We parents are in a rather difficult position when it comes to finding out information about private schools. Because they are private schools, they are not subject to the usual sunshine or freedom of information laws. They are just like a privately-held company. They are under no legal obligation to tell you or the general public anything. You need to know exactly what is lurking behind those gorgeous web photos and enthusiastic classroom shots. You need to know the condition of the school from reliable sources. That's where hiring an educational consultant comes in. These professionals know their schools from the arts curriculum to the vintage of the Zamboni machine used on the hockey rink. This is information which you need in order to permit you to make the informed decisions you need to make about finding the right private school for your child.
One caveat, and it is a major one: there are educational consultants who claim to be able to get you into a school. Be careful. The sign of the genuine article is an educational consultant who will offer to help you find the best match for you and your child's requirements. Just be aware.
The following questions are ones you might want to ask but probably feel uncomfortable asking. That's why it's a good thing to hire an educational consultant. She can ask such questions with relative impunity. Plus she will think of dozens of other questions and raise many other issues about
If you have questions about a school's athletic program, be sure to contact the athletic director. The blend of academic and athletic excellence possible in a private school setting will please you. Your son or daughter will be able to
|School Demographics||School #1||School #2||School #3|
|Day or boarding|
|Coed or single sex|
|Number of students|
|Number of boarders|
|Number of day students|
|How diverse is the student body?|
|Number of faculty|
|Student to faculty ratio|
|Administration and Faculty|
|How long has the headmaster/principal been in office?|
|How large is the endowment?|
|Financial condition of school (Excellent to marginal)|
|Number of faculty with advanced degrees|
|Staff turnover (If turnover, why?)|
|Curriculum and Instruction|
|Number of AP courses|
|Teaching methods (Harkness, classical, etc.)|
|Is technology integrated into teaching?|
|Which denomination or faith?|
|Intensity of observances (relaxed to mandatory)|
|Campus and Facilities|
|Security and safety|
|Is staff helpful?|
|Policies and procedures|
|Quality of visit and tour|
|Financial aid offered|
Most schools now subscribe to Internet 2 as well as the commercial internet. They also use email and VOIP phones internally for seamless integration of data and voice messaging.
While Macs are popular in many schools, most private schools use PCs in line with the common practice in the business world.
Technology staffs are now fulltime professionals. Their duties are divided between traditional line and support functions and academic technology responsibilities. Showing teachers how to use technology in the classroom is just as important as troubleshooting somebody's malfunctioning PC.
Web 2.0 tools can be found throughout private schools. Blogs, Skype, RSS feeds, social networking sites and wikis flourish. Many schools encourage parents to follow their child's progress through the use of Web portals and messaging. Parents can monitor academic progress in realtime rather than just