Private Schools in Your Area

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  1. I am curious what tuition for the private schools in your area are, what is included, what isn't, etc. Do you think it's worth it? Not worth it? What are the stats for students who go off to universities, etc. Any and all thoughts are welcome.

    I put my son in a local private school a couple of years ago because I had recently moved to the area and panicked when I heard that the schools in our county were not great.

    He will be in the first grade this year and tuition for a first grader is about $10,000. It will increase about $700 every year and tops out at 12th grade at about $18,000. In addition to your monthly tuition fee, you also pay an "activity fee" as well as for lunches.

    I'm trying to decide if the school is worth it, to be honest. Their stats for students who go off to 4 year colleges is 99% and that is a huge huge selling point for me. Class sizes are also somewhat small, so students get a lot of one on one attention.

    Anyone care to weigh in?
     
  2. I think this is something that really needs to be judged on a case by case basis because there are so many factors.
    To answer your question, the prep schools around here average out to about 20K or so for grade school and pushing 30K for late high school. Tuition also increases yearly. So by the time a first grader today is in twelve grade who knows what it will be. The private catholic schools are about 9-14K.
    The prep schools all have 100% college acceptance rates. They won't graduate you if you don't get into college. Most students end up at small, elite liberal arts colleges that most people have never heard of with other prep school kids. It's more difficult for prep school kids to get into the big name colleges. (I can elaborate on this but since your son is in first grade it's probably a moot point. Who knows what college admissions will look like by the time your son is in high school).
    I would look at the course offerings (electives, APs, arts), the colleges the kids are accepted to, the National Merit/AP/SAT stats. You should probably be able to find pretty detailed info about the public school online to compare. I'd also consider the culture of the schools. Does your son like it? Does he have friends? Do you like his teachers? Are the other parents insufferable? Ask around about the public school if you can (bullying, drugs, violence). I'd look into the other private schools in the area too because they are definitely not all equal. Some are definitely worth it and some are a waste of money IMO. All schools have their assets and liabilities though. I think the is it worth it question also depends on your financial situation, if you're not really going to miss that money or if you have to make sacrifices in other areas to afford it.
     
  3. #3 Jul 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
    I agree with CuTe_CLAsSy above that it's really case by case for your local area, and she makes excellent points with regard to evaluating each school's criteria (course offerings, college acceptance, standardized test scores, culture, etc.). My local area has one public system K-12 and a few private schools that currently go from PreK-8. Private school tuition is around $18-$20K annually and the tuition is all-inclusive. It's nice not to be "nickel & dimed" with any separate fees for activities, sports, etc. on top of tuition.

    Key decision criteria for me in choosing a private vs. public are school performance, culture, values/philosophy; faculty, staff, and family involvement ("community"); curriculum; classroom size; teacher qualifications; resources available to kids and teachers; college placement; and to be quite honest, that private schools can be independent of state and federal curriculum and testing requirements. After looking at all local options, I chose private for all of the above, and have been pleased. I'm also an opponent of the U.S. Common Core curriculum and heavy emphasis on testing. The private schools in my area (and possibly everywhere?) are not required to follow this curriculum and testing requirements, and for this I am pleased.
     
  4. He loves the school and and has friends. His teachers have been amazing as well. They're very conscious about where each individual child is developmentally, versus teaching to a large class and leaving a few behind in the dust.

    Community is a big part of the school as well, which is a huge bonus. They do summer bonfires for the kids, are really big into sports and keeping the kids active, family events, etc.

    I also really like that they don't do the standardized state testing that the public schools are required to do. The public schools around here are under a lot of pressure because of the tests and how low the scores have been. Teachers are blaming the tests, as well as parents' lack of involvement and parents are blaming the teachers and school systems. It's a mess.
     
  5. My daughter is in Montessori and I believe Montessori costs of $13K a year is worth it. Not all private schools are the same and worth it. She has been there for a year and a half and she is 4.5 years old. Already, she can write, do addition, some reading, and unlike other toddlers, she has an incredible attention span and good listening skills. I know that she would not be learning this in public school. When she was 3 we noticed the difference between her and other 3 year olds, who had temper tantrums and listening issues. I also have decided it is worth it for her and me right now because they teach the whole person--patience, character, etc. And I know that my husband and I are not perfect parents so Montessori helps alleviate that pressure from me as I feel like her teachers are better, well-rested, more patient versions of me. And I fully trust them with her. For me, this is how I judge school--are they teaching my kid as well as I could (if I were an expert in the material) and are they doing so in a way that is helping her mature and enjoy the learning process?
    Her school claims that their students all go on to attend the honors/magnet high school in the area. While I like the idea of her going there, I also want to play it by ear each year to see if she makes the kind of progress that is worth $13K a year.
     
  6. I live in a district that is considered one of the best in the country, and it is fabulous for DS2 (5th grade). DS1 (8th grade), due to many reasons, is homeschooling this year. We tried prep school for a while (very prestigious locally and difficult to get into, and also about $30k per year) but it just wasn't for him. He is a unique and directed kid, and this is really not for everyone, and definitely I think your son is too young, but something to think about.

    I don't personally do anything, the school is called Laurel Springs and it's all online. It's a few thousand dollars per year and they have everything academically you could need, including honors and AP courses. I think it is much harder than public school - he takes tests every day, has papers and projects almost every day - because he must be accountable for everything he is learning. Just something to think about.