I’m officially old. The new school year has begun, and I am the parent of a 3rd and a 4th grader. Oh, and a preschooler, but I’m keeping her with me at home a little bit longer. This week marked the second year at the big girls’ new school. It was such a smoother morning than last year. Last year, there were terror-stricken faces. The first day at a new school is a little rough, but their fear made me wonder if we had made the right choice. Now that we’re stepping into year #2, I’m confident we picked the right school.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A little bit of background, both of my big girls attended the school where I teach for multiple years. Moving them was awkward. Before I was ready to share details of my daughter’s health, I just responded vaguely and hoped the conversations would end. Despite there being lots of supportive families and a comfortable environment, it just wasn’t the right fit for my children. So my husband and I made the decision to move the girls to our local public school.
Being able to choose which school my children attend is a luxury, and I am fully aware that it may not be a possibility for everyone. Our town offers the opportunity to transfer to another campus. Some offer dual immersion, for example, which one could apply for. But if you’re here, I assume you are offered the same flexibility.
5 Ways You Know You Picked the Right School
The 3 R’s — Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic. Let’s assume the basics are covered. But schools, like businesses, focus on the needs of the student population. You can check out public school test scores online to see ranking and get an idea of what the school does well. It also would not be out of line to request a meeting with the administration to discuss curriculum.
They Offer the Services you Need
It’d be nice if each school offered coding or surfing. Focus first on the academics and research what is offered for the school. Each child has special needs and unique strategies that will allow him/her to be successful. I have to say that our local public school is ON IT when it comes to services. The educators’ training is fantastic, but the support staff really seals the deal for me.
After identifying the academic portion, then consider extra-curricular. Remember that many of these classes and services are available through other avenues.
We’ve all had teachers we didn’t like. Don’t discount an entire school because of one bad apple. As a whole, are the employees helpful and knowledgeable? Are your concerns addressed?
Insider Scoop: School secretaries run the show.
Perhaps it’s my years of teaching or maybe the data-driven teaching climate, but I rely on standardized test scores to monitor my own children’s progress. Report cards are useful tools, but I would also file away all standardized tests to evaluate. One element I watch closely is STAR assessment that tell reading levels.
Keep in mind that we all have bad days, so don’t freak if a test comes back out of line with your perceived progress.
It Feels Right
I waited a year too long to switch my kids’ school. I knew in my heart and in my gut it wasn’t right. But they were with me at my school. It was easy; it was comfortable. But I knew. Never discount your gut feelings, especially when it applies to your kids. Nature has put them there for a reason and it’s in your best interest (and your children’s) to acknowledge them.
Like my girls on their first day of school, there will be nerves and maybe even some fear. You can help prepare your children for going to a new school, but expect some reservations. After a little while with new friends and understanding of expectations, it should feel right to your children also.
We are a week into Year #2 and feeling pretty darn good. So tell me, how’d you know when you found the right school for your kids?