Richmond has a variety of schooling options for parents to choose from, including public, private, charter and international schools. New arrivals in the city can opt to enrol their children at any of these, but those who choose public schools will likely have their choices limited to the neighbourhood they choose to settle in. Private and international schools tend to have a better standard of facilities and better teacher-to-student ratios, but they also come at a price.
Public schools in Richmond
The city of Richmond governs and operates 28 elementary schools, nine middle schools and eight high schools. Public schools accept students based primarily on their catchment area, so new arrivals in Richmond with children of school-going age should think carefully before settling on a neighbourhood.
Parents also have the option of sending their children to a public charter school in Richmond which, despite being publicly funded, function independently of government regulations. Such schools, therefore, have more flexible academic programmes and curricula than traditional public schools.
Charter schools have grown in popularity over the past decade, largely due to the perceived flaws of the traditional public schooling system. But they can be inconsistent in terms of quality and many have been closed down in the past for failing to maintain sufficient standards. That said, they usually offer a higher standard of education than traditional public schools.
Private schools in Richmond
Many newcomers and expats opt to send their children to private schools in Richmond. These schools have complete control over their curricula. As such, it's recommended that parents familiarise themselves thoroughly with an institution before enrolling their children. Although they often come with exorbitant tuition fees, these schools offer an excellent standard of education, from small student/teacher ratios and specialised programmes to religious instruction and same-sex classrooms.
International schools in Richmond
There are several schools in the Richmond area that offer the International Baccalaureate Programme. These are ideal for families who aren't planning to be in Richmond for an extended period of time or whose children are moving from an international school in another country. International schools will provide a more familiar environment, association with other expat children, and continuity with their previous curriculum.
International schools often have extremely high fees and space is limited so parents are advised to apply as soon as possible to secure a spot for their children.
Special-needs education in Richmond
Virginia’s laws stipulate that if a child has any learning difficulty or physical disability, he or she is entitled to receive additional support through the public school system. This is further backed up by federal law which states that all children are entitled to free and fair education, including anyone with a disability.
Parents new to Richmond can rest assured that students with special needs are well catered for here. Not only are there a number of dedicated special-needs schools, but both public and private schools are also expected to have support structures in place to support children with various developmental, behavioural and physical disabilities.
The priority is always to have a child integrated into the regular school system and only once it has been established that their issues are too severe will they be referred to a specialist facility.
Tutors in Richmond
Tutoring has become highly popular all across the United States, and Richmond is no exception. Tutors can be a valuable resource for a number of reasons, including for students who need help in specific subject areas or to learn English, students who need assistance for university entrance exams preparation, or those who just need some help in building confidence in a new school environment. Private tutors can be a great source of support in all of these instances, and there are plenty of options to choose from in Richmond.
Often, the first reference point for a private tutor would be to arrange one through the child’s school, or on the school's recommendation. Otherwise, parents should look online. Some of the established companies in Richmond include studyBuddyJ.com and WyzAnt Tutoring.
►For a more detailed overview of the America school system read Education and Schools in the USA
Are you an expat living in Richmond?
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