One way to get your list of questions developed is to list what is making you turn away from public school. After all, public school is, at least in theory, free so to turn from a free educational resource to one you have to pay for, you need good reasons. Some of the most common reasons people consider private over public schools include...
§ Quality of education.
§ College preparation.
§ Accommodation for children with special needs.
§ Accommodation for children with exceptional talents.
§ School violence or drugs.
§ Public school overemphasis on moral and ethical teaching.
§ Public school sex education programs.
§ School security
There are other reasons to consider private school in addition to our short list. The problem is that public school does not have the leverage nor are they interested in making any changes if you do have issues with the school. Parents and students are expected to pretty much just put up with the way it is. And that drives lots of parents to look elsewhere for educational options.
The next level of focus after the areas of improvement you want from public school pertain to any specific needs you need for your child or your family that would narrow down your search for a good private school. If one of the big goals is to find a private school where your child can continue to grow in your faith, then you will only look at schools that focus on that niche.
You may have a child who is developmentally or physically challenged. There are some outstanding schools that can help with that need far better than public school. Or you may have a child who is exceptional in some particular area such as the performing arts, academics or science. Magnet schools or schools designed to give your child the additional help to move ahead more quickly in their field of specialization are an outstanding choice for you.
In all cases, you will want to interview the school as to how the school day takes place, what makes the lifestyle your child will experience at their school superior to public school and how they handle basics like nutrition, medical needs and security. These interview questions go beyond just asking the administration questions and will call for you to take a tour and interview different support departments in the school.
Finally, don’t overlook letting your child add some questions to the check list. After all, this school will be your child’s home away from home. She may want to know how often the school has dances or field trips to break up the classroom setting. She may need to understand lunch hour or how the library works. Include in your interview a complete tour of the school which might include sitting in on some classes that your child would become a part of to watch the teachers in action.
You can tell a lot about the level of affection between teachers and students watching them teach and then observing them in the halls as they interact with the kids. And if the teachers like the kids, you know they are happy teaching there and they are doing a good job. Moreover, a warm relationship between the staff and the student body reflects that the administration of the school has designed everything from the school layout to the curriculum to how discipline is handled to work with the students and to work for their ultimate good rather than treating them like enemies as happens too often in public school. So use all of your senses when evaluating a new school so you come home with a good idea if this is the perfect next step in your child’s academic career.
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