In my younger days I attended a public kindergarten but went to Catholic (Parochial) school from grade 1 through 8. While I was in elementary school there was a local Catholic high school but by the time I was old enough for high school – it had closed. Since then even my elementary school has now closed – as so many parochial schools around the United States have. I had a choice to go to Catholic school out of town or to our local public high school – I chose public high school.
That really was the limit of our choices when I was growing up. But now families have so many other choices to consider and those choices start as early as preschool. Those decisions are no longer put off until selection of a college – children are growing up in a world where they get to choose every step of their education.
I absolutely love the options that are available to my children and grand children. They have so many opportunities now. Our youngest is getting ready for high school. She will be the first that actually is making her goal a high school of choice. Such an exciting time. But this has been a huge decision and process. Let’s just take a look at all the opportunities that exist – especially at the middle and high school levels.
There are public school opportunities and private school opportunities – as well as of course homeschooling.
Types of School Choice – public (based on Connecticut)
- Public School – this is the choice for most, their local school district.
- Charter School – a Charter school is considered a public state school because they do not charge families tuition but they still have the ability to operate somewhat independently and live by the guidelines of an established charter.
- Magnet School – these are theme based schools that accept students based on a lottery system. They still operate under the administration of local board of education. These can also be intradistrict (only within their home district) or interdistrict (accept students from outside the home district).
- Vocational School – offer career and technical education programs such as agriculture, technology etc… Operate under the local boards of education.
- Technical Schools – similar to vocational schools but with more offerings and are part of the state public school system.
- Virtual Learning programs – can be used in a public or private school setting as well as possibly in a home schooling setting.
Types of School Choice – private (based on Connecticut)
- Boarding Schools – private schools/programs where students also reside
- Religious and Cultural Schools – examples are parochial schools like I attended until grade 8
- Military Schools – for families desiring strong discipline or who’s children are looking for a military future
- Country Day Schools – many of these have a farm component, gardening, large open fields etc…
- Special Education Schools (technically these can be public or private depending upon the school)
- Montessori Schools – based on the teachers of Dr. Maria Montessori that centers around a “whole child” approach
- Waldorf Schools – focuses on introducing academics at higher grade levels and the lower grade levels focus on creativity and imagination.
The road you travel through education can vary greatly. When you are ready to move on to a college setting you can seek scholarships to get some financial help. You do not need to attend a certain type of school or receive a certain type of education to be eligible for scholarships – your future is yours to choose.