Joel Mistretta's Blog
You know your child(ren) more than anyone when it comes to how they learn and the environment that works best for them. So, when it comes to your choosing a new school in a specific district, knowing what will and will not work for your student is essential.
Your student’s needs
Some questions to ask are:;
- What kind of learning style does the classroom cater to?
- Does the school have specialists available to give that extra support to students?
- How do those specialists work? (For example, do they pull students out of the classroom to work individually or in groups?)
- Are they able to come alongside the student during the classroom learning time?
- What is the facility/student ratio?
- How many students are in each classroom?
- What is the graduation rate? How many graduates pursue a post-secondary?
A scheduled school tour can answer all of these and any other questions you have to assess if your student’s learning style and that school environment could work well together.
Priority on curriculum
Another thing to look into is curriculum focus. Many school districts implement various types of educational foci to ensure students attain a specific set of skills. Some examples of focused curricula are STEM, Fine Arts, Music, Honors, and AP courses. STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—has been a buzzword in school districts recently. Some programs now focus on the STEM curriculum from elementary through high school. Because of the advancement of technology, the job market in these areas is an ever-changing horizon.
Additionally, fine arts and music can expand a student’s learning. Including a fine arts program can help students with fine-motor skills and develop creativity, among other things. Music education may develop parts of the brain that can help in other areas of study. The global landscape is becoming more competitive than ever. It is imperative that today's students are well prepared as they enter adulthood. Schools offering Honors and AP (Advanced Placement) classes can place your student in the position to take significant advantage of opportunities post-graduation.
Schools, along with the items as mentioned above can enhance the educational experience by offering a variety of before and after-school activities. These can range from widely known sports such as football, basketball, and soccer to less-common sports like lacrosse, golf, and bowling. Clubs can give a great sense of belonging and develop leadership and team-building skill sets. Plus, service projects that improve the surrounding community provide students with the chance to network. Those networking relationships can parlay into opportunities later in life. Finally, with post-secondary schools becoming more competitive than ever, being able to submit an application with a superior balance of academic accomplishment and extracurricular activities can be an advantage.
For more insight on local schools in a potential new neighborhood, talk to the neighbors at the next open house you attend.