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3 Ways to Know If a School Is Right for You

Marianne Kaplan is the director of external affairs at Montgomery School, a PreK-8 independent private school in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. In her role, she oversees the strategy for enrollment, development and marketing. Kaplan recently led and managed their re-branding processes, including the creation of a new logo, visuals, mission statement, website redesign, and language to describe the signature strengths of Montgomery’s programs and student outcomes. Here, she presents her three tips for navigating the school selection process.

Ask if you can speak to the students about their relationships with their teachers.

Building trust between teachers and students is a key factor in the most effective educational experiences. When teachers and students (and their parents or guardians) are true partners, learning is a collaborative, supportive process in which students have the confidence and motivation to try harder.

Montgomery School teachers know just how much to push and how much to support each student’s growth. As a dedicated PreK–8 school, elementary grade specialists understand the developmental needs of their students and forge the essential relationships that help young learners thrive.

Consider looking at schools that specialize in primary or secondary education.

As children grow, their needs change. In order to thrive, a toddler needs a very different learning environment than a teenager—intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. It stands to reason then, that teachers must understand where children are developmentally in order to support their growth—as independent learners and also as caring community members.

Montgomery School has a singular focus: launching children’s educational journeys and shepherding their progress through eighth grade. These foundational years are when children’s learning habits are formed, when their nascent social skills are practiced and honed, and when the potential for future success is unleashed. Montgomery School’s program, community and campus are all purposefully designed around the developmental needs of early childhood and early adolescence.

Look at the student-teacher ratio.

Learning environments that offer smaller class sizes have been known to be more effective for learning. Smaller classes mean more individual attention, more student engagement, more opportunities to be challenged, less falling through the cracks, and more flexibility in curriculum to address student needs.
At Montgomery School, an average class size of 13 and a student-teacher ratio of 7:1 ensures that every child is known well. Teachers can adapt each day’s classroom agenda to give time and space for students to wonder why and joyfully explore new material.

For more information about Montgomery School or to schedule a private tour, click here.