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We live in the country and are right in between two schools. We fall into 1 school district, but could open enroll into the other school. What things should I look at to decide which school is truely the best for us? The district that we are in does have some major disadvantages that are location related. It is a town coop school and no one could decide where to build the new school, so let's put it out in the middle, so there is no fighting. So the school is all by itself between the towns, about 5 to 7 miles from each town. So right there, everyone is bussed, there are no storm shelter homes (we have blizzards and very cold weather here), no friends house to walk to after school, or when sick. The other district is in town, on the way to the major city where most people work. We know many people in this town, and also attend church there. But I don't want to choose them with out knowing if its the best educational choice for our children. What do I ask, who do i ask, how do I choose?<br><br>
TIA
 

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Think about what is important to you and make a list of questions based on that. What kind of experience do you want your child to have? What do you want the school to do? Start jotting down ideas as you think of them and a list of questions will emerge. Then, plan a visit to each school and ask the questions as well as observe the classrooms. If you think of new questions after your visit, call and ask them.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I would try to talk with as many mommas as you can from each school - ask them to tell you all about it! You should also be able to spend a day observing a class (we just had to schedule it with the office first), which may answer all you questions.
 

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I think talking to other parents is a good idea. Also, visit each school and ask about the curriculum. This way you have something to compare. When I was searching for a school for dd #1, I visited the public school, charter school and Catholic school. In the end, I chose the Catholic school because of the reception we got there. They were so nice to me and the lady in the office was the ONLY ONE out of all three schools who bothered to acknowledge my dd. She said hi and chatted with her a few minutes. They offered me a tour and were great about discussing the curriculum, etc. When I visited the charter school, they ignored my dd, acted irritated when I asked to see the classroom and I learned that their entire curriculum was based on the kids using workbooks all day long for every subject. They called it "individualized" because everyone has workbooks on their level. Big freakin' deal. Sounds boring and ineffective to me.<br><br>
The public school was even worse. They also acted irritated to answer questions. They did not give me a tour and referred me to their website when I asked about the curriculum. DD was also ignored there. She and I both liked the Catholic school, so I followed my gut instinct. She is now in second grade and her sister is in Kindergarten. I've never regretted our decision. Visit the schools and go with your gut.
 

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This may sound shallow, but I'd check the schools' test scores and the education/qualifications of the teachers. If there are many unlicensed teachers, it's a bad sign. Also check staff-turnover. These things aren't the most important, but they can contribute information. If one school has very low test scores, for example, it might be good to find out why.
 

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My best advice is to visit the schools and see what kind of a feel you get there. We recently moved to a town because they supposedly have "the best" elementary school around (test wise). I had a bad experience with the office staff and prinicipal similar to the last poster and dread sending my child there. I did however think that the teachers I have seen and met so far seemed wonderful and so I a hoping that he will have no interaction with the office staff but I am SOOOO angry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: about the office staff who others have had a similar experience with. Hello, they are paid by *our* tax dollars and why would they think it was crazy to want to tour the school and ask questions re: what type of education my child would be receiving!!!
 
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