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The high school years: grades 10 to 12

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Teens are concerned about their future. While preparing for adult responsibilities and roles beyond high school, they are facing academic pressures to perform well. Getting good grades now will affect post secondary options, especially attending the institution of their choice. It is a time to solidify study and learning habits that will mean success at university.

Preparing for the Future

Erica Allen decided to send her daughter to Havergal, an all-girls private school in Toronto, when she was in Grade 7. "Haley (now in Grade 10) is gifted and we were concerned she was getting very bored and we were going to lose her socially," Erica says.

Although her daughter started in middle school, Erica believes the high school years are key when it comes to private school. "I think it is more important to graduate out of a private school than to have attended one in Kindergarten. I would strongly support making the investment during the high school years."

Her reasoning is that top universities tend to scoop up private school graduates because they recognize the standard of education these students received.

"I've had a child in Grade 10 (an older son) in the public system and child in Grade 10 in the private system and I think the quality of the teaching is better at a private school. It's harder to get good marks. You have to work hard for them, they don't give them away," Erica says.

Erica has two younger daughters, Meghan in Grade 7 and Rachel in Grade 5, and both are thriving within the public system. "They may end up in private schools. However, every child is different. It really depends on their individual needs at the time. But if they go, I would want them to graduate from a private high school," says Erica.

The Road to Independence

When Paul Buitenhuis' son Malcolm was in Grade 10, he asked his father to send him abroad for one year to study at CCI, The Renaissance School a private institution with a Canadian curriculum based in Lanciano, Italy.

"He wanted to go overseas for Grade 11, to a boarding school that would help prepare him for university," Paul says. "He wanted to focus on getting better marks and developing good study habits."

Paul was impressed that his son, who was an average student academically, would show such initiative. Yet, he was somewhat nervous to let Malcolm?who wasn't particularly independent?leave his Vancouver-area home to study overseas. "But we decided to support him."

A year later, Paul says, it was one of the best decisions he ever made for his son. "It was a very positive experience. CCI is a great school with about a six-to-one student-to-teacher ratio."

Malcolm's marks improved overall during his Grade 11 year studying overseas. Perhaps more importantly, Paul says, his son returned home with maturity and a level of independence that he did not possess when he left. "It was an incredible mind-expanding experience for him. He made a huge leap in terms of maturity. He learned to rely heavily on himself, instead of on others."

Malcolm will return to his local public school to complete Grade 12 and plan his post-secondary studies. "He's got a clear vision that he wants to go to university. He knows now what he has to do to get there," Paul says.

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