St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School Blog

Figuring out Private School Fit

Posted by Katherine Carbo on Oct 12, 2017 3:00:00 PM
Katherine Carbo

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about choosing a school that is the right fit for your family, you are not alone! You are putting pieces of a puzzle together and it takes time. Here are some factors to consider as you go through websites, school materials, and tour schools. 
 
The mission statement
The school's mission statement lays out the goals of the institution. Does the mission statement match your family values? 
 
Timing - when is the right time to apply?
Should you enroll your child in the primary school entry point such as PreK or Kindergarten when a majority of children start or can you wait until Middle School or High School? Many of the private schools in the Northern Virginia and the D.C. area increase selectivity in upper grades.  Ask current parents why they chose to start early and why some chose to wait. 
 
Size
What is the average class size in the lower, middle and upper school? Many parents, particularly parents of quiet children, believe a smaller setting is right for them. Could a small school be eventually too small? Bob Weiman, Associate Head of School at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, advises parents to look for a school that will grow with their child. It is incredibly important for children to have different types of peers in their school setting. Some may be academic peers and some may be purely social peers - children who they absolutely adore playing with at recess. Both are vital to your child's growth and development. 
 
Diversity of the Student Body
What is the ethnic, racial, religious, cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the school? Read and listen to what diversity means to the school. 
 
Uniform
What will your child wear everyday? Think about if it would help make for an easier morning routine. 
 
Service Learning
What are the service objectives and learning objectives? Developing a sense of empathy is so critical to your child's future. Read and listen to what service means to the school. 
 
Technology
How is technology blended into the curriculum? 
 
Specials
What additional classes would a student experience and how often? Some examples are: Art, Music, Science, Library, Foreign Language, Technology, Religion, and Physical Education. 

Before and after care
What time can you drop off and pick up your child? Does the school have extended day? Are there enrichment activities after school as well? 
 
Community
Your child will not only be joining a school - your entire family will be joining a community.  A place where you will partner with other parents as you watch your child grow. You can lean on each other in the tough times and celebrate the wonderful big and little moments of joy.  As you get to know a school - ask yourself if this community feels like home. 
 
Request Mailed Materials from St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School 

Topics: Kindergarten, Looking at private schools, choosing a school, junior kindergarten

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