As the dawn of a new school year approaches soon, finding the right school for your children can be a daunting task, but thankfully there are many available school resources to help you narrow down your decision.
In my profession, I see families consistently look for guidance on Southern California schools and which is best for their children. In fact, it’s one of the biggest deciding factors for families looking to purchase a home.
I was speaking with a woman recently who was lamenting over tuition at a local private school, and how it seemed unattainable for the average family, including hers. Though she went to private school and had fond memories of growing up, she is having trouble justifying the cost now, which in some areas here in Southern California can be more than college tuition.
In general, zip code will dictate whether a school is successful. However, living in Southern California presents many options for great schools, and finding the right school resources are just a few easy steps away. Using the right school resources can help. Consider the following:
What Kind Of School
There are public, private, online, charter, and homeschool options that each cater to the unique needs of families. Take some time to narrow down the type of school at the beginning of the process. What fits your family’s needs best? Do you want a traditional model or something a bit more unique?
Use Available Resources
Helpful websites like GreatSchools.org and others listed here will give you some insight into schools available in California. Ratings, test scores, statistics, and class size are all available to the public.
Choose what matters most in the decision process. Test scores, class size, PTA participation, diversity, practices of classrooms, and cultural fit can all be considered when deciding on a school.
Trust Your Gut
I couldn’t have said it any better than a friend: “We made the mistake of staying in a school we weren’t happy with when many of our neighbors opted for transfers or private school. I wish we would’ve listened to them earlier instead of “sticking it out” at our local public elementary school. Listen to friends and neighbors who truly love the schools they are at and if you want to try the public school transfer process, you need to start early.” – Toni S.
Tour The Local School
Most campuses will set up a time where you can tour the school, meet the teachers, see the available resources. Come prepared with questions that are non-negotiable for you and your family. Often times we can get caught up in the moment and forget to ask questions ahead of time.
It’s hard to believe we live in a world where we have to prepare for unforeseen disasters, but most schools have plans in place for more than one type of emergency. Ask school officials about their violence and crisis prevention programs along with resources available at the local level to support children in need.
Talk To Your Neighbors
Friends, neighbors, and others local to the area you’re looking might have great insight into the schools in the area.
Sometimes prayer and clarity of mind go a long way. Take time to process the decision.
Permanence Of The Decision
Remember that there are options. If you have a terrible experience at one school, it doesn’t have to be the only solution for your child. Most districts will allow for transfers.
Do you have any great tips for finding the right school? Leave a comment and share your ideas if you think I’ve missed something.