Choosing the Right School

Dear Parentworks, 

My daughter will be ready to start grade school in the fall and many schools are having open houses now. What do you suggest I look for in choosing the right place to send her? My son goes to the local public school and enjoys it very much but my daughter wouldn't do as well there. My husband thinks it sends a wrong message to the kids if we send them to different schools, like one child is better than the other. Help!

- Scoop on Schools

Dear Scoop,

Choosing the right school for each child is very important. If your son is currently thriving where he is, then you have chosen the correct school placement for him. Your daughter should be given no less an opportunity. Begin by getting clear, in writing, in your own mind exactly what factors you believe your daughter needs to make her school experience one which will complement her style and strengths. Then determine if your local school district has programs which would be a good fit for her. See if there are outside courses in which you can involve your daughter to supplement her school experience. If not then begin checking with other mom's, the admissions office at the public school and ads for other schools which you think would be a good fit. Call to find out some preliminary information, programs, prices and fees. 

Share this initial information with your husband. Coming to a joint decision is critical including whether or not your family can afford the time to transport your daughter to different local public school program or additional classes or if you can afford the cost of a private education. Reassure your husband of the value of providing both of your children  opportunities and experiences which will allow them to succeed and best meet their unique needs. Remember, during the time your child is in school each teacher is taking the place of you in your child's daily life. Making sure your child receives the support and encouragement that will help them be their best is one of the best gifts you can give them. But, regardless of your final decision, a primary factor in your child's ultimate school success also involves your ongoing interest and participation in their school.