Letter: Kellie Tuten, Ashburn

Editor:   Let it be known that I graduated from public school. I am a big fan of public schooling in Loudoun County and I harbor no hard feelings or bitterness toward the school system as a whole, however, I believe that education is individualistic, and there is no “one size fits all” mold. Because of this truth, I believe that some, maybe even ​all​, students are better suited for a private school education.

Private schooling is one of the most viable options for students because of the individualized learning experience and smaller class sizes. More than that, private schooling is one of the most viable options because private schools have the ability to ​consider the student before the subject.

Hear me out on this: private schools have the unique ability to create a culture and environment conducive to learning more so than the environment of a public school because the private school sector is able to interview applicants that fit their criteria. Now, this makes it seem as though the schools can deny a student just because, “they don’t like them.” Clearly, if that is what the application process is for, I don’t believe said school should be operating at all. However, because of the application process, it is easier to protect the environment of the school.

Now, I am not suggesting that private school is ​better​than public school, because it is not. I am suggesting that it is ​different.​I have the privilege of teaching English at Virginia Academy, a private school in Ashburn, and here is my private school teacher perspective:

  • I have 105 students on my caseload,
  • I have direct communication with my principal with weekly meetings,
  • I am given freedom to instruct based from standards, rather than state tests,
  • I have at least one planning period each day,
  • I attended chapel with my students once a week, and
  • I lead an advisory group with my homeroom once a week.

Private school teachers have no choice but to be involved as we are immersed in the culture we have a lesser student caseload. We have the ability to know ​more t​han each student’s name. We can know the ​whole​student. We have the time for parent meetings, not just once a year – but throughout the year!

Now, I am not saying that public school teachers are less involved because they aren’t able to do these things, but the private school environment is able to more easily foster deep, and structure of our schools! It is written into our contract! We have the time, because lasting relationships that stem outside of the classroom because of the opportunities built into the private school framework.

So, in Loudoun County, which is home to some of the greatest public schooling in the country, why should any parent want pay for their student to attend a private school? It’s simple; private schools focus on individualization and education of the ​whole ​student. Students are not a number, instead they are face, a name and a soul.

Kellie Tuten, Ashburn

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