Faculty Insights Blog
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences teachers and other faculty members share insights about childhood development and educational issues.
Making the Move from Public to Private School
Barnesville’s Director of Admissions Debbie Don was recently asked by “The Washington Post Magazine” to discuss making the transition from public to private school. Following is her response that was quoted in the magazine’s 2017 Private School supplement.
We find that many parents look at private middle school as an alternative to larger public schools where it can be challenging to navigate social dynamics in what is already a difficult time in adolescence. Some families are also planning ahead for their children to attend competitive magnet programs or selective independent high schools, and they want to ensure their children are academically and socially prepared.
Parents often worry about their children’s ability to blend into a classroom with students who have been classmates for several years. In reality, new students are warmly welcomed and quickly get to know everyone in a small class setting. Activities like sports, clubs, theater, and student government provide opportunities for new students to make friends outside the classroom. The best advice for making a smooth transition is to get involved. Smaller schools still offer a wide variety of activities, so students can explore their interests and try new things.
One of the greatest attributes of small independent schools is that faculty and staff are available and attentive to each child’s needs. Students are able to develop close relationships with their teachers and become comfortable seeking help when they need it. The ability to self-advocate is an important skill that serves students well throughout their education.
An honest and open dialogue about academic readiness is an important part of the admissions process. Often when a student transitions into an independent school from public school, there are academic gaps that need to be addressed. Independent schools are able to address the individual needs of each student, and ensure that new students are appropriately placed in classes that will both meet their needs and provide an appropriate level of challenge. Younger students generally catch up quickly with additional teacher instruction, while older students may need to do independent work to prepare for a different curriculum and often a different style of teaching. Tutors are also available to work with students on areas of concern.
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