In part one of this series, we reviewed three essential areas of a good Christian school: current parent satisfaction, time, and growth. In this article, we will discuss three more crucial areas to help you decide which school is best for you.
1. Staff vs. curriculum: You can have the best curriculum, but without the best staff it will still produce marginal results. On the other hand, if a school has average curriculum with great teachers, studies have shown students will still perform better in most subject areas (Robert Marzano has published a lot of good material in this area). Of course, you will be looking for both strong curriculum and strong teachers, but the key to a great school lies within the teachers who are teaching at that school. You don’t have to be overly concerned if you don’t see all the bells and whistles readily available. You should be concerned if the school does not overflow with high quality teachers.
2. Accessibility: Some have said to determine the quality of a school based upon if they let you in the classrooms or not. If you were investing thousands of dollars each year to place your child in that classroom, would you want prospective parents continually sitting in his or her classroom to observe and evaluate? If a private school is concerned about their current student body, you should not expect them to throw their doors wide open to “prospective customers.” What you should expect, though, is that the procedure to get information should be a rather simple one. Also, ask to meet with a teacher after school so you can ask specific questions about what you could expect if your child attended there.
3. Safety: Look around the school campus. What evidence can you find that the school will do all they can to keep your child safe if you send your child there? This one may sound too simple, but you really need to be aware of it. A quick way to check this as you take a tour is by noticing if any emergency evacuation signs are posted around the building . Chances are, if the school doesn’t have them posted, it is evidence that they don’t have a thorough safety plan in place. The posting of emergency routes for tornado and fire alarms is the basic level of emergency planning.
Inspecting and evaluating the various private schools can take a lot of time and effort, but are not your children worth it? Of course, they are!