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.
View the most popular articles in Finding Schools:
Updated June 24, 2014 |
Choosing Schools: The Safe School
The idea behind a safe school is that you know your child will get into at least one of the schools on your short list. Let's start by reviewing the steps in the process.
The idea behind a safe school is that you know your child will get into at least one of the schools on your short list. Let's start by reviewing the steps in the process.

1. Cast your net as widely as you want.

This is the fun part of the process. Look at anything and everything. No holds barred. If a school in Dallas appeals to you, put it on the list. If one in Lakeville, Connecticut floats your boat, add it to your list. You should end up with 15-20 schools on your first list. Be sure to visit each one virtually. Most schools will have videos so that you can get an idea of what the schools are like by watching the videos. This is not a substitute for visiting a school. It's merely the first pass.

2. Create a short list of schools.

This is where you have to determine which school or schools will be your safe school. What exactly is a safe school? It's a school to which you have an excellent chance of being admitted. It's a school which perhaps is not as competitive as some of the others on your list.

That is the challenge of the second step in this process. You must determine as accurately as possible which schools are genuine reaches or schools which you have a very small chance of getting in. Yes, anything is possible. But you don't need to be relying
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Updated March 14, 2016 |
Considering a Jewish Education
Should you send your child to a Jewish school? We explore the issue and suggest some talking points.

If you are a Jewish parent thinking about private school for your son or daughter, you will probably want to consider sending your child to a Jewish school. Of course, much depends on how observant a Jew you are or consider yourself to be. That will influence your decision in many ways, some subtle, some more obvious.

Many questions will surface at this point. Here are some which you should answer before proceeding with a more detailed search for the right school. As you think of other questions which need answering, add them to the list.

  • Why should your child attend a Jewish school?
  • When should your child attend a Jewish school?
  • How should your child be taught?
  • What should your child be taught?
  • Where should your child go to school?
  • Why should your child attend a Jewish school?

This question addresses perhaps the most important aspect of this discussion. Why, indeed, do you want your child to have a Jewish education? Only you as parents can decide why a Jewish education has value for you. Is your family tradition driving this decision? Are your religious beliefs that important to you and your family that a Jewish education for your children is simply the only option? You need to understand that any parent who sends his child to a religious school is making a strong statement about his faith and the importance which it holds in his life. It will set your child apart from his peers in a very secular world where religious values

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Updated December 01, 2015 |
If We Did Rank Schools...
Ranking private schools is almost impossible because it is so difficult to gather the data needed to compare statistics. If we did rank schools, this is how to do it.

So, let's assume that somehow we could rank private schools. After all, asking how a particular school is ranked is something most parents want to know. We are accustomed to comparing just about everything these days. We comparison shop constantly. We rank our favorite teams. We know which pop artist is on top of the charts. And so on. Comparing and ranking anything and everything is just the way we do things. By doing so we know that we are getting the best value possible.

That comparison shopping approach works fine for most things in our daily lives. Unfortunately it does not work when it comes to ranking private schools. Why? Because each private school is unique. The way it is run, where it is located, the courses it offers, the sports programs, the extracurricular activities, its philosophy and the results it gets are all unique. That doesn't mean we can't compare the various features of private schools. That is doable but it is a lot of work. As we have pointed out in Do Ranks Matter? it is extremely difficult and time-consuming for ordinary people to find the data and information we need to arrive at some sort of ranking system for private schools. But if we did rank private schools, here is how we would do it. Alexis offers some useful tips for the school selection process in the following video.

Visit the schools.

"Wait a minute!" you are thinking. What

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Updated April 09, 2015 |
When Should You Consider a Therapeutic School?
It is a heart-stopping moment for any parent when you realize that your child needs much more help than you can give him at home and at his current school. Perhaps a therapeutic school is the answer.
What is a therapeutic school? A therapeutic school is a special residential school designed to help troubled children, typically teenagers, with a variety of emotional and other problems. As a rule the child cannot get the consistent treatment she needs in a local school and at home. As a result it makes sense in many cases to send the child away to a highly structured environment where she will receive the treatment she needs 24/7. Most schools also work with their students to get the academics back on track as well.
 
The Admissions Process
 
Admissions under the supervision of a consulting physician or other professional can occur at any convenient time. You don't have to wait for once a year admissions deadlines as you do with normal day or boarding schools. Determine what the problem is. Identify a school which can turn things around. Pay for it. Those are the broad steps you will take to get your child into a therapeutic school.
 
The Diagnosis
 
How do you know for sure if you should consider a therapeutic school for your child? Always consult  with your doctor  and other professionals to discuss the situation if your child has any of the following symptoms or issues:
  • Substance abuse
  • Violent or threatening behavior
  • Defies authority
  • Refuses to follow rules or take guidance
  • Poor grades
How do the programs work?
 
Each therapeutic school has its own treatment procedures and philosophy. But most concentrate on providing a highly-structured, isolated environment in which your child can learn new behaviors. The schools provide the intensive support and
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Updated May 19, 2016 |
When Should You Consider a Special Needs School?
Dealing with the reality that your child has a learning difference can be a defining moment for many parents. So much is at stake. Special needs schools offer programs and highly trained faculty.

Is your child struggling in school? Are you not understanding why she is having difficulty learning in a classroom setting? Does she hate going to school instead of wanting to go eagerly every day? Are her teachers requesting conferences with you to discuss the situation? These and many other signs should alert you to the fact that you need to give your child some extra attention. As one parent to another, I can tell you that admitting that your child has learning differences or special needs is not an easy thing to deal with. We had to deal with this situation ourselves. One child had great difficulty reading. Another had serious problems with mathematics. I will focus on the more common learning differences such as ADHD and dyslexia in this article. Special needs encompass a wide range of syndromes, some of which we will examine in companion articles. 
 
At the first sign that their child has a learning difference, many parents panic and withdraw into a state of denial. That may help you. But it will not help your child. Your child's teachers know what to look for. The signs of a child with learning issues are fairly obvious, as a rule. While teachers may not know how to treat the disorder professionally, they are trained to alert both parents and the school administration when they suspect that your child has a learning issue. 

Public schools must implement Individualized Education Programs (IEP) for students with special needs in accordance

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Choosing a Private School

FINDING SCHOOLS