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Finding the Best Educational Fit for Your Child 

HappiFamli, Senior Education Correspondent

December 02, 2019

There are lots of good public, private and charter schools to choose from, but which one is right for your child depends on what your child needs, what your family needs, and what is important to you. Well before your child enters the school system, you need to start asking questions and gathering information.  The first step is to look inward and think about your child’s individual needs and the needs of your family.  The following questions can help you explore those needs.

Step One: Consider Your Child and Family

  • Does your child have any special language or educational needs?
  • In addition to the fundamentals, what do you want your child to learn, i.e. learning a second language as a core part of the curriculum, obtaining an education through a religious lens, a focus on social/emotional learning?
  • How does your child learn best?
  • Does he/she need more structured environment or less structure?
  • Is the location of the school important to you?  How far are you willing to have your child bused?  How far are you willing to drive your child to school? 
  • Does your family need before and after school care?
  • Can you afford to pay tuition for private school?

Step Two:  Gather School Data

The second step is to search outward, gain information about possible school options and discover your child’s school match. There are several ways to gather information and address your questions. School websites are often full of information about the school and give you a good feel for the school’s values and level of  parent/family engagement.  Talking with current and past students and parents is helpful. Students and parents can speak to the quality of education offered at a school, parent involvement and how responsive teachers, staff and administration are to needs and concerns. Taking a scheduled tour of school during school hours is also valuable.  This experience can give you a feel for the culture of the school; you can see first hand how students behave, how the front office staff treats parents and gage the helpfulness and attitude of teachers. Good schools will also make time for prospective parents to meet with the principal or assistant principal and be forthcoming with information about the school’s strengths and areas for growth. Lastly, attending a PTA meeting is an excellent way to gain information, assess how parents and the school work together and learn about the school communities’ priorities.  PTA meetings are usually available to all parents at the school, as well as the general public, so a prospective parent’s’ presence should be welcome. 

If you would like to learn more about Public, Private and Charter Schools, please see our e-guide at: https://happifamli.com/product/choosing-the-best-school/

It has additional information including:

  • Overview of Public, Private & Charter Schools
  • A Comparison of Each Type of School: cost/funding, governance, teacher certification, special needs, state testing and enrollment
  • Twenty-Five Questions Designed to Help you Identify What if Important To You
  • What Makes a Good School
  • Timing on Applications