Palm Beach County has 185 public schools, roughly 130 private schools, and about 50 charter schools. So, how do parents decide where to enroll their child? Here are a few factors to consider.
1. Location - Where to Look?
The school day is typically 7 hours long. Choosing a school that is located a significant distance from your residence can place an unintended strain on your child. The daily commute could interfere with the ability to participate in after-school sports or clubs as well as the ability to get homework done without sacrificing much-needed time to sleep.
2. Private School - Are they for You?
These offer parents the most input to the academic experience of their children. Parents pay tuition and are therefore ‘clients’ of the school. Teacher/administrator accountability to parents is the highest with this form of education. However, private schools can be costly and neither teachers nor administrators are required under Florida law to be certified to work in private schools. The link below contains excellent insight into how to identify a great private school.
3. Charter School - The Hybrid Choice
These are a blend of public and private schools. As with public schools, charter schools are free for students to attend, however, the school operates under a specific performance contract or ‘charter’ which has the effect of freeing the school from some state regulations that control traditional public schools. Yet, charter schools are held accountable for academic and financial performance. While teachers must be state certified to teach at a charter school, administrators are not similarly required to be certified. If you are considering a charter school for your child, check whether or not the school is accredited by AdvancEd, a non-profit organization that conducts rigorous on-site evaluations of educational institutions.
4. Public School - Your Neighborhood School
Just because the school is free does not mean it is worth less. Public school advantages include the requirement that teachers and administrators be certified by the state of Florida in order to work in their positions. Also, neighborhood schools can provide a more ‘real world’ environment for young adults, which can make the actual transition into adulthood easier. Finally, attending the local school can facilitate the development of friendships with other nearby peers as opposed to friendships with peers who live farther away and are therefore more difficult to spend time with outside of school. Follow the links below to review Florida standards for teachers as well as the most recent grades for the individual Palm Beach County Public Schools.