Missouri parents have an opportunity to exercise choice in many ways. The most common way parents select a school is by choosing where to live based on the public school district or neighborhood schools. In many areas, parents can choose from neighborhood schools, charter schools or other public schools of choice, such as select and magnet district schools. In some school districts, parents can chose to transfer their child to another public school in another district. Parents can also select a private school (religious or secular) or teach their child at home.
Charter schools are currently open in Kansas City (map) and St. Louis (map). The Missouri Charter Public School Commission has sponsored Citizens of the World Charter Schools – Kansas City. They are now accepting applications for kindergarten and 1st grade. CWCS – Kansas City opened August 2016.
With all of these choices how do you get started?
- Know what is important to you and your family. No one cares more about your child than you do. No one else will be more careful to see that your child is educated and safe in school. You know your child’s temperament and personality. You know their strengths and weaknesses. You know what excites and interests your child. You know the values that your family wants in a school. Make a list of 3-5 things you want in to have in your child’s school. Remember to consider school schedule and location too.
- Do your research. Talk to friends and family. There are several parent groups that would be happy to talk with you. Kansas City parents created “Show Me KC Schools” and St. Louis parents created “STL City Schools”. But nothing is as important as making a visit to the school and seeing the school through your values and the needs of your child. Inquire about school tours and opportunities for your child to do a visit or “shadow day.” You can see the performance of Missouri public schools by visiting the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Data Portal.
- Apply on time! Make sure you are tracking the application deadlines for schools you may be interested in having your child attend.
For more information, visit this helpful resource from the US Department of Education and this resource from the Missouri Department of Education.