Find your ideal school

Deciding what you want in a school is no simple task. When you imagine the best school for your child, you may picture colorful classrooms, dynamic teachers, a wealth of enriching extracurricular activities, and stellar test scores. But it’s also essential to consider your child’s needs, your family’s values, and practical constraints like a school’s hours and its distance from your home.If you have more than one child, there are even more considerations, including whether or not you want your children to attend the same school, since a perfect fit for one child may be a stretch for another.
Step 1 : Brainstorm
Consider the academic, school environment, extracurricular, and practical factors that are important to your child and your family. Use the questions below as guidelines to create your ideal school wish list:
Academics :

1) Do I want a more traditional, back-to-basics program or an alternative approach to learning, such as a Waldorf or a project-based school?
2) Does my child have any physical, emotional, linguistic, or learning needs that require special attention?
3) Are we looking for a school with a special focus like technology or the arts?
4) Online learning vs In-Person learning?

School environment

1) Would my child be better suited to a small, mid-sized, or large school?
2) How important is class size?
3) Is a school with cutting-edge technology facilities important?
4) Is it important the school focuses on social-emotional learning, as well as academics?
5) Do I want a school where parents are expected to be involved with activities and decisions?
6) Do I want a school that has a counseling office that offers parent, child, and family support?
7) How important is it to have an attractive facility with ammenities like a large playground or playing field?

1) Are clubs and other extra-curricular activities a priority? Which ones?
2) How important are music, theater, and art programs?
3) Is a regular physical education class essential?
4) Are sports important? If so, which ones? Competitive or low-key and inclusive?

Practical concerns
1) Are we considering a private school, and if so can we afford tuition, or qualify for financial aid?
2) Is it important that the school is close to home?
3) Do I need before- or after-school care for my child?
4) Does my child need lunch (and breakfast) provided?

Step 2: Prioritize
Review each of your lists and number each factor in order of importance to your family. While all the factors on your wish list may play some role in your decision, it’s unlikely that any school will offer everything you’re looking for. The goal of this exercise is to clarify which qualities you can live without — and which are deal breakers.

Step 3: Find schools that match your family’s needs
After doing this exercise and discussing alternatives with your family (including your child), you’ll have a much clearer picture of your ideal school. Now you’re ready to start your school search online at Check out individual school profiles where you’ll find information about curriculum, achievement, teacher-student data, and much more.

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