We are thankful to partner with Hope Academy for this post. We strive to provide families with valuable information to help them choose the best educational path for their child.
SAFETY AND CLASS SIZES
Are interested in having your child attend a private school in the fall of 2021? Now is the time to start the process. Enrollment in private schools is increasing, and there are several reasons that parents are exploring this option.
“As a mother, I want to know that my child is safe both physically and emotionally.”
Private schools typically have smaller class sizes than public schools, for example, Hope Academy has an average of 13 students per class. This allows teachers to personalize their approach and get to know their students and their families better. Smaller class sizes also enable the teachers to communicate with parents and students more frequently, identify and address learning needs, and minimize classroom disruptions.
When choosing a school, ask about its culture, which includes its traditions, values, and expectations. Many private schools are religious-based, while others, like Hope Academy, are considered independent, which means they are independent from any government or religious influence. There are many great private schools on the Gulf Coast, but Hope Academy is the only independent school, this is reflected in our diversity and culture.
“Our school embraces families of all religions and ethnicities, and our culture is one of tolerance.”
One of our favorite traditions is the annual Holiday Extravaganza. As part of this production, students perform a variety of songs and dances that celebrate Christmas around the world, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali. Students learn to appreciate their differences through the months-long preparation for this production. It sparks healthy conversations about those differences in an environment that neither allows students to condemn each other for their differences nor forces their beliefs upon others – a delicate balance.
When touring, ask about the school’s culture. Values are commonly taught through religion, but there are alternative ways to teach core values. At Hope Academy, the Leader in Me program teaches students about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Review the school’s website and Facebook page, ask to see the yearbook and pay attention to what’s being said in the classrooms by students and teachers. These are all great ways to determine if the school culture is a match for your family.
HIGHER ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND THE ARTS
Another common reason parents consider private school is a belief that the education is superior. There is plenty of data to support this belief, but it really depends on the school. Private schools also tend to offer a more well-rounded education, including opportunities for visual and performing arts at an earlier age.
Ask potential schools these questions:
- Are you accredited, and if so, through what accreditation agency?
- What curriculum and standards do the teachers use to develop lessons?
- Are the teachers certified in the area they are assigned?
- How will you meet my child’s needs if they are advanced (or if they struggle)?
- Are there parents that will share a testimonial about how their child progressed while attending your school and/ or after moving on to higher education?
- Do you have data that you can share that shows the school’s ability to prepare students for college?
- What opportunities will my child have to participate in extracurricular activities, including the Arts?
AN INVESTMENT IN THE RIGHT EDUCATION
Private education is costly, so take your time to explore several options before deciding which school is right for your child. An investment in the right education could pay off with scholarships later. Not to mention having a happy, safe, well-balanced child is worth every penny!
About the Author
Heather Blenden is a mom of 2 boys, ages 9 and 13. She has served as a school administrator for 18 years in both private and public schools, a children’s ministry director, and a recreational soccer coach for 8 years. She enjoys reading, writing, and being active in her church.