Parents who’ve been through this phase will testify how important it is to find a perfect school for your child. It affects not only their child’s future but also theirs.
The US education system is quite different from the rote learning based Indian education system. It provides a variety of choices for parents which can be enriching but also become overwhelming and confusing at times.
This guide will help you identify the types of schools, understand what is important for your child and where you can find it.
Types of Schools:
Many parents are unaware of the wide range of schools they can send their children to. Among them are:
Neighborhood Public Schools:
Many parents choose to send their children to the public school in their neighborhood, according to an assignment system developed by the school district. Attending a neighborhood public school can make it easy for your child to get to school, to work with classmates on group projects, and to visit friends. These schools are often anchors in a community.
Other Public Schools:
You may want to investigate other public schools. In an increasing number of districts, you can choose to send your child to a specialized public school. These schools of choice often emphasize a particular subject or have a special philosophy of education. One school might emphasize science, art, or language study. Another might offer a firm code of conduct, a dress code, or a rigorous traditional academic program.
Another may be an alternative school designed to respond to students who are insufficiently challenged by the regular school program, who are likely to drop out, or who have behavioral or substance abuse problems. These schools, often small, work to make students feel they belong. Some states also offer second chance schools or clinics for students who have dropped out of regular schools and now want to complete their education.
Charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the local and state regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools allow parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others the flexibility to innovate, create and provide students with increased educational options. Charter schools exercise increased autonomy in return for stronger accountability. They are sponsored by designated local, state, or other organizations that monitor their quality and integrity while holding them accountable for academic results and fiscal practices.
Magnet schools are designed to attract students from diverse social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds by focusing on a specific subject, such as science, technology, or the arts. Some magnet schools require students to take an exam or demonstrate knowledge or skill in the specialty to qualify to go to the school, while others are open to students who express an interest in that area.
Instead of taking classes in a school building, students can receive their education using a computer through a virtual school. Virtual schools have an organized curriculum. Depending on the state and district, students can take the full curriculum or individual classes. Some school districts have used these online schools to offer classes that will help students learn at their own pace. Virtual education is sometimes used in remote areas for specialized or advanced courses that are not available in the immediate area. This type of studying is also called “distance learning.”
Private education in the United States can be of high quality. However, it is important to know that the tuition fees, until the end of high school can go upto tens of thousands of dollars a year. Yes, tens of thousands of dollars a year. If you think that the children will learn better at a private school, then it is a good option to invest in.
Homeschooling is an option for a growing number of parents. Some parents prepare their own materials and design their own programs of study, while others use materials produced by companies specializing in home-school materials. Some take advantage of virtual school programs or other educational resources available on the Internet. Of course, exercising this option may require major changes in how your family lives. Teaching your children at home is an ambitious undertaking, requiring time, planning, creativity, and commitment. Be sure to check with your state because different states have different requirements for homeschooling.
Criteria for Testing:
What would you like your child to learn:
There are many professional schools, particularly high schools or courses that offer technical and scientific courses. This can be very significant in the academic future of the children if they plan to study In an American college? Therefore, if you know that your child has any special interest, it is worth checking the possibility of going to a professional school.
It is important to note that in most of the professional schools that are considered, the registration begins very early, sometimes even in the elementary age. Therefore, it is better to check these options as soon as possible, especially if you live in very competitive areas where the professional schools are very popular.
What are your child’s educational and social needs:
Relocation is not only a frightening time for you, but also for your children. It is true that children adapt more quickly to changes, but language difficulties and social difficulties can lead to adapting difficulties for the children.
School is where the children will learn English and develop cultural and social tools in this new place.
How important is it to you that the school will be close to home?
Are you ready to have your child travel a long distance on the shuttle every day? Are you ready to drive him to school every day?
Unless you live in a crowded metropolis, in the United States, a 40-minute travel trip to the school is commonplace. This fact sets up the battles and new and unexpected adjustments that should be thought of.
Set up a Tour:
Contact the schools you are interested in and make an appointment for a visit. If possible, tour the schools during regular school hours and visit a few classes. Avoid visiting schools during the first or last week of a semester in order to get a realistic sense of how the school operates. A good way to have your questions answered is to schedule an appointment with the school principal. If possible, attend an open house, parent-teacher meeting, or other school function that would also provide valuable information about the attitudes of staff, students, and parents. Listen closely to what teachers say about the school. The teachers will be the adults closest to your child, and you will want to know if they are well prepared, dedicated, and happy in their work.
Talk to the manager: There are very few parents who will insist on it, but these are very lucrative.
Be present at the parent organization's meeting: These meetings are open for all parents and the public, where you can see the involvement of parents and teachers, according to the nature of the discussion, you can see the questions that are important to the school.
Tour the halls: Check the atmosphere during recess and school hours.
Tour The classroom: You are allowed to sit in class to be impressed by the quality of teaching and the teaching atmosphere.
And another important point:
Trust your Intuition: Sometimes the indicators show really good performance, and the people around you have praised a school, but you feel the the school doesn't fit your child. In such situations, go ahead with your gut feeling.
After you've understood what's important to you in school, it's time to gather information to understand which schools offer the qualities you are looking for, and what is the most appropriate school for your needs.
Parental blogs in the region: You can search for parental blogs from your area, which review the schools.
Comparing School achievements GreatSchools.net
Office of Non-Public Education, U.S. Department of Educatio: information about private schools.
SchoolMatters.org : performance comparison
U.S. Charter Schools: information on the Charter schools