TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – January 21-27 is National School Choice Week, an opportunity for parents to consider the education options for their children.

January and February are the key months to research schools you might send your children to for the upcoming year. In Florida, all of the options are on the table: traditional public, magnet and charter schools, as well as online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.

If you are interested in re-evaluating your children’s current educational environment, here are some things you can do today:

  • First, find out how much your child learned last year, and talk to your child about his or her experiences at school.

    Look up your child’s scores on standardized tests, and ask your school’s principal to explain his/her expectations for

    student growth. Look online (on state report cards, district report cards, or on www.greatschools.org) to see how students

    in your child’s school performed in subjects like reading, writing and math. Use this information to decide whether you

    want your child to change schools.

  • Start to look up different school choice options that might be available to you. Your local school district may not provide

    this information. Look on your state education department’s website, on the website of a statewide school choice or

    education reform organization, or make telephone calls to get specific answers from local and state officials. Find out

    if your state or school district allows students to attend public schools in other areas (this is called public school open

    enrollment, or inter/intra district school choice), or if you have public charter schools, magnet schools, or statewide

    virtual schools. And don’t forget private schools! Some states empower parents with scholarships or vouchers to send

    their children to the private schools of their parents’ choice; even if these programs are not available, you might qualify

    for financial assistance from the school. Of course, you can also consider homeschooling your children – which millions

    of families find very effective.

  • If you are ready to find a new school for your child, remember that January and February are the key months to research

    the schools you might send your children to for the upcoming school year.

There are hundreds of Tampa Bay area schools participating in National School Choice week, offering you the option to talk one-on-one with educators in your neighborhood. Search for participating schools here.

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