The 2020 pandemic has led to virtual learning at home for many children. Because of this, parents, more than ever before, have had a front-row seat to their children’s learning experience. Some parents have begun to question whether public education was the best education for their children.
If you are considering sending your child to private school, here are five facts that private schools want parents to know:
1. Private schools offer smaller class sizes.
The student-to-teacher ratio in private schools is oftentimes half of what public schools can offer. Smaller class size means more one-on-one interaction with students and more meaningful planning time for educators.
A National Education Association policy brief published in 2008 stated, “The effect of smaller classes on student achievement extends far beyond the early grades. Follow-up studies … show higher achievement levels in reading, language, math, science and social studies. Additionally, students in smaller classes showed more positive behaviors towards engagement and learning than did the students in larger classes.”
2. Private schools can be affordable.
The idea of paying for an education can dissuade parents from even looking into private education. However, most private schools offer financial aid, which is driven by parental income.
“We are committed to providing access to as many families as possible,” says Karla DeJean, writer and project manager at The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati. “Our need-based financial assistance program allows families to qualify for reduced tuition based on their unique financial circumstances. Instead of ‘receiving financial aid,’ those families who qualify will pay a reduced tuition amount based on their individual circumstances.”
3. Private schools offer a nurturing learning environment.
Due to smaller class sizes, and a low student-teacher ratio, private schools can prioritize teaching through relationships. This means that students play the role of co-learner alongside their teacher.
“The sense of community is one of the things I am most proud of,” says Lisa Larocca, marketing director for St. Helen Catholic School in Dayton. “This community is made up of relationships between teachers with students but also with parents and guardians. These relationships are so important in an educational setting. The strength of these relationship is evident by the number of students who want to return to visit their favorite teacher. It really helps put our kids on a successful path to their high school career and beyond.”
Charlotte Berwanger, a 1990 graduate of St. Helen School, says of her teachers: “There are so many memories. There is something from every grade. Each teacher left a lasting memory for me in a positive way.”
4. Private schools offer inclusivity in sports and extracurriculars.
A huge selling feature for many parents is the fact that their child will be able to try out for and participate in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities.
“With our no-cut policy and broad range of sports to choose from, if students want to compete, they join a team!” Dejean says. “Our students learn early on what it means to be students and athletes, and how to be responsible balancing the two.”
Larocca emphasizes the importance of sports and extracurricular activities in a well-rounded student. “Extra-curricular activities, including sports, play a vital role in a child’s education,” she says. “They allow for important social and physical development.”
5. Private schools are diverse.
Because of diversity initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s, private schools proactively search for diverse and qualified candidates. They work with families, providing financial aid when needed, to create a student population that enhances the learning landscape.