High achieving parents usually look for opportunities and resources that can benefit their children. Education and health are usually the main two areas of focus for parents. This blog focuses on helping you find the most affordable, high quality education for your child.
With the public school system facing a number of challenges and an unstable economy, education options for innovative, high-quality education is now more difficult for parents to access on behalf of their children. Here are a few tips on identifying and selecting either a public or private school for your child.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- Decide what type of environment you want for your child.
- Do you want a diverse or homogenous school population, co-ed or same sex? Public schools are less likely to have options since they tend to be regionally based but there are some out there.
- Determine the geographical location of the school.
- While this may be a no brainer, it is important to remember that they best location for your child may not be near home. Take into consideration child care, transportation and consistency of aftercare.
- Determine the level of your financial investment.
- There is no such thing as ‘FREE’. Even public schools have financial investments they expect parents to make. This can include books, trips, meals and even activity fees. Private schools are more expensive than public schools but there are some schools that are extremely affordable and have scholarships for families in need. One school that comes to mind is affectionately know as “The Brain School” – Ridge Academy in Beverly 773-233-0033
- Identify what how much time you can set aside to volunteer at the school.
- Nearly every school expects someone in the family to volunteer to help out and support their efforts. You need to know how much time a week, month, or year you can give towards volunteering.
- Identify the academic and social needs of your child.
- It helps to know the needs of your child – the school (if they are good) will ask you about them. This will help them decide if they can adequately provide the academic and social support to help them grow.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE SCHOOL
- What is their class size?
- Remember, the larger the class size, the less attention your child will receive should he or she need more support. If there are problematic students in the class, this will further reduce the time and energy the teacher has to teach and attend to the individual needs of the students.
- How do the teachers interact with the students? Parents?
- If the teachers yell, are too busy, or seem to be overwhelmed, chances are both the student and the parent will have a frustrating experience with the school and learning.
- What is their theoretical framework and philosophy on learning and engagement?
- Each school should have one. The Brain School – Ridge Academy – is very clear that they use neuro-psychology and the latest brain research when teaching students. This helps students learn and retain information in a natural way and apply it easier to real world experiences.
- What type of professional development do they attend?
- Are teachers going to conferences that support innovative learning and development? Or, are they attending conferences that help them stay focused on basic engagement?
- What do they require of the family for fund raising, volunteering, and meetings?
- If parents are expected to raise money or attend mandatory meetings, then you need to know that upfront. You do not want that surprise later – especially if you know you are unable to meet their expectations.
- What is their rate of high school graduation and college placement?
- If you want your child to go to college and have the choice of twoschools, knowing thatone school has a 60% college placement rate and the other a 100% college placement rate, may impact your decision.
- Does your child like it there?
- TAKE YOUR KID FOR A VISIT! While it is important that you like the school, it is more important that your child likes the school. If they are left out of the process, they are less invested and more likely to have a difficult time adjusting to the transition.
There are a number of great public and private schools in Chicago. What is important is finding the best school for your child. Do your research, visit the school, talk with the parents and ask your child what they think. Whether you decide to send your child to a public or private school, know your options and attend various open houses for the schools in which you are interested. Below is a partial list of schools that are affordable and have received great feedback by students and parents!
- Ridge Academy – 773-233-0033; 2501 W. 103rd, Chicago, IL (They have lots of open houses!)
- Glenwood School – 708-754-0175; 500 W. 187th St. Glenwood, IL
- Morgan Park High School IB Program – 773-535-2550; 1744 W. Pryor, Chicago, IL
- Lincoln Park High School IB Program – 773-534-8130 2001 N. Orchard St.
- Walter Payton College Prep – 773-534-0034; 1034 N. Wells Chicago, IL
- Poe Classical School – 773-535-5525; 10538 S. Langley, Chicago, IL