5. Small Classes
The main reason many parents begin to consider a private high school is because the classes are small. Teacher to student ratios are typically 1:8. Class sizes are 10-15 students. Why are small class sizes and low student to teacher ratios important? Because they mean that your child will not get lost in the shuffle. Your child will get the personal attention she needs and craves. Most public schools have classes numbering 25 students or more.
Another point to consider is that most private high schools are fairly small, usually 300-400 students. That's much smaller than the typical public high school which will have 1,000 students or more. It's very difficult to hide or just be a number in a private high school.
4. Highly Qualified Teachers
Private high school teachers usually have a first degree in their subject. A high percentage - 70-80% - will also have a masters degree and/or a terminal degree. When a private school dean of faculty and head of school hire teachers, they look for competence in and passion for the subject a candidate will teach. Then they review how the teacher actually teaches. Finally, they check out the three or more references from the candidate's previous teaching jobs to ensure that they are hiring the best candidate.
Private school teachers rarely have to worry about discipline. Students know that if they cause problems they will be dealt with swiftly and without recourse. A teacher who doesn't have to be a traffic cop can teach.
3. Superb Facilities
Libraries, which are now called media centers, are a focal point of the very best private high schools such as Andover, Exeter, St. Paul's and Hotchkiss. Money has never been an object at those and similar older schools when it comes to books and research materials of every conceivable kind. But media or learning centers are also the center piece of just about every private high school, large or small.
Private schools also have first rate athletic facilities. Many schools offer horseback riding, hockey, racquet sports, basketball, football, crew, swimming, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, archery as well as dozens of other sports. They also have the facilities to house and support all these activities. Besides professional staff to manage these athletic programs, private schools expect their teaching staff to coach a team.
Extracurricular activities are a major part of private high school programs as well. Choirs, orchestras, bands and drama clubs can be found in most schools. Participation, while optional, is expected. Again, the teachers guide or coach extracurricular activities as part of their job requirements.
In tough economic times the first programs to be cut in public schools are the extras such as sports, arts programs and extracurricular activities.
2. Focus on Personal Development
While the major focus at most private high schools is getting you ready for college, your personal maturation and development go hand in hand with that academic preparation. That way, hopefully, you emerge from your high school with both a degree and some great purpose for your life and understanding of who you are.
1. It's Cool to Be Smart
In a private school it's cool to be smart. That's why you go to private school. In many public schools the kids who want to learn and who are smart are branded as nerds and become the objects of social ridicule. In private school it's cool to be smart. The smarter you are, the more the school will do its best to stretch your intellect to its limits. That's one of the things private schools do rather well.
There you have five good reasons why you should go to a private high school. There are many other good reasons, of course. But these will get you thinking about some of the possibilities which await you at private school.
5 More Reasons Why You Should Consider Private School offers some other considerations for you to think about as you investigate a private school education for your child.