WHY CHOOSE AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL?
The goal of choosing a school is to match a child’s abilities, interests and needs with the most appropriate educational setting. Independent schools have unique missions, philosophies and core values. The right school for any child is the one that can best meet the needs of that child. The decision to enroll in an independent school may be made at the beginning of your child’s educational career or even “midstream,” when your child has been enrolled in a public school for several years. Even if an independent school was not your initial choice, at some point in your child’s education you may decide that your child is not thriving. If and when that happens, an independent school should be one of the different learning communities you consider.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF APPLYING TO AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL?
Your first step should be research. Look at a school’s website, talk to friends and neighbors, ask business associates and colleagues for recommendations, and, when you’ve narrowed your choices down, make an appointment for a campus visit. During your campus visit, ask questions regarding curriculum, faculty, mission, extracurricular activities and accommodations for different learning styles. Each school’s admissions process will be unique, but, in general, the steps following the school tour may include: completing an application, inquiring about a shadow date for your child, completing financial aid forms (if applicable), arranging for any required testing, and contacting your child’s current school to have transcripts, testing results and references forwarded for consideration.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, STUDENTS, AND PARENTS?
Independent schools embrace a “triangle” approach to education – student, family and school. These three are linked together to ensure that each child is receiving the best possible education. Thus, at an independent school, and especially at Genesis Preparatory School, parents are considered integral to the success of their child. Regular communication, including parent-teacher conferences, online and/or paper progress reports, newsletters and online parent portals, are the norm in an independent school.
Parents are not just a part of the classroom triangle–in fact, parents are encouraged to be active participants in the life of the school. Any school thrives from the volunteer spirit and involvement of parents, especially an independent school. Genesis Prep offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities where your involvement will be gladly accepted, ranging from participating in our active parent group to spearheading fundraisers to support faculty efforts behind the scenes.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO MOVE TO AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL?
To fully benefit from an independent school education, the best time for a child to enroll is in Prekindergarten or Kindergarten, continuing in a similar school community through graduation. Independent elementary schools provide students with a solid academic base and study skills that will be beneficial for a lifetime. Middle schools focus on the development of the emerging young adults; many schools have advisory and character education programs to guide students though this transitional stage. Independent upper schools offer rigorous academic programs, opportunities for leadership, service learning in the community and athletics, and opportunities for strong college placement guidance. Students who transition from one division to the next within the same school community benefit from the consistency and long-term goals of their independent school.
However, a student who is not thriving in his or her current school environment will certainly benefit from the smaller class sizes, individualized attention, and rigorous academic focus of an independent school like Genesis Prep. Scheduling a campus visit and speaking with school administration will help you decide if Genesis Preparatory School is the right fit for your child and your family.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM TEACHERS AT AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL?
Faculty who choose to teach at an independent school are passionate about children and committed to excellence in their subject area. They understand the pedagogical and long-term value of forming relationships with students and working with students in many capacities, as a classroom teacher, club sponsor, coach, advisor, and more. Faculty at independent schools are given autonomy to create and implement curriculum that meets the school’s mission and engages students, and teachers value the trust placed in them as subject matter experts and professionals. Teachers value the parent/teacher/student relationship and welcome parent input.
WHY ARE SMALL CLASSES BENEFICIAL TO STUDENTS?
Small classes allow faculty to get to know each child on a level that they couldn’t if classes were larger. In smaller classes, faculty members have time to monitor student progress, answer student questions in depth, and build a unique relationship with each student. Additionally, small class size allows time for interdisciplinary projects, collaboration, technology integration, and field trips.
HOW WILL AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL HELP PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?
The goal of parents and teachers is to effectively prepare students for the future. In a changing world, what does that mean for students entering the workforce in the 21st century? Can independent schools keep up? The answer is, of course, yes. In fact, independent schools may be even better equipped to prepare students for a changing global economy and workforce than you might think. Independent schools increasingly adhere to key values and skills that are crucial for success in the 21st century: collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, character education and cosmopolitism (or the understanding of global communities). This focus, combined with a time-tested and student-proven academic program and a commitment to whole child education, allows independent schools like Genesis Prep to give students the tools they need to be successful in a changing world.