The Value of Learning at Advanced Academics
Parenting is challenging! You are now navigating another historical bump in how children are raised as we are moving out of quarantine. Parents are trying to make course adjustments as they learn just how much this pandemic has impacted their children and their educational journey. As parents are being tossed into advocacy for their children, more than ever before, we would like to help with some key points in helping to understand how choices impact a successful learning year as well as building a mindset of love-of-learning!
What to consider when evaluating a campus...
The first consideration is the experience of the teachers your child will interact with. If a campus does not offer this information, ask! It is 100% reasonable to learn about your child's teacher resume in both public and private school settings. Look for teachers that are degreed, certified, and have experience. If your child has a particular support need, ask how a teacher would approach the need and your child. Ask the teacher their philosophy on teaching and what is their latest passion area in instruction, curriculum, and engagement. Ask them how they got hired. Hopefully it is not just because of a relationship, but truly based on being the strongest candidate.
Next, look at what the goals of their learning standards are and their expectations for achievement. Ask how learning is differentiated for their students. Are they using only a child's age for placement? Is advanced placement done regularly? How does the campus handle students with gaps and ensuring that those are closed for a strong foundation?
Don't be dazzled by the extras! Many schools dilute instructional funds and resources for lovely facilities, sports programs, and childcare. Rank your own child's needs and think about what is acceptable to you, especially when you are paying tuition. If a campus is funding additional programs, your tuition dollars are helping to fund programs that your child may have no benefit from, rather then directly impacting your child's learning experience.
Then, take a good look at what access you have on your campus. Many campuses hold parents at the front which does not allow you to build a relationship with your child's teacher. Making an appointment to see what your child is doing does not allow parents to pop in to get a candid look at classroom activities and your child's engagement or behavior. How are volunteers integrated? A campus that is confident in their teachers, curriculum, and learning activities is open to visits and volunteerism. Most just ask that your visit does not take attention away from the learning and instead toward your presence.
As a final thought, our communities have trusted schools, often blindly, for many years. Now is not a time to do so. With students being virtual, hybrid or just left to their own devices, your child is now being impacted on the needs of others. You look for a good mechanic by asking questions, find the best surgeon by asking for recommendations, and will read reviews on a restaurant and check their menu. Adopt the same approach for your child's educational experience. Take a tour. Ask questions that may feel uncomfortable. Trust your intuition!