Do you ever wonder how parents across cultures think about their child’s education? Tami is back to reflect on her experiences with this question. -Ed.
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Last fall, I had the privilege of visiting Ascend International School in Mumbai, India. As the Admission Director, I was charged with observing the admission process for a school that was located on the other side of the world. Although Ascend and UCDS are similar in their educational philosophy and approach to individualized instruction for students, I wondered if the cultural differences would highlight different questions from parents in India. I observed Indian parents on their school tour of Ascend and listened to the questions they asked the Admission Director and Head of School. It turns out, their questions were no different than those of parents from the tours I hosted at UCDS. In fact, there was one question that stood out as a commonality. “Is my child the right fit for your school?”
That is the million dollar question. I’ve heard that question over and over again throughout my tenure at UCDS. In my opinion, the answer to the “fit” question really lands in the laps of the parents. The question is not whether their child is a fit for the school. The question of ‘fit’ should be an intentional assessment from the parents to determine if the school fits their child’s needs. Parents should ask themselves when touring schools, “Does this school align with our value set?” “Do we feel this school fits the educational philosophy we are looking for?” “Does this school align with our idea of assessing our child emotionally and academically?” When I’m asked the “fit” question, I often respond with these types of questions. Turning that question around on parents isn’t avoiding the answer. It’s asking them to reflect on their value set as a parent team. Parents can then recognize the needs of their child and family and what they expect from a partnership with a school. If they answer “yes” to those questions, they are likely applying to the right school. Regardless of if a family is touring Ascend in Mumbai, India or UCDS in Seattle, WA, if they seek to find a school that aligns with their values and approach to education, the answer to their “fit” question will be answered.