Serious adolescent school boy taking a test in class.Are you concerned that your child doesn’t quite “fit” in public school? Many students thrive in the public school setting, but some just don’t. Every parent wants their children to have the best possible education and finding a school that is right for your child is more difficult than analyzing test scores and curriculum. There are a variety of reasons that you may consider alternative school options, to help you make your decision, here are some of the major differences between private schools and public schools.

Class Size

Private schools tend to be smaller than public schools and class sizes are about half as big as public schools. On average, private school’s student to teacher ratio is about 9 to 1, versus 17 to 1 at public schools. Smaller class sizes lead to a more intimate classroom setting where students receive more individualized attention and a stronger sense of community. See more on the benefits of small class sizes here.

Diverse Curriculum

Public schools are required to follow state mandates that outline curriculum and set academic standards. State directives mean students spend more time studying core subjects, such as English, math, social studies and science. Private schools are not bound by such limitations, which means teachers have more creative control over their teaching styles and methods. Private schools can also offer more emphasis on curriculum outside of the state guidelines, such as art, music, drama, religion or other focus area that is not prioritized by state policy.

Brook Road Academy takes this a step further, in that we create an Individualized Success Program (ISP) for each student, which is a formalized plan created by the student, parent and advisor. The ISP is an outline for the development of both academic and personal goals and strategies to achieve said goals. The curriculum is then designed based on the particular interests of individual students to maximize their potential, while identifying needs for growth and development.

Financial Obligation

It’s no secret that private schools can be expensive and public education is available for free. For many the financial obligation can seem too high, however there are options available to help offset the cost of private education than most people realize. Several nationwide scholarship options are available to low-income students, such as A Better Chance, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and The Children’s Scholarship Fund.

Many states, including Virginia, also offer state tax credit programs. The Alliance for School Choice has created a complete list of state tax programs and information on each.
Other financial support can come from loans, payment plans and family assistance (often in lieu of birthday or Christmas presents).

Parental Involvement

Public schools often have many opportunities for parental involvement at the elementary level, but parent participation often dwindles as students reach middle and high school. Private schools often expect a higher degree of parental participation than public schools. Many private schools depend on parent volunteers to assist with fundraising, upkeep of the school and after school activities.

Public school is an excellent option for many students, however not all school districts are created equal. If you feel that your child would benefit from the changes outlined above, it may be time to further examine the private school options available to you. When researching schools, it is important to schedule a tour, talk to the teachers and principal and observe a classroom, to determine if the school offers what your child needs. Contact us to discuss if Brook Road Academy might be a good fit for your child.

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