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:
Updated June 13, 2016 |
Handbooks
A private school handbook is essentially a set of guidelines for life in the school community.
A private school handbook is essentially a set of guidelines for life in the school community. The reason why I am devoting an entire article here on Private School Review is to underscore the importance of handbooks. Both you and your child need to understand that the school's handbook is linked to the contract which you signed with the school. Private schools are not like public schools in this very important regard: students have rights in a public school; but they do not have rights in a private school. They are governed by what is known as contract law. That contract which you signed with the school spells out all the obligations of the parties to that contract. Somewhere buried in the fine print will be a statement to the effect that one of your child's obligations is to abide by the rules and regulations of the school and its community as set forth in the school's handbook and elsewhere.
 
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 at the beginning of school, assume nothing. Make sure that she understands that failure to abide by the terms of the
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Updated August 16, 2015 |
The Safety Factor
There are several reasons why private schools are safe places for children. More here.
As you well know, there are several reasons why you are considering private school for your child. Her safety is on your list, albeit, somewhere below other considerations such as the academics, athletics and extracurricular activities when you first start thinking about schools. Safety is not usually an issue in private schools. Indeed school violence is not often found in private schools. In fact the only examples of which I am aware in recent years consist of a few scattered incidents of hazing and cyber-bullying. I won't scare you with examples of school violence in public schools. 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. Then you can check that box on your list of questions about private schools.
 
Discipline Codes
 
One of the most important reasons why private schools tend to be safe places for your children is because they all have discipline codes. These discipline codes are enforceable and indeed are enforced simply because you and your child entered into a legal contract with the school when you agreed to send your child to the school. As a result, when a student violates the code, there will be consequences up to and including expulsion. In a public school students have constitutional rights. In a public school due process normally must be followed before any serious disciplinary consequences can occur. That due process can
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Should You Consider Sending Your Child to a New School?
You have just heard about a new private school opening soon in your area. Should you consider sending your child there? A look at the pros and cons of such a decision.
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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Updated August 31, 2016 |
Here are some answers and some resources to help you deal with those tough questions, such as "What I do when my child has been expelled?"

Life deals us some tough hands to play from time to time. Certainly this can be true while your child is at private school. Certain questions always seem to present themselves unexpectedly at the worst possible time. But life is like that, isn't it? The old, comfortable, and very predictable playbook which you and I 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 and situations. 

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 this event 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? Counseling will probably be required. Both for him and for you. What legal recourse do you have? Probably not much. After all, 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

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Updated November 03, 2016 |
What If They Won't Have Your Child Back?
It's spring. You receive a letter from the school advising you that it will not be renewing its contract with you for next year. How can this happen? We offer some answers.

I can just hear you thinking "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. One of those clauses states that the school does not have to renew its contract with you automatically. Most contracts have finite terms which are normally 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 to teach here as well. And that is to not flinch at life's challenges. Life is full of seemingly impossible challenges and situations.

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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.