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How to choose a school? Things to consider & preplanning before picking a school

How to choose a school? Things to consider & preplanning before picking a school

We all know that education is mandatory for all individuals - not only it enables you to earn your living but also civilizes you and makes a better person out of you. The place or the juncture you attain education is called a school in broader aspect; which includes day care - kindergarten - primary - high schools - colleges and many more.

Options while selecting schools have increased three folds in the recent past. People have understood to the importance of quality education and at the same time across civilizations the same has penetrated in the form of competition elevating the standards of schools and its education to new heights.

Individuals looking out to find great schools for their first kid the very first time – or are about to witness a transition from one school to another; always seek assistance about "how to choose a best school for your child". Individuals busy with school hunting for any of the enlisted factors to select schools or looking out for general school information should read these preparatory tips betterment:

  • Admission deadlines
  • Admissions requirements
  • After school-care programs
  • Alternative schools
  • Applicants and school enrollment
  • Assessing middle schools
  • Best catholic colleges and universities
  • Best engineering schools
  • Career schools
  • Charter schools ratings
  • Charter-school sectors
  • Christian colleges 
  • Considering community colleges
  • Elementary school
  • Evaluating a school security
  • Find a school by specialty/program
  • Finding the right school/college
  • High school
  • High school guide counselor
  • Homeschooling
  • Local schools
  • Middle school
  • Neighborhood schools
  • Preschool 
  • Private school ratings
  • Private schools
  • Public charter schools
  • Public school ratings
  • Public schools
  • Research the best schools for your career
  • School philosophy
  • School policies and reputations
  • School rankings
  • School reviews
  • School support veterans
  • School's sports team
  • Schools available for higher education
  • Smaller school
  • Top public universities
  • Top woman colleges
  • Trade schools 
  • Types of academic programs available
  • Undergraduate and graduate schools

Parents preparing to choose a school for their child should consider a lot of things including:

  1. Primary considerations to choose a school for your child
  2. Available options - to choose a school for your child
  3. Preplanning while you choose a school for your child
  4. Follow up actions once you choose a school for your child
  1. Primary consideration about how to choose a school for your child

    This is a phase where all the aspects - child needs and family needs are supposed to be taken into consideration religiously. To start with - try and consider the personality of your child along with his areas of interest this is then followed with what is it that the family believes and would be in a position to contribute towards the child’s progress and development. A lot of permutations combinations will have to be checked - altered and altered once again to reach that convincing conclusion such as Quiet child - smaller size of class, kid with inclination towards science or music will want you to look out for a school with specialized programs in these fields, schools are to be in near vicinity but near to your house or office, schools with day care facility before or after the regular hours..they are really a lot of them. SchoolandUniversity has tried to simply the understanding through a simple table for the benefit of all....

    Family Needs and Values Child's Unique Needs
    What Your Child Learns This aspect revolves around your family with regards to which subjects and what degree of difficulty you want your child to be taught at the school. It also represents the values to your family about which content to be taught keeping in mind the various goals your family would have framed for your child. Aspects related to your child - which subjects and the severity of difficulty with which your kid would learn at the school including - area of interest - learning capacity.
    How Your Child Learns This aspect revolves around your child with regards to how your chosen school should and would teach - interact with your kid, both inside and outside the classroom. Your kid's learning pattern - enthusiasm - physical and mental preparedness - behavioral issues; if any - learning challenges - self motivation. This aspect revolves around your family with regards to how the school interacts to teach your child - outside and inside the classroom. Here the family values come into picture about how does the family want their child to behave at the school - how and what about the teaching methods and managing the class room
    Social Issues It is all about parental likes and dislikes of student and parent community in the school of your choice - yourself or other parents indulging themselves in the school - your choices of particular schools irrespective of the quality and goodwill of the school. Social requirement of your child in terms of contact with friends and associates (class mates) are focused from the child's viewpoint
    Practical Matters Here the focus is on extracurricular activities which are mandatory choice dynamics for a few of the students (your child) Families concern are to be focused here with regards to child care - non school hours - yearly and daily school schedules - transportation to and from the school - location of the school - multiple children education in harmony - financial limitations
  2. Available options - to choose a school for your child

    You as an individual - as a parent to your kid are supposed to list and check out on all the available options. We have tried and enlisted some of the commonly popular and available options.

    1. Schools in your neighborhood

      First preference of parents - family and kids as well is for the schools that are in the neighborhood. Each district has its own school and each school has its own set parameters about areas and boundaries for kids to be included in their school. Initial step is to check out on which school your child would be assigned to if in case the decision is to be made. Simultaneously also check out the pros and cons - rules and regulations for attending charter schools - magnet schools - other schools as options outside your local residential district.

    2. Charter schools

      Charter schools are no different than public schools just that they are free from some of the selective rules and regulations of the state policy. Charter schools have been one of the most prominent evolutions in the recent past in public educations segment. These schools are abided by the norms set by local school boards and upon not meeting the set criteria; they may shut down. These schools do not follow neighborhood boundaries and are purely voluntary admission based. This allows your child to attend the school of his/her or your choice in your – outside or other districts as well. These charter schools which are high in demand use the lottery system for admission of students.

    3. School transfers

      School districts governed by state policy have their own norms for Intra district (From one school in the district to another school in the same district) and Inter district (From one school in a particular district to another school in another district). In such cases the schools prefer admitting students whose child care provider/ guardian/ parent is in near vicinity. Such schools also have the procedure of reapplying (appeals process). Major challenge with these schools is the space problem that makes such transfers a big challenge. It is advisable to check out with the local district for significant requirements and queries.

    4. Magnet schools

      School districts also offer the option of Magnet Schools. These are the schools as name specifies which are inclined or have segmented approach and focus particularly on technology – Music – Art and so on. These schools also pursue a varied structural organization which mixes different grade levels in a single classroom - operating on round the year, and so on. Same as charter schools, magnet schools are also not bound by district boundaries and operate out purely on nondiscriminatory basis.

    5. Alternative schools

      These are the schools which have a varied educational philosophy as compared to traditional classes. They are unique due to their small classes – harmony in social development - emotional development – self crafted academic syllabus. This is a title that is been used to describe and portray a varied number of schools and hence it becomes crucial to know why is it termed as "alternative school".

    6. Private schools

      These are the so called self finance schools which do not operate out of the state financial funds. They have their own set parameter for admission of students. Parents of the children need to pay the tuition fees or at times students who receive scholarships or fellowships attend these schools. Teachers- principal - board of directors along with the assistance of parents decide upon the syllabus and the teaching patterns.

  3. Preplanning while you choose a school for your child

    Once you are done with deciding the in house activity of factor assessment; there comes the time where you will have to make a list of things that you would want to ensure before finally you choose a school for your child. Below mentioned are some of the quick take away or some of the tips/questions you would want and should have answers to before choosing the school for your precious child:

    • Assess the school district's annual report for per pupil expenditure incurred for every district - both these things reciprocate the quality of the school. This information on states department of education website through accessible resource named Public School District Finance Peer Search

    • Look out for services available at the school including:

      • Guidance counselors
      • Librarian
      • On-site nurse
      • Secretary

      If you find that they are associated with more than one school - and if they do; think before making the decision.

    • Curriculum arrangement of the school year is to be reviewed basis your requirement whether one wants to go for a year-round school or a more traditional school calendar suits your needs the best.

    • Parents looking out to select a high school for their child - should check out the number of students which go on to college from that high school.

    • Checking the library for books - e books - videos and more for children and adults gives you a fair idea about the stand point of the school.

    • What is the school's discipline policy should also be of prime focus - a printed copy of the policy and procedures suffices the well being of the administration

    • What is the grading system sample of the report card enclosed with explanation on the grading system is a good sign.

    • Fixed schedules about timely review of the textbooks and classroom materials give a good insight about school’s run to be in tune with tomorrow.

    • Varied schools have varied homework policy - what has the school of your selection to say about it?

    • School's safety policy including rules for playground activities and strangers on school property are amongst the leading points on the checklist.

    • Extracurricular activities sponsored by schools are utter most importance for overall development of your child - does the school that you selected - provide facilities of student councils - variety of clubs for special interests such as music - drama - chess

    • Student to teacher ratio and teacher to classroom ratio are also of very high importance. Studies suggest that smaller the size of a class - better the attention towards students.

    • Libraries and media centers play an important role in keeping your kid updated with the current trends. A facility where your kids can regularly check out on books and videos through center's resources is the best way to go.

    • Parents need to find the perfect match of the teaching pattern; as per the requirement of their kid with regards to the comfort level where teachers work with students in small groups or they work as a team to educate a large group at a time.

    • Process of sending communication to parents through newsletters - parent teacher meets - parent calls entertained in school is also supposed to be checked for future aspects.

    • Check out for any active parent organization for the school that you have selected…they have regular schedules and events - if possible try and attend the first meeting for a better clarity.

    • Usually schools have before- and after-school care programs - bliss for working parents - does the school of your choice has that?

    • Active involvement of students that you can notice during your visit to the school - they are reciprocating to teachers - discussing class works - using advanced gadgets including computers, calculators, and audio visual equipments and so on.

    • At a glance:
      • Worm welcome by the school staff members
      • Campus which is well maintained and clean
      • Well maintained and disciplined classrooms that you would see while walking the corridor
      • Walkways - wall of fame - corridors; filled with artworks of students
  4. Follow up actions once you choose a school for your child

    Preschool - School - day care - high school; as a parent if you notice the behavior of your kid for a few days - time, you will certainly realize or identify a pattern which would help you reach a conclusion whether the school that you opted for your kid is a perfect or a not so perfect fit. SchoolandUniversity using its vast experience and the feedback gathered from a lot of parents - here has enlisted some of the sure shot identifiers…

    Signs of a perfect Fit:
    • Your child is keen about going to school
    • Energy level of your kid is way different at the end of the day at the school
    • Your child shows signs of picking up the pace to learn - appropriate one for himself/herself
    • Remarkable progress  - Academic - physical - social - emotional of your child - year on year
    • Your child shares the feeling of being appreciated at school for the abilities and interests
    • Consistent achievement and performance - at appropriate level of other kids at this age
    • Your kid has and talks about - friends who like and accept him at school
    • Friends - associates - schoolwork are important - but to an extent of not consuming family time of your child's life.
    Signs of not so perfect Fit:
    • Your child shows resistance and even plays adamant about going to school
    • Usually you find your kid to be worn out - unhappy - low on energy levels after every school day
    • Very less progress - Academic - physical - social - emotional in your child - recent past year
    • Your child starts believing and is vocal about " school is boring"
    • Your kid's performance in academics is not up to the mark - which you think is possible for him
    • Less or no interest about whatever is taught in the school
    • Your kid often feels distressed about friends - teachers not understanding him/her at the school
    • No close friends or friendly class mates at school campus
    • Symptoms of anguish including Sleeplessness - fatigue - excessive clinginess - whining - new nervous habits; all these only during regular school days.