I'm mostly a lurker but appreciate so much the input given on this forum and now have a dilemma that I'm seeking advice on.
DD1 is currently in 6th grade at a parochial K-8 school she started in at Kindergarten. When she started, each grade had about 40 kids in it. Each year, the school’s enrollment has dropped, mostly due to the economy, and her current class size is 15. We decided to keep her there when middle school started this current year though the class dropped about 6 kids from 5th to 6th grade. She just learned two of her closest friends are switching schools next year at 7th grade and wants to do so as well. The school is a public middle school in the adjacent school district which is smaller and ranked much better than our own public school district. We must apply through open enrollment to attend and many from our district will do so at the middle school level to make sure they get into that high school; once you are accepted it is through graduation. This is why at least one of the friends is going there.
My daughter was very upset about her friends leaving so we applied and got in to this middle school to have our options open. I haven’t told DD1 yet that she was accepted. We have a few weeks to confirm our decision. Not sure which way to go. Pros to changing schools is more students per grade and friend opportunities – currently there are only 8 girls in her class which will drop to 6 next year, better school district, smaller school district – about 300 per grade vs 700 in our school district, we would be in the district for high school, more x-tra curricular activities, no tuition, no uniform. Cons is that she wouldn’t finish out at her current school she has thrived at since K, would be in a different school/schedule than her sister two years younger, larger class sizes – school work does not come easy to DD1 and she has to work hard to get good grades so smaller is good for her, no bus transport, no uniform, we’ve already enrolled her at her current school and would have to inform them after they are already planning the budget and we would loose our $100 enrollment fee.
We don’t want to make a change just to follow along but on the other hand, losing two more out of such a small class changes the situation from our stand point. And after applying and checking out the other school online with DD1, we’ve become a little excited at the new possibilities. Siblings are not automatically enrolled in the other school district so we would have to apply for open enrollment for DD2 as well. When she gets to middle school at our current school, her class will probably be around 10 but she will go there next year for 5th grade for sure. We have also thought of moving to the other school district in the next few years before high school starts for DD1 but that can’t be guaranteed either with the housing market as it is. Any advice on what to do or things to consider?
I'd focus on what she wants. She's old enough to have a real say in where she goes to school. Does she understand what she is getting into? Could you arrange for her to do a trial day (or 3) there this year to see what it is like?
On one hand, I'm really a fan of a kid that age being where they want to be. At the same time, I'd want to make sure she understood what it will be like. Switching from a tiny catholic school to a mid size public school is a HUGE change. She may not have ANY classes with her current friends.
I'd also compare the typical homework load and school policies as much as possible so there are no nasty surprises.
but everything has pros and cons
I would give it a try. She could always go back to the private school if she did not like the public one.
Thanks for the replies. We are touring the school tomorrow and we'll see how that goes. Need to make a decision by Thursday so won't have time to do a trial day. We've told her about the large changes and that she may not have any friends in her classes. It is a huge change but one she'll need to make by 9th grade regardless, as she'll be going to one of the public schools as we can't afford private high school tuition.