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5 Tips for Finding Schools Near Ft Sam Houston


posted Nov 18, 2011

An important part of the relocation process for a military family with children is finding a great school in the new area. You should keep this in mind before you relocate to your Ft Sam Houston housing. It can be a daunting prospect, and you want to make it as easy and stress free for your kids as possible. Follow these 5 steps to help you make the right decision.

1. Compile a list of the schools in the area. You may already have decided where you are going to live, or perhaps you want to wait and make sure you buy or rent in a particular school district. Every public school district has its own rules and boundaries, so if you know what neighborhood school you want your child to attend, contact the local district to find out the rules.

2. Consider a charter school instead of a neighborhood school. Charter schools are public schools that are not governed by the traditional state school regulations. Instead, they are bound by charter agreements from local school boards. These schools must comply with the charter agreements, or they risk being shut down.  If you want your child to attend a charter school, whether it is inside or outside your district, you need to go through an application process. Getting a place depends on whether there is a space available - be aware that there is normally a high demand for each place. Another alternative to a neighborhood school is a magnet school, which has a specific focus, for example, art or technology. This type of school is not controlled by neighborhood boundaries and takes students from throughout the entire school district. Think about what type of school might be most suitable for your child.


3. Arrange visits to each of the schools on your short list (aim to have at least three, to give yourself plenty of choice). Visiting a school is the best way to get a feel for the school environment, the staff and their teaching approaches. Many schools have "open door" policies, meaning parents of potential pupils can drop in without an appointment. Before you visit a school, read as much as you can about it. Look in the local newspaper for articles about the school. At the same time, make a list of any questions you have. You may want to ask about student performance and resources of teachers' backgrounds. The following are some questions that may help you in your task:

1. Does the school have a specific educational philosophy or mission?
2. How does the school handle student discipline and safety?
3. How does the school encourage and monitor students' progress toward meeting grade-level standards?
4. Does the school have a library and what resources does it offer?
5. Does the school embrace modern technology within its curriculum?
6. How do the arts fit into the curriculum? For example, is there a drama club, school band or art classes?
7. What extracurricular opportunities (such as sports and clubs) are available for students?
8. Is there free transport for students to get to and from school?
9. What support systems are in place for students with academic, social or emotional difficulties?
10. If students are not fluent in English, what teaching strategies are available?
11. How are teachers encouraged to develop professionally?
12. What are the school's greatest accomplishments? What are some of the biggest challenges the school faces in the future?

4. Find out what else the school has to offer, for example, after school programs. If your child's school can meet some of your child care needs, life will be a lot easier! Other important characteristics that will affect how well your child will do in the school environment include a school's teaching styles, extracurricular activities and the implementation of physical and mental health challenges.

5. Get references from other parents to help you determine whether a school is the best option for your child. If you don't already know parents from the school, ask the school office to pass your contact details on. Most parents will be more than wiling to give you their honest opinions!

Of course, using the services of a military relocation specialist can make the entire process easier. As well as assisting you with every element of your Ft Sam Houston housing, they will provide advice and guidance in relation to your child's new school. This can really take the pressure off your family and allow you to concentrate on making sure your children settle into their new Ft Sam Houston housing with minimum fuss.  Contact us today or visit our website - we are here to help you.