Other Issues

From graduation gifts to preventing teen suicide, this section provides information on a variety of topics affecting high school students. Learn what to do when your child is expelled, you need financial aid or you’re looking for a teaching job. Get expert advice on protecting your teen from substance abuse, finding the right high school and handling personal technology on campus.
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A couple of years ago I wrote 5 Ways to Support Your School in which I examined the ways you can support your school financially. That article was aimed at private school graduates and discussed how they could support the school which had given them such a good start. Now let's look at how parents can get involved with their child's school.
 
The old standbys still exist. Helping chaperone a field trip and bringing in a plate of cookies or cupcakes are still welcomed. Mind you, these days you have to make sure that you have liability insurance for the trips and must take care to avoid ingredients which might cause an allergic reaction, such as peanuts. Once those matters have been dealt with trips and cookies are always popular.
 
Why get involved?
 
Aren't you busy enough? You have a full time career. Your wife's job requires her to travel frequently. How on earth are you going to find time to be involved with your child's school? Practical excuses aside, you want to be involved with your child's school to show your support for the school and its programs.

This event at The Hockaday School, Dallas Texas, was made very memorable because of all the parents who attended.
 

I served on my youngest daughter's class parents committee. If I remember correctly, we met once a month. We were charged with raising money to buy something for the classroom. I remember baking cookies and muffins. . . .read more
Have you ever wondered...
 
Why a private school doesn't have to tell you why it refused your child admission?
 
Private schools do not have to accept applicants who do not meet their specific admissions criteria. Each private school has its own unique admissions criteria. Each school reviews its own applicant pool. Each school makes its own decisions completely independent of what any other school may decide. There is no appeal process once that decision is made. Neither does the school have to tell you why it made the decision it did. One way of 'reading the tea leaves' as it were is to hire an educational consultant. Her long experience with and knowledge of schools and their admissions process will generally be most helpful.
 

 
What happens if your kid gets caught breaking the rules?
 
This question is important. Unlike public schools where there is due process and something called student rights, private schools are governed by contract law. You and the school signed a contract covering the various terms and conditions of your child's stay at the school. While it may seem like a lot of fine print and legal language, it is there for a purpose: to protect the school. Read your contract carefully and understand that the school may discipline your child for breaking school rules. Depending on how serious the infraction is, the punishment could include expulsion. 
 

 
Most private schools have a student handbook which explains all the rules and their . . .read more
The Best School $75 Million Can Buy caught my eye. A new private school is always exciting news for this veteran observer of the private school scene both here at home and abroad. But the opening of a new private for-profit school in an under-served market such as New York City? Wow! That takes guts, tons of money and superb planning and execution of that plan. And you know what? Based on what I read, it's going to be a school funded by experienced business people and run by seasoned education professionals. That's what any private school in the 21st century needs in order to be successful. Solid funding and skilled management.  
 
 
Now, to that interesting question. "Should you consider sending your child to a new school?" I am not being evasive, but my answer is a simple "It depends". It depends on several things. Let's look at some of the factors which will help you decide.
 
Does the new school meet your educational requirements?
 
Does the school offer what you require for your child's education? New York City has a strong demand for places in private schools and a very low inventory of available places. Several Roman Catholic elementary and high schools have been forced to close in recent years. Demand for places is also driven by a robust mix of high income families with school age children and demanding parents who want the very best K-12 education for their children . . .read more
Certain questions always seem to present themselves unexpectedly at the worst possible time. But life is like that, isn't it? The old, comfortable, predictiable play book we used to follow thirty or forty years ago has gone by the boards. Here then are some answers and some resources to help you deal with these tough questions.

My kid has been expelled?
Being notified that your child has been expelled is serious. The timing will inevitably be very awkward. You literally will have to stop whatever you are doing and deal with this crisis. For a crisis it most assuredly is. The mere fact that your child broke the kind of rules and did something which warranted his expulsion means that you need to get to the bottom of the situation. Why did he do this? Counselling will probably be required. Both for him and for you. What recourse do you have? Probably not much. The contract which you and the school signed spells out the consequences for infractions of the code of conduct which guides students' lives at school.

Finding a new school won't be easy but is doable if you hire an educational consultant to make it happen. If you do it on your own, you will spend countless hours calling and explaining your situation. It makes more sense to have a detached and professional consultant do all that for you. Efficiently and cost-effectively.

I want to find a teaching job?
If you want to . . .read more
I can just hear you saying "He's got to be kidding. After spending inordinate amounts of my valuable time and resources getting my child into private school, the school can decide it doesn't want her back next year?"

Yes, the school can do that. Sad. But true. Read the contract which you signed with the school when your daughter was first accepted. It very clearly spells out the rights each party to the contract has. And one of those is that the school does not have to automatically renew its contract with you. The contract has a finite term. Usually for one academic year.

How do you avoid the school sending a non-renewal notice? You make sure that the following are in order:

1. Acceptable academic progress
While it would be nice if your child could be first in every subject she takes, that is asking a bit too much. But you definitely want to keep her in the top third. If the school recommends extra help or even tutoring, don't fight that recommendation. Calculus may have been a breeze for you. But if she is struggling with it, be ahead of the curve. Accept the help offered.

All they really want is to see are her best efforts and maximum cooperation in achieving good results. There's a larger lesson that the school is trying to teach here as well. And that is to not flinch at life's challenges. Life is full of seemingly impossible . . .read more
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