As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. Choosing the right high school for your teen can be tough—almost as tough as raising a teenager! You want your child to flourish, develop their identity, and discover their life’s passion. You know how important it is for your teen to feel supported, encouraged, and to enjoy the overall high school experience.
When looking at your options, you may discover that you want something outside of your city’s borders. Gone are the days of only choosing between public vs. private school. The truth is, there are many different types of high schools. Magnet schools are public schools too, only they accept students from different zip codes.
High school is a very important time in your child’s life. Memories made in these years will last a lifetime, not-to-mention, the education received sets the groundwork for the rest of your child’s life. As you weigh your options, there are many factors to take into consideration. Read on, as we share a guide to help you figure out how to choose a high school for your young learner.
- Consider your child’s interests and goals
You want your child to excel in their academic life and be inspired to reach their best potential. Taking your teen’s own interests and goals into consideration is a great starting place when trying to find the best fit. Magnet schools, for example, are required to adhere to state and national educational requirements, but they typically follow a theme-based approach to the curriculum. Connecticut River Academy, for example, focuses on sustainability, technology, and environmental sciences. This means your teen can enjoy an engaging, innovative academic career based on their interests.
- Ask about prospective schools’ mission, values, and available student support
When choosing a school, it’s important that your values align. Take time to research the school’s mission and learn about the support offered to students.
CTRA, for example, focuses on the following standards for its student body:
- Demonstrating self and global awareness.
- Demonstrating respect for the importance of diversity in the community of life.
- Demonstrating the impact of individual and social actions and decisions on the community of life.
- Consider the school’s culture, community, and diversity
Much like mission and values, it is important to consider the school’s culture. Culture plays a major role in the learning environment. Whether you are considering a charter school, public school in your city or town, or a magnet school, you’ll want to get a sense of the community in which your child will be learning. A magnet school like CTRA is more likely to offer a diverse student body since students are accepted beyond city limits. This means that the school is more likely to encourage respect, empathy, and collaboration.
- Consider size and student-teacher ratio/interaction
Many students find they struggle in a big high school and get lost in the shuffle. If you feel that your teen would thrive in a smaller environment, with a lower student-to-teacher ratio, you may want to consider a magnet school or a charter school. Traditional public schools tend to have a larger student body, meaning the classrooms are larger, which can lead to less one-on-one teacher interaction.
- Does the school offer college prep, and what are their college attendance rates?
This is an important factor to consider when thinking about your child’s future beyond the high school years. CTRA, for example, has a strong focus on college preparation, especially for those looking to go into the field of sustainability, science, or manufacturing. Ask potential schools that you are considering for their college attendance rates and how they prepare students for postsecondary education.
- Do students have access to technology and up-to-date materials?
Technology is more important today than ever before. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been major emphasis on social media and virtual communication. These tools have been crucial in keeping our students moving and learning. At CTRA, science, innovation, and technology are an essential part of the curriculum. The tech-heavy learning model challenges students to reach their fullest academic potential with many opportunities for hands-on learning and discovery.
- Are there extracurricular activities available?
While the academics are certainly important, they are not the only factors to consider when trying to find the best high school for your teen. Extracurricular activities will help your child form important relationships, expand their interests, and round out that college resume. As you search for the perfect high school, check out the after-school clubs and sports. A quality school will be able to offer a variety of activities, so your teen can find something – or many things – that they will enjoy.
- Go with Your Gut
At the end of the day, only you will know which school is best for your child. There is no handbook on “how to choose a high school,” just as there is no definitive parenting handbook. This is a personal choice that every family must make on their own.
If you think a magnet school may be the right type of high school for your teen, reach out to us about Connecticut River Academy, our technology high school. If you’d like to learn more about how a magnet school education could benefit your child, contact the Connecticut River Academy today. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.