3 questions to ask when considering private schools


Parents who are considering private schools for their children may benefit by asking a host of questions that can give them a greater feel for a school and how their youngsters will fit in. Following are three questions parents can ask to determine if a given school is right for their kids.

  1. What is the school’s mission? Ask about the philosophy and how it is applied in the classroom. Schools that claim to specialize in the arts may not focus as heavily on the sciences as public schools or other institutions. Understanding these philosophies and how each school applies them can help parents choose the best school for their children.
  2. What are the class sizes? Research shows that students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects on all assessments when compared to their peers in larger classes, and large class sizes may even make it difficult for schools to retain effective teachers, who may grow frustrated by especially large classes and seek positions at schools where class sizes are smaller.
    Parents can ask school administrators about class sizes, while also asking parents of current students how well teachers relate to students.
  3. Do schools cater to special needs students? Parents of special needs students must inquire about how schools cater to kids with special needs. Public schools are required by law to meet the special needs of all of their students. Public schools typically have programs in place for special needs students, and many have teachers trained to meet the specific needs of special needs students.
    Private schools may offer services for special needs students, but they do not have the same requirements as public schools. Inquire about special needs services before choosing a school.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.