Aug 14, 2018
Trying to decide which
type of school is best for your child is a tricky proposition at
best. If the child is an elite athlete striving to reach the
highest levels of the sport, it becomes even more complicated.
In this week's podcast,
Lisa chats with Kirk Spahn, a former collegiate tennis player who
is the mind behind Dwight Global Academy, an online extension of
the prestigious Dwight School based in Manhattan. We think you'll
find the conversation very (pardon the pun!) educational and
The following is an
article written by Kirk and his head of school, Louisa Childs, for
5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an
At some point in your child’s tennis career, you will likely
wonder whether there is a better option than your child’s
traditional “brick and mortar” school. You may feel that the 8 am
to 3 pm school day does not allow your child enough time for
coaching and practice. The school may not be able to accommodate
your child’s need to travel for tennis tournaments. Or, your child
may feel pulled between school and tennis, causing anxiety for the
For many parents, an online school provides a seemingly perfect
solution to these challenges; their child stays in school and
completes his/her education, and simultaneously has more time and
flexibility to devote to tennis.
But all online schools are not the same. Before going online,
families should ask these five questions to ensure that the online
educational experience they choose prepares their child for success
in college and beyond.
- Does the school offer an authentic school
experience? Look for an online school that provides
students with real-time, virtual-classroom seminars in which they
interact with teachers and each other in the way they would on
campus. These discussions are essential to advance student learning
and will ensure that your child pursues his/her dreams in tennis
without sacrificing their education.
- Does the school teach time-management skills?
Some online schools allow students to study at their own pace,
whereas others require students to meet certain deadlines and learn
time management and organization. Many college coaches are looking
for the latter approach; they need assurance that the recruit, once
in college, will succeed in balancing a demanding tennis schedule
with academic deadlines.
- Is the school academically rigorous? For
families who wish to ensure that their child receives a stellar
education while achieving the flexibility needed to focus on
tennis, academic rigor of the online school is critical. College
admissions officers will also look to rigor in determining whether
the student has the skills needed to succeed in their college. Are
advanced level and honors classes available? May a child be placed
in a class above his/her grade level? For Division I and II
colleges, classes must be NCAA-approved.
- Do the school’s faculty provide personalized
attention? Students thrive when given appropriately
tailored attention by dedicated teachers. The relationship between
students and teachers is critical. Key questions to ask: Will my
child get to know and have access to teachers? If my child has a
question, how is it answered and in what time frame? Will my child
interact personally with his/her teacher in an online class, or are
students learning from a computer program?
- Does the school have a track record of college
acceptances for athletes? Look for a school that has
experience placing students on competitive tennis teams. College
guidance should start as early as Grade 9, and should be led by
dedicated counselors who are familiar with NCAA requirements. You
don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you feel forced to
work with a private college guidance counselor because the school’s
staff isn’t guiding your child appropriately.
As long as you receive satisfactory answers to these questions,
your child is well-positioned to succeed in online
This piece was submitted by Kirk Spahn, a Trustee, and
Louisa Childs, Head of School, of Dwight Global Online
School. Dwight Global is the online program of Dwight School
based in New York City and founded in 1872. Kirk, who played
tennis at Dartmouth College, understands firsthand the needs for
flexibility and academic rigor in pursuing one’s passion for
tennis. As Head of School, Louisa works to help
scholar-athletes achieve their dreams on and off the
To learn more about Dwight Global School, click here.
To contact Kirk, click here.
A big thank you to STØNE for our music! You can find more
of his music at SoundCloud.com/stonemuzic
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