them. To begin, visit a private school’s admissions counselor, who are able to create the right educational experience for your child.
3. Small Class Size
Overworked teachers in public schools are a leading cause for measured drops in student academic performances. In an effort to cut costs and bloat administrative payrolls, public school administration sometimes give their educators the nearly impossible responsibility of teaching 40 students in one classroom.
Student-teacher ratios twice as small are available to parents and their children, however, and they are often found in private schools. Small classrooms in private schools allow teachers to meet their students’ needs, and administrators offer their teachers the liberty necessary to help students achieve their academic goals.
In the small classrooms afforded to private schools, teachers challenge gifted students and encourage their continued growth with specialized attention. Small classrooms found in private schools also allow teachers to notice and offer specialized attention to students who encounter difficulty with their curriculum.
4. An Unrivaled Academic Environment
An academic environment in which children thrive in is one with culture, cultivated by academic leaders, which students enjoy immersing themselves in. In contrast, if your child is surrounded by administrators and teachers who consistently fail to live up to their responsibilities, you as a parent can anticipate poor academic performance by the students in your child’s classroom.
Private schools consistently outperform public schools by allowing skilled and accomplished teachers to teach. Private schools are thus thriving academic environments for students, which public schools consistently are not. In contrast to private schools, public schools are plagued with serious and criminal distractions — violent crime, drug transactions, theft, and bullying occur at higher rates in public institutions.
Evaluating a school’s culture from the outside is impossible at public schools. Teachers here are burdened with administrative bureaucracy, and thus fail to make adequate time dedicated to parental engagement. Private school teachers are comparatively transparent to their public school counterparts. Parents considering a private school for their children are encouraged to speak with potential teachers and are even welcome into a classroom to witness teachers in front of their students.
A private school community is one where students, parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators rely upon each other — creating a thriving community for everyone. Students are especially privileged to make connections in their youth. A prosperous adulthood follows for well-connected students in private schools, as private school community connections allow access to future employment and investment opportunities in ways public schools are ill-positioned to ever rival.
5. Affordable Tuition
Parents should be delighted to learn that private schools are more accessible than ever. At Notre Dame Academy, parents have access to a myriad of options to make a private school experience a reality for their children.
Complete scholarships and partial scholarships are available in private schools to help especially gifted or hard-working students receive the best education available to them.
Once a parent has selected a private school for their child, parents and children both must make the necessary preparations. Changing schools is a chaotic experience for any young student, and a parent’s preparation is the compassionately facilitating their child’s potentially traumatic experience. Communication is key, as poor communication between parents and children lead to a child’s resistance to positive change.
As you talk to your child about what they will experience at their new school, resist phrasing the change about it being good for them — children favor immediate gratification more than adults do, so a parent is best off relating the change to immediate positive experiences in store for their child. For example, rather than telling your young scholar that the teachers are better, get him or her excited about the better sports equipment available, or musical instruments their old school didn’t have.
Private schools, with tuition-based funding, allow teachers liberty in their teaching methods in ways publicly-funded schools do not. Creative, personalized, and specialized teaching methods are exercised by private school teachers which facilitate agency in students as they grow in their own independence. Research schools which value individual, self-guided learning structures.
While individual expression is a value becoming more commonly embraced among parents, the benefits of traditional school uniforms are numerous. Students may discover a sense of community pride when wearing a school uniform shared by his or her classmates, and a learning environment focused less on individual aesthetic is one more focused on lesson material and personal growth. Uniforms neutralize a child’s opportunity to bully another over their choice of clothes and helps everybody focus on academics.
Finding the Right Private School
We at Notre Dame Academy are here to help San Diego parents in their search for a quality private school. We offer students a rigorous academic program taught in a Catholic environment. You can learn about our admissions requirements here.