Choosing a Private School

This section will provide expert advice, valuable tools, and relevant resources to aid in the decision making process. Learn more about what factors to consider when choosing a private school, what to expect at an open house, and how an educational consultant can help.
View the most popular articles in Choosing a Private School:
Published January 25, 2017 |
What About A School For Gifted Children?
As you begin to think about sending your child to private school, be sure to look at all your options.

Editor's note: I asked Melissa P. Earls, Head of School of Academy Hill School in Springfield, Massachusetts several questions about teaching gifted children. She very kindly offered the following answers. (I will disclaim that my youngest grandson attends Academy Hill School.)  - Rob Kennedy

1. Why should parents consider sending their child to a school for gifted children?

Not every school is right for every child. And, even if a child is academically advanced, or gifted in any number of ways, a school that offers an enhanced, enriched curriculum with high expectations and increased rigor might not be the right fit. I would never push any school on any student. But, for our learners, and other students like them, Academy Hill is a terrific fit.  We offer several programs that set us apart.  

When looking for a school for a gifted child, it is critical that parents seek out an environment that will continuously engage the child in creative, student-driven tasks. It is important that the school allow core curriculum time and opportunities for students to pursue areas of interest in depth. It is imperative that the pace of instruction matches the student's ability to comprehend content, apply knowledge and acquire skills at faster speeds and with high proficiency.  Because these children are usually eager learners, formative assessments, while necessary in any educational setting, may not be as frequent and certainly do not look the same as they would in other environments.  For example, monthly, quarterly or even annual

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Updated February 08, 2017 |
How To Search For Schools
Private School Review has a robust search engine which will make your private school search process much easier to do. Here are some tips on how to use this tool.

As I prepared to write this article about searching for private K-12 schools, I had a flash back to the fall of 1986 when we started looking at schools for our eldest daughter. There was no email or internet back then, at least that the general public had access to. We knew friends who had gone to private school. At one point I had interviewed to be the Music teacher at a New England boarding school. But that was it. That was all we knew about private high schools. Reaching further back into my memory bank, I remember enrolling our eldest daughter in the now defunct St. Peter's by-the-sea Day School when it first opened in 1971. When we moved to Garden City, we enrolled her in the Waldorf School of Garden City. These two decisions were fairly easy because we knew the schools which came highly recommended by family and friends. No email or web searches were possible, nor were they needed.

Back to our 21st-century private school search. We have some very powerful tools available to us. Unfortunately, these tools can produce results which can be misleading, confusing or, at worst, useless. Search engines require us to filter the data carefully to eliminate information which we don't need. Useful results depend on the manner in which you word the search terms.  Happily, this is not the case with the Private School Review search engine. Our programmers have set up the fields you need to search our

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Updated August 05, 2016 |
5 Signs You Are On The Right Track
It is easy to get side-tracked when you embark on a major project like searching for a private school for your child. Here are five indications that you are doing it correctly.

Here is another way of looking at the private school search process. This checklist highlights the main tasks in what is, for most of us, an eighteen to twenty-month long project. While circumstances will occasionally require you to do everything in a rush at the last minute, we will review progress from the point of view of the more customary time-frame. Work transfers or some other event requiring you to move to a new city never happen conveniently, do they? When you have to find a private school quickly, you will have to telescope the full-length search into a few months. That is doable, and I discuss how to handle that situation in Is It Too Late To Apply?  In the meantime, let's review the five signs that you are on the right track in your private school search process.

You have scanned dozens of private school websites.

In step one, you look at as many private school websites as possible. Start with the powerful search engine right here on Private School Review. We have over 27,000 schools in our database. As a result, you should be able to find plenty of material. The only filters which you might want to use at this early stage are the following:  kind of school, i.e., religious, military and special needs; and the grades offered. Before you start searching, determine the kind of school which you want for your child. If you are looking for

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Updated February 08, 2017 |
A Guide To Schools Within 10 Miles Of Philadelphia
Philadelphia is home to some of the oldest K-12 schools in the nation.

Philadelphia is home to some of the oldest K-12 schools in the nation. Located strategically on the east coast on the main transportation routes between New York City and Washington, DC, Philadelphia itself offers a wealth of commercial and cultural activities for families. And if the city doesn't have what you are looking for, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland are just minutes away. The following school profiles spotlight private K-12 schools within 10 miles of Philadelphia. Of the 73 schools shown in the search results, I included schools which offer instruction up to Grade 12 and have a student population of over 200 in most cases.

Private schools within 10 miles of Philadelphia

International Christian High School, Philadelphia, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 6
Founded in 1968
Number of students: 123
Grades 9-12, day. Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Christian
Student-teacher ratio: 11:1

The course catalog lists 5 AP courses. For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the International Christian High School profile.  

The Haverford School, Haverford, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 8.6
Founded in 1884
Number of students: 981
Grades PK-12, day. Boys
Religious Affiliation: Non-sectarian
Student-teacher ratio: 9:1

For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see The Haverford School profile. 

Friends Select School, Philadelphia, PA 

Miles from Philadelphia: 0.3
Founded in 1689
Number of students: 971
Grades PK-12, day. Coeducational
Religious

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Updated July 03, 2016 |
A Guide to the Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
The Cleveland Council of Independent Schools is an organization which currently has thirteen member schools in the greater Cleveland area.

The Cleveland Council of Independent Schools currently has thirteen member schools in the Greater Cleveland metropolitan area. On the list below are schools which offer a variety of programs including college prep, Montessori, and special needs. The CCIS website is informative and useful.  It also has an employment section worth bookmarking if you are looking for a teaching or administrative position in one of their member schools.

Andrews Osborne Academy, Willoughby, OH

Founded in 1910
Number of students: 336
Grades PK-12, day. Grades 7-12, boarding. Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Nonsectarian

Andrews Osborne Academy is situated on a 330 acre campus about 20 miles east of Cleveland just outside the charming suburban city of Willoughby. The school offers a 6:1 student-teacher ratio. The course catalog lists 104 academic courses and 11 AP courses. For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the Andrews Osborne Academy profile. 

Birchwood School, Cleveland, OH

Founded in 1984
Number of students: 202
Grades PK-8, day.  Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Nonsectarian

Birchwood School is located in Cleveland convenient to  I-90, I-480 and I-71. The school offers gifted education as well as a comprehensive series of signature programs such as Speech Fest and Woodmath.  For complete details regarding curriculum, sports, extracurricular activities, costs, and other information, see the Birchwood School profile.  

Gilmour Academy, Gates Mills, OH

Founded in 1946
Number of students: 653
Grades PK-12, day.  Coeducational
Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic

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Choosing a Private School

Getting Started

In this section we offer a look into some of the most important factors of choosing a private school. Investigate single-sex education and read what students have to say, learn more about what is important when choosing a private school, and get valuable advice on transitioning to a new school.

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.

Evaluating Schools

Here you will find resources and tools to aid in your search and evaluation of private schools. Explore the ranking system and read what schools have to say about it. Learn more about the most important questions to ask and how an education consultant can get answers. Use our checklists to help compare school administration, curriculum and more.