Questions to ask when researching a private school
Researching private schools and selecting the one that’s right for your child can seem like a daunting task. There are so many questions to ask and each school has something different to offer to your family.
It’s no wonder why so many parents feel overwhelmed at the information overload that comes along with private school hunting. The key to finding the school that’s the best fit for your child is to prioritize the elements that are most important to you and your child.
To get this information, you should be sure to ask the following questions while you’re touring each private school that you visit:
1. What is the student to teacher ratio and how do teachers engage with students?
The more teachers a private school employs, compared to its number of students, the better. It means that the student-to-teacher ratio will be low, which helps to ensure that classes aren’t overcrowded.
This is important because, with more teachers per student, it means that your child will be able to get the individual attention they deserve instead of being lost in the crowd.
Smaller class sizes also promote more interaction and engagement. Think about it: your child is more likely to participate in a class of fifteen students than they are in a class of forty.
2. What is the school’s academic philosophy?
Academic philosophies differ from private school to private school. Some schools grade on a pass or fail system, some use a regular grading scale, some emphasize testing and some employ different evaluations to grade students based on their own unique learning capabilities.
Find out if the school’s academic philosophy is similar to your own.
3. What is the school’s behavioral and social philosophy?
The school’s academic philosophy isn’t the only thing that is important. You should find out what the school’s policy is concerning students who display behavioral or social problems as well.
You probably don’t want your child going to a school where all they do is punish such students. Ask the school how they handle these issues, how they help students who regularly have such issues improve and whether they have an on-premise psychologist who can help with any behavioral or social problems as well.
4. What curriculum does the school follow?
All private schools have their own curriculum since they don’t have to follow a state-mandated curriculum. Some private schools focus on faith-based learning, while others focus on math and science. Some even focus on art.
Finding the right curriculum to meet your child’s needs is vital to their development.
5. Is the school accredited?
Because private schools create their own curriculums, you should be sure to choose one that is accredited with some sort of educational association. This ensures that they are meeting some kind of educational standards.
6. What kind of experience and qualifications do the teachers have?
Some private schools will hire teachers straight out of college. While there’s nothing wrong with this, the best private schools tend to be strict when it comes to who they hire. They will often require a certain amount of experience and qualifications.
Such a school is more likely to give your child a higher quality education. Your child’s education may suffer if they are regularly being taught by teachers who are just starting out and have little to no experience teaching.
7. How high is the staff’s turnover rate?
If they are constantly replacing teachers, it means that there might be something wrong with the school’s process. Either they aren’t hiring qualified teachers to begin with and they are constantly having to replace them, or their teachers are moving on as quickly as possible when positions at other schools open up.
In some cases, teachers may be using their experience at the private school as a way to get a better job. However, it’s still not necessarily a good thing since it means there’s not a lot of consistency at the school, which could affect the way your child is educated.
If they won’t give you the turnover rate number, ask how long the longest serving teacher has been there. If the school has been around for a long time and the longest serving teacher has only been there for a few years, it’s not a good sign.
8. What is the school’s graduation rate?
You should be wary of any private school that doesn’t have a good graduation rate. It generally means that there’s something lacking in how they educate their students. Look for a private school with a high graduation rate to give your child the best chance at succeeding.
9. What colleges have the school’s graduates gotten into?
It’s always a good sign if the school can boast about students who were accepted into prestigious universities. It means that they must be doing something right in terms of their curriculum.
10. What extracurricular activities does the school offer?
It’s important that a private school offers a variety of different extracurricular activities that your child can participate in. Not only will it help with their development, extracurricular activities tend to look good on college resumes.
11. What are the school’s greatest achievements?
A school’s greatest achievements should make a good impression on you, whether it’s a high graduation rate, a high average GPA or any accolades or awards they may have received over the years.
12. What are the school’s greatest challenges?
The best private schools will be honest about their biggest challenges. It’s a good sign if they communicate to you what their biggest challenge is because it means that they know what their biggest challenge is and that they are doing something about it.
13. How does the school involve parents?
Good private schools will offer the parents of their students the opportunity to get involved in various ways, whether it’s through regular meetings with teachers or as chaperones on field trips.
Be sure to ask if they try to involve parents at all and what kind of opportunities they offer.
These are some of the important questions that you’ll want answered before you make the decision to enroll your child into a private school of any kind. To schedule a tour at our private school and to get the information you need, be sure to contact us at Brook Road Academy today.