Choosing a private school in Houston? Are you having trouble making the a final school decision for your child or teenager? Choosing a private school requires careful research and thought. With over 800 private schools in the state of Texas and over 250 in Houston, it is important to make wise decisions from the broad mix of independent schools in Texas.
Private schools vary widely and include: prep schools, faith-based schools, micro-schools, single gender and day/boarding schools, alternative schools and tutoring centers. Grade levels are unique to each private school and may include: K-12, middle school only (grades 6-8, aka “junior high schools”), high school only (grades 9-12, aka “upper schools”) and secondary schools.
Finding vs. Choosing? If you are in the process of finding a private school, keep in mind this is different from choosing a school in Houston. Perhaps, you are looking at Google Maps using search terms such as “private schools near me” or “best private schools in Houston” but make sure you use the right tools to find private schools locally. To learn more about how to find private schools in Houston, check out this article: 5 Tips to Find a Private School in Houston.
10 Tips to Pick a Private School
As you review the tips below, make some basic choices to choose the right private school in Houston. The tips below will help you finalize your choice. At the end of this article, we will also go through a case study to show you how these specifics line up with a private school in West Houston – Memorial Private School.
- Accreditation – Choosing a private school in Houston should be streamlined by only looking for accredited private schools. Always look for accreditation on private school websites and on directory listings. Private schools go through rigorous accreditation processes. If you are weighing public vs. private schools, this blog will assist you.
- Mission, Vision, and Values – Make sure you choose a private school in Houston that is aligned with your family’s values and/or religion.
- Educational Approach – Discuss the school’s approach and teaching methods to choose the best private school for your child’s learning style.
- School Type – Think about your basic preferences: private day or boarding, microschool or large school, coeducational or single gender, and grade levels.
- School Location – Even if the private school location in Houston is not near you, consider how much time your child spends in school. The drive can be worth it or consider carpooling.
- Academic Support Systems – Some private schools in Houston offer smaller class sizes, but ask them about support services. Questions could include: how many activities or clubs do they offer? How many community and social experiences throughout the year? Additional topics to ask about could include: individualized support, tutoring and mentorship, and learning strategies programs geared for students with ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and other learning differences.
- Faculty and Staff – When you visit a private school campus, ask questions about the faculty and staff as they will be key to success (e.g. teaching approach, credentials, degrees, level of nurturing and attention).
- College and Career Planning Services – If you think your teen might want to take advanced placement (AP) or honors classes in high school, then ask whether the prep school offers AP and honors classes. Also, ask about college prep planning services, college matriculation, and career oriented electives and activities.
- School Enrollment – While some independent private schools are intentionally very small and are often considered microschools, many private schools have enrollments in the hundreds and thousands. Keep in mind that class size could also vary by subject in high school or middle school. Look for private schools where students may be in pods or cohorts of some sort to enhance their learning experience, both socially and academically.
- Student Life – Check school websites for co-curriculars and weekend activities. Ask about sports, fitness, clubs, and school trips. When you go on tour, also ask about the campus culture (e.g. safety, nutrition, technology policies, bullying).
- Summer School – Some college prep private schools offer both an academic year program, as well as summer classes for credit or enrichment.
Best Schools in Houston
To fully illustrate the tips to choose a private school provided above, we will use Memorial Private School in West Houston in the study below:
- Accreditation – Memorial Private School, a prep school for grades 6-12, is accredited byCognia/SACS/AdvancED, which is highly sought after by all top-rated schools and universities.
- Mission, Vision, and Values – Leading the way in research-based education and as pioneers in microschooling, the founders at Memorial are deeply committed to a truly special and enduring education for their students. Kindness, empathy, and compassion are cornerstone values. Special inspirational talks are given daily in the chapel on both educational and value-based topics.
- Educational Approach – Following top research in neuroscience and education, students “learn by doing.” They engage in interactive hands-on projects, enjoy socratic discussions, work in teams, and receive personalized mentorship and guidance. High outcomes result from the structured classroom environment, with an emphasis on nurturing students and inspiring a love of learning. MPS follows very high standards, while leaving out the hype and anxiety.
- School Type – Ranked as a top private school in Houston, Memorial Private School is a life and college preparatory school for grades 6-12. The school adapts lessons to challenge all learners from the college bound, gifted and talented, to students with learning differences.
- School Location – Conveniently located in West Houston, within the Spring Branch Independent School District (ISD), Memorial Private offers easy access to their location on Fern Drive.
- Academic Support Systems – Leading the way in research-based education, Memorial Private School is reinventing education for college bound students, including students with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and related issues of that nature. High outcomes, yet low stress set the school apart.
- Faculty and Staff – Supportive, caring, inclusive, positive and compassionate are words often used to describe the faculty and staff at Memorial Private School. Compassionate education is a unique way the school creates a learning environment that truly supports students’ well-being and fosters personal growth. They foster a close relationship with every student, including their family to ensure outcomes are met.
- College and Career Planning Services – High school graduates at Memorial Private School matriculate to small colleges, as well as top public, private, and Ivy League universities in the U.S. Over 95% attend college after graduating.
- School Enrollment – Consider new and different schools like Memorial Private School, ones that are small with strong academics. During the academic year, MPS is kept small intentionally to help students reach their potential.
- Average Class Size –The school limits enrollment to enable individualized attention to every single student. Such a direction is proven to prepare students for college by building self-confidence and cultivating a love of learning, as well as providing practical tools to learn how to learn.
- Co-curriculars – Memorial Private is a very active school with clubs, sports, and activities including: StuCo, National Honor Society, Toastmasters, music, theater, basketball, chess club, pickleball, swimming, weightlifting, and weekend activities.
- Summer School – Memorial Private School offers an academic year school as well as a summer school program. During the summer months, the school opens up credit and enrichment classes to over 300 students who want to get ahead or focus on other classes during their fall schedules. The summer school is open for in-person or remote learning; remote learning offers in-person appointments with a highly qualified teacher.
Choosing a private school in Houston should now be a bit easier if you use the tips above. Ultimately, the best school is the one that is best suited to your child or teenager.
After you have identified some private schools in Houston that meet your basic criteria, you will need to schedule a visit, apply, and receive an official acceptance. After receiving offer(s), you will then need to make a final choice.
Contact Memorial Private School to learn more about how to find and pick a private school in Houston. They are glad to help you determine if MPS is the right fit or refer you to other schools and resources.
Phone: (281) 759-2288 Reach Out Today – Contact Us Form
Resources to check reviews and accreditation include: Houston Association of Independent Schools (HAIS). For your convenience, Memorial Private School has a section on their website with reviews from various platforms.