Choosing a School: 10 Things Which Matter To Parents

I can remember those nagging thoughts we had as our children reached the toddler stage. What about pre-school? Where should we send her for kindergarten? What then? We were pretty ordinary middle class parents. We had good jobs. We would have to sacrifice to send our daughters to private school but we felt that the sacrifices would be worth it.
 
Fast forward from then to now or a span of approximately forty years. One daughter is an attorney with her own practice. The other is an academic head-hunter. Both did their undergraduate work in English language and literature. Both earned graduate degrees. I remain convinced that their private school educations gave both children the solid foundation which they needed to tackle progressively more difficult academic work.
 
The journey started with those nagging thoughts that our children deserved the very best possible educations we could give them. Both of us had superb educations at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Our children deserved nothing less. That was our thinking. That thinking drove our decisions about private school over the next fifteen years.
 

 
Here then are the ten things which mattered most to us as made out decisions about private schools. Everything below the first item seemed to move up or down depending on the needs and requirements we had. That first item stayed fixed in number one position.
 
Their . . .read more
If you have not looked for a teaching job in a couple of years or perhaps are just beginning to think about future career moves, then these three job search tips are worth thinking about.
 
1. Have a Strong Marketability Quotient.
 
It is a very competitive job market generally. Employers want the best possible candidate for the job. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of candidates apply for available positions. Private schools are no different. So, how do you stand out from the crowd? By offering 3 or more of the following skills or credentials, you will position yourself for greater success in the private school employment market.
 

 
Speak and teach a second language. Teachers who speak French, Spanish and Mandarin are much in demand in any school. Add a degree and certifications in those subjects to your credentials and you will be a 'hot'  property!
 
Hold specialist certifications. An ESL certificate or a reading specialist certificate will virtually guarantee you employment for life at many schools. An ESL certified teacher is an integral part of the teaching strategy and an important element in a diverse community. A reading specialist can effectively remediate reading and comprehension skills allowing the language arts teachers to focus on coursework.
 
Be an AP exam reader. A little prestige never hurts. If you are or have been an AP reader in Art History, Chinese Language and Culture, . . .read more
DO Understand Why Some Private Schools Cost More Than Others
 
There are several factors which drive tuition costs. Location and facilities and type of school are three of the most important factors. Some schools cost more than others simply because of where they are located. Real estate prices vary widely throughout the United States as you well know. For example, it costs considerably less to rent space in Butte, Montana than in Los Angeles, California. 
 
Insurance costs vary from locality to locality as well. Schools need comprehensive liability and property insurance. That's not an expense a prudent private school business manager will stint on.
 
The school facilities vary widely as well. A 12 classroom K-6 school located in the 10 year old education wing of a church or temple will cost less to run than a similar school housed in a 1930s mansion set on 30 private acres in the countryside.
 
Boarding schools generally cost more to operate than day schools. That's because they offer 24/7 supervision of your child as opposed to the 8 or 9 hours daily supervision a day school will offer.
 
Schools specializing in remediating learning differences and disabilities cost even more because they employ experienced, highly skilled and trained para-professionals and professionals who work with students closely, often on an individual or 1 to 1 basis. That drives the labor cost associated with this kind of teaching much higher than . . .read more
1. Private schools are really private.
 
By design American private schools are really private. While in most cases they observe applicable state laws with respect to minimum requirements concerning what is taught, private schools are answerable to their boards and their clients, i.e., the families who send students to them.
 
2. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
 
Granted, some private schools are very expensive. Especially boarding schools. However, since they generally seek to attract a diverse student population, most private schools offer generous financial aid packages.
 
3. Several private schools are free.
 

 
Years ago several benefactors established schools which will cost eligible students virtually nothing to attend. In more recent times the Cristo Rey network of schools has made a private school education almost free for families of limited means.
 
4. Some private schools are residential.
 
Residential private schools are known as boarding schools. Your child will attend classes as well as eat and sleep at the school. Professional, experienced adult supervision ensures the safety of your child 24/7.
 
5. Most private schools are day schools.
 
In a day school your child attends classes during normal daytime hours. Extracurricular activities and sports are typically included within that day time schedule.
 
6. Some private schools offer a blend of day and boarding options.
 
Boarding schools located in a town or city often offer a day student option for local families. That can reduce the . . .read more
You and I can understand the average cost of tuition of private schools as detailed on Private School Review by being aware of a couple of factors. We will take a look at those factors and also show you how the cost of a private K-12 education varies from region to region. That way, if you have to move from one location to another, you will have a general idea of what to expect as far as your private school expenses go.

 

We will begin with a look at how the cost of elementary schools compares with schools offering high school grades.

 

 
Costs subsidized by religious organizations
 
Let's examine one reason why average tuition costs can be less in one area than in another. That has to do with the number of religious schools included in the statistics. I am not being negative here. Just factual. Faith-based schools, be they Roman Catholic, Jewish or Christian or any other religion, tend to be subsidized by their religious organizations. For example, a temple which establishes an elementary school will do so to serve its congregation in the first instance and then as an outreach to the wider Jewish community in the second instance. The tuition generally will be discounted for families who are members of the temple. This practice is similar to how state universities charge less for students who are state residents as . . .read more
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