When it comes to choosing a private school, there are so many choices to consider that the project can be a huge challenge to most of us. We offer some help and advice to help you get started.
As you think about sending your child to private school there are so many choices to consider that for most of us we shut down. It is simply too much to deal with all at once. That is the point of this little essay. I don't recommend dealing with all those heavy-weight questions in one pass. Take each one and work through it systematically from beginning to end. Then move on to the next question. In other words break the project up into bite-size pieces just as you do with any big project or challenge in your professional life.
Use your tablet or smart-phone to keep track of your ideas, thoughts and questions. Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote will help you share your findings and data with interested parties such as your spouse and trusted legal and financial advisers. This brief tutorial shows you how Evernote works.
OK, let's get to those big questions. Each one needs to be discussed and reviewed thoroughly. The results of your discussions will impact the next issue.
Boarding school or day school?
This fundamental question needs to be sorted out first. Why? Because the answer to it drives everything else in so many ways. I can hear some of you thinking "Boarding school? I would never think of sending my child to boarding school." Indeed you may have some legitimate concerns for not wanting to send your child to a residential school. But in the long run perhaps that is best for. . .read more
Sending your child to a foreign language school makes good sense when you have been posted to this country from abroad and in other circumstances as well.
In the United States a foreign language private school is a school in which the primary language is not English. 80% of our population speaks English, therefore it follows that private schools which teach in other languages are few and far between.
I also want to point out the difference between a K-12 private school which uses a language other than English for teaching and intra-school communications and the proprietary schools which offer instruction in foreign languages. K-12 private schools which teach their students in German or French, for example, offer a comprehensive academic curriculum with specified goals and objectives for their graduates. The proprietary foreign language schools generally aim to have their students achieve fluency at varying levels in a foreign language. For example, you could learn how to speak Spanish in a business setting starting at a beginner's level and working your way up to advanced proficiency.
Reasons Why You Would Consider Foreign Language Schools
Now, back to our original question. Why would parents consider a foreign language school for their children? For several reasons the first of which is job-related. Let's say that you are a German national who is an executive with a German firm with locations in the United States. Your firm decides to post you overseas in the New York office. Your children are ages 10 and 12. What will you do about their schooling? You know that the posting in New York is likely to be no more than three to five years. . .read more
Occupying the special niche which they do, private schools often seem to mystify parents largely because so much misinformation exists. Hopefully this list of facts about private schools will help clear the air.
Late Night Show host David Letterman retires at the end of May 2015. With his famous Top Ten lists in mind, here is my list of Top Ten Facts About Private Schools.
10. There are schools for just about every need you can imagine.
Perhaps this should be number one on the list. In any case it is true. There are private schools for just about any need or requirement you can think of. Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. There are primary schools, K-8 schools, junior boarding schools, Roman Catholic schools, military schools, schools which offer programs for students with learning differences, schools in urban areas, schools out in the country, large schools, small schools, schools with instruction in languages other than English and on and on. With approximately 29,000 private schools in the United States the chances of your finding what you are looking for are pretty good.
9. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
Private school is an extra expense as well as being a substantial sacrifice for many families. On the other most private schools offer needs-based financial aid. The amount of aid is determined by the individual schools. Some schools even offer a tuition free education if your family financial situation is below a specific threshold.
8. Everybody participates in sports in private school.
Private schools like to say that they educate the whole child. Requiring everybody to participate in sports is one way to accomplish that goal. In most schools there is a set weekday. . .read more
Do you need financial aid? Not sure? Confused by how financial aid works? Here are some answers.
Finding the right private school for your child is a major process in and of itself. It is time-consuming with lots of steps, deadlines and forms to fill out and submit. Then, of course, you have to deal with the issue of how to pay for that private school education once you have identified the right school. Against this backdrop let's you and I figure out how to make the financial aid process work for us.
The key to success with any major project is to begin early. Taming the financial aid part of getting your child into private school begins with knowing how much you can afford to pay. Have that number worked out and clear in your mind. The most effective way at figuring out what you can pay is to review your income and expenses. Determine what you can afford to pay monthly for your child's tuition. Project that also as an annual amount. Now bear in mind that this is a rough cut because what you are going to be doing very soon is completing the online documentation known as the Parents' Financial Statement or PFS provided by the School and Student Service (SSS) organization operated by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The PFS will require accurate financial information about your income, expenses and assets as well as information about any other children who are in tuition-charging schools, i.e., private school. Having that rough idea of how much financial aid you. . .read more
Some applicants can fool you when they interview. Here is some advice on how to prevent that while at the same time keeping the interview process simple and efficient.
I have been interviewing applicants for employment for many years now. I used to be fooled by a certain type of applicant who presented extremely well at the interview. Unfortunately a few months after hiring the applicant, things did not go as well as we had hoped. With my experiences in mind and knowing that many of you are operating your schools with very small staffs and also knowing that you do not do many teacher interviews in any given year, let's look at a couple of simple ways which will protect you from hiring a teacher who is not a good fit.
How not to be fooled
"First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes." Elliott Abrams
I agree wholeheartedly with Elliott Abrams. You and I are accustomed to sizing people up in a very short time. Essentially we are using the same skill set which we use in the classroom. As we teach, we are constantly assessing how our students are absorbing and understanding the material, right? We have honed that skill set very finely. So bring it into play when you first meet an applicant.
Trust your instincts
You have to trust your instincts and your experience when you are interviewing teachers for your school. I put that at the top of my list for interviewing anybody, but even more so when interviewing teachers. Something on a resume or an answer to one of your questions might trigger a doubt. . .read more