You want the BEST education possible for your child, but can you swing it? The answer is “Yes,” so it’s time to roll up your sleeves.
You may be preparing a meal or tucking your child into bed and the questions will come: What are the best schools in our region? Is private school the right option for my boy? Can we afford it? Concern for your child’s development starts well before he enters the world, and his education is the kind of subject that can keep you up at night searching for answers on your laptop.
Doing online research is excellent, but you can also go straight to the source by visiting local schools and asking questions. Don’t go blindly forward, however. Explore your options and consider the following.
IT MAY BE AFFORDABLE
Private schools are more costly than public schools because they’re funded through tuition, grants, fundraisers generated by parents, etc. The cost of private school may worry you, but the effort to make it happen may mean the right curriculum for your child — and a better education.
“Most private schools have financial assistance available, and the Ohio Department of Education promotes school choice through the Ed-Choice program,” says Casey Reed, Children’s Meeting House director. “In addition, some schools also offer sibling discounts, military discounts, work-study type programs and other benefits. It’s always worth investigating how a school might be able to make enrollment work for each family,” Reed adds.
Make it a priority to speak with the admission department personnel at schools that interest you for your child. Make a point to become familiar with their application and financial aid processes. The most important action you can take is to communicate your needs to the administrative staffs, build relationships and know the facts. Aside from scholarships offered by private schools, there are universal scholarships and grants you can take advantage of online: finaid.org, an award-winning site that offers information for financial help as well as advice and helpful tools; foundationcenter.org, a source that connects families to the financial assistance they seek; and the Ohio Department of Education, education.ohio.gov, which is loaded with information families need to get started with financial assistance and more.
CHALLENGING & UNIQUE CURRICULUMS
“Families who choose independent schools are looking for environments where their children will be challenged intellectually so they will succeed in college and a career,” says Nancy Berlier, communications director at The Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati.
Private schools design unique curriculums, which is advantageous for a child interested in unique subject offerings. Some programs may be leadership-based, include character education and world language and writing programs,” Berlier says.
SMALLER STUDENT-TO-TEACHER RATIOS
Most private schools have a manageable student-to-teacher ratio.
“Low student-to-teacher ratios allow for more personalized attention and individualized education,” says Reed. “This helps to better meet the student’s social, emotional and academic needs.”
Take advantage of school tours and open houses so you can find out about ratio differences at different schools.
INSTRUCTION TAILORED FOR LEARNING
In private schools, educators aim to meet kids “where they are.” Not every child comes with the same level of focus, background knowledge or enthusiasm for learning. Some parents lean toward private school because they discover their child will be known for his abilities and nurtured along as needed.
“From a Montessori perspective,” says Reed, “our curriculum is specifically designed to follow the child, meaning each and every child enjoys a customized educational experience.”
NOT ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL
Private schools have individual missions, so it’s important for you to explore them. The Summit offers an independent, Catholic education.
“Summit’s mission calls on us to nurture well-rounded children – academically, spiritually, physically and socially,” says Berlier.
Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. To dig a bit deeper, see our list of Private School Open Houses below and read school profiles at greatschools.org.
PRIVATE SCHOOL POINTERS
• Make a list of desirable qualities for schools in order to rate your prospects: academics; faculty; safety; faith-based; location; opportunities for your child.
• Be aware that most schools accept applications in January and February and make admissions decisions in April and May for the following fall.
• Don’t assume you won’t qualify for financial aid. School policies vary widely, so learn about individual school aid policies and deadlines as soon as possible.
• The Ohio Association of Independent Schools (oais.com) consists of 44 member schools committed to quality education. See member schools.
• The Kentucky Association of Independent Schools (mykais.org) consists of 13 member schools committed to the quality education. See member schools.
PRIVATE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSES
Head to a private school open house to learn everything you want to know; some require advanced registration.
555 Albion Ave., Glendale
Sunday, Jan. 27 from 2 – 4 p.m.
CHILDREN’S MEETING HOUSE MONTESSORI SCHOOL
927 O’Bannonville Road, Loveland
Sunday, Jan. 27 from 2 – 4 p.m.
CINCINNATI HILLS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
8283 East Kemper Road
Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
200 Northcrest Drive, Mason
Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 6 – 8 p.m.
SEVEN HILLS SCHOOLS
2726 Johnstone Place, Cincinnati
Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 9 a.m.
– and –
5400 Red Bank Road, Cincinnati
Thursday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m.
ST. ALOYSIUS GONZAGA SCHOOL
4390 Bridgetown Road, Cincinnati
January 27, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
ST. VERONICA PARISH SCHOOL
4475 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Road, Cincinnati
Sunday, January, 27 12:30 – 3 p.m.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
5955 Taylor Mill Road, Covington
Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
1600 Dixie Hwy., Park Hills
Preview the Blue Night, Friday, Jan. 25 from 6 – 9 p.m. (approximate)
VILLA MADONNA ACADEMY
2500 Amsterdam Road, Villa Hills
Sunday, Feb. 23 from 1 – 3 p.m.