Entering high school can be an exciting time in any student’s life, but it can also be stressful—especially if you’re not sure which school to choose. After all, you can typically pick between the local public school that is reserved for students in your area, and various charter and private schools in your city. If you’re not sure which high school is right for your child, take a look at some of the most important factors to consider.
Among the most crucial details to think about is the typical class size. This is because many studies show that smaller class sizes can improve outcomes for students, especially for those who need a little extra help from teachers. So ask about the student:teacher ratio before you choose a high school. If you’re not sure what the best ratio is, note that the national average is 16:1, and Arizona’s average is 20:1. If you can find a lower ratio than that, your student will likely benefit, particularly if he or she already struggles in school.
2.Your Child’s Specific Needs
Think about what kind of environment your child excels in. Does he or she do well in a strict, structured class, or is there a preference for a setting where the students have control over the learning process? And does your child do great in groups, or is he or she better in a classroom that emphasizes individuals doing their own work? Think about these questions as you talk to staff at the high school you’re considering. You should also find out what the policies are on homework, testing, and disciplinary steps, and then consider how these would work for your child. Additionally, if your child has a disability—such as dyslexia, ADHD, or autism—it’s important to ask what kinds of accommodations are available to help.
Some of the most critical details to consider are the most basic ones, like location. It doesn’t matter how perfect a school is if your child couldn’t realistically get there every day. So make sure it’s in a location that’s convenient for your family, especially considering your mode of transportation. Think about how your child will get to and from school before you decide. If he or she will be walking or riding a bike, it’s best to choose a school near your neighborhood. You can pick a school a little farther, such as across town, if there’s a bus or if you or your student can drive to the school every day.
4.Graduation and College Attendance Rates
As you talk to the staff, find out what kinds of outcomes the average student has there. For example, how many students graduate from the high school, and how many go on to college? Graduation and college attendance rates aren’t the whole story, but they’re certainly part of it, since they can give you an idea of student success. Many high schools also keep track of where alumni go to college or which companies they end up working for after graduation, so ask about this if you’re interested.
5.Extracurricular Activities and Electives
It’s not always all about the academics. If you want your child to be well rounded, you should encourage participation in fun activities, such as sports and the arts. So find out what each high school offers. Most schools give students access to several sports teams, as well as choir, theater, art, and different languages. These might range from after-school clubs or teams you have to try out for, to classes built into the school day. Either way, make sure the school you choose has at least a few activities your child will enjoy. Even if the school is too small to have lots of clubs, it should provide opportunities for students to socialize during or after school, whether by having sports courts, community service projects, or fundraisers that encourage students to get involved.
The staff can answer all your questions, but you still won’t have a true feel for the high school until you walk the halls. This is why it’s important for you and your child to tour every school you’re considering. Some schools look nearly perfect on paper, but the overall feel is just off. Maybe the school has excellent test scores and good alumni outcomes, but the atmosphere isn’t friendly or encouraging at all. Or perhaps the setting is a little too relaxed, leaving you wondering if your child will learn anything new there. So schedule a tour where you can talk one-on-one with the staff, get familiar with the buildings, and see for yourself what kind of attitude the students have.
These tips should help get you started on your search for a high school for your child. If you happen to be located in Phoenix, we invite you to begin your search at City View High School. We offer small class sizes and a convenient location downtown that’s close to both city bus stops and light rail stops. Plus, we offer students the individualized help they need for success. Please contact us today to learn more about City View High School.