In addition to attending tours and open houses, there are other ways to learn about private schools. With numerous factors to consider, it's crucial to approach the process like a detective, carefully examining all available information. In this blog post, we'll explore five categories that serve as a great starting point for your private school research. Remember, this is not a list of absolutes—each school has its unique qualities, and what may appeal to some might not resonate with others. By considering these factors and gathering as much information as possible, you'll be equipped to make an informed decision.
Finding the perfect fit school for your child and your family is an important decision that requires thorough private school research in LA.
Application Questions: Insights into School Values
Pay close attention to the questions asked on the school's application forms, both for parents and students. These questions reveal what information the school considers important. Do they focus on your participation, both in terms of time and financial contributions? This could indicate that the school expects your involvement if your child enrolls. Do they inquire about your child and your family? Consider how the questions make you feel and whether they provide enough room to share everything you want the school to know. Also, note if there are any character count limits. The application process provides valuable hints about a school's values. Assess the number of questions and the level of involvement expected from the student. Remember, schools will reveal who they are through their applications.
Social Media: A Window into School Culture
Explore the school's social media presence. What type of content do they post, and how frequently? Do they engage on multiple platforms? Take note of the timeliness of the posts. Additionally, pay attention to the photos shared, as schools often ask parents to sign photo release forms for marketing purposes. If you're uncomfortable with this, opting out is an option. Social media offers a more authentic glimpse into a school's culture. Posts differ in content, language, and focus from the carefully curated websites. By delving into their social media accounts, you can gain a better understanding of what makes each school unique.
Facilities: Creating the Right Environment
Consider the overall appearance of the school. Does it appeal to you? Is it rustic, contemporary, or industrial in style? Assess the availability of green outdoor spaces. Take note of the building's condition—does it seem well-maintained? Are the paint and plants fresh, or do they show signs of neglect? Assess whether the level of maintenance aligns with your comfort. When observing classrooms, note how they are organized. Does the space seem suitable for the activities and materials? Are backpacks and lunch boxes neatly stored? Ultimately, ask yourself if the classroom environment is one you'd want your child to enter every day. Keep an eye out for any planned expansions or new facilities, as this might indicate upcoming fundraising efforts. These considerations will help you focus on important aspects of a school's physical environment.
Student Work: Showcasing Individuality
Observe how student work is displayed throughout the school. Is it prominently featured or limited to specific bulletin boards? Does it reflect a uniform style or demonstrate individuality? Determine whether students have the opportunity to express themselves in their work, using their own words and creativity. Assess whether the displayed work is age-appropriate and includes both handwritten/drawn pieces and projects produced using technology. Consider your comfort level with the types of work exhibited. For instance, during a school tour, you may come across artwork from a live model class that includes nude drawings. Depending on your child's age, you might have different levels of comfort with this. Pay attention to everything on the walls, as it provides valuable insights into the school's educational approach.
Website: Navigating Information
A critical aspect to note when exploring a school's website is the vocabulary and terms they frequently use. This can provide valuable insights into their core values and educational philosophy. School websites often feature beautiful photos and compelling copy, but not all of them offer the information you're seeking or are easy to navigate. Some schools provide all the necessary details on their websites, while others require you to contact them for additional information and event sign-ups. Consider whether you prefer speaking to a real person or if managing events and appointments online is more convenient for you. Assess the clarity of instructions and the school's responsiveness to inquiries. Verify if the website is functional and up to date, and if you can easily find contact information.
Remember, researching private schools in LA takes time and effort. Rely on multiple resources to gather information, as a comprehensive approach is essential. By considering the factors mentioned above, you'll gain valuable insights into each school you're considering. The more you learn, the easier it will be to identify the best match for your child and family. Enjoy the process of being a detective and finding the perfect school!