I’ve been working in the public school system for ten years. I often hear complaints from parents and even from friends about how they want to home school their children or put them in private school.
Have some concerns about public school?
I have a few tips to make the process a little easier:
Do Your Research About the School
Are you moving to a new area? Check out the schools and school districts before purchasing a home. All schools are not created equally (unfortunately). Finding a safe neighborhood and school will make all the difference when you relocate.
If you are a multiracial family, check out the demographics of the school. Do the ethnicities of the teachers reflect the student body? Is the student body diverse? Does the school hold multicultural events?
If these things are deal breaks for you, then you HAVE to do your research beforehand.
Get to Know Your Child’s Teachers
Fair or not, teachers often make judgements about parents they’ve never heard from or seen. Especially if there has been an issue with grades, attendance or behavior.
If you have to work and frequently cannot make conferences, make sure the teacher knows that you are accessible by phone or email. When you have time off, offer to volunteer in your child’s class or at school events.
Find Out How Grades are Distributed
Thanks to technology, gone are the days of not knowing your child’s grade until report card time. In fact, many schools have moved completely away from distributing grades on paper.
Many schools utilize online parent portals that make it easy for parents to see their child’s progress on a daily or weekly basis.
When you enroll your child, find out how to sign up for a parent account.
Find out which teachers use other apps to disperse information to parents and sign up for them.
Be Familiar With Your Child’s Friends
As a middle school counselor, parents often ask me about the character of kids their child associates with. You can imagine the trouble I’d get into if I was what I was thinking (Like, run for the kids, that one is terrible!)
Take some time to talk to your child about their friends. Invite your child’s friends over and get to know them. Please don’t expect the school to be character police.
Public school parents….what would you add to the list? What helps you make decisions about where your child will attend school?