Choosing a School: Explore Your Options


This article will help you to better understand all of your options for choosing the best school for your child. There are an exciting variety of choices that can be a great fit for your child and family’s particular needs. Here is an overview:

Neighborhood Public School

Public schools are controlled and funded by government: federal, state, and local. In most cases locally elected school boards who help govern their school boards decide the policies and curriculum. Funding is generally supported through real estate property taxes.

Your local public school district has created boundaries for each school in the district. These are called “neighborhood schools.” Check with your local district to find out which school your child will be assigned to. If you are not satisfied, for whatever reason, with your neighborhood school, it is possible to “choice out” of your neighborhood school and “choice in” to another neighborhood public. Check with your school district for details.

Because public schools are supported by local taxes, the funding for each district varies tremendously depending on the tax rate and the value of real estate in the district. Because funding varies so widely, the characteristics of the district schools are also vary widely. Student-to-teacher ratios and the availability of extras (classes outside the core curriculum like art, music, physical education, etc.) are just two areas that can be affected when funding is not adequate.

This link will provide you a snapshot review of public schools across the US.

Magnet School

Magnet schools are offered by many school districts. They typically have a particular focus, such as art, science, or technology, or have special programs such as an International Baccalaureate (IB). Enrollment at Magnet schools is not determined by neighborhood boundaries. Magnet schools attract students from throughout the school district.

Magnet Schools are financed by local, state, and federal funds. According to Magnet Schools of America (MSA), some of the benefits of Magnet schools include: improved academic achievement; diverse student enrollments; higher attendance rates, graduation rates, and lower dropout rates. Magnet schools boast more parental involvement, more personalization through theme-based education, and specialized programs providing a sense of a safer environment for learning.

Private School

Private schools are not administered by local, state, or national government and they can select their students according to their own standards. Private schools are typically funded by their tuition fees (which vary widely) and through fundraising. They do not receive public funding through taxes.

Because private schools typically are better funded than public schools, they tend to provide a lower student-to-teacher ratio, smaller class sizes, more resources for subjects like science, and better equipped computer labs.

Private schools can create set their own admission and graduation standards and because they do no receive state funding, private schools do not have to create curriculum geared to standardized tests. For more information about private schools:

Alternative School


An alternative school has a curriculum and teaching methods that are nontraditional. These schools have a special curriculum that offer a more varied program of study than more traditional schools. There are a wide variety of educational philosophies and teaching methods offered by alternative schools. Some have strong philosophical, political, scholarly orientations.

Charter School

Charter schools are public schools that are not required to adhere to some of the traditional school regulations required by the state. They are regulated by agreements granted by local school boards. Charter schools can be closed if they do not meet the requirements of their charter.

Enrolling at a charter school is voluntary and is not determined by neighborhood boundaries. You can choose to enroll your child at any charter school within your district, or outside your district.

For more information on State Laws regarding Charter Schools

Parochial School

Parochial schools are typically tuition based, and the curriculum of typically focuses on a religious education in addition to a conventional education. In general, parochial schools not required by law (each state is different) to operate under the same standards as a public school.

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