Since the Common Core State Standards were adopted by the California State Board of Education in 2010, many California classrooms have been limbering up for the big shift to the new statewide academic standards for K-12 education. This spring, the first Smarter Balanced tests in California will be conducted. Students in grades three through eight and grade eleven will be assessed, while a small sample of ninth and tenth grade students will also participate in the field test in March and June. But the question now is: is your child ready?
The transition to the new standards has not been easy California public schools. The challenge of meeting the new standards given just a short span of time is one of the core problems of this new mandate. Moreover, teachers have to be retrained, lessons have to be restructured and pedagogical materials and methods have to be rethought.
Fortunately, private elementary schools in San Diego, such as Del Mar Pines School, are not required to implement these new standards. Private schools have the flexibility to make use only of the standards that they feel would be best for their students and set the bar higher. Other than this unique advantage, there are many other reasons why considering a private school today may be a better choice for your child.
- Private Schools Are Already Exceeding the New Standards
Long before the Common Core State Standards were introduced, most private schools have already met or exceeded these standards. This is mainly because private schools are not limited to the curriculum that the California State requires. Private schools are known to set higher standards not only on academic excellence but also with the arts, parental involvement and school discipline.
In an article for Del Mar Times, Director Marci McCord of Del Mar Pines School said that DMP finds some of the Common Core standards useful, while others they may opt not to adopt. According to her, the DMP program already approach curriculum with a lot of the depth of knowledge aspects promoted by Common Core and have 1:1 technology integration. McCord also said, “We’ve always focused on critical thinking skills, especially in language arts — it’s something we’ve done for 35 years.”
- Private Schools Have Smaller Class Sizes
Small class size has always been one of the many advantages that private schools offer. With a low student-teacher ratio, private schools are able to focus on the development of the whole child, develop close connections with the students and their families, and provide the individualized attention that students need to push for depth of knowledge. This can be harder in a larger classroom, such as in many California public schools, where the average class size is around 25 students per class.
Del Mar Pines School ensures a low student-teacher ratio by limiting its class sizes and providing 1½ -2 teachers per class. Small group instruction is also offered in both language arts and mathematics, with six to eight students in each group (four to seven students per group in kindergarten and first grade).
- Private School Teachers Are Student-Centered
Private school teachers are already well trained to utilize a variety of perspectives and approaches to accommodate differing learning styles. They also have more autonomy in the classroom, which allows them to have a full understanding of how each student learns and what interests and motivates each individually.
At Del Mar Pines, special emphasis is placed on speculation, hypothesis, research, experimentation and the attribution and documentation of results, as well as development of excellent organizational skills and study habits. Field trips, classroom productions and school-wide events present opportunities for students to discover and create both as individuals and as members of a group. Moreover, Del Mar Pines School have specialist instructors who teach fine arts, Spanish, music, computer science, hands-on science, physical education and library.
- Private School Students Excel at Exams
Studies have shown that private school students are more than twice as likely to attend and complete four-year colleges as their public school counterparts. The typical student of Del Mar Pines measures significantly above the national average on all standardized tests, with over 96% of children performing up to their quantifiable ability level.
Students at Del Mar Pines currently take the Stanford Achievement Tests and Otis-Lennon School Ability Tests. With the upcoming CCSS assessment tests, DMP Director said they are taking a “wait and see” approach. “We want to see what it looks like and whether it makes sense and gives us information that can help improve our program or not,” McCord said.
- Private Schools Value Parental Involvement
With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards to California public schools approaching, it is understandable that parents have different opinions about it. However, since public schools do not have the autonomy, flexibility, and accountability that private schools hold, it is difficult for parents whose children are studying at public schools to express their sentiments openly, and be heard.
Private schools, on the other hand, are more sensitive and responsive to both parents and students’ needs. Like Del Mar Pines, private schools value significantly what parents want and promote parental involvement to help improve the school’s curriculum, teaching methods, facilities and code of conduct.
Consider a Private Elementary School for Your Child Today
Del Mar Pines School is one of the best private elementary schools in San Diego and fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Since 1978, Del Mar Pines Elementary School has served students from kindergarten through sixth grade.
Del Mar Pines takes an alternative approach to the educational process by developing a standards-based curriculum that far exceeds the California State requirements and providing a supportive environment to ensure students experience success every day. With a focus on scholastic development, personal growth, and ethical enrichment, the school have proven to nurture students who are independent and confident, inquisitive and enthusiastic, responsible and compassionate. Find out what parents say about Del Mar Pines School.
For more information about Del Mar Pines, please browse through our website or contact us today.