Choosing a School for Your Child: Resources and Information for Finding the Right One
With choices ranging from public, private, charter, magnet, independent and parochial schools, how can you find the right one? Before you get overwhelmed, read this guide to find the best Web sites for understanding different types of schools.
- Charter schools are public schools that are privately managed by a team selected by parents, teachers and community members.
- Magnet schools are part of the public school system but offer a specialized curriculum.
- Independent schools are nonprofit private schools, governed by elected boards of trustees.
- Parochial schools are church-affiliated private schools and function like independent schools.
Explore schools for gifted students to get familiar with how gifted and talented is defined around the country, how different programs cater to gifted students and to find guidance on choosing a school or program for your gifted child.
- Different states have different standards for classifying kids as gifted and talented. The Education Commission of the States lists every state’s definition.
- Some districts have specific schools for gifted students, while other districts use different methods to accommodate talented students. Differentiated instruction is one method that attempts to address the needs of students at all levels within the classroom. Pull-out programs, working groups and regrouping for specific instruction are other models used to cater to gifted students.
Some children experience difficulty in school, ranging from concentration problems to learning, perception and behavior problems. These students may need special education programs to learn at their own unique pace.
- Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents of kids with special needs can work with educators to create an individualized education plan (IEP). Learn more about IEPs and the referral and evaluation process.
- If your child is referred to a special education program, it’s a good idea to become familiar with your rights under special education laws.
- Although learning disabilities are never outgrown, proper identification, support and intervention can help a child become successful in learning and in life. To learn more about learning disabilities, see our findingDulcinea Learning Disabilities Web Guide.
The school application process can be rigorous, time-consuming and expensive. Use the Web sites in this section to find strategies for applying to schools that can help your child get into the school of their choice.
- Applying to elementary, middle school and high school can be similar to the college application process. Testing, essays, letters of recommendation and interviews may be required.
- Not meeting deadlines can prevent your child from getting into their ideal school. Keep a running list of all application deadlines, including deadlines for testing, essays, medical exams and interviews.