9 Critical Questions You Must Ask At a Private School Before Enrolling Your Child
1) How should a school effectively prepare students for the 21st Century?
An effective academic school should provide students with a well-rounded, challenging, and stimulating education. Opportunities in The Arts, (music, visual arts, and drama) and in Physical Education, (athletics, varsity, and intramural sports) should also be incorporated to enable students to discover untapped abilities, potential, and passion. A 21st Century school should utilize the curriculum to teach and integrate the following skills into daily lessons and activities: Critical and Analytical Skills, Leadership Development, Emotional Intelligence Training, Oral and Written Communication Skills, Economics, and Global Awareness Concepts. The school’s educators should be responsive to the learning styles of all students, and provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students at all levels of ability. Students should have access to the latest I.T. equipment, and be well trained in current technology to process the vast quantities of information.
2) How should teachers provide a rich, challenging, and relevant curriculum of study for their students?
Teachers should provide differentiated instruction, where students work at their own level of challenge. Student input should be welcomed and encouraged. Class activities and projects should reflect real‐life applications of newly learned concepts and skills. State‐of‐the‐art tools and materials should be provided, and informative, educational field trips and guest speakers should be scheduled throughout the year. Students need to be comfortable as risk-takers in their thinking and learning experiences. Risk taking can only take place when working in a supportive and nurturing environment. Effective teachers understand that students achieve at their best levels when they are encouraged to do their best, are held accountable, and their achievements are celebrated.
3) How does a school approach differentiated instruction?
Effective teachers conduct a pre‐test at the beginning of each unit of study to determine each student’s current knowledge base and functioning level. Lessons are prepared to suit individual student needs. Differentiated instruction provides opportunities for students who would benefit from a thorough review of previously taught concepts and skills; other students would receive instruction at grade level expectations and at their level of challenge, while enriched or advanced programming is provided for students who grasp concepts quickly and are ready for additional challenges. Lessons should accommodate individual learning styles: auditory, visual, and tactile, incorporating appropriate movement and activity. Differentiated instruction requires teachers to incorporate detailed checklists, rubrics, and end of unit quizzes to assess and record ongoing student performance. Additional assistance or tutorials should be provided to accommodate specific individual needs. Students should be challenged on a consistent basis to ensure that they are achieving at their own personal best level and maximizing their fullest potential.
4) What programs are offered that are unique to this school?
Ask the school to outline the types of programs which are unique to the school, and why those programs are offered. Examples of unique programs offered at some private schools include: studies in a language other than French, Economic Education, Training in EI (Emotional Intelligence), After School Clubs and Extra Curricular Activities, Choirs, Intramural and Varsity Sports, enriched Curriculum studies, in-school Leadership programs, Summer Camps, Excursions, Instrumental/Orff Music, Drama, Theatre, Community Outreach activities, etc. Parents should also ask about the school’s philosophy of education, and how it impacts the delivery of the grade level concepts and skills. Some schools are traditional or religion based, while others follow a particular educational leader’s established approaches. In addition, there are parents who choose a school which will educate students through a progressive, contemporary educational approach, integrating latest educational research from theneuroscience and brain-based research to best enhance student performance and effective learning. Parents should ensure that the school’s core values in program approaches are in alignment with their own.
5) How does the school handle discipline issues
Parents must ask about and be comfortable with a school’s disciplinary approach for both academic and interpersonal challenges. Parents should select a scenario that has challenged their child in the past, and ask how the school would respond to this type of situation. Parents should determine if the school is reactive or proactive in their disciplinary approaches, and clarify when a parent can expect to become involved in the event of an issue.Parents should ask about the type of support and strategies that the school will provide to enable students to develop appropriate strategies for success.
6) What communication can be expected between the school, teachers, and parents?
Parents need to know what to expect in terms of communication between the school and home. Some typical communication formats include: Monthly School Newsletters, Monthly Grade Level Newsletters, Website Postings, telephone and or email messaging, Student Planners, Formal and Informal Conferencing, Parent/Teacher Goal Setting Meetings, Formal Reporting Cycles, etc. Parents should inquire how students are included in these various communication formats.
7) What distinguishes this school from the other private schools?
Determine what a school’s programming or educational approach emphasizes. Ask for examples of how these distinguishing features support student learning and enhance the academic environment.
8) Does the school have an Open Door Policy regarding parent queries and concerns?
Parents should reflect on what their own expectations and requirements are regarding their child’s academic performance and social issues. Ask questions to clarify how responsive the school/staff would be to promptly addressing your queries and concerns.
9) Other Questions to Consider
What is your reaction and comfort level to the atmosphere when you first enter the school building? If you were 4, 6, or 10 years old, what school or classroom setting would you feel most comfortable in? Make a list of 5 to 10 criteria you would want to have in place if this were the school you would be attending. Ask your child for their idea of a perfect school. In follow-up to a full-day student visit at a proposed new school, discuss with your child how the school suits their academic and social needs. Children are growing up in a different century than their parents, and will likely be using many tools and materials which haven’t yet been invented. They will also be facing challenges in their future workplace that have yet to be determined. Make a list of the key criteria you feel a school should provide in order to suitably prepare today’s students for their future successes.
The Glenburnie Perspective
We invite families seeking a quality, individualized, educational experience for their child to visit our school website to review our philosophy and learn how it impacts directly on our educational approach. At Glenburnie, we provide a welcoming community for our students and their families, where our professional, well-trained educators provide a supportive, nurturing, and stimulating educational programme.
In our child-centred environment, students are expected to be active partners with their teachers and in their curriculum activities. Our strong academic programmes provide the foundation to teach 21st Century skills. We empower students to set their own goals and objectives, make effective choices, and to thrive and excel in a supportive, risk-taking, learning environment.
At Glenburnie, everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Students enjoy a well-rounded education which incorporates current neuroscience and brain-based research learning applications. Students are introduced to Economic Education and EI (Emotional Intelligence) training beginning at the Pre-K to JK level, as well as to a wide variety of arts, athletics, extracurricular clubs, and leadership opportunities within the Glenburnie Community.
We place a strong emphasis on communication and accountability. Students and their families receive layers of support which are provided by our caring homeroom and rotary teachers, guidance teacher, school nurse, vice principal, and principal, who offer assistance with any issues that many arise. Parents are always kept well informed.
Our physical school environment, Homeroom and Subject Specific classrooms, Gymnasium, and Library are all well equipped with current learning materials, tools, and state-of-the-art technology. For student comfort, full spectrum lighting and EMF blockers are installed throughout the facility and complement our Green Eco-School, allergy-aware environment.
We invite you to contact the school to arrange for a personal tour to discuss the educational opportunities we can provide for your child.
Glenburnie School is conveniently located in east Oakville, readily accessible from the QEW, 403, Upper Middle Road East, and Dundas Street (Highway 5).Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (905) 338-6236