"Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent."
- Bob Keeshand
Parents are a cornerstone of the foundation of successful independent schools.
Hold up, what?
Everyone knows that teachers and curriculum are the cornerstone of the foundation of successful independent schools, right? Well, those are cornerstones of the foundation of a successful school program, but without parents making the choice to fund their child's education personally and out of pocket, independent schools wouldn't exist, making them foundational to our success.
As a successful independent school, we are well aware and deeply appreciative of the
parent-school relationship that begins the moment parents peruse the website or pick up the phone to inquire about admission. Often those first communications are focused on the particulars of the program at our school, but we know that they are also the beginning of the relationship that will ultimately define student success at PNA.
Best practices from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) state (and we paraphrase) that in order for schools to create and sustain effective partnerships, we all have to focus on the following:
Open communication is key. It's imperative that parents and schools recognize that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect, and a common vision of the goals to be reached.
The school has to be a good fit for the student and the family. In selecting an independent school, parents should seek an optimal match for the needs of the student, their own expectations, and the philosophy and programs of the school, including any religious, cultural, medical, or personal information that the school may need to serve the student best. On the flip side, schools are responsible for fully presenting their philosophy, program, and practices to parents during the admission process and encouraging conversation that clarifies parental expectations and aspirations for the student.
Know each other. Schools should know and value parent perspectives on their children. Like wise, parents should know and value the school's perspective on their students. Parents need to be familiar and support the schools policies and procedures, and the school will keep parents well informed through systematic reports, conferences, publications, and