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Florida’s Education System Outlook: Finding a Good School For Your Child

A good education is key to any child’s future success, so naturally, parents want to find the best schools around for their children when they are ready to enroll. But how can parents find good preschools or elementary schools when they move to a city or to a new county? If the parents don’t already have personal references to use, then they can look online to find some good schools, and they can enter all kinds of keywords to narrow down the list. So, let us review how a good school can be found, and what a “good school” will offer for a newly enrolled student. This ranges from preschool to college.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida is a great educational option for children at virtually all levels. For the third year in a row, a U.S. News and World report selected Florida’s higher education system as the best in the nation.

“Our state colleges and universities have prioritized affordability and pathways for career and life and, as a result, they are transforming our state,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I look forward to celebrating continued success as we build on this positive momentum.”

Preschool

It may be noted that attending preschool is not actually mandatory for American children, but all the same, preschools prove quite popular among families of all demographics. Many studies are done to see how often American youngsters are enrolled in pre-K programs, and the numbers are encouraging. From 1993 to 2012, for example, preschool attendance rates grew rapidly, and the fastest growth took place in the 1990s. This may be related to a similar upward trend in child literacy among those aged three to six years of age. The percentage of children in that age range who demonstrated solid literacy and cognitive skills expanded fast, and the percentage of children who could recognize all letters of the Roman alphabet went from 21% to 38%. Meanwhile, the percentage of children in that age range who could count up to 20 rose from 52% to 68%, and the percentage who could write their own name rose modestly from 50% to 58%. On a final note, the pre-primary enrollment rate of American children aged three to four was 41% and 66%, respectively. This compares favorably to 1990’s figures: 33% and 56%.

It is clear, based on these numbers (and more like them) that enrolling a child in preschool can prepare them for elementary school in all sorts of ways. Indeed, a preschool is an academic setting, not just a daycare center, and there, young students may learn how to learn and get used to following teacher directions. So, to find good preschools like these, interested parents can start with an online search if they do not already have personal references to use. They can look for private preschools or public ones (or both), and they can specify that they want to find the best or top-rated preschools in the area.

A search such as “best public preschools in Miami” or “top-rated private preschools Boston” can bring up a long list of results, and the parents can start narrowing it down based on the rating of each school or how far away they are. Bear in mind that private preschools do charge tuition, but in exchange, they offer expert staff on hand, and they are often well funded and have many supplies and extracurricular activities for the young children. Public preschools may vary more widely in quality and funding, so parents should pick and choose among them carefully. And in that online search, parents can also add their ZIP code to help keep the results local.

Now, the family can tour those candidate preschools one by one, and make repeat visits to the most promising ones. There, the family can get a fair impression of what a given school is like, and of course, the parents want to double-check that their child feels comfortable there. During the visit, the parents may consult the staff about each teacher’s credentials, the school’s funding, extracurricular programs and activities, and feedback from the parents of current or previous students. A number of schools can be toured this way until the parents choose a school and enroll their child. Many three-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, but even more four- and five-year-olds are enrolled in pre-K programs. Parents may strongly consider this option as their child gets older.

Elementary

A fairly similar process can be used to find good elementary schools for a child, and of course, enrolling a child in preschool is mandatory, in contrast to preschool. Whether or not a child attended preschool, he or she must be enrolled in time for kindergarten, and start their school career. So, the parents may look online, and they may bear in mind that K-12 schools can also be either public or private, just like preschools.

Elementary school is more complex for a child than preschools, and parents will have to consider many factors during a school search. For example, a child may have a particular learning style or have an affinity for a particular area of study, ranging from art to writing to mathematics or science or even foreign languages. A given school may have programs or clubs or extra classes that suit the child’s needs or interests, and some schools use different teaching methods than others. It is best to find one that suits a child’s own learning style. On top of that, some children may have physical or mental disabilities, and they must be enrolled at a school that is ready to accommodate them in any and all ways necessary. This ranges from a child in a wheelchair to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or higher-functioning Down Syndrome. A school with a robust special education program will appeal greatly to parents whose son or daughter is diagnosed with high-functioning autism, to name one example.

High School

A child ready for high school is probably 14 or possibly 15 years old, and has even more advanced needs and interests. As with an elementary school, the parents may consult their children to see what sort of programs or opportunities they want to have nurtured at school. Examples range from advanced art programs to practical workshops (like wood shops) to playing musical instruments to mathematics. Some high schools may not offer the right classes or programs for a given interest, but others may, and parents can look for them during a search (both online and in-person). During a tour of multiple high schools, the child can take an active role in evaluating those schools, such as picturing themselves attending that school for four years and predicting how much they may like it there.

The prospective student may also ask plenty of questions to a school’s staff, and they should bear in mind that a good school isn’t necessarily one that has every single imaginable future. There will have to be sacrifices when it comes to clubs, programs, or supplies at a school, so the child and parents should simply make sure that they make the right sacrifices. For example, an artistic child may love a high school that boasts a great art program, even if that school’s computer lab is disappointing or it doesn’t have a football team.

College

Many young adults who are looking for college are either independent of their parents or are about to be. Getting into a good college means having a good high school transcript with high letter grades, and preferably, taking the ACT or even the SAT and scoring well on either or both. As for considering the options, a prospective student can look online and tour campuses in person, and interview the staff there to see what campus life is like. A college may vary enormously on the academic programs, clubs and teams, and internship opportunities it provides, so a prospective student should have a list of “must-haves” on hand for reference.

A student who wants a career in math should find a college with strong math programs and departments, and even internship opportunities for jobs that involve a math degree. The same can be said about medicine; the medical field is huge and always growing, and the American population is aging overall. Many senior citizens are going to need assistance. It may be noted that from 2008 to 2009, the number of medical school seniors choosing Family Medicine as their specialty dropped from 1,172 to 1,083. But a prospective medical student can find a college with the right medical program that they want, ranging from mental health studies to oncology to heart disease to family medicine, and beyond.

For finding any school, whether, for a four-year-old or a young adult looking for a good medical college, it is vital to carefully explore every option and find a school that suits the new student’s needs. Narrowing down the choices online, then visiting in person, is often the best route to take, and a good school is one where the student is accepted by their peers, properly challenged by the coursework, and has access to all programs and opportunities that they want.