M.W. asks from Nampa, ID on December 13, 2008
Charter School vs Public School, Separating Twins in K After Tramatic Year?
My fraternal (same sex but not identical) twins are starting Kindergarten next year. What do you all think of charter schools? Is it easier for twins to get in than just one kid? If so, would they have to be in the same class?
Also, we are moving for six months next year across the country, so when we get back home, we will have to enroll late in K after them being in it for about a month back East. I am worried that all the moving is going to make them extra clingy to me and each other, and that it would be mean to separate them right away.
I am leaning towards charter schools because I don't want my kids to learn to read by sight words. I want them to read phonetically. I also like the idea of school uniforms so they are not tempted to dress trashy or have kids pick on each other for not wearing designer clothes. I also like the idea of the teachers deciding their curriculum rather than a government bureaucracy.
S.M. answers from Salt Lake City on December 14, 2008
I have moved several times with my son and am always amazed at how well he adjusts and makes new friends. He doesn't become more clingy and we talk about how lucky he is to have friends all around the country, point out the positive and not the negative. Most schools don't put twins in the same class. There are 2 sets of twins in my sons grade and they are never with the same teacher. They all seem fine with this. It gives them the space to be individuals instead of always seen as a pair, they have plenty of time out of school, at recess and home to be together.
T.T. answers from Denver on December 14, 2008
My younger brother goes to a charter school and my parents have been very happy with it. He goes to Collegiate Academy in Littleton. It's K-12. It's a very good school. I think in the long run charter schools might be a better option. I'm also looking into it for my son who will start kindergarten next year.
M.R. answers from Boise on December 14, 2008
I have 4 kids, 3 have gone to public school, private school, and 2 different charter schools. We have moved a lot. It doesn't seem to matter what type of school it is but what the education at each school is like. We had a wonderful private school experience and if we'd been able to swing it financially we would do it again but we have also had a really awesome public school opportunity too. Last year we tried one charter and it was a nightmare. We moved to a different charter and I can't believe how wonderful it is. The first was a Harbor method school, the second an Adlerian school. Just because a school is charter or has uniforms doesn't really mean much. Check into what they are teaching and the values of the school. Also you should start now if you really want a charter. Most charters have lottery in early March or April for admission in the fall. Very few will have space if you wait until school starts but you can always get on the waiting list and hope. Having one or two won't matter for Kindergarten application. If one sibling gets in it is likly the other will but not garunteed. That being said it is much easier to get into a charter in Kindergarten if it's a good one. Most kids won't leave so that leaves little room in subsequent grades especially for two. If you know that you will be moving only a month after school starts, unless they are 6 and have to go to school, I would just leave them out until you move. Keep a current address where you want them to go to charte school so you can get the application in this spring and then explain the situation when you get chosen about why they will miss the first few weeks. Most charters are small and they will only have one class in each grade. Good luck.
PS. I live in Nampa too and it's worth the drive to Garden City Community School in Garden City. Avoid Liberty, Victory, and the Liberal Arts school like the plague but there is an awesome Classical Charter that is brand new starting next year. I would never put my kids in a Nampa public school EVER!
1 mom found this helpful
C.Y. answers from Salt Lake City on December 14, 2008
Charter schools you have to sign up and then they call if you get in. The do it like a lotto, I signed my daughter up for four diffrent ones and never recieved a letter that she made it. I did recieve a letter than if by chance one did open and she won that spot I would get it. Then if they dont get in you have to go in again every year til thay get in. I know once one child is in they except them both. As far as same class you would have to talk to the school.
Just for the record charter schools are funded by the state they have to follow the same rules and guidlines. They don't get as much help so they do ask of parent time depending on the school.
J.C. answers from Great Falls on December 14, 2008
I also am a military wife and mom. If you want to ease some of switching around with schools, I would consider not putting them in school for the month you are back east. That's one less adjustment they will have to make. (This is also something to consider when you have to move late in the school year--just wait until fall to enroll your kids) Kindergarten is suppose to be a positive school experience, and while most children attend K, it is not compulsory to put your children in it. (The compulsory age for schooling in most states is at the age of 6, but some are even age 7).
E.S. answers from Fort Collins on December 15, 2008
My husband and I are both certified teachers who have experience in both charter and public schools. Unfortunately it is not just a choice between charter vs. public school. Each charter school is different - based on who sponsors the school (business, university, school district, etc), who teaches there, what curriculum they follow, how long they have been around, etc. If you really want to choose the best school for your children, you have to visit each school, ask questions, and talk to other parents.
Not all public school teach reading by sight words and not all charter schools teach reading phonetically. The same goes for the curriculum at the school. Sometimes the teacher or the administration has a big say in the layout of the curriculum, but that depends on who "sponsors" or runs the school. The larger charter schools, run by a university or a business, often have a set curriculum (sometimes very rigid) that cannot be altered.
The size of the schools you consider will determine whether there are options for your girls to be in separate classes or if they will have to be together. Some charter schools are quite small and only have one K classroom and one 1st grade classroom, etc.
I am not sure I really have advice about keeping the girls together or not. I don't have older kids and haven't been through that yet. If it is a small school, they may see each other quite a bit even if they are in different classrooms. That could be one of your questions when looking into schools - do the classrooms interact and share lessons or activities ever? Would they have recess or snack together? If it is full day K, would they have lunch together?
Have you asked the girls what they would like? They might be able to tell you their preference.
Good luck! Choosing a school is not an easy or quick task most times, but hopefully you will be happy with your choice and won't have to do it again later! :o)
P.D. answers from Denver on December 14, 2008
I know every Charter school is a little different in terms of the focus, curriculum, approach, etc. So you would probably want to research first to find a good fit. Then, if you're even still not sure, I would put their names on the list. We have done a charter school and LOVE it! Our particular school does not do a lottery, but 1st come 1st serve with a waiting list. They also allow a 15% out of district enrollment. Anyway, if you go ahead and start the process now, you can always change your mind. There are several things we have loved, at least at our particular school which is Littleton Preparatory. It is small, 2 classes per grade. The staff really get to know the students and the families. They test each of the students in each of the core classes and the students all work at their individual level, and move up as they are ready. (Subjects, not grade levels.) It kind of gave me the feeling of being in a private school. I really liked the uniforms, especially as they got older. (Of course, they start griping about it some, but then again, if it's all they've done they generally are pretty tolerant.) And I really like having them there for the middle school years where you start seeing some of the kids engaging in drugs, bullying, etc. My older two have gone onto high school, but being in that small school just about eliminated most of that behavior at the Jr. High level. I think last year one kid brought alcohol to school. By the end of the day, everyone knew about it and the girl was expelled. There was a bullying incident or 2, but they were always dealt with and did not go on in secret as can happen in larger schools. Academically, this particular school has always done very well in the standardized testing. Actually, I found it enlightening that when we moved away for a couple of years, my son, who started attending in kindergarten, had a sharp drop on his standardized test scores. They came back up when we returned, as well as his grades. I think one reason for him in particular is that the school uses all three styles of learning- visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Most schools typically focus on visual. As he happens to be an auditory learner, he struggled more elsewhere. Both of my highschoolers, although they occasionally asked to change schools as they got older (thinking it would be more exciting, not because they had any real issues) have both commented to me with hindsight that they are glad they stayed through 8th grade after all. They both feel they had a better academic foundation- understanding study methods, etc. They have also heard some horror stories from peers who went to regular middle schools. As my baby is getting older and occasionally grumbles, I just smile and tell her that I think she'll be glad she stayed. Of course no school is perfect, and if I ever felt there was a need to make a change, I wouldn't hesitate. But we really have been happy going the Charter school route!
D.K. answers from Denver on December 14, 2008
Our district has nver started reading by sight words, they will have them throughout however they start them on what they call zoophonics. It helped my daughter from barely reading when starting Kindergarten to going to almost a second grade reading level by the end of her kindergarten year.
You thinking of uniforms I have never heard of for charter.
Charter is a very new and kind of unorganized concept. It was just initiated in 91. To me that is really not enough time to warrant a lot of pro experience and they can have a high turn over rate with teachers due to lack of regulations.
How your children dress in Elementary unless they buy their own clothes is the last thing you should be worried about.
I buy the clothes and I have never had an issue with designer, trashy clothes even becoming a problem with my second grader. She could care less as most of her classmates!
I think there is something to be said about the govt having standards though the educational system in our country needs a lot of work it is still better then an experiment without much behind if it is effective or not. A charter can fold very easily from lack of funding or lack of having specific criteria met.
I have had nothing but a positive experience from public school but that is my luck being a good district and finding a great Elementary. Go visit both, access what your children's need will be and if they will be met.
I think seperating them will end up being a positive not a mean thing for them. They need to learn to fend for themselves, find their individual personalities and not depend on the other in social situations. Learning from their peers is more essential then them staying so tight together that they do not get the full positive out of peer setting. It isn't mean to seperate them, yes moving will be an adjustment, but children a very resilient. As long as you handle it and they see it is fine and know what to expect they will be fine.
S.B. answers from Denver on December 14, 2008
you have a lot of different issues and you may have to prioritize. Your kids will in in K, so wearing trashy clothes seems pretty low on the list for example! Instead I'd focus on what your real choices are. You haven't said what your school district is, so examining the actual public school choices may be helpful. My kids went to Cory elementary in Denver, and it is a simply fabulous school, with none of the problems you mentioned. Charter schools don't all wear uniforms, and many use the same curriculum as the public schools - that is chosen by the committee who founds the schools, not by the teachers who teach the classes. So some more research seems needed before you make your decision.
As to separating twins - there are pros and cons. It depends on their behavior, and on their emotional needs. some twins do quite well together. so it's completely up to you. If you think they need some separateness to develop, then you'll need to choose a school large enough to accommodate two classes in every grade.
take care, S.
H.F. answers from Pocatello on December 14, 2008
There are a wide variety of chater schools each employing different curriculum and methods. You need to do a little homework to find the right school for your family. My daughter goes to a charter school that we love, but there is another charter school in our town that I would never want to send my kids to, they just have different philisophies. YOu can take tours of local schools, both charter and public, adn ask lots of questions about their curriculum and methods of teaching and disipline policies and whatever else you are concerned about. You may want to get on the waiting lists at more than one school that you like. In my experience cahrter schools recognize how hard it is to have kids in the same family attending different schools so they usually say if you get one child in they will find room for your other children too. Also, I see no reason why you should put your girls in separate classrooms, but of course you are their mom and you know best what they need so trust your own instincts. Good luck!