Finding the Right Private School Fit For Your Child
These days, parents considering sending their child to private school have an overwhelming number of excellent options. In fact, according to data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are approximately 34,576 private schools in the United States. In Florida alone, there are 2,631 private schools — each of which has its own unique history, curriculum, admissions process and requirements.
It’s only natural for parents to feel at least a little bit stressed about finding the right private school fit for their child before the new school year rolls around. That’s why, in this brief article, we’ll be reviewing just a few of the steps you can take in order to select a private school that’s right for your child and the needs of your family. For more information regarding the private school selection or application process, please get in touch with a member of our staff here at Lakeside Christian School — a private middle school in Clearwater, FL.
Step 1. Consider Your Child’s Needs
The first and most important step in finding the right private school fit for your child is to take a look at their unique educational needs. Generally speaking, this includes four main criteria: what you want your child to learn, how your child learns best, level of contact with their peers and instructors, and practical matters like scheduling or extracurricular activities.
Some schools will offer a much wider range of studies than others, so it’s important to narrow down which aspects of your child’s education are most important to you. Below, we’ve compiled a brief list of questions you can ask yourself to identify the academic, social, and emotional needs of your child.
- Is college preparation a priority?
- Would your child benefit from a small classroom environment or a large one?
- Are you looking for a traditional, back-to-basics program or an alternative approach to learning?
- Does your child have any physical, emotional, or linguistic needs that require special attention?
- How far are you willing to drive your child to school?
- Does your child need a more or less structured environment?
Step 2. Schedule a Campus Tour
Once you have considered your child’s needs and narrowed your search, scheduling a campus tour is the next step. Usually, school tours would take place in person. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel more comfortable scheduling a virtual tour.
During the tour, you can discuss the factors that are most important to you to get a feel for the school’s overall environment and how your child might fit in. You can also discuss any special considerations during the tour. For example, if your child excels in advanced courses, the tour is a great time to discuss what the options are to keep your child doing well. You may also want to discuss any physical needs, such as allergy protocols. Remember, this step is not part of the interview process, but it is a great time for you to interview to find the right Christian middle school in Clearwater FL.
Step 3. Request Tuition Information
The right school will also need to fit your budget. Your child is the single greatest investment in your life, so it is understandable that parents want only the best. Considering the long-term financial aspect is important in choosing the right school. When you are looking for private high schools in Clearwater FL, make sure to understand tuition cost, administrative fees, sports and extracurricular costs, etc.
If scholarship options are important to you, the campus tour is a great time to learn how your child might qualify. Private school does not have to be out of reach based on finances and scholarships can help.
Step 4. Talk to Families of Current Students
The best way to learn about a school and how the day-to-day feels is to simply connect with the families of the students who already attend. If a faith based program is important, ask the families how they feel about that aspect of the curriculum. You will find that parents and current students will be able to give you a more holistic view of the programs offered. Below we have compiled a few questions you may want to ask other families and parents:
- Do you feel a strong sense of community at the school?
- Do you feel that your child has been supported if they need additional help in any of their classes?
- How do you feel about the faith based aspect of the program?
- Is your child happy at this school?
- Has your child struggled with bullying or other social issues? If so, how did the school handle this?
- Do you feel that the teachers, administrators, and staff are supportive of your child’s goals?
- Do you feel that your child is prepared for college based on their high school experience?
Once you have decided which school to apply to, it is important to talk to your child and get their input and feedback. Remember, this will be their home away from home for years to come. The relationships and friendships they will form at their school will impact them for the rest of their lives, so it is important to make sure they are included in the decision. Once they are comfortable with the choice, you can begin the application process. For more information regarding the private school selection or application process, talk to a member of the Lakeside Christian School team.
If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, a private Christian high school in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.