Public vs. Private School: Following the Transition of Ian Woodruff Between Public and Private Schools

By Antonio Cornieles

Ian Article
Sophomore Ian Woodruff works on editing a friend’s article in journalism class. Intro journalism students write two articles, learn design, practice photography and study the law and ethics that are critical in reporting for the media. Photo Credit, Alexis Weeden

Many people have the notion that private schools are only inhabited by rich, privileged and stuck-up kids. Having made the transition from a public school to a private school, freshman Ian Woodruff would likely disagree.

“There were plenty of people on payment plans for their tuition,” said Woodruff.

Having spent numerous years at both private and public schools, Ian is well acquainted with the stark differences and obvious similarities in their respective learning environments.

Ian began kindergarten at Parkwood Upjohn Elementary, the alma mater of many Loy Norrix students. When reflecting on his time at Parkwood, Ian recalls being strong in reading, yet lacking in confidence when it came to math.

“I felt like I was super stupid at math and that I was never going to get it,” said Woodruff.

Ian also admits that he was a bit of a trouble maker. Detentions, getting into fights and meetings with the principal weren’t uncommon occurrences for him.

“I’d meet with the principal like once a week and all that, it wasn’t good,” Woodruff explains.

On top of that, a lack of communication between the school and Ian’s parents seemed to be a persistent problem back when he was still at Parkwood.

“They’d hear about some of the stuff that was happening and then they would be like, “Why didn’t we know about the detentions and the fights?!” said Woodruff.

With Ian struggling in public schools, Ian’s parents decided to place him in a new environment by enrolling him at Kazoo School where his cousin was already going.

Ian attributes at least some of the problems he had in public schools to the lack of attention he was receiving at Parkwood.

“They would hand out worksheets, and I would just goof off with friends,” Woodruff confessed.

Perhaps if he would have had some more personalized guidance and help breaking some of the bad habits he had established, things may have gone differently for Ian.

For him this additional help was readily available at Kazoo Schools, and Ian quickly realized that class size is one of the distinct advantages of going to a private school.

Often, classes at Loy Norrix have upwards of 30 students and the average student to teacher ratio for Michigan’s public schools during the 2017-2018 year was 23:1. The website reports Kazoo School to have an average student to teacher ratio of 9:1. The extra attention coupled with what Ian describes as a “progressive curriculum” allowed him to find his confidence in math again.

When talking about his progress in mathematics Ian said, “I don’t just know what to do, I understand what to do.”

Now in his ninth grade year, Ian is attending public schools again, currently passing Geometry with an A and has not had to meet with the principal at all this year. Ian believes that he was taught how to learn at Kazoo School, and thinks that this has contributed to the success is he having now.

Despite his upbringing in private schools, he is similar in many ways to a typical student at Loy Norrix. Ian has a variety of chores he is responsible for at home like doing the dishes or walking his dog. In his free time Ian enjoys playing video games. He was a part of the e-sports club at Loy Norrix for some time and has completed every battle pass since season 4 of the wildly popular battle royale game, Fortnite. Ian also has a passion for hockey. He is currently playing travel hockey, and when talking about plans for the future, mentioned that he intends to play for the Kalamazoo United team next year.

Even though it may be years away, just like many others entering high school, Ian has already began thinking about college, naming The University of Michigan as a potential destination after high school.

Ian also had this to say, “A lot of my family have gone there. My grandparents met there, my mom went there. It might be fun to follow in the path or to try something new, it also kind of depends on what career I end up choosing to take.”