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Why Choose an Independent School

Frequently Asked Questions

Why send my child to an independent school?

Consider what an independent school will offer your child’s learning experience. An Independent School education offers many things including: dedicated teachers, quality academic instruction, a safe, supportive and nurturing environment, individualized attention, and the approach of educating the whole child. Supported by tuition rather than public taxes, they have the flexibility to adjust curriculums to better meet the needs of individual students. These are only a few highlighted points. We encourage you to visit school open houses to see first-hand what OIS schools have to offer.

How do I choose the right school for my child?

Choosing the right school for your child depends on many factors. Ultimately, you will be seeking a school that matches the individual needs and interests of your child, and one that complements the values of your family. Reflect on your child’s academic strengths and challenges. Consider other talents or interests your child may have in music, arts or athletics. Arrange to visit the school(s) that meet those requirements. After going through the investigative process, taking a school tour, and talking with the school administration, it will likely become clear which school is the right choice for your child. It is not just a learning institution, it’s a community.

My child is a toddler. Is it too early to start the process?

It’s never too early to think about your child’s education. It’s not uncommon for parents to start planning a couple of years before their child starts school. Advanced planning will help you to not only identify the type of school and instruction that you are interested in (i.e. Montessori or Traditional), it also gives you the opportunity to explore all of your options and plan for the financial requirements.

What can I expect from Independent School teachers?

Independent school teachers are dedicated, highly-qualified educators. They are often subject specific teachers who have command of the materials they present and are passionate about their specialty. They have high expectations and provide good discipline but also create an environment where learning is dynamic and interesting. They recognize individual challenges and personal talents. Teachers also encourage and value parent-teacher collaboration when working toward student goals and success.

Why are smaller class sizes so important?

Smaller classes allow teachers to get to know each student in depth. Teachers can then identify strengths and weaknesses, closely monitor the student’s progress, and provide individualized attention. There is not only an emphasis on academic quality, but small class environments encourage the development of student character. When teachers are able to spend more time getting to know a student’s learning style, they can successfully tailor teaching approaches and actively engage students. This allows for the development of values and intellect while providing hands-on experiences such as field trips, extracurricular activities, leadership training and guest speakers.

Is my child qualified?

Nearly all children are candidates for an independent education. While each school has different aims and expectations, it is through the admission process that you will find the best match for your son or daughter.

What is involved in applying to an independent school?

Generally, there are a number of steps to follow regarding filling out required forms, providing records and transcripts and arranging testing. The first thing to do is contact the school of your choice and schedule a visit. The admissions department at the school will provide you with the paperwork you require, explain the process, and can answer any specific questions you may have.

How much homework is given?

Typically, independent schools are academically ambitious, but the amount of homework will be appropriate to your child’s ability and the school’s aims.

Is participating in extracurricular activities required?

All the schools will have lots to offer, and will expect both action and commitment. There are seemingly endless options that will spark the interest of every student including robotics, athletics, arts, leadership, music, community service, chess, musical productions and drama clubs.