One thing I noticed during my ten-month long career as a 5th-grader is that parents often get confused with the definition of a “good school.”
Parents, there is no such thing as a “good school.” There may be a good school for your child, but there is no all-around exemplary school. Even the most elite gifted and talented schools have downsides. When choosing a school for your child, you need to make sure that your child will be getting both the services they need and that they’ll be happy at that school. For example, a school may boast that they have the highest test scores, but they don’t have after-school clubs.
If your child receives special services, such as counseling or speech therapy, you have to make sure the school offers those services. Schools are supposed to do that, but that doesn’t always happen.
Tours really help you get a sense of how a school works. Tours usually run from early October to late November and middle school applications are due Dec. 1. You can usually sign up for a tour by looking on a school’s website or calling the school. District CEC pages sometimes list tours too. You can find contact information for schools through the InsideSchools search tool, and for a list of middle school fairs, visit the DOE Middle School events page.
Tours at popular schools fill up quickly so be proactive! October becomes a very busy month.
In November, you receive your application. Now, the application is one of the most complicated documents you will ever see in your lifetime. I’ll be doing a whole post about how to navigate the application.
By the way, just know, this can be a very stressful time. It's hard to take off time from work to do tours and not really knowing if a school is going to be a good fit for your child. One time, when we were touring the school, it was raining, the school was a bit hard to get to, my mom’s coffee spilled everywhere and her umbrella broke. But, we learned from that tour that it was simply not the right school for me.
Please share information on each school’s profile page. I know the NYC school system very well, so if you need some personalized advice, comment below.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my next installment!