Questions to ask when choosing a School (8.07)
Nonpublic schools in New Hampshire are required to meet minimal state standards for approval as detailed in Part Ed 403 of the New Hampshire Code of Administrative Rules. The state does not prescribe or stipulate what a nonpublic school shall teach nor determine the minimum qualifications of its staff. Parents of students attending private high schools in New Hampshire should be aware that graduates of nonpublic high schools are not required to meet the same graduation requirements as public high schools. When choosing a school for your child, we recommend you ask many questions of a school's administrators and, if possible, other parents of children attending that school. We suggest you review each school's Web site and ask for a copy of its parent and student handbooks. We also suggest that you carefully consider the following
Has the school been accredited by a recognized accrediting organization? If not, can the school administration demonstrate how it measures adherence to standards and accomplishment of its goals and objectives?
Does the school offer co-curricular activities that will meet the interests and needs of your child?
Besides the stated tuition, are there any other costs for computers, uniforms, books, etc? What is the school's refund policy if your child leaves the school for any reason?
Does the school follow a particular educational philosophy? Is this philosophy suitable for your child? Does the school's approach to student discipline agree with yours?
What is the basis for the curriculum adopted by this school? How is individual student progress evaluated and reported to the student and parents? Is extra help available if your child needs additional support? Does this school have an approved program to diagnose and assist students with special learning needs or behavioral disabilities? Do the students participate in any standardized testing programs? Are credits earned at this school easily transferable to other schools in the state? If your child transfers to a public high school or another private school, will your child need to complete required courses not offered at this school?
How can a parent or student voice a concern regarding a teacher or another student? Does the principal or director report to a governing board or an advisory board?
Do the teachers have appropriate experience and education to teach their assigned courses? What kind of background checks, if any, are conducted on personnel employed by this school?
Is emergency medical care readily available during the day and at night if it is a boarding school? Is there a firm policy discouraging and punishing student bullying? Are there consequences for this negative behavior?
The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has provided a detailed booklet, Choosing a School for Your Child, at: www.ed.gov/print/parents/schools/find/choose/pub.html.
The Commission on Independent Schools (CIS) has also posted a list of questions and other sources of information for parents at www.neasc.org/cis/cis20qst.htm.