Thinking About Transferring Your Child to a Different School? Here’s What to Look For

For very good reason, you find out that your child’s school is not the best learning environment for her educational needs. So how do you go about changing your child’s learning environment?

Firstly, be sure to gauge pertinent factors to ensure that your child receives a high quality education and he can grow socially. It’s a good start to examine key areas such as the school’s quality of teachers, class sizes, parent-teacher relationships, and whether or not the school’s academic curriculum is rigorous.

Bill Mathis, the managing director of National Education Policy Center, advises that in order for parents to find appropriate schools for their children they need to consider the rating of the school as well as how integrated the learning environment is as it concerns socially, economically, and racially.

According to the case study “Disruption versus Tiebout Improvement: The Costs and Benefits of Switching Schools” featured in the “Journal of Public Economics,” children who are relocated to another school midyear will experience social and academic difficulties. However, with further examination, if the reason for the transfer of the child is a solution to an unappealing social or academic circumstance, students have been known to excel, as opposed to students attending a different school based on life altering occurrences like divorce or a parent’s loss of employment.

Gina Paul, a school counselor for Lake Minneola High School, who holds a Masters in Social Science states, “A parent can transfer their child at any time during the school year.

However, according to Paul, they are some factors a parent needs to consider:

  • Is a new school zoned for your home address? If not, the parent must find out if they need to apply for a Zoned Waiver, where both school principals will determine if the reason for leaving the school is suitable.
  • Would the child’s grades be able to be transferred to the new school? Parents might want to be sure that the child has completed mid-term or final exams before transferring their child.
  • The parent can also consider homeschooling if she feels this seems to be the best option.

4 More Things to Consider

1. Observe the classroom and class size

Compare average class sizes between the school the child is currently attending and the school that she intends to be transferred. Your best bet would be to then decide which class size would be the most feasible.

Ask: Do students receive individual attention? Are they encouraged to participate? How is discipline handled in the classroom?

2. Determine the quality of teachers

Learn the level of how each school prepares, determine the effectiveness of the teaching practices, and the qualifications they both have attained.

Ask: Are the teachers certified and experienced in their subject matter? Do they use different teaching styles to adapt to each child's unique learning needs?

3. Define parent-teacher relationships

Verify if the school fosters parental involvement.

Ask: Do teachers and staff seem welcoming? How do they communicate with parents? Do many parents volunteer? Is there an active parent-teacher organization? Are parents involved in key decisions? Are home learning activities encouraged?

4. How rigorous is the school’s academic curriculum?

Assess the school's criteria, expectations of its students, and ask to go over the curriculum with teachers and administrators.

Ask: Are students pushed to excel? Is college preparation a priority? Does the school employ a wide variety of learning experiences? How are expectations communicated? How is progress measured?

Sources:

Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., & Rivkin, S. G. Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools. Journal of Public Economics, 1721-1746.

Staff, G. (2014, June 1). Switching your child's school midyear. Retrieved June 11, 2014, from Great Schools