Why Dara chose a Private School for her Daughter – a Plano Mom’s Story

I feel like if you tell someone in North Texas “My child attends private school at…” people will look at you as if you have spoken a foreign language.

The schools in North Texas are superior for the most part so why on earth would anyone consider anything else? Needless to say I was not interested but my husband felt that we should consider it for various reasons. I can be very stubborn so I got the opinions from those I value most and together we decided to book some school tours.

dfw private school plano1

I remember saying “This is the dumbest most obnoxious thing we’ve ever done. It’s a complete waste of our time.” When I walked in the school we immediately noticed the security features in place and we were greeted by the most lovely front desk person you could meet.

As we toured the school I began to fall in love, it was how I remembered school and what I wanted for my children. It was warm, friendly, colorful and the kids were excited to learn, very polite and best of all shamelessly loving God.

The very last thing the admissions rep said to us was “I hope you see that our school is diverse, we have a director of diversity here and we work very hard to include all backgrounds.”

This was a big deal for us because because it showed she wasn’t afraid to address the concerns minorities may have. It was a long quiet walk back to the car but when Carl (my husband) asked me how I felt and what my thoughts were I gave him a defeated look and said “I love it”. I cannot believe I had been so naive and so wrong which means others could be too.

Going into this we wanted strong academics, a school that was competitive within TAPPS, PreK – 12th, diversity, not too far from home, parent involvement, a good lunch menu (I have a picky eater) and a school that could help increase our child’s faith.

As we toured other schools I learned that the DFW area has several school options to offer such as parochial, university models, single-sexed, Montessori, private with online options and special needs schools.

dfw private school plano

Our daughter (centered) and two schoolmates

Once we applied and were accepted I did what most moms do these days, I went to Facebook. Only I couldn’t locate a FB group that included DFW families enrolled in private school or seeking info on it, I mostly found school specific groups. I needed to learn more so I created a group called DFW Private School Families for those in private school or considering it. We have managed to build an online community where we can discuss thoughts, concerns, misconceptions and remain supportive of one another as well.

The things things group members often want others to know are not everyone who sends their kid to private school is rich or anti-public school.

Most parents in the group are working two or single parent homes and all are making a sacrifices of some sort daily.

If you were to ask me what to look for here’s what I’d tell you;

  • One of the biggest myths is that private school teachers aren’t accredited but this is not always true. The school itself often cannot receive a lot awards or accreditations if the teachers aren’t.
  • Private schools can offer various financial options to help with affordability.
  • Look for security measures such as lockdowns and definitely bullying prevention.
  • Staff tenure, private educators sometimes make less than public educators so you want a school where the teachers want to stay.
  • There’s no STAAR testing so how do they assess your child’s academic growth?
  • The curriculum in any school you consider should be challenging but homework shouldn’t consume your child’s life.

If you’re truly interested in a school you should attend the schools open house and ALWAYS tour during the school year. This wasn’t the original plan but we like where it’s headed.

This post is written by Dara K. Tilghman, a Mom of 2. She has spent hours researching Private Schools around DFW and has some unique insight to share with Plano Moms. Her Facebook group is DFW Private School Families. Follow Dara on Twitter

For more another guest post about Home Schooling, click here

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Abbie

Hi, I’m Abbie, super mom, and busy-bee who moved to Plano from London, England with my husband and 2 kids, Jesse and Lucy, in the Summer of 2013. Plano Moms was my lifeline when I arrived as I didn’t know anyone or anything about my new city that I now called home. Where did I start to make friends and meet moms like me? How did I know who were the best hairstylists, or dentists or pre-school options for my kids? Which area should I look for to find the right home and school for my son? All these questions were answered by Plano Moms, like me. I found a lifeline in it and chose to build it into the community it is today – 15,000 moms sharing ideas, tips, referrals and making connections with each other through Social Media, Planomoms.com, events & regular email newsletters! When I’m not being a Plano Mom or being a taxi service to my kids, I am coaching & consulting local businesses, working out, cooking and reading (when I find the time!)

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Staci Weaver says October 9, 2017

There many options for parents when considering their child’s educational needs. As a mother and educator I listen to all the comments and feedback. The silver lining is we have choices; charter, ISD, private and homeschool. Not every school is a perfect fit for every child or family. As a principal of a new charter school in West Plano I have parents often ask the question why should we chose your school. I ask the come in, see the school, curriculum, and of course meet with me. As a parent I think the ultimate decision should be made if you feel this is a school your child is going to wake up everyday excited to attend. As an educator and administrator at Lone Star Language Academy my decisions focus on college and career readiness and student safety.

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