Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shopping for your child's public school.

Now day's in a cookie cutter education system, receiving the education for your child that you want can seem like a daunting task. So many mom's out there just don't know the information that's really going to help, nor do a lot of us know where to go to get it. If you're a single mom, it gets even harder! So let's start with the basics first.

Mom's did you know that you don't have to send your child to the zone you're zone for? Even if it is a "good school" and has none of those "inner city" issues.
It didn't dawn on me, until my son started school, that most mom's just didn't think they had a choice in the public school their child attended. Matter of fact, I didn't even know. I was under the understanding that my choices was the local public school, home school, or a private school. As a single mom working and putting myself through school, it seemed the only available option was the local public school. Now I am lucky to live in a good school zone, but still I wanted to be for sure!
 So here's what I did.

Step 1: Search online all of the local schools within a 10mile radius. (For some of you, this will offer to many searches, for others to little. I suggest using an open minded judgment per your area.)

Step 2: Complied a list of ones with really good website information which is consistently updated. (If the school can't take the time to update their site with information, calendars, and programs, then I'd be highly worried about communication from school to home.)

Step 3: Read up on the school reviews for the one's that made it on to your list. Some schools will come with a lot, some with none. The best judge is to read from oldest post to newest to see if the school reviews are improving or deteriorating.

Step 4: picked out your "Top 3" winners, and called around asking for tours. Most schools during registration periods will be very willing to have you come in a view the grounds, talk with teachers, and see the rooms first hand.

(Now the first 4 steps can all be done in one afternoon)

Step 5: Visit these schools, keep in mind to take notes, either a lot on paper, or small mental notes to write down about what you liked and didn't like about each school later on.

Step 6: Pick your school.

Step 7: Call or visit your local school board to see what needs to be done as far as paper work to get your child into the school of your choice if you're not zoned for it.

Mom's beware!!! I haven't dealt with it personally, but some school boards will try their hardest to keep you where your child is zoned. Don't let them fool you into thinking you have no choice! I met a single dad who went through a school board that was like that for all three of his kids. He said they threw everything his way, but he picked out the school that he wanted and he wasn't going to let them tell him otherwise, and he didn't take no for an answer. Also, keep in mind you'll want to do this about a month or two if you can before the school season, so the second registration begins Go! Go! Go! Or for those of you who want to switch to a new school at the end of you child's school year right before summer break would be the best time. While looking up and picking the school is a short two or three day experience. The school board can take weeks to move on your choice.

I got lucky I guess. I searched, and searched, but I still ended up with the school my son was zoned for. I didn't like that they don't have a Gym for the children, however, the school is excellent when it comes to I.E.P. student's and I knew before my son ever entered that he would end up in the I.E.P Program. He was really good at counting and math, but his daycare and VPK teachers all complained that they couldn't get him to do reading or writing projects. Then he down right refused to do his Kindergarten entry exam. Thanks to his his teachers and the entire staff at his school. He was able to graduate Kindergarten without being held back. 

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