A charter school recently opened near me. Should I enroll my daughter in the school immediately, or should I wait a year to see what other parents say and think about its quality?

My daughter will be in 9th grade this year and the school is 9-12.

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Manya Whitaker, PhD, Developmental/Educational Psychologist; Assistant Professor of Education; Educational Consultant

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Regardless of the type of school, educational decisions should be based on what your child needs, not on what other people say about the school. Every child has their own personality, temperament, interests, and academic strengths and weaknesses. Further, every parent/family has their own ideas about what values they want their children to learn. School policies regarding behavior, teaching, classroom organization and curriculum are indicative of a school's values. You want to make sure there is a good student-school fit, and no one but you and your daughter can decide that.

I would suggest you visit the school, meet with an administrator (ask about policies, goals, corporate partners, extra curriculars, etc), and observe a few classes. It would also be prudent to inquire about their teacher hiring practices as many charter schools hire unlicensed teachers and/or teachers in their first 2 years of teaching. The curriculum is important in high school because it dictates the educational opportunities your child will have in terms of Advanced Placement courses, IB courses, gifted program, arts, music, etc. If the school doesn't offer the classes your daughter needs/wants, it won't be a good fit.

Finally, I'd also suggest talking to your daughter about what she wants in a school. As a 9th grader she has 8 years of experience in schools and probably has a good understanding of what works for her both academically and socially. High school is an important time for children so she needs to be at a school where she feels comfortable and can excel.

Good luck!

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