While many people think of May and June as the last gasp of the school year, in fact this is the perfect time to plan for the year ahead. Whether you are going to be looking for Kindergarten, middle or high school for 2013, or trying to decide whether to stay in your current school, there are steps you can take right now.
For one, begin with a self-assessment. So, for example, you might list the academic, athletic, extra-curricular and creative environment you are looking for in a school; for grades 5 and up, have your child do this as well – you might learn something you need to take into consideration!
If your current school fits the bill, but isn’t working well for your child, this is the time to come up with a plan for change. Whether you need an IEP to get your child needed services, in public school, or a plan to work on your child’s social relationships, or anything in between, going in with some idea of what is needed will help in the long run. If you suspect that you need to know what your options are, including changing schools, well, this is the time to make that plan as well.
Next, start to research a wide range of schools. Sure, you might have a very definite idea of which school you want your child to attend, but the reality is that this is a competitive process. Better to have a backup plan. Besides, once you see what’s out there, you might find a school you hadn’t heard of before, but that appears to be the perfect fit. I would encourage you to create a list of schools to explore, including public, private and parochial. Keep an open mind.
Once you’ve created your list, put together a plan to tour the schools. At this time of year private schools are closed, but some of them may already have tour and Open House dates up on their calendars. Come September, check my tour calendar at http://www.LAschoolscout.com, which lists school tours all over L.A.
What else can you do in June? This is the perfect time to sign your 5th-9th grader up for ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) test prep, if needed. This is not the time to sign your child up for the ISEE itself – online registration begins at the end of August – but it is the perfect time for researching the different tutoring and test prep options.
This is also the perfect time to call Academic Achievers for a Kindergarten Readiness assessment, and see if your incoming potential Kindergartener is actually ready for Kindergarten.
If you have an incoming eleventh grader, this is the perfect time to put together that plan as well, including review of your child’s classes, extra-curricular activities, etc. If you didn’t realize that you need to put together a plan, then welcome to the wonderful world of college planning! Both LA Scout and Academic Achievers have college counselors on staff.
Summer is also the perfect time to get a jump start on SAT and PSAT training before the busy fall. This is also the time to get the best deal on test prep as many companies offer summer specials. Academic Achievers offers 15% off in the summer.
And what can you do in July? Take a vacation, before plunging back in to the wild and wonderful world of school. Come August, you are going to be busy.
Sandy Eiges holds a Masters in Social Work, and has been a charter school developer and a high school principal. She has a 5th grader who attends a progressive elementary school. Her company, L.A. School Scout LLC, http://www.LAschoolscout.com, works with parents looking for the best fit school for their children, preschool through college.