Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Private School

Why Private School?
A basic choice that many parents struggle with is that of public vs. private school. If you do decide to pursue private schooling for your child, start the research process early. Admission to private schools can be competitive, and finding a school that is a perfect fit for your child where he or she will be also be accepted, may take some time.
Private schools can be more academically rigorous than public schools, and private school students may have to meet more criteria to keep up their grade point averages. According to The Condition of Education 2001, from the National Center for Education Statistics, Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools.

Compared with public schools, private schools required more coursework (in 4-year high school programs). More can be expected of private school students in terms of quality of work, course workload, and special requirements such as community service or Arts participation. In some schools, what would normally be considered extracurricular activities, are prerequisites for graduation, which ultimately round out students' high school experience. As the report put it, 'Performance results in 2002 show that, at all three grades, students who attended nonpublic schools had higher average writing scores than students who attended public schools.' In general, a student given the opportunity to attend a private school will most likely reach a higher level of academic achievement.
Student Teacher Ratio:
Private schools also tend to focus on controlling their class sizes. The NCES Schools and Staffing Survey found that, 'Private high schools on average are less than half the size of public schools. In central cities, for example, the average size of a private high school is 398, compared to 1,083 for a public school.' Students of private schools may have more opportunities to form relationships with their teachers, which can lead them to greater academic success. Private schools have the ability to create their own curriculum. Although, they must ultimately prepare students with the same basic course as any other school, private schools also have the option to add various elements to their programs. Private school administrators often develop programs that emphasize the Arts, perhaps more so than local public schooling options.
Schools may choose to produce elaborate plays and musicals, giving students unique opportunities to explore their talents and express themselves. Government regulations on public schools prevent them from spending more than a certain percentage of school funds on the Arts. Some private schools may even offer filmmaking or video production courses which are opportunities normally reserved for college students.
The tuition that you and the other parents of a private school contribute often will go toward developing and funding special programs that would be restricted in public schools. The school may be able to offer other activities such as special field trips that reinforce the school's curriculum. The school may have more funds available to provide supplies to student-run clubs. Private high schools can instill their students with the expectation of attending college. With college as a focus, students can be more goal oriented, and often elements of the schools curriculum will be specifically aimed at preparing your child for college. Many private schools are even referred to as 'college preparatory.' Private schools often encourage their students to take an active role in their own college admission process. Private schools often put a major emphasis on personal values. When choosing a private school for your child, it is possible to find a school that incorporates a great deal of your own values into its everyday curriculum. Private schools often have honor codes and stricter behavioral standards that help students develop into mature adults.
According to The Condition of Education 2001 from the National Center for Education Statistics, 'At private schools, a greater percentage of children had parents who were very satisfied with order and discipline than with the school or teachers in 1999.' Parents are often given greater say in school policies at private schools.
Many private schools require that their students complete a mandatory number of community service hours. Community service experiences teach students that education goes beyond the walls of the school, and that it sometimes requires action and initiative.
The Condition of Education 2002 states that, 'Private school teachers were more likely than public school teachers to say that they had a lot of influence on setting student performance standards (63 versus 38 percent) and on student discipline policy (48 versus 30 percent).'
Typical crimes that plague public schools are less common at private schools. The School Crime and Safety Report found that, 'Students in public schools (37.3 percent) were more apt to see hate-related graffiti at school than their counterparts in private schools (16.8 percent).'
Because teachers at private schools are not required to earn the same certifications as public school teachers, some parents worry that the teachers are not as qualified. Private schools must maintain their reputations and create positive word of mouth to survive. When you decide to enroll your child in a private school, your family becomes part of a network of families with the same goals. Parents at private schools are more involved in the lives of the students and various school events. The students also benefit from the community atmosphere of private schools. The very specific personalities of private schools often lead the students to have a strong sense of pride and loyalty to the school and its community. The student may also benefit from affiliation to the school far beyond graduation day. Many private schools have alumni mentoring programs that connect older alumni with newer ones. Despite the numerous benefits of private schooling, it must be said that private school is not for every child. Some children would benefit from the diversity a public school can offer. Any child, whether in private or public school, will need the active participation of his or her parents in order to achieve true success.
School Choice:
The major advantage of private schooling is choice. Every private school has a unique personality, and with a little research, certain schools will emerge from the pool as having more features than that will benefit your child.
Perhaps the school emphasizes writing, or it pushes self-expression. With the vast variety of private schools available, it is easy to select a school that will help your child to shine and develop the values you find most important.
Private schools can reduce worries about safety, increase a child's exposure to discipline, offer reduced class sizes, and offer a good environment for high academic achievement. You've made the decision to begin searching for a private school for your child. A good place to start is understanding the different types of private schools.
Independent vs Private Schools
Although "private school" and "independent school" are often used interchangeably the two are different. Usually a private school is part of a larger organization such as a church or religious community. Private School Grade Levels
Most private schools are divided by grade levels. Students in kindergarten through grade five attend an elementary school, while those in grades six through eight go to a middle school. Private high schools are for students in grades nine through 12 or freshmen through seniors. College Prep are just that: schools with a heavy emphasis on academics which prepare a student to go to college.
Day Schools/Country Day Schools
Day or Country Day schools are private schools which students attend during the day and then go home at night. Usually Country Day Schools are located in the country or suburbs.
Boarding Schools
When many people think of a private school, they think of boarding schools. Although only one type of private school, boarding schools where students live in dorms or halls on campus, are the stereotypical independent school portrayed in movies or books. Most American boarding schools are for students in high school. Being away from home is also an argument for boarding school since it allows students to exert their independence and build confidence. Special Needs Schools
Special needs private schools serve a wide range of students. Single Sex / Coeducational Schools
At one time most private schools were single sex schools where boys went to school with boys girls went to school with girls. Most private schools are now co-educational with boys and girls going to school together. Some single sex schools remain and many parents and educators are again interested in this type of program, especially for older students. Administrators and teachers both believe the major benefit of single sex schools is decreasing the distractions to learning with a corresponding increase in student achievement. Educational research has shown the benefits of single sex schools are greatest for at-risk students and some ethnic minorities. More modest benefits are realized for other students. Military Schools
This type of private school, which are primarily boarding schools for those in grades nine and up, focus on personal and team discipline along with academic curriculum and technology. Leadership and patriotism are emphasized at these selective private schools. Religious or Parochial Private Schools
If you have a strong faith or want your child to receive religious instruction, a religious school might be the right choice. Catholic schools are sometimes called parochial schools and are the most common type of religious school in the United States. But almost every faith has  religious schools in this country.
Montessori Schools
Emphasizing multiple-intelligences, Montessori schools promote self-directed learning, independence and individuality. Waldorf Schools
Students often create their own toys and learning objects in this type of private school and are not graded on their work. Waldorf schools go from preschool through grade 12.
While the vast majority of children in the United States attend a public school and receive a solid education, there are thousands of private schools that offer an excellent alternative. I have worked as an elementary principal of a private school, and I've had my own children in the public system. I once had lunch with the administrator from another private elementary school. Alumni Development
Basically, with the right motivation and encouragement, alumni can generate cash for the private school in a big way!
This applies to the academics, the quality of teachers, the quality of fellow classmates, the school building itself, the extracurricular programs, the school athletics, the rivalries with other schools, even the school mascot and "spirit-ware" (t-shirts, hats, etc.)
As soon as the student leaves the school, the school needs to establish a post-institutional relationship with him. Again, if a private school can successfully tap into this market, it will have a huge advantage over public schools in the fundraising arena.
The third area that I noticed private schools having a fundraising advantage over public schools was in the concept of community. In my experience, I saw that families at the private school felt more linked to one another than do the families I've seen in the public schools. Since there were so fewer families, I was able to get to personally know all the families who had their children enrolled at our private school. I have been involved at both a public school and a private school, although I will admit my experience is much deeper in the private school.


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