Private schools often provide a number of advantages over public schools. They generally have smaller class sizes so students get a more one-on-one education. They tend to have more highly qualified educators and administrators to provide your student with a customized approach to learning. They frequently offer a number of course options and extra-curricular activities that public schools do not have. And if it’s a matter of choosing a school that meets your religious objectives as well as offers a quality education, there are private schools that cater specifically to that as well.
So how do you find the perfect school that matches your child’s educational requirements and offers additional opportunities for personal growth? Unless you graduated from a particular private school and you already know that is where your son or daughter will also be going, the easiest place to start your search for a new school is on the Internet. Each school’s website can tell you about their history, the programs they offer, their philosophy on education and leadership and other details.
That being said, the ideal way to truly evaluate a school is to go for an actual visit and see it in person with your child. If you have several schools in mind, the best way to do this is by attending an open house. Each school’s website can tell you if and when they’ll be hosting an open house, and it may even provide you with a way to RSVP or register.
Open houses tend to attract a large number of parents and potential students so the staff and administrators will generally not be able to provide you with in-depth consultations. However, it’s important to attend open house events to get a feel for the campus, see the classroom sizes, meet students and faculty members, ask questions and get an overall impression of the school’s culture.
Here are some things that may be important for you to consider: Day school or boarding school? Is the student body co-ed or single sex? What is the deadline for admissions applications? Is financial aid and/or scholarships available? What is the tuition, and are there extra fees you’ll need to consider? Do they use technology in the classrooms? Was the staff friendly and helpful? What is your overall impression of the school on a scale of 1 to 10? What is your child’s impression of the school? The list can be comprehensive or loosely based on your own personal needs.
In Hampton, Gloria Dei Lutheran School provides a quality educational curriculum for children of all ages. They offer childcare before and after school, and they have programs for 2-year-olds, preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, elementary grades (first through fifth) and middle school grades (sixth through eighth). They have been awarded a gold medal for “Best of Overall” in the categories of Childcare Developmental Center and Private School four years in a row (2014–2017).
“Private schools can offer many advantages to students they might not otherwise have,” says Mary Peccie, director of admissions at Norfolk Collegiate. “Private schools are often devoted to the development of character as much as they are committed to academic excellence, sometimes including faith-based ideas in their programs. For many private schools, a strong sense of community develops among the many constituents of those schools: students, faculty and staff, coaches, administrators, parents and alumni all working together to accomplish specific goals in the education of children. While most reputable private schools have high academic standards, they are not limited by standardized testing requirements which can dictate curriculum. Because they are generally small, private schools can offer more opportunities for students to be engaged in many different activities rather than having to focus on one or two.”
When asked what sets Norfolk Collegiate apart from other private schools, Peccie adds, “Every private school has its own unique and special characteristics. However, Collegiate is very much a family community where every child receives a great education and has an even better experience. Since almost every child can now retrieve any information through their phone or computer, our teachers realize they have to teach in an innovative way, while still in a traditional mode. Also, it has always been my belief that a school can have beautiful facilities, but it’s all about the people that are inside, and at Collegiate, this sentiment can be consistently felt. Due to our small class sizes, we truly get to know each student in an extremely personalized manner.”