Choosing the right high school

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Choosing the right high school

My daughter is really smart, and we have a few options on where we can send her for high school. We want to find somewhere that is a good fit for her socially and emotionally as well as academically as high school can be such a challenging time. This blog has some of the tips that we have picked up from our search for the perfect high school and some of the conversations we've had with teachers and other parents. It's an important choice, and we want to get it right. This blog is for the parents of kids about to go into high school.

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One of the important factors in long-term career success is having leadership skills. Many parents are eager to find a school that can help their child develop these leadership skills. However, these skills are not easily measurable and do not show up on league tables. Here are some things to look for when considering different schools for their ability to develop leadership skills. 

Strong sports program

One of the common places that people get to develop leadership skills and learn how to motivate a team is in sports. Older students help to mentor and lead younger students, and students take on leadership roles such as captain within a team. It is a good idea to look for a school which asks all students to participate in a sport and has a well-resourced sports program that offers a range of sports so that your child can choose a sport that they would enjoy. Independent schools often have well-resourced sports programs. 

Non-sporting teams

Not all children have an inclination toward sports so it's helpful if your child has other interests to find some opportunities for your child to develop their leadership skills in other types of teams. This can include, for example, robotics teams that compete in robot soccer leagues, debating clubs that compete in debate competitions and chess teams. These teams can also be very competitive and can allow your child to work with other children in a field that they are comfortable with. Schools with specialist academic programs or independent schools with well-resourced extensions programs can be a great option for kids with these interests. 

Community leadership programs

Some children have a more outward, charity-minded focus and like to help other people in their community. This can include children getting involved with volunteering or fundraising for existing charitable initiatives or even starting their own initiatives to help their community. This allows children to explore the issues that they are passionate about and helps them to develop the skills to turn their passion into meaningful community initiatives. The act of fleshing out their idea and communicating it effectively to friends and family helps the child to develop important leadership skills. These programs commonly are offered in schools with a highly values-based approach to education, such as Catholic or independent schools.

Finding the right school for your child can help them to learn the leadership skills that they will need for a lifetime of success and happiness.