Never Thought I Would Be This Excited About Elementary School!

Updated on February 22, 2013
E.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ
15 answers

I just found out that my soon-to-be kindergartener got in to our top pick for elementary schools. Arizona has this very odd school choice thing, which is a blessing and a curse, where you can go to any public or charter school in the state, regardless of where you live. So there are literally several dozen schools or more to choose from. Getting into a good school is a huge point of stress for most AZ parents. I went to my local public school because that was the only choice, but I was very, very lucky to have an EXCELLENT public school. I never thought I would send my kid anywhere other than the local public school. Then I took a look at their test scores. Then I took a look at the other options. The whole thing has felt more like picking a college than a K-6 school!
How did you pick your child's school? Did you have a choice? Would you have preferred to choose?
Just to clarify, these are all public options in that they are all tuition-free.

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answers from Washington DC on

I find that my satisfaction with the school has more to do with who the teacher is more than anything else. Good schools can have good teachers and bad. Also, the combination of students has a lot to do with it too.

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answers from Austin on

Awesome, but as I have always said. Our children are always going to do well.

You know why? Because we care, we are involved and we have been giving our children different experiences, filling their needs and nurturing our children's imaginations and souls. .

This is the secret to successful children.
Stay involved, even when the kids say they do not want you there (middle school), at least helping the school, the teachers, the campus, because you will be showing your child, school is a priority,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Here I could send my child to whatever school I chose but it would be my responsibility to transport them daily. My daughter goes to our home school and she does very well there. It is not one of the top schools at all but no biggie because I do supplement at home as well. My son on the other hand only has a choice of three schools due to his disability. He is now permanently enrolled for elementary school in the best school for his needs. Now, that was a fight to get him into due to the amount of children that either enroll or will try to enroll. Thankfully, due to my son being special needs the district must always provide his transportation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

We are fortunate here in Canada, that our public elementary schools all get the same resources. We send our kids to the school that is in walking distance for our children, unless we choose French Immersion, in which case students will be bussed to the nearest French school. Here, if the test scores are higher/lower at a school it is not a reflection of the teachers or resources, but the make up of the student body. I feel that it is important for a child to go to school in the neighbourhood in which they live so they are close to their friends and develop a real sense of community. Walking to school is also important for healthy living and developing independence.

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answers from San Francisco on


Yes...we have school choice also with our public schools. But..we bought a home in the neighborhood we wanted our kids to go to school in. Very happy with our school. Test scores are a good thing to consider...but really it is the kids that have involved parents in their lives and school life that tend to fare better overall.

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answers from Detroit on

in michigan.. each school district can choose to participate in the schools of choice program. They can choose how many seats to offer.. they can choose what grades to offer those seats.. they can choose to limit the students to only those that live in the same county or to offer the seats to those students taht live in neighboring counties.

We have an elementary school nearby. We chose to take our child to a different school in a differnt distrct..(which is actually in a differnt county) it is 4 miles away.

The district that we chose only accepts "schools of choice" students in kindergarten and first grade. (but once you are accepted you continue in the school district until you graduate)

I have thought a lot about schools.. good schools.. what makes a good school..

Although parents can choose a lot of differnt schools.. most parents that choose a different school district select a neighboring school district.. the next district over that seems to be better.

I too researched test scores.. and decided I do not care one iota how the district as a whole does on any particular test. I only care what my children learn. I am the one responsible for teaching my children. I do not hold the teacher or school responsible for their learning.

I spend as much time as I can at our elementary school.. i like our school .. I like our principal.. I have like 2 out of 3 teachers taht we have had. I do not like the curriculum. My kids are ahead of the curriculum because I teach them at home. But the curriculum is hard to very hard for the average student. About 1/3 of my daughters first grade class is behind in reading and struggling. I read with the kids twice a week and i know how many kids are really having a hard time.

So.... the big picture... Although I like our school.. and I do not plan to change schools.. I do not feel like my kids are getting a better education at this school that we chose than they would at our local public school. All schools in MIchigan are trying to teach the "common core standards" so the material covered in each schoool at each grade should be virtually identical. Our chosen school has a kids with a bit higher socioeconomic standard. That makes a big difference.

If kids have parents that care .. that work with them and teach them at home.. that read to them. that enrich their lives by taking them to museums and other places.. the child will do well in school.. even in a lousy school in an impoverished area.

i would not stress about picking a super duper school... if you are willing to be an active participant in your childs learning.. the child will reach their potential in any school...

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answers from Phoenix on

We chose Pueblo, because of their Spanish Immersion program. It's only a 10 minute drive from our house, as opposed to a 10 minute walk to our neighborhood school. We'll use the middle school closest to Pueblo and then Saguaro for high school because, again it's closest to Pueblo plus Dad graduated from there.
Not all the charter schools are that great, many you have to interview and apply for, so make sure you do your research.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Where I live your kids go to the school you're zoned for by street address, unless you pay to send them to private school. I love our elementary school and my kids are doing great there.
I don't know if I'd have preferred to choose or not...
But I'm glad you got what you wanted for your child!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

We don't have a choice as far as public school goes. If you move mid year your child can continue at their school, but then I think they change you to whatever school is in your "area". If you reside in the area that has year round school, you can opt out and they will bus you to one of the other schools, I think.

I homeschool my children through an online program because I have no faith in the public school system. At least here, I don't. I went through school here, and I know what it's lacking, and I don't want my children to suffer in school because they want to learn more than is being taught. The problem here is that over 50% of incoming K students are non-English speaking...their first experience with English is at K. They have a really poor ESL program, they throw all the kids together, and it's not fair to English OR non-English speaking students because the classrooms slow down to accommodate this.

I live in a school district that builds new football stadiums but doesn't want to help more kids get into Head Start when they need it, etc. Sad, really.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I live in Chandler and 3 Local buses come to pick up Elementary kids and Jr.High and High school kids.When we moved here (2002) . We were allowed to pick her Elementary school because there were 5 close schools,Jr.High,there was a great athletic school.No,because it would be a lot of work if the school was far thinking "i have to work....." So we are glad there are bus systems for Elementary,Jr High and High school!

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answers from Phoenix on

We're in Phoenix, too, so we have the same options. DD is in a regular public school right now and we're happy with it, but a performing arts high school near us just opened up an elementary program and we're going to be taking a look at it next month. If we're impressed, then we'll move her. It looks a lot better than where she's at, but they all do on their websites, don't they?! Smaller classes, music & arts every day and specific performing arts electives when they get older. We'll see.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Nope, we have no choice here. Luckily, our school district is excellent. Like, really, really excellent. We pay really high property taxes, but since I feel like the kids are getting a private school education, I don't mind. There's a lot of money in this district, too, so 1/3 of the kids here go to one of the many stellar private schools in the area and another 1/3 go to parochial schools. So with this extremely wealthy tax base, only 1/3 of the school age kids actually attend the public schools. Lots of funding for lots of extras. Class sizes are small, teachers are awesome, my son's special needs are being met and exceeded. I couldn't ask for a better school district.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Here in IL there is no choice. You go to your local school, and that is that, unless your school is failing and you can get into a charter school. We live in a fairly good district, but we are sending our kids to Catholic school for K-8 and will switch them to public for high school (Catholic schools here are currently about $11k/yr/child for high school).

We are basing our home search on which district we'd like to be in. We will not buy a home outside of our desired school district, so we are willing to wait 3-5 years to get exactly what we want, where we want it. Our property taxes will probably be about $13k/yr, so it is a worthwhile investment to live in our chosen district and use the great schools for our 3+ kids.

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answers from Phoenix on

We're in the Phoenix area too. It's great to have choices for schools but at the same time, it's overwhelming with so many choices. My sister and both stress over what school our kids will go to the next year. We both have reservations about our current schools but have kept the kids where they are. My youngest will be starting kindergarten next school year and we're not sure where to send him. We have considered many things in choosing a school....I'd love him to be with his older brother but kindergarten at his brother's school has challenges, we're looking at ratings and parent reviews on as well as visiting the school. We're also cinsidering location and hours of the school and after school care options (we both work). My older son has dyslexia and there's a high possibility that my younger son will have it too so we're keeping that in mind in selecting a school too. There's so many things we're considering I could go on but these are the most important things to us. Good luck, it's a hard decision.

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answers from Phoenix on

We're in Mesa and are thankful to have the guidance of my mother who's a MPS teacher. She was in the elementary system for years then switched to junior high. That being said, I think a lot of your child's education is what you make of it. If you're proactive and involved in your child's education then I think that he/she will be fine. If you have to be “that” parent to make sure that your child gets the education they need…then be that parent! On a side note, I will tell you that I work in Phoenix (I-17 and Cactus area) and all of my co-workers have their kids in private Christian/arts schools because they feel that the Phoenix schools (at least in their area) are not good.

1 mom found this helpful
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