August 12, 2012
There are several advantages a private school can offer over most public schools. For example, small class sizes and individual attention. Sports programs and extracurricular activities also make the list. But how about college advising? In the first place getting a solid college preparation is probably one of the reasons you are thinking of sending your child to private school. You have read the course catalog and approve of the breadth and depth of the school's academic offerings. But what about the skilled guidance and expertise a high school guidance counselor can offer? That's part of the package too. Let's explore how private high schools approach college advising.
Dedicated Resources for College Advising
Take The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, for example. I quote their College Advising page so you can see how many resources are available to you and your child in an average sized private high school with grades 9 through 12. Five staffers have about 160 12th graders to handle. Contrast that with some public high schools where the ratio of guidance counselor to students is 1 professional to 700+ students.
|The George Berman Center for College Advising |
The George Berman Center for College Advising is located on the first floor of the Academic Center. It offers an inviting, spacious research room, an extensive college resource library, and a large conference room.
Hill's College Advising Office consists of Director of College Advising Craig Allen; Associate Director of College Advising Christina Cerenzia; Associate Director of College...
May 14, 2012
Joann McPike, the founder of THINK Global School, graciously answered some questions which I posed about the school. ~ Rob Kennedy
Explain why you took the reins rather than find some institution which you could guide and shape according to your ideals and goals?
My husband and I love to travel, we have always taken our son Alexander with us whenever we went anywhere. We took his school work with us. It was Alexander's never ending questions and comments that started showing us the benefit of travel to opening the minds of youngsters.
We started looking at boarding schools all over the world for when he had to go to high school and although there are some amazing schools out there, we couldn't find one that would provide the different points of view that we felt were necessary to have a truly open mind.
As to why I didn't find an institution that we could guide and shape... I assume you mean an existing school? I guess I thought it would be more difficult to try to convince a school board to do something so out of the ordinary than to start a school from scratch. Most people feel safe in the status quo, then there are a few risk takers who want to shake things up a little. I guess I am one of those people who want to shake things up a little... as are the courageous parents who took a leap of faith and sent their children get...read more
September 01, 2010
Joseph Gauld is a distinguished educator who founded Hyde Schools in 1966. He very kindly agreed to answer some questions about Hyde Schools and his educational philosophy. The Editor.
1. Tell us a bit about the crisis of conscience which you had back in 1966. This is how the concept of Hyde Schools was shaped, correct?
As a director of admissions who taught calculus and coached football in 1962, I had a crisis of conscience when I realized I was part of a competitive educational system valuing certain abilities that blocked the full development of the unique potential of students.
As a mathematics teacher and varsity basketball and football coach in the 50s and 60s, I was inspired to start a new school because of an experience in an advanced calculus class I was teaching. My brightest student, who ultimately received the highest grade in the class, exhibited very little genuine curiosity in his own learning or that of others, relying almost exclusively on his innate abilities, despite the fact I encouraged him repeatedly to challenge himself.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was another student in the same class who was the classic “plugger.” Although he had considerable difficulty with the material, he embodied all of the qualities and virtues I hoped that schools would espouse: curiosity, strong work ethic, concern for others, honesty, etc. I praised his effort, yet ultimately—and reluctantly—gave him the lowest grade in the class.
This example, represented to me what was wrong with...
June 14, 2008
Most schools use letter grades these days. But not every school uses the same letter grade scheme. This can cause problems when it comes time to send transcripts off to college admissions offices. The A at one school may not be equivalent to the A at another school.
The most common grade scheme is the following:
F Below 60
If your school uses a variation of this scheme, then be sure to send a key or explanation sheet attached to each transcript. Failure to do so could cause mis-interpretation of students' results.
How does this tie in with GPA?
GPA or Grade Point Average is numerical equivalent of all your letter grades totalled and averaged. The numerical equivalents for letter grades are as follows:
A = 4.0
B = 3.0
C = 2.0
D = 1.0
F = 0.0
So, in theory if an A is 4.0, an A+ is higher. At some institutions that is the case. To put grades into perspective most graduate schools will require a 3.0 GPA for admission. American public schools set the benchmark at 1.0 for graduation.
May 10, 2008
Students sitting in rows of desks listening to a teacher lecture? You are not likely to find this scenario in a school which uses Harkness Tables. The brainchild of wealthy industrialist Edward Harkness, an Exeter
alumnus, Harkness Tables are oval tables which seat 12-18 students together with their teacher. You cannot hide in the back of the classroom which uses Harkness Tables. That's the point. Engaged students learn.
In ancient times teaching was collaborative - think Socrates
- but somewhere in our Victorian-Edwardian past we got off the rails and began lining children up in regimented rows of chairs and desks. Maria Montessori
and Rudolph Steiner
rebelled against this sort of regimentation. Their classrooms became what we would now call activity centers.
High school lab courses such as chemistry and physics have always been interactive and hands on. Discussion of findings and research are encouraged in that collaborative environment. Every member of the class has an opinion and a finding. That is the idea behind the Harkness Table. Every member of the class is encouraged to be an active participant. Because eye contact is a critical element of this style of learning, the Harkness Table's oval shape is ideal. It allows everybody around the table to see and be seen. Students and teacher interact. The teacher facilitates without dominating the lesson. He guides and steers the learning process. Maria Montessori would be thrilled.
Harkness Tables are widely used in prep...read more
April 15, 2013
Here are a dozen or so girls' schools' public thoughts about themselves and their missions.
Why Private School,
Getting into Private School,
Jobs in Private Schools,
What's being taught in private schools
What Is IB?
What is IB? IB or International Baccalaureate is a curriculum offered by the International Baccalaureate organization based in Switzerland.
What is AP?
AP is short for the Advanced Placement Program offered by the College Board. More here.
College Advising in Private High Schools
Private high schools offer strong college advising programs.
An Interview with Joann McPike, founder of THINK Global School
Some schools offer trips abroad, even semesters abroad. Think Global School students live abroad. Joann McPike explains the concept and workings of the school she founded.
Interactive Learning the Harkness Way
Students sitting in rows of desks listening to a teacher lecture? You are not likely to find this scenario in a school which uses Harkness Tables.
School Year Abroad
Several private schools offer a whole academic year abroad. Still others offer a summer abroad.
An Interview with the Founder of Hyde Schools
Joseph Gauld is a distinguished educator who founded Hyde Schools in 1966.
The PG Year
A PG or Post Graduate year offers time to mature and time to perfect a sport or other interests.
What's In A Grade?
The letter grade at one school may or may not be the same as the letter grade scheme at another school. Some answers to the inconsistencies here.
Note: Data has been gathered from the Dept. of Education, schools, and commercial data sources.