Choosing the Right NE Florida School

Welcome to Northeast Florida! You know can choose from many, many schools ranging from public to private and charter schools. Finding the best one can be hard. Florida has the FCAT or the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test which is given to students grade 3 thru 11 and scores them on an A to F scale.  The first step to find the right school is to check out the FCAT score.

Enrollment

If enrolling for the first time you need 2 proof of residency documents and immunization certificate.

Duval County

Duval County is Jacksonville, FL. To check which school a home goes to you should contact the Student Assignment number at 904-390-2144. There are 192 schools with approximately 127,085 students as of 2013-2014. Duval County does have 60 magnet school programs.

High Schools

The grade A high scools for 2014 were A. Phillip Randolph Academies, Baymeadows Charter High School, Darnell Cookman Middle/High, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Frank H Peterson Academies of Technology, Jean Ribault High School, Paxon School for Advance Studies, River City Science Academy and Stanton College Prepratory.

More information can be found at http://www.duvalschools.org

 

St. Johns County

St. Johns County is Ponte Vedra Beach, St. Johns and St. Augustine. You can go online to http://stjohns.k12-fl.us to check which school a home goes to.  St. Johns County has 22% of the schools Duval County has or 42. Thus there student population is 26% less than Duval County with 32,936 students as of 2013-2014.

What to look for:

A school education molds the future of it’s students, parents should be prepared to ask questions. Examples of questions to ask are:

1.  What percentage of students go on to attend state university?

 

2.  What is the cost of tuition?

 

3.  What sort of literacy programs does the school promote? 

When choosing a school parents have many options some of which are public, charter and private.  All of these options have benefits and disadvantages.

Public Schools

The most beneficial aspect of public schools is access.  Public education serves the larger community by linking quality education to economic productivity.  However, the success of a public school relies on the particular counties' economic success.  This in turn effects student to teacher ratio by having the funds to employ sufficient number of teachers, and to build or expand existing schools in order to have nicer, newer facilities and more classrooms to divide the kids up into.   

Frequently, public schools are criticized for their students’ poor performances on nationwide standardized testing.  However, recent trends indicate that test performances are improving nationwide along with the number of students graduating from high school.  The federal government has implemented the No Child Left Behind achievement requirement as a basis for distributing federal education funding.  According to the requirement, schools must demonstrate yearly progress towards universal proficiency as defined by the federal government.

Many public schools suffer from overcrowding and staff shortages.  Frequently, teachers cannot devote as much time as they would like to every student. We see this in parts of Duval County. 

Charter Schools

Charter schools are funded by the government, but are open to general enrollment just like public school.  Enrollment is free for children.  Charters schools have emerged throughout the country.

Because they are not traditional public schools, charter schools operate with more freedom from regulations.  Charter schools are expected to exceed academic goals achieved by public schools.  If the school fails to meet this contractual goal within four to five years, the state can revoke its charter and close the school.

Charter schools have many benefits including:

1.  Strong focus on the arts and/or sciences.

 

2.  Self-paced learning styles.

 

3.  Less recitative classroom environments.

 

4.  The option of home-schooling.

 

5.  More one-on-one pupil-teacher time. 

When considering a charter school, parents should ask the following questions:

1.  What is the enrollment procedure? 

 

2.  Are the teachers unionized?  Average years they remain employed there?  This is important because happy teachers equal a better education.

 

3.  What are the school’s plans for growth? 

 

4.  When was this charter school founded?  By whom? 

 

5.  What is the school’s mission statement? 

 

6.  Are the charter’s ideals consistent with my own? 

 

7.  How is this charter school’s curriculum different from public school’s? 

 

8.  What role do parents play in the school? 

Private School

In a June 2002 report, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that private school students scored higher on standardized tests, possessed more demanding graduation requirements, and sent more graduates to college than public schools.  Once in college, former private school students are more likely to complete a bachelor’s or advanced degree by their mid-20s.  

Along with their impressive educational standards, private schools offer a more intimate learning environment.  The teacher-to-student ratio is much smaller and teachers usually handle classrooms consisting of fifteen to twenty students rather than the 30 to 40 students. 

A major disadvantage to private schools is cost.  Private schools depend mainly on tuition fees and funds coming from non-public sources like endowments, religious organizations, and charitable donations.  Because they are privately funded, tuition is high.

There are many school options for parents, regardless of location, economic standing, or the level of the child’s education.  The key is to understand the child, including their needs and their wants.

 

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