Academic Advantage Guide
One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is deciding on your child’s education. You know your child better than anyone else. You know their strengths, weaknesses, personality and what interests them most. Deciding on what type of school will work best is for each family to decide.
There are so many types of schools now. Public, magnet, charter, private and homeschool—so many choices can make choosing the right school a difficult and stressful process. So check out Bear’s Academic Advantage Guide as you choose a school that will bring out the best in your child!
TYPES OF SCHOOLS:
Charter Schools: These are public schools that are individually run. They do not charge tuition and they must meet all state standards like a traditional state or government funded public school.
Home School: Teaching a student at home instead of sending them to a traditional school. Many times the parents are the teachers, or there are homeschool groups with various teachers. Some homeschool students take classes using online programs.
Magnet Schools: These schools are part of a traditional public school, but they focus on certain academics like STEM, but the also follow the state standard curriculum.
Online or Virtual Schools: These are like homeschooling, but with online courses and instructors to help with lessons. They follow the state standard curriculum and many will have a local classroom setting where students come in to take tests and receive tutoring.
Public Schools: Public schools are learning institutions that are funded by local, state and sometimes federal governments. They offer general education opportunities to students in K–12.
Religious Private Schools: The majority of nonpublic schools are religious. Many are affiliated with a religious faith such as Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. These schools require tuition, but most offer scholarships.
Secular Private Schools: These are non-religious schools. Many of these private schools are preparatory schools designed to prepare students for college. These schools require tuition, but most offer scholarships.
RESEARCH, VISIT AND APPLY
After you have decided on what type of school you want your child to attend, do some research on the school. Visit their website and read reviews from other parents. Consider things like the style of teaching, the curriculum, enrichment opportunities, extracurricular activities, before and after school care and whether the school provides breakfast and lunch, either free or for purchase.
Attend open house events or see if the school gives tours of their school. This gives you the opportunity to see the campus, classrooms, lunchroom, playground and more. Sometimes just the little things like a shaded playground or a music room full of instruments can make all the difference in your choice. While at an open house or tour don’t be afraid to ask questions. What is the student/ teacher ratio? What extracurricular activities are offered? What are your safety policies and regulations? How does your school prevent bullying? Are staff trained in CPR and First Aid?
Apply to the school(s) you choose. Consider applying to more than one school in case there is a waiting list for one of your choices. You’ll want to begin the process as early as possible to avoid missing deadlines or being put on a waiting list. When applying make sure to see if financial aid is available in tuition based schools and get those forms submitted early, too.
You can visit the U.S. Department of Education for helpful information www2.ed.gov/nclb/choice
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