Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a School
You have likely given a great deal of time, thought, and energy to considering a school that is the best fit for your child. Hopefully, the time you spend on campus and in classrooms, meeting teachers, and asking questions of your own will be helpful and informative. In the interest of giving you some additional points to consider, here are five questions to ponder:
Does the mission of the school align with your family’s value system around education?
Schools have a way of looking alike in many respects, but Glen Urquhart’s mission speaks specifically to what we do and why. Our program can be described as academically rigorous, but that rigor reflects the value we place on collaboration, creativity, communication, and innovation in the classroom. Through a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, we encourage students to apply learned skills to identify and solve new problems as opposed to regurgitating facts and figures. Our goal is to have students work in ways that will be valuable and useful both in higher education and in the professional landscape.
What is the likelihood that your child will be known, loved, and appropriately challenged within this environment?
We believe that strong relationships based on trust, familiarity, and shared vision are at the foundation of effective teaching and learning. An enormous body of educational research supports that belief, and we take great care to know each child as a learner and as a person. The individual strengths, challenges, interests, and experiences of our students inform our work in all aspects of school life. When a child graduates from Glen Urquhart, she or he is celebrated and described in detail at the ceremony for her or his accomplishments and contributions.
Is the school a fit for you as well as for your child? Are you likely to be satisfied and fulfilled by the partnership between home and school?
We believe in and work to foster an authentic partnership between home and school in order to best serve our students. Consistent communication and shared strategy are key elements to making this partnership work well. In addition, we feel that a good school is as valuable to parents and caregivers as it is to students. To that end, we offer consistent opportunity for parent education and collaboration, and we welcome parent involvement in a variety or volunteer capacities. We take pride in and value the fact that we are, truly, a family school.
Do you have a good sense of where the school is headed? Will it be dynamic enough to meet the evolving needs of students and families?
A good school is both confident in its current practice and aware of the need to remain dynamic and responsive to the changing needs of students. Beginning at the governance level with the board of trustees and including the school administration and faculty, we are working thoughtfully and deliberately to ensure the purposeful development of our programs and facilities. In the coming years, families will enjoy the benefits of this planning as new initiatives and campus projects come to fruition.
What does your “gut” say about the decision?
At the end of the day, it is the overall comfort level and “fit” of a school that matters most. If you can imagine your child being happy and well-served in a particular environment, and if that environment feels right on an intuitive level, it is generally a very good indicator of the right choice. If your gut says “yes,” pay attention. Likewise, if you have lingering worry or concern about the basic fit between your family and the school, it is worth pursuing further in order to identify and reconcile any remaining questions.