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Published by: imran on Mar 24, 2009
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Choosing a school- An Overview
To simplify the school choice process, you'll need to learn what to consider and how toevaluate your options.Whether you are choosing a school for the first time for your child or your child ismaking the transition to a new school, you probably have many questions. What are your options? How much choice do you really have? What's the best option for your child andyour family? Where should you begin?School choice options available to parents have increased dramatically in recent years.There's a growing national sentiment that promoting competition in public education mayspur schools to improve and that parents who invest energy in choosing a school willcontinue to be involved in their child's education.Where to Begin think about your child's needs and your family's needs. Consider the personality of your child. A quiet child might fare better in a smaller school or a schoolwith small class size. If you have a budding musician or scientist, you'll want to look for a school that has programs in these areas. Is it important to you that your school be closeto home or your place of work? Or will you need a school with before and after-schoolcare? Check out the following articles for ideas on what to consider:
Choosing a School: Considering Family Needs and Values
Your family's values, preferences and practical concerns are important factors to consider when choosing a school.
What Matters for Matching My Family to a School
Which of your family's wants and needs matter most for choosing a school? Which willaffect your family's life and goals greatly, and which are really low-priorityafterthoughts? Which needs must be met at school, and which are better met at home andelsewhere? What will the impact be on your child and family when school is not a perfectfit with your family?
Focus on the Four Fit Factors
Fortunately, we can focus on a limited number of factors that determine how well aschool fits a family. As we've talked to parents about their school choices, these are theissues that come up again and again, the ones that truly make a difference when it comesto finding a school that fits. We have taken all of these considerations and sorted theminto four Fit Factors. These Fit Factors are simply a way of organizing your family'smany needs in a way useful for finding a school that meets them. The Four Fit Factors for families are:
What Your Child Learns:
These are aspects of your family that affect what subjectsand at what level of difficulty your child should be taught at school. These include your 
family's values about what content should be taught and particular goals you may havefor your child.
How Your Child Learns
These are aspects of your family that affect how a schoolshould teach and interact with your child both in and outside of the classroom. Theseinclude your family's values about how children should behave at school, and howchildren should learn and be taught at school (teaching method and classroommanagement).
Social Issues
These include your parental preferences about the student and parentcommunity of a school, preferences about your own or other parents' involvement in theschool, and your biases about particular schools and school types regardless of quality andother aspects of fit.
Practical Matters
These include your family's needs for child care during non-schoolhours, daily and yearly schedule, transportation, school location, coordination of your multiple children's educations, and your financial constraints.Prioritizing Your Needs Some families will find that their multiple needs pose conflicts.You value social connections you can get only in an expensive private school, but cannotafford one. You strongly prefer a teaching method that leaves lots of room foexploration, but logistically cannot swing that way-across-town magnet school that fitsthe bill. And so on. If this turns out to be you, then you will need to prioritize among your family's needs even before you get to the challenge of reconciling them with your child's

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