Dr. Rich Patterson

Choosing A School for Your Child: What’s Important

With all of the choices for schools today, it can be overwhelming to decide on what school is right for you child.  As an educator, I was frequently asked about this school or that school by parents.  I have listed a few of the points to consider when considering a school.  This is by no means a complete list, but it will get you started towards making a decision along with some of your own preferences.  In no particular order they are:

  1.  Look at the school for the long term.  If it is an elementary, look at all the grades and see your child attending for all six years including Kindergarten.
  2. Go to your state department of education’s website and look up the school.  Check the disciplinary numbers, i.e. suspensions etc.  Check their test scores in the basic four:  Math, English, Science and Social Studies (if available).  Where are their weak scores?  What grade level seems to take a dip in scores?
  3. Talk with parents who attend the school and find out what they feel are the strengths of the school as well as the weaknesses.
  4. If possible, visit the school during the summer and try to briefly meet the Principal and some of the school administration.
  5. What extra-curricular activities are available at the school?  What interests does your child have and do they support that?  What interests could they pick-up by being a member of this school?
  6. How many students attend the school?  Is that number okay with you as a parent?  What agenda does the school have?  i.e. a parochial school will teach certain beliefs, some charter schools teach certain beliefs, or may require a uniform.  Are these things okay with you as a parent?

These are just a few of the considerations as we move quickly toward another school year.  Shopping right now is key because the school administration is returning to work and beginning to plan their school year.

Let me know some of your thoughts.