There are several points to consider when choosing a good middle school. No longer are children limited to the area in which they live. In fact, many parents make the choice to transport their children out of their own immediate neighborhood to another school district simply because of the quality of the school system. How do you choose a good middle school?
- Reputation-While it's always a good idea to get references and recommendations before you choose a middle school, keep in mind that reputations can far outlast a school's real ability to serve its student body. In many instances, schools try to overcome a negative reputation by meeting and even exceeding the standards set by their state's department of education. Unless aggressive public relations work accompanies these changes, however, many people simply continue in their belief that this particular school is lacking in its academic performance.
- Test Scores- If a school posts excellent standardized test scores, then that means it's a great school, right? Not necessarily. Data can be manipulated, and it may not accurately show achievement and progress among certain socioeconomic levels. While it's great for a school to meet and exceed standardized test standards, parents should consider more than just test scores when choosing a good middle school.
- Learning Styles-As a parent, you should know your child's learning style. This is an important point to remember as you look for the perfect middle school. Focus on your child's strengths. While of course, it is important that your child receives a well-balanced education in all of the core courses, it's a fact that certain schools may offer a curriculum that emphasizes certain areas, such as arts, technology, and advanced academic studies.
- Peers-Middle school is a turbulent time for many students. Choosing a school that has children who have much in common with your child can help make the transition from the elementary environment a little easier.
- Public vs. Private-In some areas of the country, private schools have the reputation of being better than public schools. This may not be true. In fact, in many instances, private schools cannot offer the same broad curriculum that a public school can. They simply can't afford the extra expense. Although the classes may be smaller at a private school, additional programs such as sports, drama, and art may not be fully funded. If you are trying to decide between a public or private school, be sure and inquire about the academic and extracurricular programs that are offered.
- Listen to Your Instincts-Finally, if a school gives you a bad feeling, or you have doubts, keep looking! The final goal of choosing a good middle school is ensuring that your child can succeed in a rich learning environment!