Choosing the Right School for Troubled Boys
Where do parents find the best school that can fulfill their troubled boy's every need? First, they need to understand that their child's needs are best met in the private sector, and they have to consider from a variety of options, from therapeutic residential schools to boot camps to military schools, etc.
With an abundance of choices, lack of reliable aids in decision making, and sometimes with limited budget, parents are often left confused and even more distressed over the choices they have made, whether they are the best choices for their child.
To find whether you are making the right choice, you should ask the following questions:
- Is the school properly accredited?
There are six major educational accreditation organizations in the United States, and these accrediting bodies are responsible for systematic monitoring and evaluation of all public and private institutions that are educational in nature: elementary schools, middle schools, junior high schools and high schools, in their respective region. If regional standards are met, an accredited status and membership is granted by the organization.
The six major educational accreditation organizations in the United States are:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Accreditation Commission
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
In choosing a school for your troubled kid, make sure your choices are properly accredited by any of these major accrediting bodies. If not, chances are your choice has not been properly tested or has failed in quality assurance testing. Do not choose schools without proper accreditation as some colleges and universities reject credits earned from schools under unrecognized accreditation organizations.
Checking for these credentials should be easy, as schools who passed their regional accreditation will usually display this information prominently on their website.
Are the teachers and instructors certified and qualified to teach?
You can always spot a good school based on the wealth of information they have on their website. Good schools make it a point to provide a concise list of their faculty to be reviewed by parents of prospective students. That being said, it is not uncommon for good schools to be known because of its faculty.
In choosing a school, take time to browse the faculty section. You might not find anything of use there or you might find that one piece of information that will have an impact on your future decision making. There is a bit of comfort knowing that you are enrolling your troubled kid suffering from bi polar to a therapeutic residential school who also employs an in-house physician who has years of experience treating mood disorders in children.
Whatever the case, you need to make sure that the school you are choosing employs not only certified teachers but also good ones who are emphatic to the child's circumstances. Also, it is critical that schools have the knowledge, capability and resources to do the job. Core content areas should only be taught by qualified teachers.
Is the School Within Your Budget?
Private schools are expensive, alternative boarding schools specialized for troubled boys are even more so, obviously because these schools offer a lot more compared to traditional schools. For example, in therapeutic residential schools, a teenager also receives one-on-one therapy sessions and life skill classes aside from the normal curriculum.
The average tuition for private schooling in the U.S. is $40,000, which generally covers the basic curriculum as well as the board and lodging cost, but excludes extra expenses such as registration fees, uniform fees, etc. In choosing a school, be aware that there might be additional fees aside from the tuition. You should ask what is covered in the tuition cost, and if there are additional costs throughout the school year.
In most states, there are financial aid programs available to parents to help in paying tuition. For example, tuition loan is available almost in every state, and what it does is huge payments to be paid partially over a predetermined length of time. There are also student assistance programs that students can avail based on need or merit. Some grants can even waive entire curriculum cost based solely on need.
Is the School Licensed to Award a Diploma?
Not all schools can award a diploma. According to the Department of Education, school boards do not award diplomas to students who are not enrolled in schools under their supervision. Majority of the accredited schools grant high school diplomas, and in most cases, your child needs to enroll in the program for at least a year to be awarded with one.
In choosing a school, make sure that the school of your choice can award a diploma officially recognized by educational accrediting bodies.