Choosing a best high school in Las Vegas or for that matter choosing an elementary or middle school in any city or state is a BIG task. More important is choosing the right school that benefits your child the most is an even greater task. For over 25 years, public charter schools across the nation have been giving families more choices by the way of dual credit programs, project-based learning, online education, and more.
To become a top Nevada high school or best high school in Las Vegas it takes a dedicated team of individuals on staff to make this possible. The same is true for elementary and middle schools. It is your responsibility to peel away the layers at the school you are considering to determine if it is the best fit for you and your family. As you choose a best fit school in Las Vegas for your child to attend it will be wise to develop a plan. Below are five tips to consider before planning and eventually choosing the right school for you or your child including:
Ask the right questions
Public charter schools have the freedom to operate differently than the normal public schools. The catch here is that public charter schools exchange that flexibility for higher accountability. However, higher accountability and higher standards mean different things to a lot of people so determine what it means to you and your family. Here are a few questions that can help you determine the right school for you including:
- How does your school hold students accountable;
- What is your school’s mission;
- How do you measure student success and organizational success
Getting you where you want to be
If you want to go to college then look for a college prep school. If you want to “get out of high school,” then look for a competency-based school that can review your transcripts and see what classes you still need to complete your high school diploma. Perhaps you are looking for a school that focuses on the arts, sports, or leadership. No matter what you decide it they type of school that you are looking to attend make absolutely sure that it is getting you where you eventually want to be after high school.
My kid standard
Here is another way of saying the “Golden Rule.” Listen to the conversation when you are talking to staff. Does the staff at the school you are looking to attend sound similar to the conversations that you have at home with your kids. It is best to give examples to the school and listen to their responses. For example, you may ask the school administration how they would handle a student that ditches a mandatory one-day course that has been planned for over six months and costs the school nearly $3000 host with outside speakers and professional presentations. The administration indicates that make-up for this course would require a mandatory meeting with the student and parent along with the student developing an individualized plan that satisfactorily covers all the material discussed during the one-day course. If you are thinking that this is too harsh and unreasonable, then perhaps this school is not a good match for you.
Building relationships at any school and having a personal connection with people should be mandatory. Here is a quick and easy way to check if the school you are considering is living in silos. Are people hiding out and not wanting to help you. Show up to the school on an unannounced visit and see how long it takes people to help you. When they actually help you are they more interested in finding the next person to pass you along to or are they making a concerted effort to help solve your problem or more importantly getting you to the right person to get you help.
Test scores are only part of the story
Nationally, test scores are being used to rank schools and are sometimes giving a false narrative to the public on how well the school is servicing students. What’s more, test scores do not provide the full picture of a school that may be servicing low-level underprivileged students that are making tremendous progress through credit enrichment, work study internships, and wrap around support services. Again, test scores are only part of the story and here is how you can find the real narrative. Go to the school’s website and look for information that indicates how the school is measuring student success. The best way is to come out and ask the school’s administration by saying, “I noticed that your school has a low state ranking, what are some positive measures of student success at your school?” It should raise some concerns if the administration of the school cannot point to any positive measure of student success.
Remember that choosing the right school that benefits your child the most is a BIG task. Use the tips above to help you create a plan and start visiting the best high school in Las Vegas for your next great choice. Finally, here is a guide from the US Department of Education that will give help on choosing the right school for you and your family: https://www2.ed.gov/parents/schools/find/choose/index.html