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How do you know if your child is in the right school?

It may sound like a major undertaking, but nothing can improve your child’s happiness and academic future like placing them in a school where they can thrive and realize their full potential. 

To help you make the best choice for your child, I’ve compiled this list of circumstances that may flag the need to consider switching schools:

Sudden changes. Any sudden changes in your child’s mood, personality, grades, or peer group may be signs that something about their time at school is getting them down. It’s fair to expect your child’s school to address issues proactively. To do this effectively, it is beneficial for a school to have a dedicated team with procedures and supports in place to work with students’ teachers and provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for students who may be dealing with social, personal, and academic issues.

Reluctance to return. A school should be a welcoming place, fostering an enthusiasm for returning the next day. If your child seems reluctant or unwilling to attend school on a consistent basis, they may be feeling unsafe due to bullying or peer pressure, overwhelmed by the curriculum, or having issues with a specific child or teacher. These are all valid reasons for considering a change of schools, to find one where your child feels safe and supported.

Lack of community. Providing an exceptional education is a team effort between your family and your child’s school. A strong and warm community amongst parents and teachers can bolster everyone’s experience and facilitates open communication about your child’s needs. If volunteer opportunities haven’t been offered to you, check with your school’s administration to see if there are ways you can get involved.

Academic support. Without encouragement and a stimulating environment, kids may feel uncomfortable about being smart or striving for greatness. The right school will give your child opportunities to try new things in a safe environment, and to find their talents, by helping them to be confident and successful now, and in the future. Your child will be set up for success in a school with dedicated faculty and professionally-trained guidance counsellors that help students thrive in their courses, co-curricular activities, and, eventually, in making post-secondary choices. A strong alumni network can also offer mentoring opportunities and open doors for future careers.

Poor communication. In situations where a child is experiencing social conflict or academic obstacles, a concerned parent can be made to feel like they may be overreacting by unresponsive teachers and school administrators. Is your school making success and happiness of each student top priority? A school that will ensure your child’s teachers, support staff, and the school administration are always available to discuss issues and find solutions is critical for students and parents, alike.

Inflexible learning experiences. Your child’s unique interests and preferred learning styles can be better accommodated in a school that offers some options that cater to diverse students. Bright and open facilities support learning and will meet the current and future needs of your child. Having access to a multitude of extracurricular options will also encourage students to have fun and nurture their many passions.

Outdated technology and teaching methods. The world is ever-changing, and it’s never too early to start preparing for the future – for careers that may not exist yet. A forward-thinking school will dedicate time to developing your child’s universal skills, like communication, design-thinking, and teamwork.

Just a feeling. Sometimes, it just comes down to a gut feeling. You know what’s best for your child, when they’re in a good place, and when they’re struggling. If the tangible reasons are vague, or too numerous to sort through, you might decide to leave your current school the same way you will be choosing your child's next school: simply by doing what feels right for your family.


Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) welcomes the kind of new student who embraces challenges and opportunities, is curious about the world we live in, and is the first to put up their hands to volunteer. Located south of Calgary on a 220-acre campus, STS is Alberta’s only Kindergarten to Grade 12 independent co-ed day school focused on developing well-balanced students for a life of purpose by inspiring excellence in scholarship, leadership, and character. For more information, visit


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