School Vetting, or What Makes a Great School?

One of those ticklish issues which educators and parents alike discuss is, what makes a great school? All good educators strive toward greatness. Many local schools, public and private alike, work hard to go beyond the required and strive for those elements which take a school to levels which inspire. Inspire students to become life-long learners; inspire educators to stretch their own knowledge base and skills. We recently reached out to several private schools in the area to give them a chance to reach CEG families, as several families have contacted us regarding the best private schools in the area.

Miriam Lundell of The Chase Academy responded to our request right away, and we have a terrific quote from Ms. Lundell. She said, “What parents should do is know exactly what they are looking for in a school. Are they simply looking for a safe school where their student has a happy experience? Are they also looking for a rigorous academic experience? If they are only looking for a safe place without the rigorous academics, we may not be the right fit for their student.” Chase Academy is a private school in Volusia which offers a rigorous academic curriculum in a safe environment. They are McKay approved, and all teachers at Chase hold Florida Professional Educator’s Certificates.  Ms. Lundell holds the Autism Endorsement from Florida State University.

CEG is very familiar with the Catholic Diocese schools in Volusia, as Kate and Jacob trained the entire faculty, and some staff, last Spring in Autism through UCF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. The Diocese reached out to CARD so that the faculty and staff would receive twenty hours of hands-on professional development, everyone getting the same training at the same time. This same training is available, free of charge, through CEG and through CARD to any school in Volusia County. CEG is convinced of the dedication of the Diocese schools, and the fact that the educators took this step far beyond other schools in the area shows their desire to offer inclusive excellence for all students.

Finally, we have reached out to Discovery Academy in Edgewater to find out about their accreditation, teacher certification, and programming at the request of five of our client families. We made our first call, and a visit, in May, but have not received any information.

There are as many unique, positive characteristics of excellent schools as there are excellent schools; actually, more! We suggest talking to parents, students, teachers, and administrators. But always, in Florida, take a few moments to run the faculty members’ names through this simple database to ensure that the educators teaching your children are actually educators!

Private schools in Florida DO NOT have to employ teachers. They can employ high school graduates who have never set foot in a college classroom (or logged in to one), and student teachers, and pass them off as teachers. Why can this be a problem? Well, for a myriad of reasons. One being, a lack of understanding of child development. Teaching is a profession. Make sure those educating your children are professionals. That isn’t to say the “teachers” with just a high school education don’t have the makings of excellent educators; they might. Just make certain you get to know the background of every teacher at a school, and make sure those characteristics of excellence you seek are present at the school you choose. A good school will not hesitate to give its, and its educators, credentials.

Here’s the link to the certification lookup:






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