Doing your research

You have decided to send your child to a private school! Good for you! And good for your children and the broader community!

However, in doing so you suddenly switch from a mindset of a exploring a single school system to lots of choices. You soon realize you aren’t selecting a school. Instead you are starting a two way conversation about joining a community.

It can be overwhelming and you don’t want to start from scratch. The good news is there are many information sources out there to help you out.

The leader in our area, the DC School Hub, provides families in and near the national’s capital with information daycare, nursery school, preschool and independent and private schools.

What is wonderful about this resource is the variety of perspectives. They include descriptions of the areas schools, messages from the heads of

DC School Hub schools and detailed stories written by parents *for* parents describing their children’s experience. In about ten minutes of reading you can learn from decades of real experience.

They even list  who has spots open for new students.

Look around for something similar in your area. Even if there isn’t one, reading through the DC School Hub will provide a framework for the kinds of questions you should be thinking about when selecting a private school for your child.

The key take away here is you want the variety of perspectives – the head of school, teachers, parents and the students. That depth of information is too much to gather and absorb during a school’s open house so a site is a valuable resource. In addition to visiting the school, read the information on these sites and ask neighbors, colleagues and family members about the schools you think might be a match. We were very surprised to learn that someone we know quite well was both a teacher and a board of trustees member at our child’s school and had all kinds of helpful tips for us.

The worst you will get by asking around is a shrug or a lecture on why all children should attend their local public school or advice on how to better spend your money. And hear them out – that is information for you to consider as well.

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3 thoughts on “Doing your research”

  1. I went to a private school for half of my K-12 education. As a new parent myself, I now realize the additional funds required so my parents could take my brother & me out of public school. We want to do the same thing with our children.

    I think your suggestion of talking to others is a great idea and a more “real” outlook than an open house. But, an open house is a great opportunity to get a first impression.

    1. Josh, thanks for sharing your perspective! And I very much agree – it is a much different perspective as a parent and you are absolutely right that visiting an open house is a key to understanding a school’s mission, values and norms. For everyone reading this and considering a private school education for your children – an open house visit should be on your checklist of resources.

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