Choosing the right school is one of the most difficult decisions a parent has to make. With so many schools offering such a wide range of educational experiences, parents need to put considerable thought into determining their own educational values. Assessing how each school’s thinking and educational practices align with your own is essential when selecting a school.
1. What is your school’s mission and strategic plan?
A school’s mission is the quickest way to determine a good fit for your family’s educational values. A mission-driven school is one where the mission statement is not only prominently displayed, but is visible in the teaching and learning throughout the school. If you are visiting a school, be sure to ask where the mission statement is on display as well as how it influences strategies that the school uses to educate its students.
2. How does your school empower students to take ownership of their learning?
Students in the 21st century need to know how to approach a challenge with a learning mindset. They also need to understand their own learning strengths and challenges, so they can figure out how best to teach themselves the knowledge they need to succeed. Effective schools can be measured by their ability to develop students who don’t need to be told to do their homework or to study for tests. A great school will produce students who feel empowered to be self-advocates as they research, experiment and take risks.
3. How does your school differentiate learning?
One of the main reasons to send your child to a private school is to reap the benefits of a low teacher-student ratio. The smaller the group, the more attention a teacher can give to individual students. However, not all private schools make differentiating the learning a priority. The way in which schools view their use of low teacher-student ratios to enhance learning is the key differentiator. That’s why, when choosing a private school, we recommend parents zero in on how a school diferentiates its learning processes from those of other schools.
4. How does your school view the role of technology in the classroom?
The rate of technological change is accelerating exponentially. Still, some schools have not adopted the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, while others have severely limited the use of technology in the classroom. Depending on your beliefs on the role that technology should play in your child’s future, the answer to this question is a quick way to determine the best t for your child.
Many schools talk during the admissions process about the technology available to their students; but, as a parent, it’s more important to consider how technology is actually used by students and teachers to enhance the learning process.