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.
View the most popular articles in Evaluating Schools:
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5 Reasons Why You Might Change Schools
Here are five reasons why you might want to change schools.

The scenario which we are going to discuss is not as uncommon as you might think. After all you have spent a considerable amount of time researching and visiting schools in a serious effort to find the school with the best fit. But a few months after school has begun you realize that something isn't right. Your child is miserable. Well, that's just one of the several reasons why you might want to change schools. Let's look at some other reasons.
 
1. Your child has been expelled.
 
Ouch! We will discuss this unfortunate reason for finding a new school first. This reason for changing schools is rather like being fired. It is enormously dispiriting and in many ways a life-changing experience just like losing your job is. Continuing that analogy, finding a new school for a child who has been expelled is almost as difficult as finding a new job is. The following video describes what happens when your child is expelled from public school. Private school expulsions are covered by the contract which you and the school signed.The net result is the same and is a very serious situation.

You can expect to have lots of questions asked. So, have your answers well thought out. Do not equivocate. Try not to put too positive a spin on the situation. An admissions staffer will see right through that. Answer the questions truthfully. The school will want to know if your child has learned

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5 Questions You Need To Ask
As you begin to evaluate schools, keep these five basic questions in mind.
While you are in the early stages of identifying private high schools for your child, you will read plenty of catalogs and scan dozens of school web sites. You will uncover a lot of information. Just be aware that all of this is the information which the schools want you to see. These are marketing tools which present the best side to the schools and their programs. While there is certainly nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, the reality is that you need to lift the hood and see what's inside. Find answers to the following five basic questions as part of your due diligence as you sort through schools and begin to determine which one is the best fit for your child.
 
Get the answers to your questions two ways: by reading the materials offered and by asking in person. Incidentally, if you have decided to use the services of an educational consultant, these are questions which she can answer for you. Then all you have to do is follow up when you visit the schools and affirm what you already know.
 
1. What are they teaching?
 
For most parents this is the first question on the list. It is our priority #1. It plays to our concern about what kind of college or university our child will ultimately attend. Preparing for that next step is a huge undertaking and we know that we have to get it right. Preparing for college level
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How Do They Teach?
Part of evaluating the schools on your short list is examining how the teaching is done.
"How do they teach?" is a question which you need to ask as you evaluate schools on your short list. This question has been on your mind ever since you began considering sending your child to private school. While it certainly is relevant at almost any stage of the school selection process, it becomes critically important now that you are circling around those final few schools on your list. Be sure to have the question answered. You can do this by asking the admissions staff how the teaching is done at their school. They are accustomed to answering the question and will provide a detailed explanation for you. Furthermore I do recommend that you ask the identical question at each school you visit. Then you will be able to compare apples to apples, having asked the same question at each school.
 
Whether you are looking at your options for preschool, primary school, middle school or high school, how the teachers teach is just as important as what they teach. As you review each school's curriculum, familiarize yourself with how that curriculum is taught. Make sure that everything matches your requirements and expectations.
 
Laying the Groundwork for an Education
 
Let's look at three areas of concern which we as parents have faced outside the classroom as we raised our children. From infancy we have had control of what we taught. We have shaped our child's thinking up to the point where she went off to preschool and kindergarten. In school everything changes once
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Is It Worth Using a Consultant?
Here are the reasons why using the services of a professional educational consultant is worth it.

Most of us parents are fairly adept at tackling the various projects which life seems to put in front of us. Whether finding an apartment or purchasing a home or dealing with medical issues or writing a will, we all do our research, sift through the various options and make our choice. That's a pretty standard modus operandi, right? Well, obviously I have simplified things a bit because I left out the consultation we all had with experts in just about every case. The doctors explained the choices we had for the medical issues and prescribed a course of treatment. Our trusted attorney reviewed the lease agreements and purchase agreements for our real estate transactions so that we didn't run into problems in the months and years ahead. We just used those experts as a matter of course. This video is a bit dramatic but it makes my point: you need expert help choosing a private school just as you need expert help for other major decisions.

But we don't need any experts to help us choose the right private school for our child, do we? We can do all this ourselves, right? Wrong! I know because we thought we could choose the right school for our very talented eldest daughter who had the perfect academic transcripts, the sports and the extracurricular activities. This would be a cake walk. Just visit a couple of schools, apply and that was all there was to it. Our mistake

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Checklist for Comparing Schools - Curriculum and Instruction
What's being taught and how it is being taught are important parts of your checklist for comparing schools on your short list.
When you begin comparing schools on your short list, you need to review what is being taught and how it is being taught. Instruction goes to the heart of what private schools are really all about. That is the main reason private schools exist. Parents want certain things taught and they want them taught a certain way. The state education department will require every school under its jurisdiction to meet certain minimum requirements. For example, a high school student must receive a certain number of credits in English and mathematics in order to graduate. Private schools typically exceed any minimums specified by the state department of education.
 
With this as a backdrop you want to take time to review the courses offered in the schools on your short list. Do they match your objectives and requirements? Do they offer the depth and intensity which you want your child to have? For example, Shakespeare is taught in many public high school English courses. Typically one play will be covered. By contrast a private school English class will read two or three Shakespeare plays. Because private school classes are small and the students focused on their academic work, much more can be accomplished.
 
International Baccalaureate
 
About thirty private schools offer a curriculum known as the International Baccalaureate. It is a comprehensive program which covers kindergarten through 12th grade. The diploma program is offered in high school. Like any other international diploma the IB offers consistency and a high standard. As a result
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Choosing a Private School

EVALUATING SCHOOLS