Fayetteville/Fort Bragg/ Sandhills NC

VOL6 ISS1 2016

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — FAYETTEVILLE | FORT BRAGG | SANDHILLS REGION VOLUmE 6 — ISSUE 1 76 independent schools INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS by laurel hyatt When it comes to their kids, most parents take education very seriously. Education is so important that many parents even purchase their homes based upon the reputation of the schools in a particular area. So, what are parents supposed to do when the pub- lic schools in their area are not adequate or if the parents feel the local schools aren't compatible with their chil- dren's needs? This is when many parents start looking for alternatives. Why are more and more parents looking to indepen- dent schools for better learning preparation for their kids? Several reasons: First and seemingly foremost in most surveys, many independent schools ofer smaller classes than their public counterparts, ensuring more quality teacher-student interaction. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a student to teacher ratio of 15:1 or better is needed to achieve the goal of individual attention. This objective is realized and usually exceeded by most independent schools. On the other hand, a public system is required to admit almost anyone who lives within its boundaries thus fnd- ing themselves with much larger class sizes, sometimes exceeding 35-40 students. There's also creativity and uniqueness. According to the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS), independent schools hold students to high standards in both academics and personal development. Teachers have the freedom to be creative and develop fexible teaching methods to accommodate individual student learning styles. Students cultivate critical think- ing and problem-solving skills. In addition, students are regularly exposed to real-life learning experiences through feld trips, expert guest speakers, and the opportunity to participate in community service activities. However, there are other reasons that parents opt to send their children to non-public schools that might surprise you. Some parents send their children to private schools because of safety reasons. Maybe their closest public school seems unsafe. Teachers often com- plain about not being able to teach because they spend the majority of the day disciplining the student body in- stead. This is defnitely a huge distraction for students who want to learn. This is why many religious schools are very popular. Students who attend these schools are typically more disciplined and receive a good education at the same time. If you are moving to the Sandhills Regions of the state, there is a myriad of choices in the independent school sector. Cumberland County alone boasts over 30 private schools, serving nearly 4,700 students. A good place to start your search for more information on area schools is the NCAIS at www.ncais.org. The NCAIS has listings of schools and also tips for choosing your child's next school. NCAIS helps you navi- gate the new waters of independent schooling. Remember, there may be various grade confgurations to consider, a choice between day and boarding, coed and single sex, a variety of religious afliations, and those schools serv- ing students with special needs. Be sure to ask about the school's quality of the faculty and staf. Do faculty members have advanced degrees? Do they teach in the feld in which they hold degrees? Are they, on average, experienced or relatively new to teaching? What about the school itself? Is it accredited? NCAIS recognizes the following accreditation agencies: South- ern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), South- ern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), and Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Other good questions include: How large are classes? What is the teacher-student ratio? Is parent participa- tion and involvement encouraged? How does the school communicate with parents? Are there extracurricular oferings for student participation? Can anyone join? Is there a community service requirement? Be sure to visit the school for the formal tour, but make another visit to observe classes, what goes on in the library, computer labs, PE classes, art and music, etc. Your child (even the young ones) should also visit the school. Parents are in charge of the fnal decision, but children's impressions are important. Be proactive and ask plenty of direct, specifc questions. Ultimately, the time it takes to thoroughly research school choices will pay of with an appropriate learning environment for your child. [] options for students and parents

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