Maybe it had been a sleek, reusable bottle. Whatever it had been, most folks probably bought or received a present last month that was marketed as eco-friendly, ethically sourced, or giving back to the community. I think within the wisdom of giving gifts that have multiple beneficiaries. But if there’s one area where bringing ethics and intentionally into a consumer decision can have the most important impact, I’d specialize in K-12 education. Education may be a choice — like what car or groceries to shop for, but with higher stakes. America’s 57 million students, and their parents, are the consumers. The more that oldsters can select schools supported values and wishes — without income or postcode restrictions — the more we’ll see the facility of parent consumers in action. That’s a positive power. And through a faculty year disrupted by COVID-19, we'd like it quite ever. A couple of years ago, I heard this power described by the principal at a magnet school that had just been ranked the nation’s best high school by U.S. News & World Report. The principal spoke of the school’s academic excellence in tandem with the thought of families being conscious consumers who (bought into) their education choice. She said that when families and students actively choose a faculty, learning becomes something students want to try to do instead of needing to do. In other words, when families actively invest in an education choice, it advances the whole school community. In my work as president of National School Choice Week, I have consistently seen that to be true, at traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online schools, private schools, and homeschool co-ops. When parents are educated consumers, it encourages schools to be transparent, creates more opportunities for teenagers, and forges innovative bonds among teachers, parents, and community organizations. Choice also allows families to match education to their personal learning values, as for example, in Florida, Arizona, Idaho, and other states with flexible open enrollment laws, families can select the simplest school fit from an array of free public options. This enables families to settle on from various locations, school cultures, and extracurricular offerings—the very non-test score factors that oldsters care even as deeply about as academics. This January 24-30 is National School Choice Week, a weeklong public awareness effort that encourages families to find out about all kinds of education and truly engage in their school choice. You'll join the trouble and study your state’s options at schoolchoiceweek.com. After all, making a faculty decision, and staying involved in it year-round, is one among the foremost powerful consumer decisions you’ll ever make.
How does one pick the simplest school for your child? The subsequent sections have questions for you to think about, with a workspace for you to Write your thoughts, as you undergo the method of selecting a faculty for your child. Remember, you're trying to find a faculty that will make the tutorial experience for your child, and you as rewarding as possible.
Step 1: Location of faculty
Do you want your child to travel to a faculty within walking distance of your home?
Can your child's talents be nurtured outsides your neighborhood?
How far are you willing to possess your child bused?
Does your child want to be during school together with his or her friends?
Do you want your child to travel to a faculty near your after-school care? Near where you work? Near an in-depth relative?
Does your child have any special transportation needs that have got to be considered in choosing a school?
Step 2: Gather information about schools!
If you were looking to shop for a car, vacuum, or refrigerator, you'll ask friends and family and find information on the web, in consumer magazines, or in other published resources. Similarly, when investigating schools, you'll even have to form phone calls, collect writing from different schools, and appear for reports in your local paper to urge the knowledge you would like. You'll check public school report cards (see Parent Tip) and attend parent fairs and faculty open houses. You'll find reliable school information online sites like www.greatschools.net and www.schoolresults.org also as other sites listed within the Resources section of this booklet. The diligence is going to be worth your while if you discover a faculty that brings out the simplest in your child.
Along with the schools' curricula and philosophy, you'll want to understand school policies and services. Parents can also wish to think about the after-school programs a faculty offers, for instance, sports, clubs, tutoring, or academic enrichment. These centers provide educational activities outside the regular school hours, ‘before and after school or during summer vacation, ' that complement what's taught in class. You'll also want to ask if the varsity has supplemental educational services, including free tutoring that is offered outside the regular school hours under No Child Left Behind.
What does the varsity do to assist develop character and citizenship?
What is the discipline policy? How does the varsity handle students who misbehave?
Are teachers fair in their responses to students? Does the varsity have a program and supports to stop and address behavior problems?
Are students allowed to go away from school by themselves?
What measures has the varsity taken to make sure safety? What security measures are in place?
What is the policy on school absences? How does the varsity encourage daily attendance?
Do school personnel phone call parents when students are absent?
Does the varsity have a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program?
Does the varsity have a dress code?
Do students wear uniforms?
Is the school safe?
How does the varsity prevent and handle problems with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco?
How does the varsity prevent and handle violence, bullying, harassment, and other sorts of abusive behavior?
What measures does the varsity fancy ensure safety? What security measures are in place?
Is there a policeman on duty during school hours and for extracurricular activities?
What information is out there on serious crime within the school?
What information is out there on students bringing weapons to school?
Does the varsity have an emergency plan for local and national emergencies?
What does the varsity do to make sure that oldsters and every one school administrators know the emergency plan?
Are there drills?
How does the varsity notify parents about emergency closings? How does the varsity communicate with parents in other languages?
Facilities and services
Is there a well-stocked library where students can inspect books and do research? Are reading materials available in other languages?
Is there an interlibrary loan?
Is time provided within the day for college kids to travel to the library?
Do students have access to computers and to the web within the classroom and library?
Is the use of the web monitored?
Is there an auditorium or an outsized room for college assemblies?
Is a school nurse on duty daily?
Is there a cafeteria, and does the varsity offer a nutritionally well-balanced lunch program? Breakfast program?
Is supervised before- and after-school care offered?
Are there tutoring programs?
Are counseling services available to students?
Is the school accessible to children with mobility limitations?
Step 3: Visit and observe schools
Contact the faculties you're curious about and make a meeting for a visit. If possible, tour the faculties during regular school hours and visit a couple of classes. Avoid visiting schools during the primary or last week of a term so as to urge a sensible sense of how the varsity operates.
A good thanks to having your questions answered is to schedule a meeting with the varsity principal. If possible, attend a party, parent-teacher meeting, or other school function that might also provide valuable information about the attitudes of staff, students, and fogeys.
Listen closely to what teachers say about the varsity. The teachers are going to be the adults closest to your child, and you'll want to understand if they're well prepared, dedicated, and happy in their work.
Is the school secretary helpful and friendly?
Is the school orderly and neat?
What do the bulletin boards look like?
How is student work displayed?
How does the varsity communicate with students and fogeys (weekly/monthly newsletter, e-mail, Web site)?
Do the scholars appear to be courteous, happy, and disciplined?
Is there a welcoming attitude toward all parents?
How are the scholars with diverse learning needs (e.g., students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency) treated?
What is the principal's philosophy about education?
What is the principal's attitude toward discipline?
What is the principal's reputation within the community?
Is the principal usually at the varsity and available to speak to parents?
Does the principal get to understand the students?
How often does the principal observe teachers?
What does the varsity do to stay good teachers and improve teacher performance?
How does the principal answer parental concerns/complaints?
According to the principal, where can the varsity improve?
How do teachers grade student work?
Do teachers have high expectations for all students to realize high academic standards?
How do teachers inform students of their expectations?
When and the way frequently are teachers available for parent conferences?
Do teachers assign homework? Is it rigorous? Frequent? Sufficient?
Are the teachers highly qualified to show in their subject areas (do they know the themes they're teaching)?
Do teachers have the talents and knowledge to deal with students with special learning needs?
Are our specialized staffs available to deal with the special learning needs of a toddler (e.g., therapist, psychologist, or aides)?
Are teachers willing to supply extra help to students?
Do teachers have websites with class notes and other information for college kids and parents?
What is the attendance rate for students?
What do students say about the principal?
What do students say about the teachers?
Do the scholars have school spirit?
What do students say about homework?
Do students participate in and luxuriate in field trips?
What do student publications say?
What else do students say about the school?