11 Things to Consider When Choosing a School For Your Kids


We’re so lucky to live in a school district that allows the option to Choice into another school that you may like better than your local assigned school. But with that comes a little bit of craziness (at least for me) trying to decide on “the right” school for your kids. There really is no “right” school, only one that lines up best with your family’s needs.

If you decide to send your kids to your assigned neighborhood school, then congratulations! You just saved yourself a bunch of time from researching and touring other schools! There are actually a lot of benefits to attending your neighborhood school and that may very well be the best option for your family.

Find your assigned school here.

6 Reasons to Attend Your Neighborhood School

If you know that you don’t want to send them to your local school or if you’re not sure, then read below for some things to consider. But consider them quickly, because you only have 6 weeks to decide which schools you want to write down on the Choice Form (the enrollment period is usually October 1st - November 13th). For more info about the Choice Form, click here.

How to decide what school to send your child to?

There are so many questions and things to consider when making your decisions. When I went through this process recently, I checked the ratings of our assigned school and they weren’t very good. I guess my first misstep was in buying our house 10 years before my unborn son would ever start kindergarten without first checking into the school ratings. So Step 1, check the school ratings before you buy or move to a new neighborhood. ;)

Step 2, make your lists and check them twice.

I know the following may not be comprehensive and I may be forgetting a few things that I considered last year. There may be other factors that go into your own considerations, so add them to your lists and family discussions. If anything, I hope the following will help out with some of your difficult school decision-making considerations and to help figure out what the best school choice is for your family.

11 Things to Consider When Choosing a School For Your Kids

LOCATION/TRANSPORTATION

How far away is the school and how will you get there? Do you have other children attending other schools, preschool, middle or high school? Maybe there’s another elementary school nearby that’s closer in line with your other driving routes. Most school's don't offer bus transportation so you'll be the one driving to and from school every day. Or if you have friends attending the same school, you could start a carpool and alternate the driving if there are enough seats in each car for the kids.

Is it close to places that you frequent so that you could get some errands or appointments done right after drop offs or right before pick ups? Consider doctors, dentists, grocery stores, drug stores, dry cleaners, hair salon, post office, etc. It’d be nice to have a school that’s somewhat in the same area as your other daily needs.

SCHEDULE

What are the school start and end times? Does that line up with your family or work schedule? Some schools I looked at start at 7:40am, while others start at 9:15am. That's a BIG difference if you have to be to work at a certain time.

What about getting other kids to their school/s…does this give you enough time to get everyone where they need to be? There may be another neighborhood school close by with different hours that might work better for you.

Is it a year-round school or does it have a traditional schedule? I didn’t realize the school we registered for was year-round until after I had accepted their lottery offer. But after thinking it over, I actually like the year-round schedule, but still…it would have been nice to find this out before we applied to it. The year-round schedule gives 4-5 weeks off during January, April and August; while the traditional schedule gives the entire 3 months of summer off. It seems there are camps available during breaks for both school schedules for working parents.

BEFORE/AFTER SCHOOL CARE

Do you need before or after school care? Some schools have PrimeTime available, but it’s based on applications and priorities so you may not get in. Do they have any other before/after school programs, like SAY or YMCA programs on site?

EXTRACURRICULAR

Are there any extracurricular classes or sports programs offered at this school location