Recently our Moms Council has discussed issues like , and tips on .
This week our moms talked about why they chose to send their kids to either public or private school.
In case you haven't met them yet, let us introduce you to our Moms Council:
- Abby Rowe: Abby is married and has a two-year-old daughter. She and her husband are expecting a second child this spring. Abby is the owner of Stroller Strides of Newport, a fitness program that moms can do with their babies. She is also currently serving as President of the Newport/Middletown MOMS Club.
- Naomi Neville: Naomi is married and has two girls, one who attends Underwood School and one who is in preschool. She is a member of the Newport City Council and also a registered architect in Rhode Island, running a local practice on Thames Street. Naomi has also served as Chair of Newport's Planning Board and was on the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission. She has a bachelor's from Yale University and a master's in Architecture from Columbia University.
- Lynn Ceglie: Lynne is married and has two children at Rogers High School, a daughter who is a junior and a son who is a sophomore. Lynn works for East Bay Community Action Program as a child outreach screener at Sullivan School. She is also a board member and secretary of the Newport Public Education Foundation.
- Nikki Vazquez: is married and has two children. She has been involved in a number of local initiatives, including serving as co-founder of the Newport Community Garden and chairperson for Newport in Bloom. She is also the owner of Ladies Who Lunch, a full service personal chef and events management company. Her son attends St. Michael's Country Day School.
This week's question:
How do you make the decision on whether to send your children to public or private school?
Abby: Even though Adelaide is young, this is definitely a topic my husband and I have discussed. In all honesty, despite the development of the new Pell School, I think we are both leaning towards private education for our kids. Both my husband and I went to private schools growing up. Looking back, I really appreciate the quality of the education. However, I have an even greater appreciation for the flexibility that the teachers and school had in regards to curriculum, managing social issues, and working with the students.
We certainly plan to objectively evaluate all the options for Adelaide as the time for her to enter school approaches. Our goal is to find the school that will allow her to grow the most, both intellectually and socially. Despite our initial leanings, my husband and I are actively following the developments at Pell and are excited to have a great public school option in the mix when making the decision about elementary school.
Nikki: Vic and I explored all the options available to us for Waylon's education. I spent many years volunteering in the public school and myself come from a mixed bag of Catholic schools, public high school and a private Catholic university. I think that it is important for each family to assess the needs of their child and explore all the opportunities that are available for education on this Island.
We are fortunate to have private, Catholic and public education available to us in Newport and it affords parents the chance to investigate which will be the best for their child. Waylon attended Twice As Nice at the Newport YMCA for pre-k and had a wonderful experience. We are also happy with the education he is receiving now (at ) and also think it is important to stay involved in his experiences to ensure he is in the best possible situation for his growth and development.
Naomi: I think it's interesting that both Nikki and Abigail, who favor the private school option, do not address the fundamental difference between public and private schools, which is public school is free and private school costs money. Perhaps coming up with the money will not be a problem for them. For our family, each year that the girls are in public school is another year our family can stay on track with our finances.
That being said, I also toured all the elementary school options offered to the girls prior to making the decision to send Gwendolyn to . Clearly Underwood's facilities are not as nice as St. Michael's or; but I also met with the teachers, watched the classes in action and checked into the average class size. Gwendolyn's class of 19 kids and has a teacher, teacher's aid, and a student teacher. That's a 6 to 1 ratio.
We take the school environment on a day to day basis, always asking how Gwendolyn's day went, looking and helping with her homework, watching her interact with kids in the school yard. If something comes up, I bring it up with her teacher or the principal. I try not to sit back and complain, but actively get involved to make the public school option work for us. And so far, we have been happy.
Lynn: I have a daughter and son who currently attend Rogers High School. They attended , Carey, and where they received excellent instruction by dedicated teachers and staff. We have encountered caring teachers who stay after school to tutor children, and who have made every attempt to ensure that my children are successful in school. My son, a budding musician has had music teachers who have become dedicated mentors since he started playing the saxophone in the fifth grade.
My office is at and I see first hand the dedication and of the teachers and principal at that school.
I believe, however, that the public schools do not communicate effectively with the community on the accomplishments of the staff and students. The administration and school committee must be vigilant in providing accurate information and need to dispel rumors that can run rampant.
From the day my children were born, I wanted them to be part of their community. They now have friends from all walks of life, have learned acceptance, empathy, and an understanding of and an appreciation for this diverse, vibrant, world-class city.
Check back in next Wednesday for another edition of Moms Talk. Have an issue you want our moms to tackle? Send suggestions to email@example.com.