We are pleased to welcome to the Ravenna blog Annie Reece, independent educational consultant and founder of Right Fit Educational Consulting based in San Francisco. Annie’s article is designed for families exploring school options, and details the myriad benefits of considering and attending private schools. Annie assists families through the private school search and admissions application process, for day schools in the Bay Area and boarding schools nationwide. Annie has a B.A. in Psychology from Colgate University and work experience in teaching and admissions at private schools. You can contact her at asreece@gmail.com or via Right Fit Education .

Why private school?

Whether you are considering a private school for a rising Kindergartener, a 4th grader who needs a change, or an 8th grader entering high school faster than you’d like, it is a great first step to learn about the different types of schools in your area. Exploring all options – private and public alike – helps you learn where your child will happily thrive, be appropriately supported, and where your family values will align best with the school’s. Looking at, and applying to, a variety of programs in the fall and winter increases the likelihood of having choices in the spring. Here, we look at some of the many benefits your family and student can experience at a private school.

Smaller class size: One clear perk of private school is size. Smaller class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios mean, typically, more individualized attention for each learner. Teachers are able to more easily accommodate different learning styles and ensure that each student is fully grasping the material. Students can often form stronger relationships with their teachers because of the intimate learning environment. This can lead to students feeling more inclined to raise their hands during class discussions, ask for help when needed, and grow into better self-advocates. Additionally, fewer classmates can allow for a more cooperative and collaborative learning environment, helping students develop important life-long skills.

Arts and athletics, extracurriculars and enrichment: Private schools often have more curricular leeway and more financial resources to dedicate toward activities and enrichment outside of the classroom. Many schools place emphasis on physical education and athletics, as well as visual/performing arts, and can offer these classes more frequently throughout the week. Financial resources help build music and art studios that are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and materials, while specialized faculty are able to offer arts courses that you could see at the college level. Students are able to explore areas of interest beyond academics, discover new passions and talents, and take on leadership roles they may not have access to in a larger public school setting.

Academic rigor and opportunity: With smaller classes, students have a harder time hiding in the back of the class. Teachers expect their students to think critically, go deeper in their subjects, and become active participants in their learning. Private schools are often able to offer a wider range of honors and AP classes, allowing students more ownership of course selection at a level that appropriately challenges them.

Tuition and financial aid: The tuition of a private school can be a little intimidating, especially when weighed against a free public education. Many private schools are able to provide financial aid packages to help off-set the costs of tuition, and it’s always a good idea to apply for assistance if the price tag is a potential financial burden for your family.

Private schools aim to educate and enrich the whole student. Within the small classroom setting, students learn to problem solve, converse and collaborate within a diverse community, find inspiration from their teachers and peers, and, most importantly, foster a love of learning. Outside of the classroom, private schools form well-rounded and multi-talented students who are able to discover and explore many interests, become leaders within the community, and contribute to the school and greater society. No matter what school your family chooses, if you take time investigating all options in your area, you can feel confident you didn’t miss finding the best fit for your child.

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