As a parent, one of the most important things you can do is make the right educational choices for your children. It is necessary to ensure that they are able to go to a good high school with a qualified and motivated staff that will see to all their needs while in school.
Unfortunately, not all schools are filled with excellent teachers and principals. This is why it is up to you to determine where your child needs to become educated, be it in a public or private school. Get tips to help you research and choose the best high school education for your child.
- Begin your search early. If your child is in elementary school it's not too soon to start looking for a good high school. It could take some time to find the right place and this is not a decision where you should be rushing. You need to have time to visit and speak with the staff. If you are looking at a public school and do not wish to move to the area, you will need to learn about the special out-of-district arrangements that need to be made in your state. You may need to arrange for payment if your state requires that you pay tuition to schools not in your home district.
- Decide between public and private school. Good schools are both private and public. If you are unsatisfied with the quality of public schools or your child has special needs, you may want to check out a private school. If you do, your first decision will need to be whether you wish to send them to a religious or secular high school. Once you have made the decision between public or private and religious or secular, you can move on to looking at the individual facility. There are plenty of online search tools that will help you find the top rated schools in your area. GreatSchools.net is a helpful online resource for choosing a good place, as is the Private School Review if you want to find a good private high school. If you want the private school to be Catholic, then Catholic High School Honor Roll will help you choose a good educational institution. For Protestant private schools, visit the Association of Christian Schools International website.
- Take a serious look at the school's academic record. The most important part of picking a good high school revolves around the academics. Is the school willing to sit down and go over the basic and in-depth curriculum they provide with you? Will they answer your questions and let you see a basic homework schedule for the average student? If there have been cutbacks in the school's funding, as many schools are now facing, how is that affecting their curriculum? Do the teachers use additional books and resources beyond the main text or is your child going to be learning from one set book per subject? These are all going to be important things to find out. If the school is unwilling or unable to answer your questions about academics, you may conclude it's wrong for you.
- How are the attitudes of the professionals? You are going to want your child to be where the professionals have a pleasant and helpful attitude. If they do not want to be bothered then you need to consider the needs of your child and continue to look for another school. The attitude that the professionals give to you and your child will also affect the way that he or she learns or perceives the learning experience. It is important for them to be around helpful, supportive, upbeat teachers who love their jobs and help students to love learning along with them.
- Does the school cater to all kinds of children? No two students are ever going to be the same. The simple truth is that everyone learns differently. Of course, you cannot expect a high school to have a set curriculum for each child but you can hope that the teachers respect all learning styles and do not attempt to fit all students into one box. If your child is advanced or has trouble in certain areas you should pay special attention to the programs that the school has set in place for both advanced and those with learning or emotional disabilities. It is important to see that your child is treated fairly and that learning is fostered no matter what the situation.
- How are the career and college services? At some point your child will deal with the career and college services department, so you will want to speak to them, too. You need to determine how helpful and knowledgeable they are. Do they offer extensive help in finding part-time jobs? Are they going to offer plenty of guidance on various colleges? Will they be able to answer specific college-related questions that your child may ask? How much information do they have on different universities? Make sure they do not focus on just a few local institutions, but instead have information on many colleges throughout the country.
- What extracurricular activities are available? You should encourage your child to become involved in sports and other activities because they not only promote socialization, but also look good on college applications. Does the school have an excellent sports program? How are the nonsport activities? A school that has spirit and offers a lot to do is a good place for your child to attend. The more activities, events, and interest they take in their education, the better.
- What do you notice about the other children attending? Socialization is going to be important. Of course, this means you will want your child attending a school that is safe and that has other children that you feel are being raised in a proper manner. No one wants their son or daughter going through a metal detector to get into their classrooms so you should consider the other children and the location as well. How do the media perceive the school? Have there been issues with fights or violence that worry you? When you visit, how have the students acted or reacted in your presence? This is one of the most important things because, when dealing with peer pressure, your child may do things that these other children want them to do.
Good luck finding the best high school for your child, but remember: This may take time, so have patience.