13 answers

How Do I Find Out If the Elemantary School My Daughter Will Be Going to Is Good?

My daughter is in VPK right now and will be starting Kindergarten next year (2010). I know which Elementary School she would go to (Broward - Panther Run), but there's also a Charter school nearby. I'm not even sure she can get into the Charter school because it works on a lottery system, so I have been told.

Since this is my first child to enter grade school, I feel clueless. I don't know where to go to check on the school to feel comfortable that it's a good school for her. I know all parents feel this way about their child, but I'll say it anyway - she's very intelligent and I want to make sure the gets the best education possible.

Once I find out how to check on the school, what exactly do I look for? Can I ask that she be tested for a gifted program? Do all schools have gifted programs? I feel so clueless here and I should, and want to, know more. Thanks in advance...

UPDATE: Thank you for the initial response. I know I can check out the school online, but I am not aware of specific sites that perhaps review schools or if there's a "score" system...

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You can try looking it up on schooldigger.com or greatschools.net, these give results out of either 5 or 10 stars and compare schools nationally. There is a lot of info on these sites, I found them very useful. Good luck!

More Answers

definitely go onto the county school website. if you filter thru it then you should be able to find a parent link. i believe florida schools are required to put up what their "grades" are..as far as fcat scores...reading,writing,science,math....improvements in these area. teacher to student ratio, how many students have free or reduced lunch. also the other poster suggested greatschools.net? they have test scores also and then they compare to other schools in your area. also have parent scores. just a suggestion. if you don't like your school and it is not an "A" school, i believe you should be able to request a variance to another school in your district. but you would have to transport as the buses wouldn't.

I just want to jump and say that depending on the school district (as you didn't say what county you are from) testing for Gifted can happen in any grade...even Kindergarten. If you feel your child is Gifted, ask for her to be tested. Though as a Gifted teacher myself, I would wait until further in the school year to do this. This will give her more time to get used to going to a new school. Good luck.

You don't say where you live so I don't know if this will help or not. Here in Duval County go to www.duvalschools.org all schools are listed along with their report cards, test scores, etc... I also know some moms just use this site to ask about a particular school. Contact the school district to inquire about the ESE (gifted) programs, they are also listed on the website.

you can go to http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/ to check out any grades for any school in the state of florida. but a reminder...just because a school is graded as an 'a' doesn't make them good. it just means they have more kids passing state tests, at their levels.

to learn about the school, first just not worry about it the first year. really. having your child their daily, you will learn about the school.....good or bad. and you can decide at a later time to change her for her kindergarten year.

gifted programs usually isn't tested until after the 2nd grade. if you have your children go into a school that works in 'pods' then IF the teacher feels they are indeed 'gifted' they can put them into the more advanced part of the pod of that grade.

basically the most important thing for a pre-k student to learn is the social skills needed for school. they need to learn the basic rules.

if she is as smart as you say, then give it time....and it will happen. don't push TOO hard, or she can get burned out of school before she really starts. i know alot of very smart kids that did amazingly in elementary, even some in middle. then came high school (the important years) and they just stopped. it really is sad.

Hi, if you know the name of the school you can look it up on line,check the school grade,programs,etc.I don't think they test for gifted until 3rd grade,but I could be wrong.It also depends on the school if they have gifted classes.Feel free to go visit after doing your online research to check it out during this school year to see how things are run.Be honest,and let them know you are there to see the school.Most schools have school choice where you can enroll out of district,but it's up to you to get them there,so they want to impress.Good Luck

If look up schools in your county you can find the grade information you are looking to find. The ratings are given as letter grades A being best and D not good. It is very hard sending them off to their first year. I just did that with my son and luckily we got a great teacher. You should also ask for a tour of the school so you can get a feel for the principal and the other administrative staff. If you are left feeling comfortable and the schools grades are good then you will know you are making a good choice.

Good Luck,

Haven't read the other responses so sorry if I repeat

Speaking to your neighbors is your #1 best bet. They will tell you not only the pros and cons of the school, but which teachers to ask for and which to avoid. Most parents don't know they can request a teacher. My feeling on it is if you go out of your way to ask for a specific teacher, the principal can either give you who you ask for or listen to you complain all year about a teacher you don't like! I always write an email every summer to the principal. Find out what is good about a specific teacher and approach it that way... like say your daughter is already reading then say that you would like a teacher such as Mrs. So-n-so who is very academic and will challenge your daughter. As for gifted, all schools have to offer services, but if your child tests for gifted and the school doesn't have enough gifted kids, they may send her one day a week on a bus to a neighboring school. You would have the option to opt out, but I would ask if they stay at the school for it. Not sure if it's different in your school district or if it's a whole state thing, but they couldn't test my daughter until the beginning of 1st grade because they have to be 6 for the test to be accurate and her birthday is over the summer. As for a school's "scoring" system, the state of FL gives school grades, which are 100% based on FCAT testing of 3rd through 5th graders. If a school is an A or B, you're fine-- if they are an A+ and have been an A for several years, those are the best schools because they get extra money for having and maintaining an A so they usually use that money to make the school even better. If the school is a C or lower, I would look into why by scheduling a meeting with the principal or assistant principal and see what they have to say.

Many schools do an orientation and tour for kindergarteners-- in my area (Central Florida) they do it at the end of the school year for next year's kindergarteners. They spend a couple of hours with a K teacher where they actually get to have breakfast in the cafeteria (with you of course) and get a tour of the school and get a chance to ask questions and see a basic day in the life of a kindergartener. Find out if your local school does that and mark your calendar so you don't miss it. Seriously, though, you need to speak with your neighbors who have school age kids and find out everything you can about the school.

Hi Dear, call to make an appointment with the Pincipal and teacher, school counselor, etc. Perhaps they are holding an Open House that you can meet other parents at. Like any other business, "word of mouth" is one of our best networking tools.
Absolutely ask for testing for "gifted" and/or advanced classes.
Montessori is a fabulous method of teaching. Look into it.
But it's private and expensive, so take advantage of all the public schools have to offer.
God bless and best wishes, S.

I say JUST GO! And by that I mean just go to the school you are planning on sending her to. Take a tour, ask questions, meet people, watch dismissal time, if they'll let you go in the cafeteria that's the best. You get to see them "at their worst" - less supervision, kids are allowed to talk, how is it? I put less emphasis on the grade - there are good teachers in F schools, and F teachers in A schools.

If you are in Hillsborough then you can go to the hillsborough county schools websited and put in your address and it will tell you which school. It will also give you a report card for the school.

You can try looking it up on schooldigger.com or greatschools.net, these give results out of either 5 or 10 stars and compare schools nationally. There is a lot of info on these sites, I found them very useful. Good luck!

I was wondering where do you live? I have a 20 and 15 yr old so I know the schools in Broward. As far as "knowing" it is just a gut feeling you get while she is there. You won't know anything until after she starts and then see what comes up. If her teacher conferences go well and there are no concerns then she is probably going to be fine there. If there are concerns about social or young development or anything else then you will know and at that point I would start looking into Montessori schools who let children move as they learn and learn thru their senses. This is something that parents today are not that aware of. Everyone wants to build their kid's left brain but in order to truly be "smart" they need to go back and forth between the left and right and many kids today cannot. On the surface they look smart and they are but when tasks presented are too overwhelming they start acting with behaviors and non focus. It's just something to think about should you need that information. As far as gifted, the teacher would recommend the child to be tested and that is usually not until 1st-3rd grade because kids even out over the next year or so after K and they want to make sure, But even so, they are only testing IQ. Tons of kids have high IQ's but don't know enough to come in out of the rain or how to make and keep a friend so you have to be careful of what gifted actually means. I don't want to offend anyone in saying that. I know plenty of gifted teachers and this seems to be the case for most, not all.

greatschools.com is a good resource that rates schools nationwide. This site also includes individual comments from parents and students. I agree with others who said talking to people with kids in the system and even teens is most helpful because they can give you much more insite into the schools. I think most elementary schools do a good job and I am most concerned about my kids going to good middle and high schools. Visiting schools while in session gives you a visual and feel on what it is like.

Charter schools can do things that other public schools can't do. Each one is unique and different and I'm sure they would tell you what they are about. I was told that charter schools are not unionized so teachers don't have the same job protection and some teachers are reluctant to work for a school where feel they have less job security. I would be particularly interested in the reputation of a charter school.

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