- There are no tricks. It was just a catchy headline. But I do have 9 pieces of advice
- Why do we have Schools of Choice? Because our neighborhoods are not economically diverse, and the leadership wants diverse schools.
- Figure out your own goals. Do you want a “balanced calendar” school? Does location matter? What is most important to you?
- Read up on the Magnet programs and the school profiles to see what schools offer (56-page booklet)
- Look up which school you have “proximity priority” to: http://choice.champaignschools.org/proximity.html (here are the schools in google maps)
- There are (currently) 12 elementary schools, each with a limited number of seats. You can list any or all in an order of preference (aka, “rank order”). Your “priorities” (sibling, proximity) apply to your first choice. I suggest ranking them all. If you do not, are you ok with the slim possibility of having an “assignment pending” status?
- There is a small chance you might not get one of your top choices – is such a case, you will be placed on a waitlist. Hypothetically speaking, would you relocate your child a week after school started?
- Talk to other parents: chambanamoms is a really good resource for connecting with other parents and sharing thoughts on Schools of Choice. Or start a conversation here.
- Visit the schools. Even before January or after March. Visit the Family Information Center (also called FIC).
- Don’t panic. I know there is a lot of information to consider, but all the schools have something great to offer. It’s ok.
- Schools of Choice Dates announcement: http://www.champaignschools.org/news-room/article/11566
- redesigned Choice website: choice.champaignschools.org
- Illinois Report Card (compare stats): http://www.illinoisreportcard.com/District.aspx?source=Trends&source2=StudentAcademicGrowth&Districtid=09010004026
At a recent Choice Committee meeting, there was a general lament that there is a lot of misinformation “out there”. To the best of my knowledge, everything I share about Choice is accurate – if not, I ask that you call me out. Likewise, understand the difference between opinion and facts. Everyone has a difference experience going through “Schools of Choice”, and some people will want to deep-dive on all the nuances, while others just want to go to the closest school. If at any point you feel frustrated or confused, know that you are not alone and that there are people who want to help.