So, you’ve decided that your child is in fact ready for kindergarten. Where do you send him? Well, there is no right answer for that. But I can give you some tips on how to educate yourself on selecting the right place for your child.
I would recommend you approach both the public school system and private school system with an open mind. If you go in biased, then you will not get as much out of the process. Most of the schools are finishing up their Open Houses for the 2008-09 school year. Many will have Open Houses again in January if you missed the fall sessions. Open Houses are great because this is the chance for the school to sell their program to you. They will boast about accreditation/ranking, faculty, facilities, sports, parent/teacher organizations and everything else you can think of. Don’t miss these! Make sure both parents attend so you can review and compare notes. This is a very important decision and you both want to be in agreement. You can find the schedules for each school on their individual websites. Go to this link for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System (public) and CharlotteParent.com has listings/links to all the private schools in Charlotte. I would be typing all day if I listed all of the schools individually!
Most of the private schools have application deadlines of January 15, 2008, or throughout the months of January and February. All require a kindergarten assessment test, which takes place usually in February/March. You can schedule tours of the schools. I would recommend touring when school is in session so you can get a feel for what an ordinary day is like. Make sure you schedule an interview with the principal and assistant principal of the schools you are most interested in.
You have a few options with the public school system. You can go to your neighborhood school, the school you are zoned for. You can participate in the school choice assignment plan, which means that your family has a choice in what school meets your particular educational needs. You can choose a charter school, which is separated from traditional school regulations. Or you can choose a magnet school, which has a particular focus such as foreign language and is integrated throughout the school curriculum.
Following are upcoming key dates for the CMS system:
Dec. 15, 2007 – Deadline for new students to submit 2008-09 new student-enrollment packets. Students will receive student identification and PIN numbers to participate in the magnet schools/student assignment lottery process.
Jan. 31, 2008 (10pm) – Final deadline to submit all 2008-09 lottery applications by Internet or phone.
CMS has a great one-sheeter you can print with all the key dates.
Do you have any additional tips? Please share them by commenting below.