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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An Overview Of Learning Disabilities
Raising children involves constant attention to their development and progress. Identifying learning disabilities must be part of your plan.

Having raised four children of my own and taught hundreds of others, I always tease new parents about the reality that our children come into our lives without any operating instructions. A smart TV comes with exhaustive instructions on how to set it up and operate it. Your new baby comes with nothing. Much assembly is required. Consequently, we parents have to be constantly vigilant. We must always be aware of how our children are developing from birth until they leave their home. Truthfully, even when they have left home, we keep an eye on them from a distance, don't we?

The purpose of this article is to give you some starting points so that you can explore the subject of learning disabilities thoroughly and efficiently. I have linked to a wide range of sources so that you are exposed to many points of view and expertise. You owe it to yourself and to your child to be fully aware and informed.

As your child develops, you will be watching her development closely. Parenting and Psychology Today are two of hundreds of websites which you have probably already bookmarked as you began your journey as a parent. You and your family doctor will have discussed your child's progress during your regular visits. That's one of the first places you need to go to confirm any concerns you might have. Have a list of questions to ask your health professionals. Having said that,

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Why Leave Public School for Private School?
Parents have many reasons for deciding to take their children out of public school and enrolling them in private school. This circumstance is something which can happen at any stage of your child's education.

Parents have many reasons for deciding to take their children out of public school and enrolling them in private school. This circumstance is something which can happen at any stage of your child's education. You could face this issue as early as nursery school or as late as high school, or even somewhere in between.

Recently I spoke with a mother who had taken her son out of a Montessori school and put him in the local public school. The problem with the Montessori school was the teacher. The public school worked fine for one year. Her child loved his new teacher, and the new teacher seemed to love her children. Ironically the public school teacher seemed to do a better job of following the child than the Montessori teacher did. Considering that following the child was one of Dr. Maria Montessori's principal tenets, you would have thought that the Montessori teacher could have gotten that right. In any case, his mother reported that they had one good year. Her son was happy. The teacher was happy. All was going well.  Unfortunately, during the second year, things began to unravel, largely due to an inflexible teacher who expected all the children in her rather large class of 25 first graders to march in lockstep.

Against that backdrop, let's you and I explore a couple of typical scenarios where a change of schools just might be the only answer for your child.

Your child does not fit in.

So, you have decided that your

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What to Research Before Choosing a Private School
When making an important decision that will impact the lives of your children, you need to have all the facts in place. We compiled a list of the most important factors to consider when choosing a final private school for your child.
When making an important decision that will impact the lives of your children, you need to have all the facts in place. 
 
Aside from the basic questions of cost and affordability, there are many different factors to consider when choosing where to educate your kids. “Selecting a private school, like so many things in life, requires care and attention to detail,” believes Judi Robinovitz, Certified Educational Planner and Founding Owner of Score At The Top Learning Centers and Schools.
  
We compiled a list of the most important factors to consider when choosing a final private school for your child. 
 
Academic Style 
 
The #1 reason parents invest in private school is to get the best possible education for their children.  Keep in mind that not just raw academic strength is important, but the style of the learning environment, and if it meshes with your child’s personality. We are learning more and more that each student learns in different ways, and responds to different types of teaching styles. Some children may thrive on competition while others succeed under reduced pressure. Others may learn quickly and need more advanced subject matter, while their contemporaries struggle with the basics.  
 
Mike Weagley, CEO of elite tutoring service Lotus Prep, suggests that parents ask themselves, “Is the school too hard or too easy for my kid? Does my kid flourish in a looser atmosphere or a more structured, rigid one? Is the school a pressure-cooker or Zen-like?” Learn how teachers structure their classes,
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What Do They Teach?
As you evaluate schools, take time to explore fully what the schools which you are looking at teach.
This article is a companion article to How Do They Teach? which discusses what goes on in private school classrooms. This article explores the academics and other material which schools actually teach.
 
When we parents first start thinking about sending our children to private school, one of the first questions which comes to mind is the teaching content. What exactly will the schools you are looking at teach? Obviously with thousands of private schools I cannot address all the permutations and variations which exist. So I thought it might make sense for us to look at several educational approaches and methods and see what they teach. That will at least give you a starting point for some in depth exploration of what they are teaching at schools you might be interested in.
 
Toddler
 
The wee ones won't be at school for very long on a daily basis. Apart from that the teachers will create a rich environment to peak a child's interests. Development of fine and gross motor skills are a focus as are language and speech skills.
 
Prekindergarten
 
Most prekindergarten programs focus on preparing their students for kindergarten. Look for the development of motor skills and teaching children how to socialize. Also look for play-based lessons and an emphasis on collaboration and teamwork and listening. Building on the excitement of discovery is another component in the prekindergarten teacher's portfolio of skills. Children learn by doing. Your child should have lots to do balanced of course with snacks and quiet times. Here
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From a Parent's Perspective: Is Accreditation Necessary?
Does accreditation matter? Is it necessary? Aren't there lots of fine private schools which are not accredited? Answers to these questions and more here.
Let's start our discussion with this question: what if a school you are looking at is not accredited? Does it matter?
 
Does Accreditation Matter?

There are plenty of fine private schools which are not accredited. But the fact that they are not accredited means that you and I have to do a lot more basic due diligence as we evaluate unaccredited schools. Many of the foundational issues which an accreditation process covers in great detail now become our responsibility to investigate. Think of this investigation just like the inspection which you commission when you put an offer on a house. The house looks perfect. But is its infrastructure perfect? Are there flaws which are not readily apparent? The inspector's report will reveal the good and the items which need fixing.  That's basically how accreditation works. The properly executed accreditation process celebrates the school's good points and offers suggestions for fixing what is deficient.
 
Does Accreditation Matter for College Admissions?

Some experts claim that it doesn't matter much whether or not a high school or school district is accredited. The issue surfaces any time a school or a school district loses its accreditation or is threatened with its loss. The truth of the matter is that accreditation is just one piece of the admissions profile for candidates. I was unable to find any examples of a college rejecting an otherwise well-qualified candidate simply because she had the misfortune to graduate from a school which had lost its accreditation. [Source: Maureen Downey in
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Recent Articles
We look at several ways you can use to search for private schools. Whether you are beginning the search process for a school for your child or just want to find out more about particular schools, we offer some tips and tricks to make searching more efficient.
Here's a recap of the steps you need to follow to find the right school for your child. Work through the process in sequence from beginning to end.
Did you think that corporal punishment in our schools was extinct? Sadly, it isn't. Here are some facts and some suggestions as to what you can do to help eliminate corporal punishment once and for all.
Choosing a Private School

EVALUATING SCHOOLS