5 Common Pitfalls Parents Make When Looking For a School

I know that it is far more easier to just jump on the internet and Google best schools or talk to parents who are already in top schools, but the reality is if you truly want to find the best school for your child and his/her wants and needs, then, your going to have to take a different approach. You’re going to have to put in some leg work if you don’t want to have regrets later! 

 And this is why I address 5 common Pitfalls when looking for a school as a tool on this backpack tour. 

Pitfall #1 

Prioritizing Achievement Over Other Factors

  • Test scores speak more to parents of students than teacher quality. 
  • Test scores are poor predictors of school quality because they are based on left brain (logical) thinkers. Not right brain (creative) thinkers.
  • Access and Opportunity is important
  • School climate and culture (the school’s commitment to community building and personal development) is crucial to a sense of belonging and achievement
  • Neglecting the Whole Child (balanced approach) can be damaging

Pitfall #2 

Looking at schools based on Perception 

Perception is not always Reality! 

  • Observe during the day when students are in class
  • Seek Recommendations
  • Read Online Reviews
  • Know that IQ measures are very poor predictors of high achievement 

Pitfall #3   

Only using Online Websites, Ranking Systems and/or Computer algorithms to Choose a School

These don’t take into consideration:

  • Your child’s needs, wants, interests, learning style, and/or intelligence preference
  • Teaching methodologies based on the latest research on brain development and learning 
  • Programs or resources available to support all students
  • The Power of Leaders in the school (they set the tone)

Best Practice: Visit during the school day while school is in session and students are in the classrooms learning

Pitfall #4  

Minimizing Soft Skills Over Hard Skills

EQ is just as Important as IQ

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Flexibility

Note: Employers and College Admission Representatives look for these skills also in highly competitive candidates

Pitfall #5

Failing to speak to a variety of parents with different type of students

  • What does the school experience look like for the high achiever?
  • What does the school experience look like for the average achiever?
  • What does the school experience look like for the high need student?
  • What does the school experience look like outside of the classroom (on the playground)?

note: Your child will fall into each 1 of the top 3 categories above throughout his/her school career. So you’re going to want to know what support systems are in place for each type of student.

As an educator for 30 years, I have seen parents and guardians fall prey to these pitfalls when looking and choosing schools for their children. And not realizing the effect it has until it’s too late!

And this is why I address these 5 common Pitfalls as a necessary stop on this backpack tour.

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