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Thinking About the Next New year… The New School Year


Children Have More than One “New Year” Every Year

The education of one’s children is one of the biggest responsibilities a parent encounters and the New Year and sending children back to school after a long break is often a time when parents ask themselves if the education they are providing for their children is all that they would like it to be. Parents wonder if there is more they could be doing to supplement their child’s education, or if there is a school that would be a better fit or offer more opportunity for their child. The timing for this thinking is good. Many schools admissions deadlines are in January or February. Many supplemental educational programs outside of school start after winter break.

The selection of a school—whether to send your child to a public, charter, or private school, for example—is a very personal decision and should be viewed as just that: a carefully weighed and researched decision. If it is a decision you are currently weighing on, the following questions and advice might help:


1. How will this school suit my child’s needs in the long run?

2. Is my child a good fit at this school?

3. What are classes like and how much focus and attention will my child receive?

4. How is parent/teacher/school communication?

5. Where do graduates go? How do they do on standardized tests and how do they perform later?

6. What is the student work like? The amount of homework?

7. What is the overall philosophy of the school?

8. What special opportunities might this school offer that are different or I might not immediately know about?


1. Talk to parents who have children attending the school.

3. Talk to alumni of the school.

4. Listen to the Head of School or Principal, if possible.

5. Read the school publications.

6. Have your child shadow for a day.

7. Do not assume that you are ineligible for financial assistance with tuition. Ask.

8. Take a tour during school hours and take time to really observe the students. Are they happy? Engaged? Friendly?

Though there are many websites available to help parents through the school selection process, several of the questions and some of the advice above is from

The New Year is a fresh start. Maybe your child will start a new class and discover a new talent or strengthen an academic weak spot this year. Or, maybe the New Year is time to think about the next New Year that will be waiting for our children in September. In any case, Happy New Year. May the year ahead be full of opportunity and triumph.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

January 8, 2013

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