How to Find your Perfect School
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children, but how do we know what that is when it comes to choosing a school? Here you will find 5 tips to consider when locating a school that’s right for your family.
How much does the school care for the community it is serving? Teacher-child interactions should be meaningful and loving. Teachers should make students feel safe and important. Every moment possible should be utilized to better the students. Students should be learning more than just academic standards and also focus on learning about life. Learning to think critically, to be polite and respectful, and to interact socially are all vital to a child’s growth.
Teacher parent interactions should be respectful and valued. Parents should be informed and included in the child’s education and there should be procedures in place to support this.
Go to a school and ask to visit a classroom. Observe how much care is felt in the classroom.
Think about the culture of the school and see how that aligns with your personal philosophy. You wouldn’t send your child to a Catholic school if you were an atheist. Choosing a Montessori school where most learning is free flowing and student directed probably wouldn’t work for a family that believes in strict discipline. Make sure things like the overall school mission, homework policy, and even the mantras used by teachers create a school culture that you are comfortable with.
It is important to know what exactly the school is teaching your children. Is the end goal successful socialization or college readiness? Is the outcome for students to become critical thinkers or obedient workers? Is technology readily available and utilized appropriately? Are expectations and levels of rigor high? Parents want to know that their children are being challenged and that they are learning something meaningful. Make sure that your students are getting the type of education that you value.
All Parents want their children to go to a “Good School” but what does that mean? Examine a school’s API score- the closer the score is to 1000 the better. Study the school’s test scores to see their achievement in math and reading for the past two years. If data on student growth is available, this will inform you of how well the school did in improving student’s knowledge and skill base from when they began the school year to when they ended it. Ask about teachers. What are their education levels, how much experience do they have, have they earned any recognitions, etc. The more you know about a school’s past, the better prepared you are to be apart of its future. Checking out sites like GreatSchools.org can be a good first step.
You may find a school that you absolutely love, but if it is 50 miles from your home, it probably won’t work out. The school you choose has to be logistically compatible with your life. Begin your search in your neighborhood or local school district. If necessary, seek schools with buses or transportation. If you work late, look into schools with after school care. If you are interested in private schools make sure tuition is in your budget. If your child has special needs ensure that the school can meet them. Find a school that meets all of your needs.
There is no such thing as a perfect school, but there is a school that is perfect for every family. You just have to know what to look for.
Joy Turner, is a UC Berkeley and Teach For America 2009 alum and LMU Early Childhood Education Masters Degree recipient. She is also a wife, and mother of two. Joy has taught preschool and kindergarten from 2009-present.