FINDING BEST (PRE-, GRADE, MIDDLE OR HIGH) SCHOOL, COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY FOR YOUR CHILD- I say: Every parent should research this thoroughly!* – UPDATE AUGUST 2012

Vol. 3, No.17, Monday, August 6, 2012

TITLE: “FINDING BEST (PRE-, GRADE, MIDDLE OR HIGH) SCHOOL, COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY FOR YOUR CHILD – I say: Every parent should research this thoroughly!*” – UPDATE AUGUST 2012


Today, with the start of the educational year, I am thinking about the intense desire on the part of mothers and fathers in choosing the right school for their young children or advising and assisting their adolescents on the best college for them. My book of the week is:  “The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don’t Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship – And What We Can Do About It” [Hardcover] by Tony Wagner (Author).  Hence, my subject is the search for the best school for your child, and also the best college or university for your teenager. (Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series on parenting, schooling and the return to class.)


The schooling of the baby boom generation was not so complex. When I was growing up, I lived in a district of many immigrants, all hard working and aspiring to build a better life for their families. My parents, being immigrants, felt that it was great that their children were getting an education in the great country that Canada then was and continues to be. In addition, they were also proud of their Italian origin and culture. They knew how important it was for us, the next generation, to be able to speak Italian and better partake in the richness of the culture originating in Italy. As a result, we spoke Italian at home, and my parents subscribed to religious magazines from Italy, Italian Montreal newspaper(s); they also turned on the Italian program both on radio and TV.

For most of us kids, there wasn’t a choice – we went to the grade school closest to our home. This was a public school, at the time, a part of the English Catholic commission.  For high school, it was the same story.  It is accurate to say that these schools, which we attended, were populated with children mostly of immigrant Italian families.  The atmosphere was positive and the students learned well. Many went on to higher education. I then moved up through the grades and graduated. As the girl, I attended commercial college and went out to work.  Perhaps, it is nostalgia, but it seemed simpler then.

When it came to my daughters, I did my research and found good schools, first primary, then high, all close by.  These were also public schools, at the time, a part of the English Catholic commission. It is accurate to say that these schools, which they attended, were populated with children mostly of middle class Italian families. The atmosphere was also positive and the students learned well. I didn’t miss the school meetings – I needed to stay up to date on the programs offered and what my daughters were studying. Generally, we parents were very pleased with these schools.  The public school system worked for me. Oh, by the way, I also sent my kids to Italian School, on Saturday mornings.  I also believed the Italian language and culture were something to nurture.

My frame of reference derived also from my career. I was employed in a top rate college in my home city. (N.B. I spent 30+ years there; and it was a privilege to work in such a place and work with such wonderful people.) It is considered a leading institution in its category.

Update August 2012

More up to date, in September, my granddaughter – now almost 3-1/2 years old, will be returning for her second year at Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K).  My granddaughter has learned a lot in pre-kindergarten and made many little friends.  She’s looking forward to going back in September and that’s a very good sign.

In a year, my grandson will be attending the same pre-kindergarten.  Besides learning there is a social atmosphere to this pre-kindergarten that is so important for children.  It is a high quality pre-kindergarten.  A good pre-school prepares a child and advances a child to do well in elementary school. It also gives a child confidence.

Soon, my daughter – her mother and her husband will be looking for a good elementary school for her.  They already have one in mind. My daughter is very careful in selecting the right one.  She will verify its program and reputation.  

THE AUTHOR:  Tony Wagner

Tony Wagner was a high school teacher, school principal and university professor in teacher education.  Wagner earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Doctorate in Education at Harvard University. His CV work experience includes: (a) Co-Director of the Change Leadership Group (CLG) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; (b) Faculty member of the Executive Leadership Program for Educators, a joint initiative of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Business School, and Kennedy School of Government. He also has consulted far and wide in the education field. He has something to say and he has the background to make his words worthwhile.



He is the author of several books:

  • The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—And What We Can do About It;
  • Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming Our Schools;
  • Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools; and
  • How Schools Change: Lessons from Three Communities Revisited.

THE BOOK:  “The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don’t Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship–And What We Can Do About It” [Hardcover] by Tony Wagner (Author)

Wagner, a seasoned educator, had thoughts about the skills needed by today’s young people to get a good job and become a productive citizen, in the fast changing techno age of today and that of the coming years.  The current crop of school administrators inquired how to provide this education. Wagner wrote the book. A great quote is: “What I have seen in some of our best public schools over the past decade is that while Johnny … are learning how to read at least at a basic level … they are not learning how to think … they are not learning to clearly communicate their ideas orally and in writing.” (pg xiii) The chapters have the reach: 1) The New World of Work and The Seven Survival Skills; 2) the Old World of School; 3) Testing 1,2,3; 4) Reinventing the Education Profession; 5)  Motivating Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workers; and 6) Closing the Gap- Schools That Work.  By specifying what schooling is needed to best prepare your child for the future gives the frame of reference to determine the best school to enroll your child. This noted educator is telling you what to look for in evaluating prospective schools. This is a valuable reference for parents.


Choosing a better school for your young child is important. Giving your teenager advice and assistance to attend a better college and university is important as well.  Yes, we all agree that parents should strive to find the best possible school for their child.  It is the `How-to’, which is difficult! I am sorry to report that this is not as easy or self-evident than it once was. It can also be VERY stressful. If you see the light and want some pointers –  I have some thoughts about this. Please read on.

Personal Comments

There were times when I heard, on the news, about parents camping out half the night to register their kids at a grade school. More recently, from my own experience, I have seen parents insistent that they just have to register their child in a particular program. It really can get intense.  They might argue that this is a matter of life and death – I think that this is a bit much – but I understand their love for their child and their one-minded aim to ensure that he or she will have the maximum educational opportunity available.

What makes a school? It starts with a place having four walls, many class rooms, a gym, a lab, cafeteria-dining room, exterior grounds, etc. It then has people: a school board or commission comprising a chairperson, members, superintendent(s), etc. It also has a school principal, teachers, office and blue collar employees. And of course, there are students and parents.

Many parents believe that their children should go to a better PRE-K. I agree.
Many parents believe that their children should go to a better grade school. I agree.
Many parents believe that their children should go to a better middle school. I agree.
Many parents believe that their children should go to a better high school. I agree.
Many parents believe that their children should go to a better college. I agree.
Many parents believe that their children should go to a better university. I agree.

The question remains: “What makes a school better?” I thought that you would never ask. I think that a school (along with its school board) is better when: (a) It is efficiently run: (i) The building(s) are adequately maintained; (ii). There is sufficient modern equipment; (iii). The facilities are well-staffed; (b) The curriculum and program is good – this means: (i). That the courses are what the student needs to advance in the coming years ultimately to higher education; (ii). That each course is well planned out & the course outline is accurate and complete; (iii). That the course is taught well;  (c) It has a good reputation – this means: (i). That the test scores of students rank high against those of students from others schools; (ii). That the graduates go on to higher education – at better colleges and universities; and (iii). That its standards are high- this could mean that there are entrance exams and a waiting list to get in. (d) The people make the difference – this means : (i). That it has superior teachers-professors (For me, this in turn means that they are not only credentialed, but also, able to teach and inspire students – and the evaluations are excellent to boot. (N.B. I will speak more about this next week.);  (ii). That the administrators, from the board on down, are well-qualified, trained and experienced, and also, highly motivated. (iii). That the children attending the school have been instilled with the need to study hard; (iv). The parents are loving and hands-on; (v). The greater community is made up of good people, proud of their locality and institutions like the school, and protective of their children and committed to their future.

What makes a school great?

I believe that the quality of the school is NOT dependent upon the community being one with more disposable income or of any one ethnic background. In contrast, excellent schools can flourish in all areas. I say that it just takes educators who do more than the call of duty. In addition, there are parents who are better than good …. they are special. It’s not the size of their wallets. Instead it is the quantity of the love they have for their children. They sacrifice so much – they want their kids to have even greater opportunity and success than they themselves have had. In addition, they are not simply committed and involved; more, they are selfless volunteers working on home & school committees, lunch & after school programs, etc. These extraordinary people give of themselves to the greater good, the better education of their children and those of their neighbours.

As well, I believe that the quality of the education is not dependent upon the school being private. Many people think that private schools are better than public schools. I say: “Some are better, but some are worse.” There are the pros and cons to both.

Going private is expensive. Some people borrow money in order to do this.  (Indeed, education can be expensive enough without adding the cost of tuition for elementary and high school.) Supposedly, private schools hire better teachers and have better programs, thus giving a better education.  Is that true?  Not always. From my experience, in the public world, certainly in the college where I worked, I have come across many wonderful teachers – they would compare nicely with those in the private institutions.

I also have some words of caution about the private world.   I am under the impression that expensive private schools tend to have a problem with drugs. I heard a story about a private elite school.  A number of students were getting high and others were pushers.  Not to say, public schools are exempted from this problem, but many of the students don’t have that kind of money to buy drugs. In addition, since money talks, the school may be more vulnerable, than the public schools, to pressure, strong to subtle, of an interest group or people espousing a certain point of view. A school might toe the line if parents threaten to pull their children out of class or discontinue planned giving: donations and endowments.

I further believe that the quality of the school is NOT dependent upon the student population being children of the rich and famous. Many people think that this will benefit them … the right connections could possibly direct them to a better life. But there is also a down side to this:  there probably is a golden spoon in the mouth of a child of the super rich. These children get what they want and their parents, who in many cases, are too busy with their careers, give them everything and anything they desire. Money may be unlimited for these kids. Middle class kids, on the other hand, if attending such a school, cannot hope to have the same money to throw around. This might create problems. They might feel less fortunate, perhaps have an inferiority complex.

The Point

Searching (and researching) for the best school for your child, and also the best college or university for your teenager is time well spent!


Every parent interested in their child’s education should:
1. Research the schools in your home town community, both public and private, etc.;

2. Inquire into public schools – there are many that are run very efficiently, offer very good programs and are VERY WELL respected;

3. Investigate: (a) The atmosphere of the school; (b) The population of the school- check if the staff is knowledgeable and cordial and if there are parents like you, who are committed and involved;

4. Ask such questions:
4.1 “What type of education does the school offer?”

4.2 “What are the programs, diplomas offered, etc.?”
4.3 “What are the qualifications of the teachers?”
4.4 “Does the school offer activities, sports, etc.?”
4.5 “Is there research being carried on?”;

5. ”Look for recommendations of past students and inquire into their moving onto even higher education.

6. Try to stay within your means.

Bonus: Missed registration date …. now what?

You may be officially late, but you’re not necessarily down and out. Here are my tips:

  1. Go to the Office/Registrar without delay and (a) Make an application; (b) Ask about the “wait list” and get yourself added;
  2. Submit as a supplement to your child’s application: (a) Letters about your child’s hobbies, sports, accomplishments, etc.
  3. Offer letters of reference about your child
  4. Inquire about the possibility of entering the program by transferring in mid year from another program or another school, especially one well respected and recognized as a “feeder” school
  5. Call the Registrar often and ask for an update – it’s best that they know your name
  6. Check who are on the Board of Directors – explain you need advice and ask for a meeting
  7. Find out if the school has a foundation, endowment program or in need of a donation for a long-awaited project– it cannot hurt!

Teach the parents to search for the best school for their child or teenager. If the child excels, I grade you ‘E’ for excellent!

And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours?*
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”

PREVIEW (tentatively Monday, August 13th 2012): Continuing on in with this theme, I will do an update of my post, first published on August 21, 2011, titled, “FIRST DAY OF (BACK TO) SCHOOL:  I  say, “let’s make this year the most educational ever!*” Oh by the way, it’s not obligatory, but I ask everyone to bring a pencil and paper. It’s on the list! (Editor’s Note: This is another post in a continuing series on schooling and returning to class.)

PREVIEW (now, tentatively Monday, September 17th 2012): I will return to the romance theme. I am hearing a lot about Fifty Shades of Grey by T.L. James. I say: “Now, that’s a VERY spicy  meat ball!” I want to add my two cents to the discussion. (Editor’s Note: This is another post in a continuing series on dating, relationships and marriage.)

P.S. Big News: There are big changes FINALLY coming to my blog – Please stay tuned.

P.P.S. #1 I have a TWITTER page. Consider becoming a follower? Visit –   saveandread
P.P.S. #2 I also have a FACEBOOK page. Consider becoming a friend? Visit: – Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
P.P.S. #3 I am on Linkedin. Consider becoming a connection? Visit – Antoinette La Posta


-Web Tech:

The above is a new media production of Valente under its “United Author*” program.
*TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.



ONE – S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTE #1: Mum’s the Word
“One morning while attending Timbertops School in Australia, Prince Charles attended a service at the local parish church. As the royal visitor left his church, the rector apologized for the small turnout: “Being bank holiday weekend,” he explained, “most of the parishioners are away.” “Not another bank holiday!” the prince exclaimed. “What’s this one in aid of?” “Well,” the rector replied, rather embarrassed, “over here we call it the Queen’s birthday.”
(Source: –

“Amy Carter brought an assignment home one Friday night while her father [Jimmy Carter] was still President. Stumped by a question on the Industrial Revolution, Amy sought help from her mother. “Rosalynn was also fogged by the question and, in turn, asked an aide to seek clarification from the Labor Department. A ‘rush’ was placed on the request since the assignment was due Monday. “Thinking the question was a serious request from the Prez himself, a Labor Department official immediately cranked up the government computer and kept a full team of technicians and programmers working overtime all weekend – at a reported cost of several hundred thousand dollars. “The massive computer printout was finally delivered by truck to the White House on Sunday afternoon and Amy showed up in class with the official answer the following day. But her history teacher was not impressed. When Amy’s paper was returned, it was marked with a big red ‘C.’”
(Source: –

S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTE #3: Mad Laughter
“The only disadvantage I laboured under at St Paul’s School,” Eric Newby once recalled, “was that I had a curious sense of humour which meant that if anything came up in class that had a suggestion of double entendre it caused me to dissolve into hysterics for which I was punished, sometimes quite severely. In other words, I had a dirty mind. “For instance, on one occasion when we were reading [Sir Walter] Scott’s Marmion aloud, it became obvious to myself and everyone else in the class that by the working of some hideously unnatural process of selection it would fall to me to read a completely unreadable part of the romance in Canto Two, entitled ‘The Convent,’ which concerned the blind Bishop of Lindisfarne. And you could have heard a pin drop when I got to my feet. “‘No hand was moved, no word was said “Till thus the Abbot’s door was given “Raising his sightless balls to heaven -’ “was all I could manage before going off into peals of mad laughter and to be beaten by John Bell, the High Master, who showed where his sympathies lay by beating me hard and then giving me a shilling. I have never forgiven Scott.” (Source: –

S & R* QUOTE #1: Oprah Winfrey
“For everyone of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.”(Source:  Wisdom Quotes) –

S & R* QUOTE #2:  Benjamin Franklin
“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes) –

S & R* QUOTE #3: John F. Kennedy
“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” (Source:  Wisdom Quotes) –

For today, my word/phrase(s) are: “school”; “private school”; “public school”; etc.

“A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems
of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country (discussed in the Regional section below), but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

“Private schools, also known as independent schools or nonstate schools,[1] are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students’ tuition, rather than relying on mandatory taxation through public (government) funding, students can get a scholarship into a private school which makes the cost cheaper depending on a talent the student may have e.g. sport scholarship, art scholarship, academic scholarship etc. In the United Kingdom and several other Commonwealth countries, the use of the term is generally restricted to primary and secondary educational levels; it is almost never used of universities and other tertiary institutions. Private education in North America covers the whole gamut of educational activity, ranging from pre-school to tertiary level institutions. Annual tuition fees at K-12 schools range from nothing at so called ‘tuition-free’ schools to more than $45,000 at several New England preparatory schools.”(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –

Public schools
“In the United States and Canada, public schools are schools that are paid for by the government. They are open to all students who live nearby without any charge. They are usually paid for through property taxes that are applied to everyone who owns buildings in the area around the school. Public schools started in the United States in the 1800s. Every U.S. state now has free public schools.” (Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –


“Nearly 50 million students are heading off to approximately 99,000 public elementary and secondary schools for the fall term, and before the school year is out, an estimated $540 billion will be spent related to their education. These are just a few of the statistics contained in Back to School Stats, which offers data about American elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools, students, and the educational process.”
Source: –

Elementary and Secondary Education
“In fall 2010, nearly 49.4 million students will attend public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 34.7 million will be in prekindergarten through 8th grade and 14.7 million will be in grades 9 through 12 (source). An additional 5.8 million students are expected to attend private schools this fall.
About 1,094,000 children are expected to attend public prekindergarten this fall. Enrollment in kindergarten, at approximately 3,693,000, is projected to be at an all-time high (source). Public school systems will employ about 3.3 million teachers this fall, resulting in a pupil/teacher ratio of 15.3, which is lower than in 1999, when the ratio was 16.1. Approximately 0.5 million teachers will be working in private schools this fall, where the pupil/teacher ratio is estimated at 12.8 (source).” Source: –
College and University Education In fall 2010, a record 19.1 million students are expected to attend the
Nation’s 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities, an increase of about 3.8 million since fall 2000 (source). Source: –
(Source: US Census Bureau) –

Private schools represent about 24 percent of schools in the nation and educate about 10 percent of the students. (Source: –
“This report is the first to focus on private school students’ performance on NAEP assessments. It provides results in reading, mathematics, science, and writing in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2005. Specifically, it focuses on the three private school types that combined enroll the greatest proportion of private school students (Catholic, Lutheran, and Conservative Christian) as well as private schools overall. It also compares the performance of students in these schools to that of public school students to provide additional perspective. Comparing student performance among the three types of private schools highlights several differences at grades 4 and 8 and a few at grade 12. Among the three types of private schools, few significant differences in performance were found at grade 12. The exceptions were that in 2000, the average score in science for grade 12 students in Catholic schools was 6 points higher than for students in Lutheran schools, and that in the 2000 mathematics assessment, a higher percentage of twelfth-graders in Catholic schools performed at or above Proficient than twelfth-graders in Conservative Christian schools. Where differences existed at grades 4 and 8, students in Lutheran schools generally outperformed those in Conservative Christian schools. In some grade/subject combinations, Lutheran school students outperformed Catholic school students, and Catholic school students outperformed Conservative Christian school students. Students at grades 4, 8, and 12 in all categories of private schools had higher average scores in reading, mathematics, science, and writing than their counterparts in public schools. In addition, higher percentages of students in private schools performed at or above Proficient compared to those in public schools.” (Source: –


S & R*NEWS ALERT*#1:From home to school, protect your student By Glenn Cooper

“When your child moves away from home for college or university, there are important changes and responsibilities to consider. Along with the emotional stress of this big change, you also need to consider what the move means for your finances and insurance policies.

Being informed about your insurance coverage is crucial for your child’s protection and wellbeing. While many policies extend parents’ coverage to kids in university, other policies encourage college students to purchase their own insurance.

Parents need to know whether their insurance extends to their children when they are buying a car or moving into an apartment or residence, says Wayne Ross, insurance expert at Aviva Canada. You could find yourself facing a financially-stressful situation that could easily have been avoided.

For a stress-free transition, Ross offers the following helpful tips:

Scope out apartments Living off-campus can help students develop a sense of independence and save some money. However, consider buying a tenant policy in your child’s name so their personal property is protected.

Keep track of their finances University life goes hand-in-hand with expensive purchases like computers and other electronics. Stick to a budget, keep track of your purchase and verify what your insurance covers.

Check your car insurance. Whether your child takes his or her car to university or intends to drive on visits home, call your insurance company to check what your policy includes.

Following these tips can help you breathe a little easier during this time of transition. More information is available from your insurance broker or online at”

S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: How to motivate yourself at college and university

“Your college years can be some of the best times of your life. The freedom of not having anyone to answer to combined with the flexibility of arranging your own schedule means you may get to sleep in more and stay out ’til the wee hours of the morning. But this period in your life isn’t supposed to last forever. Here are some tips on how to stay on track and keep motivated:

Stick with the right crowd. You may have learned this lesson already in high school, but it becomes even more important to surround yourself with positive influences in your college years. Find friends who equally balance work and play.

Know your limits. Enrolling in an advanced course because it interests you can be a great way to challenge yourself, but if you feel overwhelmed and miserable it may be time to revisit your plans. College is a great time to discover who you are and how much you can handle. Just don’t overextend yourself and ask for help if you need it.

Value your education. It’s a privilege to attend college and – for most children and families in developing countries it’s a distant dream. International development organization like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada ( can help you make a difference in the life of a child living in extreme poverty through education Consider investing in someone’s future as you are investing in your own.”

*TM/© 2012 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 6th, 2012 at 11:30 am and is filed under Schooling and Returning to Class. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


4 Responses to “FINDING BEST (PRE-, GRADE, MIDDLE OR HIGH) SCHOOL, COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY FOR YOUR CHILD- I say: Every parent should research this thoroughly!* – UPDATE AUGUST 2012”

  1. Get in Harvard University Says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Appreciate it!

  2. How To Locate Flapper Dresses Says:

    I think that is among the such a lot vital information for me. And i¡¯m satisfied reading your article. However want to observation on few general issues, The web site style is wonderful, the articles is actually excellent : D. Good activity, cheers

  3. dresses evening dresses Says:

    Heads Up We adores your striking website cheers and pls keep the ball moving

  4. great site Says:

    Hey sweet heart from a girlfan keep up the awesome blog