7 Key Points to Consider while Selecting an Elementary School for Your Child

Picture of Kimberly Meck
Kimberly Meck
Founder of Elite Scholar Academy
Elementary school tampa

Picking the right grade school for your child is not easy. It is an important decision that shapes learning and academic success for years to come.

Choosing a school is a very personal decision for each and every child. Parents can no longer just send their child to a school because it is zoned for where you live. Parents also cannot just send their child to a certain school because the neighbors, friends or family send their children to it. The importance of researching and understanding what school is best for each individual child has been well understood for many, many years.  Don’t just follow the crowd.  It is in your child’s best interest to research the environment they will be in and understand those they will be around all day, everyday.

There are many different schools to choose from and each has its own unique advantages. This resource will supply you with key points to consider in order to choose the right school – from basic information to classes and after school, as well.

The School Should Meet Your Basic Needs:

When choosing a school, think about if it meets your needs as a parent.  Look at the school’s student schedule, where it is located and if you can realistically get your child there and picked up on time every single day. It may be hard to believe and it’s not acceptable but tardiness and absenteeism has become a serious problem.  This is stress that passes onto your child. Keep in mind that it’s important to find a school that fits the schedule you need to keep each day, especially if you have multiple children. Think about how close the school is to your home and work and how you will go about getting your child there daily.

The Look and Feel of the School:
Your child’s entire experience and sense of belonging will be greatly impacted by the way a school looks and feels. When you tour Elementary Schools, observe the campus layout, atmosphere and, most importantly, safety. To get a good feel of the general vibe, tour the administrative area, classrooms, library, playground and common spaces. In addition to promoting a feeling of community, a warm and encouraging atmosphere will help your child’s social and intellectual growth.

Learning Environment:

The learning environment within the school plays a crucial role in shaping your child’s educational experience and outcomes. How are the students engaged? Do they actively learn? Are teachers using innovative teaching methods and technologies?  Do they also incorporate paper, pencil, workbooks, worksheets and textbooks?  How is instruction enhanced? Is there focus on executive skills and critical thinking? Evaluate the school’s approach to curriculum design and understand assessment practices. Be aware of differentiated instruction to ensure it aligns with your child’s learning needs and preference. How many students are in each class?  What is the cell phone policy?  Even in grade school, cell phones are a distraction throughout the school day.  It is one thing for schools you tour to tell you everything you want to hear and even have all the right statements on the website, but you also need to be sure they truly follow through on their word in the classroom from day to day.

Unique Features, Policies and Programs:

One of the distinguishing factors to consider when choosing an elementary school is its unique features and specialized programs. Tampa is home to a wide range of schools. Each offers its own blend of academic, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities. Research the different programs offered by each school. These might include the arts, STEM education, foreign language instruction and clubs. Look for after school opportunities.  Summer reading programs and tutoring services can also provide additional support and enrichment for your child. Consider how these unique features align with your child’s interests, strengths and your family’s learning goals.  It is also very important to be aware of discipline procedures.  Many schools say they have discipline procedures in place but even basic policies are not followed.

Quality Teacher Support and Standards:

The quality of teaching and support provided to educators will have a significant impact on your child’s academic success and overall experience at the school. Inquire about the school’s approach to professional development. Also ask about ongoing training opportunities. Look for evidence of high standards for teaching excellence. Know how teachers are evaluated and held accountable for student outcomes. What is the level of communication and collaboration between teachers, administrators and parents?  A supportive and empowering environment for teachers will lead to positive outcomes for students. It contributes to a culture of continuous improvement within the school community. It will be extremely important for you to have regular contact with your child’s teachers, as well as, administration. You will need to continue to be confident of the choice you made for your child’s school. You absolutely cannot just choose a school and wait for the teachers to guide you with general updates, one conference and quarterly report cards.  Parents must keep tabs on what is exactly going on through on-going communication.  Unfortunately, teachers are so overwhelmed they often struggle to keep up with emails, much less phone contact.  Nowadays, it is also extremely important for parents to boldly ask what topics teachers are allowed to talk to students about that are not just reading, writing and math.

Enrichment Programs and Support Services:

Consider the availability of enrichment programs and support services. These will enhance your child’s educational experience and address individual needs. Evaluate the school’s approach to supporting gifted and talented students, as well as, special needs. Look for summer reading programs, study opportunities, tutoring services and other academic interventions. These will provide targeted support for students at all levels. Consider how these programs compliment the school’s core curriculum. They should contribute to a well-rounded education that nurtures the whole child.

Summer Reading Program:
Summer reading programs are amazing to keep learning going since students are off school for two to three months. It develops a love for reading and also slows the “summer slide,” which is when children forget what they learned during the school year, while on summer break. Daily reading helps children be good readers, improve literacy and gain knowledge about new words and comprehend their meanings. In addition to gaining knowledge, summer reading promotes creative thinking, creative imaginations and the ability to think critically. In addition, it helps to develop discipline, as well as, a sense of achievement as students strive to reach reading goals. To ensure that each child does not lose knowledge and to make sure that they continue exercising their brain when out of school, selecting a school with a well-developed summer reading program is important.

Homework Help:
First and foremost, teachers should be assigning homework and have an expectation of it being turned in. Through recent years, homework has been assigned less and less at way too many schools.  At the same time, class sizes have been growing larger, which means distractions during lessons are greater and greater.  Distraction always equals misunderstanding and confusion of concepts and material.  For decades, homework was always required for practice and to ensure a solid understanding.  Therefore, homework is still essential for today’s students.  They require the same practice parents needed when they were students.  

 A place for Homework help provides children with an organized, quiet environment, along with instruction on how to properly complete it. These programs offer tutorial services so a learner can understand concepts in lessons and finish homework effectively. It also helps students develop good study habits, time management and efficiency.  Homework help from your child’s school allows for consistency in teaching. Homework help programs force a carved out time of day for students to get the work done and not procrastinate, while completing it at better times, right away in the afternoon. It also makes busy evenings easier on parents.  Parents do not need to spend valuable evening hours managing the homework themselves, which does not always go smoothly. 

Intensive Tutoring:
Tutoring is extremely beneficial.  It provides an opportunity for remedial teaching to be given to learners in order to help them understand concepts they struggle with. Tutoring programs with individual attention offer customized teaching based on the student’s specific challenges. Exploring material with the help of experienced tutors strengthens student’s knowledge and they become more independent and learn the subject matter along with strategies. Extra coaching that targets instruction will improve academic understanding and allow students to achieve increased performance.

School Ratings and Reviews:
Parents ought to do a comprehensive analysis of different aspects of elementary schools. Collect information from a multitude of sources, such as Google My Business for the school, the website, social media accounts and school reviews. This way parents are in a position to choose wisely, utilizing a wide range of resources.


Choosing the Best Elementary School requires careful consideration of multiple factors specific to your child. Just a few of these factors include basic needs of parents, the environment, unique features, ratings and reviews, teacher support and enrichment programs.

Thoroughly researching and evaluating these key points is how parents can make an informed decision that is best for your child. This decision should align with your child’s educational needs, interests and aspirations. A stimulating and supportive learning environment inspires curiosity, creativity and a lifelong love of learning.

It takes a great deal of effort to research the best school for your child. Schools should never be viewed as” one size fits all.” Prioritize your child’s academic, social and emotional well-being. With the right support and resources, your child can thrive academically and personally in their elementary school years and beyond.

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