If you are looking for a new school for your kid, their strengths, interests, and specific needs will be the best guides for making the right choice.
The variety of choices available today can make this decision seem quite overwhelming and complicated. Your child probably has more school options to attend than you did while growing up. During parent nights and open houses, you do get a starting point to learn about a school, but they often do not give a complete picture. Here are five things to consider when evaluating your choices.
Evaluate the academic programs
Consider what programs are in place to help your child learn. This will vary widely depending on age. Some considerations include whether the school offers full-day kindergarten, specialized hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning, or even strong career and technical education programs. Understanding your child’s interests and aptitudes will help guide your research.
What resources does the school provide?
Every child has different needs for optimal growth and development. It’s okay to shop around to find the learning environment that best suits your kid. Energetic kids need plenty of activity and sports, while sensitive children need opportunities for sensory play, quiet times, and perhaps smaller class sizes. Additional needs or learning difficulties should also be considered; you’ll be able to find plenty of anecdotal information from other parents in online support groups about which environment fits best.
How big is the student body? How big does it feel? Some students thrive in the bustle of a large school, while others seek the pace of a smaller campus. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, and it’s also significant to note how large classes are and whether students have access to adequate support staff, including school counselors.
Philosophy of the school
Check out the school’s website, then talk to teachers and other parents to acquire a better understanding of the school’s approach to learning, as well as its disciplinary policies. The values championed by faculty and staff are paramount to the success and well-being of your child. For instance, does the school have a guiding philosophy and if so, how does it show up in the classroom? How are behavioral problems addressed?
Ask about transportation
Transportation options can vary wildly between different schools and districts. Many schools of choice do not provide bus services to students, leaving parents on the hook to carpool, and older students to walk. Check to see what transportation is available to your family, and how it would work with your daily schedule.
Above all, continue to be an involved parent so that your child has the support they need to be successful in life.