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5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Florida School for Your Child


As a Florida parent, you'll want to make choices that allow your child to grow and mature. Although public schools offer many opportunities, they sometimes have large class sizes and fewer opportunities for individual focus. Luckily, educational choices in Florida have become more diverse than ever.

1. Choosing a private school

Parents who can invest financially in their child's elementary and secondary education often choose a private school. Some parents choose private schools that align with their religious beliefs, while others seek unique academic challenges. Many of these parents want the availability of smaller class sizes and a more intense focus on academic achievement. Current statistics show one-quarter of the schools in the U.S. are private schools.

2. What's most important to you?

Before choosing your child's private school, investigate some of the schools in your area. Many parents prioritize the school's choice of teachers. Some parents may prefer strict and authoritative teachers, while others choose a more caring and nurturing approach. Your child's teacher will be with them most of the day, so you'll want a trustworthy teacher.

No matter how skilled or caring the teachers may be, you'll want to ask about the school's curriculum. Does their approach to teaching emphasize a specific philosophical overview? In addition to their academic subjects, they should provide a well-rounded system that rewards creativity and collaboration. Today's students will be tomorrow's workers, so look for a school where they'll strive to equip your child for tomorrow's employment opportunities.

3. How do they measure success?

Parents should ask a prospective school how they measure success. Is their grading system based solely on test scores? In some schools, students may achieve success through other types of activities - such as creative projects. If your child is shy or withdrawn, determine how much value the school places on class participation.

Some parents may choose a private school because it aligns with their religious philosophy. If you're not seeking a faith-based school, it's still essential to ask about the school's core values. If any of your neighbors have children at the school, ask them about their school experiences.

4. Are there unique opportunities?

Patents seeking a private school should ask about unique classes or opportunities. If your child is musically inclined, inquire about choir and band options. Children who want to compete athletically will want a good sports program. If your teenage child has a career in mind, ask about possible joint programs with other schools.

One example might be an arrangement where your child would complete a half-day of core subjects and spend the rest of the day at a Magnet school (advanced academic focus) or a STEMI (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Information Technology) program. Another alternative might be a school that offers credit for a part-time job during school hours.

5. Visit the school

A parent will get only a partial impression of a school online or on the phone, so you need to visit the school. Parents in Florida will know all too well that Florida's weather dictates the need for air conditioning. According to Warner Service, over 80% of U.S. homes have air conditioning. Therefore, it's reasonable to expect a Florida school will also be air-conditioned.

Parents who visit a school should look for class activities outside the school building. For example, schools should have a playground for elementary students and an athletic area for older children. According to Bob Vila, artificial turf often lasts 20 or more years. Therefore, you may see a school playground installed on artificial turf.

Florida parents aren't alone in wanting the best school for their children. When you're looking for a private school, make a list of the features most important to you. Visit prospective schools and get a feel for each institution. Trust your gut, and you'll inevitably make the very best choice.

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