There are several qualities that all top private schools have in common whether it is a preschool, middle school, or high school. They have a strong commitment to academic excellence, personalize the student’s learning experience, and offer extracurricular activities to support student interests. When considering a private school for your child, take the time to find out more about these three areas of each facility you are considering.
Public schools face many challenges when it comes to the development and delivery methods of their core curriculum. They must deal with government mandates that attach funding requirements to specific goals which makes it difficult for them to think outside of the academic box.
Private schools are funded differently and have more freedom to develop rigorous programs that are able to approach academics in a different way. Many private schools are built around particular fields of study. Examples include STEM schools or schools that have a focus on the arts.
Individualized attention has repeatedly been proven to have a direct impact on student learning potential. When teachers have fewer students in each class they are better able to encourage student interaction and questioning. One study showed that more than 80 percent of private schools have fewer than 300 students which translate to smaller class sizes.
Smaller class sizes also mean that if a student is struggling they don’t have to be rushed along with the rest of the class. Teachers have the ability to spend individual time with the students to address deficiencies as they occur while still allowing the rest of the class to move forward. It’s important that students do not become a number that must be shuffled on a desk. Personal attention from teachers is extremely important for this to be avoided. A study by the Fraser Institute found that more than 90 percent of parents cited teacher interaction as their primary motivation for choosing a private school.
In public schools, extracurricular activities are almost an afterthought. Some districts do put a priority on a few select sports programs but other sports, the arts, and academic programs are often provided only as the budget allows and teachers can be found to facilitate them.
Top private schools recognize the importance of providing a well-rounded experience for their students. Due to the smaller nature of many private schools, they are unlikely to offer every imaginable extracurricular option. Most will specialize in they type of student they attract and will create programs around those interests. An arts school may have an improvisational drama club, jazz band, or a comic art program while a STEM school may have a robotics team, astronomy club, or programming guild.
In addition to high academic standards, individualized instruction, and great extracurricular options, top private schools also have a high level of community and parental involvement. When considering a private school for your child, be sure to inquire about ways to become involved in the culture of the school to maximize your child’s experience.