“Pick Your School Before Moving Day” by Alex Robbins of Safety Today was reviewed/edited by a QACP member parent during Winter 2018. QA Co-op’s Internal Communications Team wanted to share what she had to say: “this is a helpful article to put in full view all the *advice* you are offered as parents, especially during preschool open-house season! From what would be community expectations to ensuring safety, open communication, and implementation strategies, Mr. Robbins provides solid objectives.”
When it comes to moving to a new home, you will likely do a lot of research. Everyone needs to find a good realtor, explore different communities, and wade through the paperwork that comes with buying or renting a new place to live with your family.
In all that effort, don’t forget about your new school district. Your children will need a good place to develop academically and socially. Going to a questionable facility could cause some lasting harm. But what could you do from afar? If you can find a new home despite not living there, then you can also find some great academic options. Believe it or not, this process starts by first thoroughly examining your chosen school’s region.
Why The Surrounding Physical Area Is Important
As you check out places to live, you’re probably paying attention to the neighborhood. Living in a statistically high-crime region, for example, might provide low rent or mortgages, but those areas can also pose safety risks. The same is true for a school’s district, which might not be the same neighborhood as where you find a residence. Evidence suggests that problematic neighborhoods may potentially lead to elevated household/family member stress and risks .
If you do live close to where you are likely moving, take time during a school day to drive around the surrounding area. But if you’re currently too far away to make that trip work, you can always check out a computer program like “Google Earth” online and take a virtual tour of the region.
Here’s what you’re potentially looking for:
- Are there an abnormal number of kids out that should be in school?
- Do houses and stores have physical damage and/or graffiti?
- Do you suspect illegal activity regularly going on in the area?
- Are there abandoned buildings and vacant homes or businesses?
- Are the streets littered with trash and other non-residential items?
Many of these are signs that you might want to pick a different place for your children to attend school.
Speak To School Leadership Officials First
After looking around online, you found what looks like a great school. Before enrolling your kids, you should speak to the administration and talk to them about their facility.
Here are some specific questions you may want to ask:
- Why should you enroll your infant, toddler, and/or child there?
- What does the school or program focus on the most daily?
- How will teachers adjust to your kids’ strengths and needs?
- What resources are present to ensure your children thrive?
- How does the place help kids feel safe, heard, and at home?
There are alternatives to traditional public schools these days, but as Time.com explains, be wary of making choices based solely a school’s name. Charter, private, and magnet schools might sound like a perfect fit, but those can be just classifications. Schools free from “regulations” are also able to hire marginal teachers and/or skip essential curricula.
How To Switch Schools If Necessary
You did your research and found a school that should work. Sometime later, you start to realize that this school is not a great fit for your child or family. Possibly the classroom environment isn’t helpful to your kids, or maybe school officials weren’t quite as transparent as you personally needed them to be. Can you do anything to change things?
Work with your current school first. Explain your concerns and see if they might help. If not, you could withdraw your child and go to a new one. Remember, care-based programs may be easier to change versus elementary, middle, and/or high school ones. However, the process of formal “school withdrawal” does vary from state to state. The website HSLDA.org has an informative page where you can research your state’s particular laws and regulations about school choice, including cooperative or homeschooling options.
You Can Find A Great Place For Your Kids
You want the best for your children, which is why you would need to possibly pick your school before physically moving into a new region. Check out the surrounding area and talk to officials there about your concerns and what they can potentially provide for your children’s education. And, if you make a less-than-perfect choice, you can find a new school to send your kids with some extra research, conversations, and persistence.
Mr. Alex Robbins is the father of three lively boys. He considers home safety to be a number one priority and is part of the wonderful team at Safety Today, a community of parents and professionals promoting safety in the home and the community.