Finding Schools

Learn more about how to find and evaluate private schools. Find out why price should not be your only consideration. Get valuable advice on how to save time and money when choosing a school. Learn more about ranking schools and why it may not work.
View the most popular articles in Finding Schools:
Is your child struggling in school? Do you not understand why she is not doing well in school? Does she hate going to school instead of going eagerly each day?
 
At the first sign that their child has a learning disability, many parents go into a state of denial. That will not help the child. The first thing any concerned parent should do is have the child evaluated professionally. You must identify your child's strengths and weakness and proceed accordingly. Only professional learning specialists, pediatricians and psychologists are equipped to do these sorts of evaluations. Based on an evaluation you can explore the many options available to you and your child.

Helping children with learning differences become life-long learners is the mission of the 21st century special needs school. Generations ago these children were left to fend for themselves. Because learning was such a difficult, frustrating experience, many children with learning differemces simply gave up and dropped out of school. But the 21st century special needs schools have highly trained, well-qualified and experieced teachers who have committed themselves to teaching students with a wide variety of learning differences.
  
The Definition Of A Learning Difference
 
What exactly constitutes a learning difference? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),  a federal law, defines it as follows:

The child does not achieve adequately for the child’s age or to meet State-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for . . .read more
Many parents agonize over sending their teenager to boarding school or keeping them at home and sending them to day school. The issue you really need to address is the quality of supervision you are able to give your children after school and on weekends. Let's face it, modern parents lead very busy professional and social lives. If you aren't around to see what's going on, do you know what your teen is up to?
 
The Advantage of Going to Boarding School
 
When you send your child to boarding school, you are buying the whole package: academics, athletics, social life, extracurricular activities and 24/7 supervision all rolled into one. That's just part of the boarding school DNA. It is an incredibly good deal for many thoughtful parents. Of course she will miss her mother and father, her siblings, her own room and all those other special things she knows and loves. But, the truth is that she will be off to college anyway in a few years. Getting a head start on leaving home is not a bad thing. It will pay huge dividends in later years as she has had to learn to cope and adjust to new circumstances at an earlier stage in her life. Teaching her to be independent is a good thing.

Living in a boarding school essentially prevents your child from being anonymous. She will be part of the school community. She will be engaged in its activities, academics and athletics. She will be . . .read more
The question and answer on the Bay Area Private Schools site says it all:

Q. Is there ranking on California private schools?

A. There is no ranking on private elementary schools. Since the key to a rewarding private school education is finding a good match for your child's specific needs, parents should not make their decision solely based on test scores and reputation.

So, the answer to every parent's question "Which is the best school for my child?" is a very ambiguous attorney's answer: "It depends!"  What does it depend on?

It depends on your requirements.
You and your child will have different requirements, of course. You will be looking at test scores of a school's graduates, the colleges to which they matriculate, the quality of the faculty, how competitive the admissions are, and so on. Typical adult benchmarks.

She's more concerned with what kind of kids go to the school, what her social life will be like, whether she can bring her horse to school, how much homework there is and how difficult the work is. Typical teenage concerns.

What you must do to determine the best school for your child is to examine and discuss all the things which matter to you both. This is not a discussion which can take place while stopped at a traffic light after field hockey practice. Set aside some quality time in a neutral location - a quiet booth in a diner will do just . . .read more
Sooner or later you ought to consider a single sex school as opposed to a traditional coeducational school. Why? For several reasons. First of all, coeducational schools have only become 'traditional' or commonly accepted in the last several decades. Private education has its roots in single sex education, both in this country and in England.
 
Indeed, if you look at the history of most of the legendary prep schools in America, you are likely to find that they began as a single sex institutions. For example, Phillips Academy Exeter began as a boys' school. It only began admitting girls in its summer sessions in 1961 which was fifteen years after it dropped the two year Latin requirement - horrible dictu! It would be another nine years before Exeter admitted girls in its regular sessions.
 
So, what's really happening here? American private schools like Exeter have always pretty much mirrored the society which they seek to serve. Back in the late 1700's and early 1800's when many of these schools got their start, educating girls was not considered as important as educating boys. Those views changed over the centuries as the young republic grew and matured. So did views about education. In the 1960's and '70's single sex schools gradually fell out of fashion. In order to survive, some boys' and girls' schools merged to form coeducational schools. Others, like Exeter, saw the handwriting on the wall and moved with the times by admitting girls.
 
In the 21st century the pendulum . . .read more
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FINDING SCHOOLS