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What to look for in a Student-Centered School
As you begin navigating the search of a new school for your child or questioning whether your child’s current school is a right fit, you may be asking yourself how can you determine if a school actually offers a student-centered environment.
In student-centered schools, curricular choices are designed to make learning engaging, meaningful, relevant, and responsive to a student’s needs. A student-centered approach, at it’s core, ensures that learning is personalized and based on a student’s interests, is competency-based where students move forward through demonstration of mastery, and that learning can happen anywhere at anytime. It’s a student driven approach – putting the child in the driver’s seat of their educational journey.
First step as you begin your search is to determine what factors matter most to you and to your child. Gather insight into how your child learns, what motivates them, what frustrates them, do they feel supported or discouraged from interactions with teachers and parents in a learning experience, is your child currently engaged and motivated.
Next, as you begin researching and visiting various schools offering a student-centered learning environment arm yourself with a few key questions.
- Is your school student-centered focused?
- How is your program student-centered?
- How do you encourage collaboration?
- Do you have projects that incorporate multiple subject areas?
- How are students encouraged to pursue their own interests?
- Do you offer your students opportunities to learn outside of the classroom?
- How do you ensure my child understands concepts and what they have learned? Do you use standardized testing? Do you use mastery based performance assessments?
- How are students involved in the tracking of their individual progress and setting their academic goals?
- What is the expertise of the faculty?
Lastly, it’s critical to always visit a potential school to see firsthand the learning environment and culture. This is not only where your child will be spending their days but this is where your child’s future is being cultivated. Checking out a school yourself rather than basing your opinion on school’s reputation or what you are able to learn online, will help you feel more confident and make more informed decisions.
On Sunday, September 11th, St. Mark’s School of Texas will host the annual Dallas Private School Preview. The Dallas Private School Preview is a great opportunity to visit with a number of area private schools and learn more about the school and their student-centered approaches.
If you plan to attend the Dallas Private School Preview, we hope you come visit with us while there!