Why Going from Private School to Public School Should be Carefully Considered

St. Agnes Academy
Families and students are identifying earlier and earlier what type of learner their child is. Every individual has their own way of grasping a subject, processing information, and further advancing their skill sets. How can a parent or guardian ensure that their child will receive the right level of attention and education needed for their specific learning style?
Families and students are identifying earlier and earlier what type of learner their child is. Every individual has their own way of grasping a subject, processing information, and further advancing their skill sets. How can a parent or guardian ensure that their child will receive the right level of attention and education needed for their specific learning style?

With such a vast range of learning opportunities available in the current day, it can become overwhelming to determine which type of school system may be best for one individual. This process can be made even more difficult if it includes going from private school to public school. 

When determining what the best choice may be for an individual child, it is important to realize that many private schools have incredible opportunities for various types of learners. 

Consider the following information as you weigh options for the next school year.

Key Advantage of Private School vs. Public School

A private school can offer students a well-rounded education and diverse learning opportunities. Through unique community-building opportunities not available in the traditional public school system, students are encouraged to ask complex questions, grow a healthy curiosity about the world around them, and strengthen their faith.

Most importantly, the ratio of teachers to students in a private school classroom allows for the opportunity to simultaneously receive instruction and ask questions in a way that matches a spectrum of learning styles at once. 

Frequently, public schools in Houston follow a one-size-fits-all approach, trying to teach the material to as many students as possible. The educational experience is not as fulfilling for many students who crave the opportunity to enroll in and dive deeper into subjects they may genuinely care about. Alternatively, many students may fear seeking clarification and therefore fall behind, further enforcing a negative mindset towards the subject. 

For example, the St. Agnes Academy curriculum offers a wide array of core subject areas such as theology, English, math, science, history, social science, and world languages. At St. Agnes, we structure our learning environment to provide students with the time and space they need to explore these subjects in greater depth and further their interests in those specific fields of study. 

We also offer a compelling elective program that allows students to pursue subjects where they have an existing passion or would like to discover what they are passionate about. Our curriculum undergoes constant review to remain current with the needs of today’s students.

At St. Agnes, we believe education and faith should be intertwined to help young students develop a complete understanding of truth (or veritas). While we are fortunate to offer this important opportunity, you will not find this available within a public school setting. At St. Agnes, our approach is designed to develop capable, well-rounded women who are firm in their faith and ready for higher educational pursuits and challenges as they enter adulthood.

Other Advantages of Private School vs. Public School

We believe there are other compelling reasons to provide your child with private school education.

1. Greater Student Support 

Today’s young people are bombarded by messages and information in all realms that have the power to shape how they think about themselves and their surroundings during such a developmental time of their lives. Whether the messages come from social media, video platforms, peer groups, or other sources, students need strong advisory and guidance to help them process this information.

While most public schools often have dual-purpose counselors on staff, it can be difficult for these counselors to cover the full needs of each child due to the overwhelming size of their caseload. However, in a private school setting, resources are plenty with counselors devoted to mental wellness, college readiness, and the development of study habits. Plus, they are all able to provide continuous faith-based support throughout a student’s time at that school.

St. Agnes specifically offers dedicated student support through the aid of our Wellness Center, College Counseling Department, and the Academic Services Center. In preparing our students for the college environment, we encourage them to utilize all available resources to further themselves whether it be mentally, academically, or in their faith. 

2. Deeper Faith 

Understandably, in a public school setting, many students feel pressured to keep their faith lives separate from their school lives. This can lead to inner conflicts as students try to reconcile education and faith in an environment where external signs of worship are not supported or encouraged on a day-to-day basis. 

During the formative years, it is crucial that students feel confident and comfortable in their beliefs. All too often a young adult will shy away from their faith due to social constructs, lack of development, or the absence of a strong support system. A private school setting can help students develop their beliefs by seamlessly intertwining education and faith in all classes ranging from theology to science. 

At St. Agnes, we help our students grow in their faith by fostering the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, community, and preaching. Students have the opportunity to ask difficult questions, identify their gifts in areas such as prayer, service to others, community development, or academics, and grow together in faith. 

3. Greater Parental Access

An additional benefit of private school is greater opportunities for parents to stay involved in their child’s education and growth. Parents have more opportunities to connect with teachers, staff members, and other individuals who interact with students during their time in school.

The average student-to-faculty ratio at St. Agnes is 10:1, allowing teachers ample time to get to know each student. (Comparatively, the current public school ratio in Houston ISD is 18:1.)

St. Agnes encourages and fosters the independence of our students. While we welcome parents to remain involved in their daughter’s education, we ask all families to remember this is a college preparatory education. Students are expected to learn how to problem-solve on their own. With quarterly parent-teacher conferences, parents have the opportunity to ask questions, have conversations, and help create a better educational environment for their child. This leads to a better experience for the entire family.

There are also many opportunities for parents to meet other parents, volunteer, and become ingrained in the St. Agnes Academy culture and community.

4. Opportunity to Select an All-Girls School

Private schools in Houston vary in the student body makeup. Some schools are all-boys, some are all-girls, such as St. Agnes, and others are co-ed. Since our inception in 1906, we have focused on developing strong women. We tailor our education and programs to support the needs of young adults so that they are equipped with the tools they need to become future leaders.

At St. Agnes, each student can come to school confidently and not worry about how they look or who they need to impress. There are fewer stressors such as wearing the latest fashion trend or the fear of being perceived negatively when answering questions in class.

The community of students in each classroom offers a healthy dose of competition by encouraging each student to put forth their best effort. Many of these opportunities cannot be said of a co-ed public school classroom. Removing barriers and creating a supportive environment enables each student to focus on academics, grow in their faith, and learn from shared experiences.

Additionally, we partner with an adjacent all-boys school, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, that enables us to build healthy connections between our students and their students through various academic and religious courses as well as in collaborative programs such as our engineering team, band, orchestra, and choir.

Strake Jesuit shares our same values of building students into servant leaders through attention to intellectual, spiritual, and moral development. We appreciate this long-standing relationship to support the greater body of Houston area private school students.

Consider Supporting Your Child Through St. Agnes Academy

If you are considering going from private school to public school for your child, we encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the benefits of a college preparatory school such as St. Agnes.

At our school, we challenge young women to grow into future leaders through exceptional academic preparation. We tailor our curriculum to the individual needs and learning styles of each young woman that steps onto our campus.

We provide our students with transformational experiences so that our graduates can go out into the world with integrity, joy, and a commitment to social justice. We create a safe environment for learning so that students are comfortable asking questions, seeking knowledge, and celebrating life in a joyful, optimistic, and productive way.

If your daughter is currently in a private or public school in the Greater Houston area and you are considering high school educational options for your child, then a transition to St. Agnes Academy cannot be recommended enough. Our diverse student body is made up of students from all types of educational, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. 

Talk to us today to learn more about the benefits of a private school setting, especially here at St. Agnes. We believe that you will appreciate our commitment to core subjects, theology, athletics, and other extracurricular programs that will help your child grow into the adult she is meant to become. 

- Ready to speak with a school administrator about admissions? We would appreciate hearing from you. Contact us today!