Frequently Asked Questions
- How do families get to know Paideia?
- Why place such emphasis on parent involvement?
- What factors figure into an admissions decision?
- What do you mean by "strengthen the Paideia community"?
- What kind of student does well at Paideia?
- What role does diversity play in admissions decisions?
- How does the admissions process work?
- Can you describe the process of making a decision on admitting a student?
- Does Paideia give preference to siblings of students already here?
- How are financial aid decisions made?
- When will I be notified about a decision?
We have several informational meetings each year for prospective parents, and we make sure that families have the opportunity to visit the school. Visiting the school takes place in a number of different ways. We offer small group tours for parents of half-day and elementary applicants. For junior high and high school applicants, we offer group visits so that parents can talk to our coordinators while their kids are matched with Paideia students to attend classes. This approach has been very successful – both the prospective students and the Paideia students enjoy meeting each other. (Please create a Ravenna hub account to register for any of these events.)
Parent involvement is really important to us. The school is here because parents built it. We've made up in energy and commitment at any given time what we have lacked in resources. We have built a much stronger school than we had the resources for, one that is much more connected to its community of families. Paideia is a better school because of parent involvement. Parent involvement attracts people; parents want the opportunity to be involved, and the school needs that involvement.
Apart from assessing the individual children who are applying, there are a number of other factors that we have to take into consideration. In no particular order, they are gender and age balance, parent involvement, diversity, and maintaining a variety of student talents and learning styles. We also have to consider siblings of students already here, as well as children of faculty and alumni. Of course, it's important to us to accept children who will use this school unusually well and strengthen the entire Paideia community, but we think most people who apply would get a good deal out of the school, probably in some ways we have no way of predicting, and also add to the community.
When a school is very popular, it would be easy to fall into the trap of looking only for "superstars," or creating the sense that the school is only for the best and the brightest. We could fill the school with any one of several categories of students – those who are strong in math and science, those who are skilled in languages or the arts, those who are gifted athletically. We believe it creates a healthier school if admissions decisions reflect the variety of backgrounds and interests and talents that we want represented in the community. We don't just look for children who have already demonstrated unusual talents; some kids' traits are not particularly unusual, but they bring to the school and bring to life strong character and great promise. There are many ways people can make a difference: sometimes by their achievements and sometimes by their presence.
One of the ways we get variety in our student body is that lots of people at Paideia participate in the admissions process. The overwhelming majority of the faculty members, at each age level of the school, are involved in interviews, discussions, and decision-making. We have a team of parents who conduct parent interviews. The staff members in the admissions office coordinate and oversee the process.
The information we gather in consideration of a student is in the context of admissions decisions for the school, not a comprehensive evaluation of a child – his or her past, present, or future work. When we don't make an offer of admission, it's more than likely because of space limitations, not because we have found the applicant wanting or because we feel the child would not do well here. It’s human nature to read more into an admissions decision than exists. Space is the single greatest determinant. Most students who apply are eminently admissible and are no different from students already here. We simply don't have space to admit every student who applies.
This is not an easy issue. Some preference is given to siblings, but we are not able – and never have been able – to take all the siblings who apply. If we took every sibling in a particular age group there would be no room for new families. Bringing in new families makes for a healthier institution. Still, it is true that siblings are accepted at a higher percentage than any other category of student.
All financial aid is need-based. Although families apply for financial aid at the same time they apply for admission, those are separate decisions made by separate groups. We do not make financial awards based on particular talents or skills – athletic, artistic, or academic (see Financial Aid FAQ).