High School Issues

Learn more about high school academics, discipline policies and other issues relevant to private schools. Here we cover dress codes, explain the difference between AP and IB courses and discuss teen suicide. You’ll also find information on study abroad programs, codes of conduct and the best graduation gifts.
View the most popular articles in High School Issues:
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...
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A private school handbook is essentially a set of guidelines for life in the school community. Most handbooks are comprehensive, very detailed documents which seek to cover every conceivable aspect of school life. They are generally rather lengthy documents too as you will see when you review the examples listed at the end of this article. Take time to review your school's handbook. Discuss and confirm that your child understands the seriousness of this document. While the school will explain the content of its handbook, assume nothing.

Handbooks outline guidelines. They are not contracts. When you send your child to private school,you sign a contract clearly spelling out your obligations and the school's obligations. That contract is a binding legal document. Unfortunately it is one of those documents with pages of fine print that you file carefully in a safe place. That's where the handbook comes in. The handbook covers the day to day rules, policies and procedures which you and your child must adhere to and abide by while part of the school community. The handbook usually explains the rules, policies and procedures in great detail. "I didn't know that!" will be an unacceptable reason for breaking the rules because every student is expected to read, know and apply the material contained in their school's handbook.

Many handbooks are online. Depending on the school, the access may be password protected and limited to current parents and other members of the school community. Many schools publish their...
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One of the many reasons for sending your child to a private school is because you know that she will be safe. School violence is rarely found in private schools. I won't scare you with examples of school violence. You see and read about these incidents every day both at home and abroad. Instead let's explore some of the reasons and factors which make private schools safe places for your child.

Discipline Codes
Most private schools have discipline codes. These discipline codes are enforceable and indeed are enforced simply because you and your child have entered into a legal contract with the school. As a result, when a student violates the code, there will be consequences up to and including expulsion. In a public school your rights are spelled out under the Constitution. Due process must be followed before any serious consequences can occur. That can take weeks or even months. In a private school the decision is made swiftly with consequences in place within a matter of hours or days at most. That's why private schools are safe places which allow learning to take place. Most of the students in a private school are there to learn. Not to waste time and fool around. Or get into trouble of any kind.

Dress codes are another important part of a private school's approach to discipline. While some schools require a uniform, most have a dress code. So the outlandish getups you see in many public schools are...
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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...
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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...
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High School Issues

Academics

A comprehensive look at high school academics. We cover grades, AP and IB courses, and the post graduate year. Learn the secrets of A+ students. Explore summer abroad programs, read interviews with experts and get valuable tips on excelling academically.

Discipline

A brief look into high school discipline policies. From codes of conduct to uniforms and dress code, we'll provide information on the latest practices in private schools.

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.