That’s a great question and one that can be answered best by acknowledging that choosing the right school for your child can be time-consuming and confusing. Would you make an important large purchase like buying a house or a car sight-unseen or decide to attend a trade or post-secondary school without visiting the campus? Most people would not. The same is true for choosing an independent school for your child. You’ll want to see the school, feel the community, touch the history and hear the stories before you make a decision about your child’s future.
All schools have a slightly different approach to the experiences and touchpoints they present to prospective families. At Wye River Upper School, each of our personal experiences - from open house to student shadow days - offers a different, unique view of our community. By all means, scour our website and social media - as well as those of other schools - but also engage in one-on-one and group experiences, starting with the prospective family open house.
Wye River Upper School’s Director of Enrollment Management and Communications, Tracie Spence, explains what you can expect from a prospective family open house at Wye River Upper School.
Get to know the school community. At Wye River Upper School, our goal is to provide an authentic, unique open house experience that includes unscripted, from-the-heart stories from parents and students; the vision for our community from our head of school; information about our curriculum from our assistant head of school; and current programming from our faculty.
Learn about the curriculum. Wye River Upper School’s curriculum is designed to meet the needs of bright students who learn differently. We emphasize real-world, project-based learning, with a focus on strengthening communication skills and collaboration and preparation for life after high school.
Find out if the school’s mission and philosophies are an appropriate fit for you and your family. Wye River’s mission and philosophies are based on changing lives (academically, socially, and emotionally) by serving exceptional students, empowering our educators, offering a vast curriculum, embracing diversity, and building a strong community.
Explore preconceptions or misconceptions about the school. Attend the open house with an open mind. You will find that we are definitely many of the things you’ve thought of but will also discover many things you didn’t know about us.
Check out opportunities to support your child’s community. There are many opportunities in which you can get involved as a parent. These include participation in the PTO or PTO activities and volunteer needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand something or need clarity, you might not only be helping yourself but also someone else who doesn’t feel comfortable asking the same question. Keep in mind that questions that are of a more personal nature can always be answered with a phone call or email as well.
Lastly, trust your instincts and take your child’s education seriously. You’ll know in your heart if the school is a good choice for your child and family. Finding the best community for your child is the start to laying a foundation for and making an investment in your child’s future.
To learn more about Wye River Upper School, please consider attending one of our prospective family open houses. Dates can be found in our Communications Hub.
Research Insights: Why Parents Choose Independent Schools, by Amanda Torres
What is Project-Based Learning?, by Katherine Hutt Scott