Four Pointers For Finding Successful Schools
Whether you have a child that is about to start kindergarten or you're exploring other options that might be a better fit for your child's individual academic, social, and emotional needs, it's important to recognize certain factors in schools that make children feel safe, successful, validated, and encouraged. Here are four pointers to help you in your school search:
Check your school not for its test scores but for its curriculum. Successful schools encourage higher-level thinking, imagination, and true rigor. And interestingly, they usually do well on tests, but conversely, those that concentrate solely or almost solely on test prep do less well on tests and typically deaden the sense of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the desire to really write and read what one wants.
Successful schools are happy places where learning is fun but not trivial. If you have visited a successful school, you see the mark of success on the faces of the students and teachers. They know they are learning, and they realize they are learning important things. Further, successful schools are built on a philosophy of sharing and helping and working together toward a common goal. Exploration is the key.
Choice of all kinds characterizes a successful school. In successful schools, students choose topics for their writing and choose books for their reading. They choose projects, have a say in classroom governance, and discuss freely without fear of being admonished or ridiculed. They learn to value the opinion of others, understand valid arguments, and learn the basics of civility and courtesy.
You can tell much about a school by the language you hear. Words of joy and delight replace words of threat and punishment in successful schools. Students work in a positive, not negative, environment towards realistic goals that hold meaning for them. Teachers spend time priming the students and priming the text so that students not only understand what they are learning but why they are learning it.
Private schools typically begin their enrollment season for the upcoming school year as early as November. The Woodlands has many great private schools and finding the “right fit” school can take time and research. Start your search early, know what your priorities are, and ask questions.