is pravite school worth it for elementary?

Avanthi - posted on 05/28/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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We recently moved to new home in mechanicsburg pa. The elementary school rating is 6 and it is only from 3rd grade to 5th grade. The middle school and high school ratings are 8 and 9 out of 10. Iam worried about the elementary. Is 6 rating is good enough to send my twin boys to the elementary public school or do i have to send them to private school .Can anyone please suggest me.

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Guest - posted on 05/29/2014

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Depending on where the school is, you can check with the regional accreditation agency that regulates schools in your location. You can also ask the school you are planning to attend what agency they are accredited with and show you their accreditation papers. If you want to go a step further, you can do both.
That agencies are as follows:
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Accreditation Commission
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges

I haven't looked, but you should be able to find info online for each.
Keep in mind that there are TONS of private agencies that issue "Accreditation" for meeting standards and paying a membership fee to their organization. The 6 listed below are the only ones backed by the US Department of Education. Additional accreditation in with other organizations can also be a great thing, just make sure one of the 6 above is included as well. You can look online at the values and standards for any organization claiming to issue accreditation to schools to ensure that they are consistent with your beliefs, values, and educational standards.

Avanthi - posted on 05/28/2014

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Thank you so much for your reply. can you please let me know how to check the accreditation for the private schools.

Guest - posted on 05/28/2014

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It depends on why the ratings are lower. Those ratings really do not tell you much about how individual children perform at the school or how well the school does with meeting the needs of individual students.

A high ratio of children living in poverty will automatically bring ratings down because those children simply do not have the tools available to perform well on testing. That doesn't mean that the school is not meeting the needs of the at and above level students, only that they do not have enough of them to balance out the test scores.

Other reasons rating might be lower could be more serious, for example, high rates of violence among students, failure to meet standards, etc.

The best approach would be to interview the administration of both the elementary school AND the middle schools. Take a tour of the elementary school, ask how they address social issues like bullying, sportsmanship, cooperation, etc. Ask what programs they have in place for students excelling beyond the standards taught in the classroom to prevent boredom and loss of interest in school. What programs do they have in place for children who are struggling, not only to help them catch up in the areas they are struggling with, but to prevent their slower learning pace from holding the rest of the students back.

At the middle school, ask how children from that specific elementary school perform in relation to children from other elementary schools. Middle and high schools are usually bigger and pull students from several different elementary schools. Many schools do not keep data on that information, so all you may have to go on is input from the principal and other teachers, but that can be very valuable.

Also, keep in mind that many private schools are NOT accredited, which means their practices are not regulated the way public and accredited schools are. If you choose a private school, check for accreditation and look into how their graduates perform against their peers. A lot of really expensive private schools are simply for profit institutions and their graduates do not measure up. Also keep in mind when looking at ratings and test scores on private schools that school wide test scores will almost always be higher because private schools only take the students they want, which means they do not have children in poverty or poorly performing students to pull down the school wide averages. If you can get it, use the average scores from only the non-free and reduced lunch students at the public school. This data IS collected because it is used to identify what programs help/harm children living in poverty, but it might be difficult for an individual to obtain.

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