Your Own Child(ren) in Your School. Will That Work?
You are a head of school candidate and you have children of your own. It can be a wonderful thing to have your kids in your school! Here are six pieces of advice for you to consider beforehand.
1. Start with your family.
2. Will your new school be a good fit for your child?
3. Will your child automatically be admitted to your school?
4. Time to talk about tuition remission for your child(ren).
5. How are you and your partner going to handle communication with your child’s teachers, coaches, counselors, and advisors?
Clarity with faculty and staff around this issue is paramount. No matter what you think, it will be challenging, at least initially, for teachers to have the child or children of the head of school in their classes, coaches to have them on teams, and administrators to have them in their offices when there is an issue to resolve. This will be particularly true if teachers, administrators and staff are at all unsure of how you are going to respond when they need to address your child for academic or behavioral reasons. Let everyone know how the school-parent communication with your family will work and update those conversations and expectations every year. Specifically, teachers should be asked not to have conversations with you about your child that they would not have with other parents. Odd as it may sound, your child may be held accountable for your decisions, as if they had a role in making them. This is particularly the case with decisions that are unpopular with the student body. Also, keep in mind that you will constantly make decisions, and few of them will be universally popular. Some will be unpopular with a few people, some will be unpopular with many, but each unpopular decision will have vocal critics and your child will hear those criticisms and will be asked, at times, to explain your thinking.
6. Every family, school, and, therefore, situation, is different.
If your children are in elementary school the experience will not be the same as if your children are in high school. In fact, the younger your kids are the easier it will most likely be for everyone to make the transition. Boarding schools will be different from day schools. All boarding and some day schools provide head of school housing on or adjacent to campus with some level of expectations around the use of the house for entertaining. Day schools offer the advantage of having some separation between your family and other families as well as faculty. At the end of the day, everyone leaves campus to return to the privacy of their own homes. This also means your pre-teen and teenage children will readily have opportunities to socialize with peers at their homes away from campus. Boarding schools, on the other hand, provide built-in community and friendships so your kids grow up in an environment with lots of people of all ages around and lots of adult interaction, involvement, supervision, and support. The younger they are the more they will welcome that kind of attention. And, depending on the ages of your kids and the students, there is easy access to great babysitting options!
So what’s it really like, particularly as a teenager, to attend the school where one of your parents is the head of school? Check out A Headmaster’s Daughter in our next newsletter. Until then, here’s a little teaser for you.
A Headmaster’s Daughter
(Complete story in our next newsletter)
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