Finding the Best Schools in Your Area

Of course you want to find the best schools for your kids, but how do you do it? There are so many public, private, and charter academies around that making a solid decision can be challenging. In order to find the most appropriate fit for your child, it’s crucial to do some research. Ask your friends and family. Go online and read reviews. Make appointments to observe and plan to spend some time in potential classrooms.

Asking Friends and Family

As with nearly anything, word-of-mouth referrals can be invaluable. Of course, everyone’s tastes are a bit different but when you start hearing the same names of best schools, the pattern will be illuminating. When asking around, pose a few questions. Ask these resources what the learning academy’s strongest points and weakest points are. Ask them if they had it to do over again, would they still enroll their children. Sometimes you can get some interesting insights if you ask others to share some of their specific memories, photos, or yearbooks so you can get a solid feel for their experience.

Reading Online Reviews

There are a variety of different online sites to read reviews about the best schools in your areas. Some are general websites where anonymous individuals can post compliments and complaints. Some comments are linked to the learning academies’ websites or written on brochures or flyers. In some locales, academic rankings of all facilities are listed on the Department of Education’s website so you can truly compare apples with apples.

Scheduling an Observation

Seeing is believing and visiting classrooms and playgrounds will give you an eyeful. First, notice which academies are open to allowing you to visit; some are open to observers while others aren’t. If an academy won’t allow visitors, this may be a red flag. While they might not want people to come every day to every class, there should be some windows of opportunity to let you see for yourself which are the best schools for your kids. When observing, notice the materials in the classroom, how well the grounds are maintained, the attitudes of the teachers and the overall feel of the environment. Look at the students’ faces. Do they look joyful, engaged, and focused? Of course, no place will be perfect but the general ambiance will tell you plenty. Watch the interaction between the teachers and students to make sure there is mutual respect and camaraderie. If the kids seem scared, discouraged, or stressed out, go elsewhere. If everyone feels engaged and connected, you may have found the right place for your students.

Finding the best schools can be done if you do your research. Ask for referrals from friends and family members. Go online and read the reviews. Most importantly, go visit the classrooms to see for yourself what’s available.

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