What makes a school great?

To find the best school for your child, you first need to know what choices are available to you.To find the best school for your child, you first need to know what choices are available to you.
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By Andrew Campanella

Great learning environments elude easy definitions. They come in all different shapes — traditional public schools, public magnet schools, public charter schools, private schools, online academies and homeschooling programs. Perhaps the best definition is this: A great school is one in which students are academically challenged, equipped to be a good citizens and persons, and inspired to greatness.

Because children are different, you can best find a great school for your child when you have diverse options to consider. That could mean open enrollment in a public school outside of your “zone” so your child stays connected with an important peer group. It could mean a charter school focusing on classical education or a magnet school that lets students shadow medical professionals. Maybe it’s learning at an accelerated pace at home or through online coursework, or in a private school that shares your values.

It’s parents who really decide whether a school is good or even great, based on their children’s needs and interests. What might be an excellent learning environment for one child might not be a good fit for another.

That’s one reason National School Choice Week, Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, is important. It raises awareness among parents of their K-12 education options. It’s celebrated by teachers, school leaders, parents, students and community leaders at 50,000 events and activities.

This National School Choice Week, I encourage all families to explore their education options. You can start, and discover the choices available to you, at www.schoolchoiceweek.com/mystate/.

Andrew Campanella is president of National School Choice Week and the author of “The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child.”
— NAPS

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