Worried about cuts to Fairfax County Public School budget? Crowded classrooms? Teachers straining to meet widely varying needs of students? Lack of individual attention for your child? Missing art, music, drama, and daily PE programs? Check out Westminster School, whose well-rounded, rich program includes small classes, excellent academics, values and character building, daily PE and athletics, and a deep commitment to arts education for all students.
Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) officials recently warned of yet more cuts to school programs due to a projected funding shortfall of $50 to $100 million (The Washington Post, 8/04/15). In addition to past program cuts, the school board is considering adding yet more students to already crowded classrooms, cutting pre-school and full-day kindergarten programs, and “eliminating high school sports . . . axing activities such as yearbook and student newspapers, curtailing music and drama programs, and reducing middle school after-school activities.” While not all of these proposals may come to pass, FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza has said, “the school system is going to have a hard time providing necessary services.”
Many parents who chose to live in Fairfax County due to the high reputation of its public schools have grown increasingly disappointed and worried about the quality of their child’s education and daily experience at school. Who can blame them? An elementary-grade teacher recently hired by Westminster School shared with us that, in her former position with FCPS, she had 31 students in her class and was expected to teach all academic subjects to students grouped for four different learning programs. In other words, every day she had to create and deliver at least two different lesson plans for each subject she taught. She is so grateful to now be at Westminster School, where she specializes in one subject (math) and teaches 12 students at a time. At last, she feels able to do what she has always wanted to do and been trained to do—not struggle to meet widely varying needs of too many students, but to really teach!
All parents want the best education for their children and many think that public schools can provide it, but they may not understand the scope of public school problems or realize what is possible for their child (see The 11 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make). Daily headlines underscore the problems found in public schools: limited, repetitive curricula that “teach to the test,” one-sided programs for the “gifted and talented,” funding shortfalls that deprive students of necessities and limit enrichment opportunities, overwhelmed teachers, discipline issues, frequent changes in educational approach, and the undermining effects of state and national political struggles. In contrast, Westminster School has the independence and the means to give all of its students the diverse, in-depth, and challenging education that they need to become critical thinkers and to grow as individual learners. Small class sizes with specialized teachers mean more one-on-one attention and greater depth of learning, while a consistent, school-wide value system helps parents teach their children important values—such as kindness, respect, and responsibility—that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Westminster School recognizes the importance of the elementary and middle-school years, when children are shaped by their environment and experiences into the people that they are going to be. Westminster’s carefully structured, rich program partners with parents to guide the child’s development in all areas, to help him/her become the best possible version of him/herself. Maybe that’s what has attracted such a diverse community to Westminster, where students represent an impressive array of races, religions, and places of origin.
A relatively low tuition compared to other private schools, and a substantial financial aid program make a Westminster education possible for a wide range of families. Contact Westminster School for more information, schedule a tour, or attend an open house. In a region as prosperous as Fairfax County, you shouldn’t have to settle for less than the best, and neither should your child.