16 Keys to Choosing the Right School
- Is there a clearly identified mission that will serve your child’s future?
- In what ways will your child will be actively engaged in the classroom?
- Are there compelling educational experiences beyond the classroom?
- How will your son’s or daughter’s development be encouraged by peers and adult mentors?
- In what ways do parents describe a superior education for their sons and daughters?
- How will your student be held accountable?
- Are there are strong partnerships among parents, teachers and students?
- How does the school challenge students to reach out and grow?
- In what ways do faculty and staff support students, regardless of their progress?
- Do teachers have strong backgrounds in the subjects they teach?
- Do the school’s programs encourage student participation?
- Do students master the appropriate fundamentals and concepts?
- How do the school’s graduates fare in college, and later professionally?
- Do students at the school develop and sustain passions in and out of the classroom?
- Are individual students with unique perspectives, needs and dreams served well?
- Will the investment required result in commensurate life-lasting returns?
How Lowell Whiteman Meets the 16 Keys to Choosing the Right School
1) Is there a clearly identified mission that will serve your child’s future?
Ask the school to see their written policy which clearly explains the standards of excellence required of each student and how that relates to their central mission. See the Lowell Whiteman School Mission Statement, About us, and our Academic page.
2) In what ways will your child be actively engaged in the classroom?
Find out student/teacher ratios and class sizes. Find out the overall experience and education levels of faculty members. Howl long have they been with the school? The longevity of a teaching staff shows their dedication to what they are teaching and loyalty to the school's mission. Check out our Class Size, Faculty Ratio and education of faculty. Our faculty members are dynamic, experienced and connected to our students in and out of the classroom. Three of our students finished in the top 3% of the nation on SATs in 2010 and were included in a group of only 16,000 students out of 26 million nationally for National Merit Scholarships. Three students from not-so-big Lowell Whiteman School, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
3) Are there compelling educational experiences beyond the classroom?
Does the school have programs which are captivating and inspiring to young people? Is there a connection between those programs and the academic program? At LWS, we have a long, successful tradition in experiential education connected to our classrooms. See Global Immersion Studies program, Service Learning Philosophy and our Outdoor Program, as well as About Us.
4) How will your son’s or daughter’s development is encouraged by peers and adult mentors?
Does the school have programs in place beyond the classroom with teachers, advisers, and dorm parents? How do those programs connect? What kinds of communications are there with parents? At LWS, our advisor program works directly with students, teachers, the Dean of Students, the Academic Dean and parents. This adds another layer of connection with your student. Small class sizes allow teachers to focus on students and follow their progress more precisely. The relatively small size of the school allows us to stay in touch with students as a staff and faculty.
5) In what ways do parents value a superior education for their sons and daughters.
Are parents involved with the school beyond the tenure of their students? This is an excellent sign that there is belief in the school and the value of the education it provides. Most of our board members were parents who saw their students graduate a decade or more ago. Some are alums who continue to stay active with LWS. Our 2010 graduating class of 24 students earned 1.8 million dollars in scholarships. Out of 24 million high school students nationally, 50,000 scored very high on SATs earning a national merit scholarship opportunity. Three of those were our current students. That is a very large perecentage for a small school. Finally, can you speak to current parents about their opinions of the school? See what parents have to say, for example.....Towny Anderson, son Jennings, Class of 2008. Ask Admissions for an opportunity to connect with an LWS parent.
6) Will your child will be held accountable?
Ask the school to see their written policy which clearly explains the standards of excellence required of each student. Find out what the school's teachers use as for keeping their students accountable and how frequently these measures are applied. See our policies and philosophies in our Student Handbook and our Advisor Program
7) Are there are strong partnerships among parents, teachers and students?
Ask the school if there are opportunities between teachers and students beyond the classroom and ask how those evolve. Do parents feel that connection as well? Our LWS Experience includes outdoor adventure and activities where we hike, bike and ride with our students. Parents can't believe the phenomenon of tight relationships that evolve between teachers and students on these trips and during foreign travel. Our alums stay in touch with us. Why? Because they want to share their stories, share their success and to know that their Alma Mater is still doing those things which benefited them so much. See Outdoor Adventure. Check out one student's kayak outdoor experience.
8) How does the school challenge students to reach out and grow?
Ask a school where challenge comes from. Is it a syllabus? Words written on a board? Advanced Placement Exams? We provide those but we also climb mountains, we travel to distant shores, some students train for races, we write about Shakespeare and connect Geography projects to what is happening int he real world. It's all connected, and it comes from the same confident center developing inside a young person. We tap that potential and build upon it. See Dennis Kinder, current Air Force cadet as he tells his story or Jennings Anderson who talks about academics, community service, computers and Outdoor Adventure.
9) In what ways do faculty and staff support students, regardless of their progress?
10) Do teachers have strong backgrounds in the subjects they teach?
Ask to see the credentials of the teaching faculty. Find out what their extra-curricular interests are and decide if these are the sort of people you want educating your young people. Are there activities and interests they share in common with your student, and do those faculty members support the mission of the school? Check out our faculty profiles or Outdoor Adventure. LWS teachers are passionate about the subjects they teach, in and out of the classroom.
11) Do the school’s programs encourage student participation?
Does the school have a history of mixing social groups, and encourage broad interests? What sorts of things are there to do on campus to make students feel like they can participate? Do students feel accepted, no matter where they come from or what their interests may be? What kind of activities does the school have? Check out our Class Size and Faculty Ratio - smaller numbers of students encourage students to participate in class. Also, Foreign Travel, Service Learning and Outdoor Adventure all provide "hands-on" learning and experience. Residential and Student Life provides a family community. Day students and resident students share activities on and off campus with school sponsored and student council activities. Also check out our Terrain park, Rails and Ski Hill page.
12) Do students master the appropriate fundamentals and concepts?
13) How do the school’s graduates fare in college and later professionally? How do alumni describe their experiences at the school?
Find out what alums think of their experience at a school and how they reflect on it in terms with their current lives. Check out Alumni Stories; Leigh Cohen, MBA, London School of Economics, felt at home at LWS.
14) Do students at the school develop and sustain passions in and out of the classroom?
Can you point to examples in a school where students go the extra mile because of the opportunities? How is passion for learning encouraged, and how does all of this play out in later life?
15) Are individual students with unique perspectives, needs and dreams served well?
16) Will the investment required result in commensurate life-lasting returns?
Do a school's alumni, parents and current students feel like what students are learning will serve them through out their lives? The best way to find this out is through our alums. Gates Gooding gives of his time and energy all over the world and says LWS changed his life and continues to this day. Visit with current students and talk to parents like Vicki Rudolph who graduated students at LWS.