For many of us, the question of where we ended up going to school was one answered by zip code.
Your neighborhood dictated your district and therefore the local public school you attended. There was no discussion, and seemingly no option. Your school was your school – for better or for worse.
Not much has changed today. For many public school families, private school options are foreign territory. But they don’t have to be.
There are a number of great reasons to consider a private school, but the most important for students with complex learning challenges is best fit.
What makes a school a student’s “best fit”?
Best fit means finding the place that allows a student to learn, experience and simply be at his or her best, each and every day.
Perhaps your student isn’t getting along with her peers. Or he would benefit from smaller class-size instruction. Or she needs a tailored learning experience that simply isn’t available in her current school.
These small ill-fitting situations can create a huge disconnect between a student and his or her potential – while, for other learners, that same environment can be a fine fit.
Consider it this way: you have a closet full of shoes that you can wear. But you wouldn’t wear that pair of fancy pumps to the park, right? Or those rain boots to a wedding? Although they might fit, they don’t fit the situation.
In the same way, a school that might work okay for your student might not be the best option. There could be something else out there that makes him or her more comfortable learning and growing.
How do you find your child’s best-fit school?
If your complex learner is struggling in a public school environment, it may be time to evaluate his or her educational needs.
Begin by researching the surrounding private school options to find out:
- What is the student-teacher ratio?
- What is the school’s mission and philosophy for classroom instruction?
- Does the school offer financial aid? (Don’t let sticker price scare you away!)
- What type of community is the school creating? (Go and visit; there is no better measure for fit than your feeling on campus!)
There is no wrong time to explore your student’s school options – the right time is anytime your child is not thriving in his or her environment. Here at The Quaker School at Horsham, we have new students begin at all stages of learning, from the early elementary years to the important gap years before high school.
By finding an environment that, through both teaching style and community, better fits your student’s needs, you will help expand his or her opportunities dramatically.
Remember: You don’t have to commit to private education for life – but you should consider it if the shoe fits.