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ParentsCanada Guide to Private School - Fall 2017

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ParentsCanada Guide to Private School | 2017 24 | How do I make sure that a school is a great fit for my child? Really good private schools focus on providing outstanding educational and life experiences. Be honest with yourself when evaluating what school meets the needs of your child. Putting a round peg in a square hole will not make the peg square. Your goal is to determine which school will help your child reach their full potential and be happy and content. Can't I choose based on standardized scores and university acceptances? Consider those, but also much more. One 'best' school that fits every child perfectly is a myth. Choose the best fit for your child and your family. Schools offer unique approaches to teaching and learning, and some may not work for your child. For example, some schools are highly competitive, while others are very collaborative. Think about what suits your child best. I want my child to have a well-rounded education: academics, arts, athletics and character-building. But my child tends to be keen in one area. Should I choose a school that focusses in that area? Being well-rounded and capable of exploring new opportunities is key to being happy and successful. Ask how the school will support your child in their passion, yet ensure they engage in all areas. How do I assess the ability of an upper or senior school (high school) to get my child into a rewarding program at a great university? Ask for each school's three- to five- year university placement records, and a detailed explanation of how its program and university counselling supports students. Ask about their graduates' record beyond just getting in; strong schools ensure graduates are equipped to do well at university, in post- graduate studies and in their careers. How can I assess whether a school caters to individuals? Small classes alone do not ensure teachers really know their students. Ask what teachers do to individualize and how the school delivers enrichment and remediation. Does it offer kids opportunities to pursue interests? What about advisor programs that ensure your child has a well- informed, dedicated teacher? How do I ensure teachers and staff are expert, inspiring and highly committed? Schools' biggest expenses are the salaries and benefits required to attract, develop and retain great people. Compare the financial statements of schools you are interested in to understand the importance placed on having the best staff. Ask school officials how they hire the best people. You by DR. GLENN ZEDERAYKO SELECTING A private school CHOOSING A SCHOOL WHERE YOUR CHILD WILL THRIVE So much information! Do I have to look at all of it? You are spending a lot of money in hopes of making a positive impact on your child's learning and how they meet opportunities in life. This is the time to be thorough and reflective: • Read everything in the school's printed and online materials. • Read online reviews. • Visit schools' open houses and information sessions. • What does each school celebrate and promote? What doesn't a school celebrate that you value? Does it match your expectations? Shawnigan Lake School

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