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:
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 . . .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 . . .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 . . .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 . . .read more
Cindy Springsteen writes about teens for the Long Island Examiner. I asked her about the challenges facing teens and their parents in the 21st century within the context of sending them off to private school. Here are her answers. ~ Robert Kennedy

RK. Does sending your teens off to private school help protect them from drinking and other forms of substance abuse? Your reasons?
CS. No, I do not think sending your teens to a private school is going to protect them from the dangers of drinking and other forms of abuse. Teens are teens and just because they are in a private school, they will still be exposed to everything that is available to them in the public schools. In some cases it is said that private school teens come from families with money and could more easily purchase bad things. This is a personal opinion.  
RK. Cindy, I agree that teens are teens. Whether they go to private or public school, they will be exposed to all sorts of opportunities to drink. The difference, however, with private school is that if they are caught, the consequences will be serious and swift. I know of an instance at one of my daughters' schools where a couple of seniors decided to sneak a drink on campus a few days before graduation. They were caught and were not permitted . . .read more
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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.