Setting your child up for success is one of the greatest gifts you can provide them as a parent. Most parents have done this at every stage of their children’s lives, in some capacity. Choosing the right high school for your child is no exception, as a solid education is often considered the foundation for success – especially during the high school years.
Adolescence is an extremely impressionable time for teenagers, whose brains are experiencing dynamic changes and growth. Teens’ experiences in high school help shape who they will become and how they will interact with the world around them. But every teenager is different, and every teen will require different experiences (academically, and socially) in order to grow and succeed.
Now more than ever, there are many different types of high schools available for teenagers – some private, some public; some small and some large; some focused on hands-on learning, some on academic excellence, and some on extracurricular feats. As a parent, you have the option to choose the best environment for your child to succeed. Below are four types of high schools available across Connecticut that you might consider for your teenager.
- Traditional Public School:
The most common types of high schools are traditional public schools. Traditional public schools adhere to state and national requirements in regard to curriculum and academic performance. Many parents and teens choose their local public school for sheer convenience – if your teen is already in the public school system, the transition to high school is generally seamless. Because they are zoned by district, public high schools usually have a great sense of community, being a part of the larger community they are in. If you are looking for alternative high school options, though, keep reading.
- Magnet School:
While there is nothing wrong with traditional public schools, district-zoned public schools are no longer the only “public school” option. Magnet high schools are public, too, but accept students from all different zip codes. Stepping away from district zones, magnet high schools bring together a diverse student body, in which students can learn from each other. While magnet schools are still required to adhere to state and national educational requirements, they typically take a theme-based approach to curriculum. This can be extremely beneficial for teens who have a specific interest or passion area, such as math and science, a specific language, or the performing arts. Connecticut River Academy is one example of a theme-based magnet school in Connecticut, focusing on sustainability, technology, and environmental sciences. Alongside diversity and a theme-based approach, magnet schools generally strive for academic excellence, low student-teacher ratios, and an engaging, innovative curriculum.
- Charter Schools:
Also among the previous types are high schools are the charter schools. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools create their own administration and can either be non-profit or for-profit. Furthermore, charter schools do not have to adhere to certain state requirements, and they have the autonomy to create their own policies and calendars. This can be beneficial to parents and students who do not want the typical high school regimen, but desire an engaging and different day to day. In charter schools, there is much more independence in how the school is run, with the flexibility to apply different academic approaches in the classroom. Like magnet schools, charter high schools usually have smaller classes and students receive more individualized attention.
- Early College High School:
An early college high school, sometimes called a college prep high school, is another option for teenagers looking to launch their success early on. Generally, early college high schools offer 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to earn college credits while still in their junior and senior years. High school students enroll in college courses, in part with their normal coursework, getting exposed to college demands even before high school graduation. For aspiring teens, this can be a great experience in that it eases college apprehensions early on. They can develop skills like time management, collaboration, and good study habits prior to entering college. By earning transferrable, college credits in high school, students can also save money on tuition down the road. In addition to being a magnet high school, Connecticut River Academy is also an early college high school, where students can take real college courses at the neighboring Goodwin College.
- Private High Schools:
Unlike the above types of high schools that are open to the public, private schools are a very different option. A private education can come at a high cost in Connecticut— in fact, the average tuition cost for private high schools in Connecticut today is over $32,000. Private schools do have many benefits, however, for those who are willing and can afford the tuition costs. Private schools do not have to adhere to a state-required curriculum and have high standards when it comes to academic excellence, which can go a long way in preparing students for their future success. Usually, private schools also boast small classrooms with more personalized attention for their students.
There is no shortage of different types of high schools available for teenagers across Connecticut. Parents and their children should carefully decide which educational environment makes the most sense for their family, as well as which will help set their teen up for success in the future. To learn more about the different types of high schools in Connecticut, or how a magnet school education could benefit your child, contact the Connecticut River Academy today.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.