Private schooling considerations for families of The Woodlands

By: Brynn Rader, Woodlands Online
| Published 02/18/2019

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The WOODLANDS, Texas -- The decision a family makes about schooling their precious children is a weighty one. Private schooling is a path chosen by many. With such a plethora of options in our community, parents could easily become overwhelmed.

The private schooling choices span a broad range from preschool through high school. Children with special needs and families desiring Christian-based curriculum have programs designed with that in mind. For example, The Woodlands Young Learners Academy offers autism services for the preschool years.

Consider the individual needs of your child(ren) and determine what your priorities are. Once these are well in mind, it will be easier to recognize a good fit with a school. Take time to prepare questions for the staff and parents of children already enrolled. Lists of helpful questions to ask are found online. Touring the various schools of interest is essential to get a feel of the environment and culture found therein.

“Know your child and the needs of your family,” said Rebecca Coates with The Woodlands Methodist School. “The school that might work for your neighbor does not necessarily work for your child. Taking a tour of the schools you are interested in is extremely important. Families can gain valuable information from seeing classrooms, observing staff and students and asking questions.”

D'Anne Surber with The Woodlands Christian Academy offers this advice when researching private schools, “Prospective families should take the time to research and tour campuses. Once your priorities have been defined, examine the mission, culture and teaching philosophy of the school to see if they are in alignment. Accreditation, certification and curriculum provide points of distinction between schools. Gather facts about academic accomplishments, college matriculation, athletic and extracurricular opportunities. Discuss student expectations and financial obligation. A tour of campus is often the defining experience in discerning the right choice for each family!”

Each family’s reason for considering a private school could be very different. Enriching yet flexible curriculum, parent involvement and a safe, community atmosphere top lists of benefits found in private schooling.

Often, though, it comes down to class size and the individual attention given to each student. Anji Price with Cunae International School said, “Private schools by nature are a lot smaller, and therefore they provide an opportunity for students to develop healthier relationships with their teachers and peers. It allows teachers to work better at meeting the needs of individual students through differentiated instruction, student counseling and even the ability to modify content to make it more relevant and interesting to students. It's much more personal.”

Deb Spiess with The John Cooper School said, “Independent schools also offer a rich curriculum and opportunities for all students to participate in athletics, club and leadership programs and visual and performing arts offerings. Personal attention is given to every student in an independent school, culminating with full-time college counselors on staff to help students navigate through the competitive process of college admissions.”

The freedom from traditional testing requirements attracts parents to the private school format. Children also have the ability to advance at their own pace. One family enrolled at All Nations Community School said, “We are so thrilled to have our children challenged daily to excel and reach their own individual potential in literacy and math skills. One of the major reasons we opted out of the public school system was that our children were beyond their grade level in certain subjects, and we were afraid the huge classes and testing-based curriculum would prevent them from continuing to advance.”

Private school enrollment in our community is on the rise. Families see advantages and are seeking out what they feel is the best education for their children. Understandably, private schooling is not a viable route for all families. If your interest is piqued, however, the private schools of The Woodlands community happily offer assistance to those pondering this big decision.

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