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:
Preventing Teen Suicide
Teen suicide is the 3rd largest killer of young adults between the ages of 15-24. It can be prevented.
Every year there are reports of private school students taking their own lives. Suicide casts a terrible pall over any school community. It just seems so pointless, so senseless. Yet, had members of the community acted on the signals the young person was most likely sending, that suicide could have been prevented.
 
The academic work in private school can be very heavy. The pressures to succeed, to get into the best college, to not let parents and others down combined with the reality of adolescent uncertainities can create a climate for depression. Depression can lead to suicide. But suicide is preventable.
 
Suicide is preventable.

Suicide is the 3rd largest killer of young adults between the ages of 15-24. But teen suicide is preventable. You just have to know the warning signs.

As a parent you need to spend quality time with your child. Listen to him. Don't talk at him. Share your experiences and feelings. Be available. Keep firearms and other weapons locked up.

As a student you need to be aware of what is going on with your peers. If you notice somebody acting strangely or talking about 'ending it', take it seriously. Get help.

As an administrator you need to promote awareness of suicide. You need to proactively hold training for suicide prevention. Create 24/7 access to an anonymous suicide hotline. Offer help and counseling. Above all do not stigmatize students or staff for reporting information.

As a teacher you need to be accessible. Be attuned to the warning signs. Act on...
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Cellphones In School
Cellphones are leading the wave of the future. Convergence is here. It is changing the way students learn and how teachers teach.
Read the educational listservs these days and you realize hat iPhones are leading the convergence charge. The Blackberry revolutionized the way business stays connected. The iPhone is doing the same thing in education. Actually cellphones in general keep students connected in ways we never would have thought possible even 5 years ago.
 
Cellphones' big advantage when it comes to learning is that you don't have to build any local infrastructure. In other words you don't have to wire buildings and set up servers to support a cellphone. The cellphone service provider does that. There's still a ways to go but it won't be much longer before teachers will routinely deliver information and content via students' iPhones or similar devices.

The text novel craze which started in Japan a year or so ago has spread to the U.S. Do we care that kids are writing in this specific genre? Not at all! The point is that they are writing! Writing with passion and with a vengeance. Writing the way they want to. How extraordinary.

Back to cellphones.These handheld devices are revolutionizing the way we live and the way we teach.Whether it is an iPod, an eeePC or an iPhone, it is getting smaller by the year. It is incorporating more functionality and power and features.

Convergence. Now that's a good thing.

My Child Has Been Expelled For Smoking Pot!
If your child is caught smoking pot or drinking on her private school campus, the consequences will be severe.
We parents hold our breath as our children enter the teenage years. So many temptations. So much peer pressure. The difference between public and private school becomes very marked when it comes to handling the big issues such as substance abuse among other disciplinary matters. Here is what you can expect to find at most private schools.

Break The Rules. Face The Music.
Put another way, if your child gets caught smoking pot or drinking on a private school campus, she will almost certainly be asked to leave the school. (That's the polite way of saying "She will be expelled."

As if expulsion is not embarrassing enough, it creates a major blot on her academic records. Admissions officers at other schools will want to know what the reason was for her sudden departure from Exclusive Country Day School. You will also have to scramble to get her admitted to the local public school where she will be exposed to even more temptations and inappropriate influences.

Infractions of the rules at a public school will almost certainly lead to a similar conclusion. The big difference is that in public school there is something called due process. So the matter will drag on for weeks and months until resolved.That is because students have 'rights' under the Constitution. One is presumed innocent until proven guilty and so on.

Not so in private school. You signed away your child's rights when you signed that contract with the school. Read the fine print. If she commits an infraction,...
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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.
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 and Quintillian - 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...
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What If I Miss The Deadlines?
Finding a school which will accept your child after the normal admissions deadline has passed is not easy. But it can be done.
Sometimes things don't go exactly as you'd like. For any number of reasons you find yourself starting theschool search process really late. Perhaps you have been transferred and are suddenly faced with finding a place for your child. It's May and the move is planned for July. You need a place for the fall. And fast. What do you do?

Contact the Schools

Contact the schools directly and see if a place is available. Phone the admissions department as soon as you can. That assumes, of course, that you know the schools in the area to which you are relocating. But what if you don't? What if you simply don't have time to do all that careful research? The solution is to hire an educational consultant to do the work for you. Consultants know private schools and have the contacts to find a place for a qualified student.

You May Be in Luck If There Are Places
Back to the original question: what if you have missed the deadlines for entry next fall? You probably will be out of luck when it comes to the most competitive schools. But there are plenty of very good schools which have rolling admissions or no fixed admissions deadline. In other words, they admit qualified applicants as long as they have places for them. The other reality is that no school likes to have empty places. But things do happen. Students are forced to drop out of school for all kinds of reasons. Suddenly a place...
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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.