Here I am proposing a Magnet School/Choice Task Force to the Superintendent and School Board.
Americans love choice; walk through the cereal or toothpaste aisle at any store if you’re not convinced. All parents want the very best for their children. Many are willing to make sacrifices of money and convenience to enroll their child in what they perceive as the best available school. The fact that this year Leon County Schools had nearly 3,700 new choice requests for a school outside of their home-zoned school proves this point. Another 1,000 parents are homeschooling their children and 5,000 are choosing our 41 private schools, not including FAMU or FSU Developmental Research Schools.
There are many good reasons people choose a school other than their zoned school, such as work proximity, special programs, religion and tradition. There are also very ill informed reasons caused by misleading school grades, rumor mill, prejudice and misconceptions.
Often schools are too busy dealing with what they are doing to effectively market themselves and create new programs. It’s up to us in the Leon County School District to help them. To do this right, we’ll need help from the business community, developers, realtors and the City and County governments to help us make every school a good choice and an informed choice.
My Proposal–Include a wide-range of stakeholders to:
- Map out a long-range vision/plan to make all schools attractive to a broad socio-economic mix of students.
- Provide district support to existing magnet schools and programs and create new attractive, dynamic K-12 magnet programs in targeted schools.
- Design a marketing campaign to better inform parents of new and existing Leon County School options to those who are choosing to attend private, home, charter and public schools outside their school zone.
2 thoughts on “Great School Choices in Every Neighborhood”
I hope we can figure out a way to better contextualize the school grade, and perhaps add our own Leon County measures to qualify the FLDOE school grades and give parents a more complete picture of what the schools are like in our District. Our C and D schools do amazing things for their students which the school grade does not reflect.
It is interesting that on the LCS website, the place you find the list of school grades for our public schools is on the page entitled School Choice: https://www.leonschools.net/Domain/244. That probably encourages the use of school grades as a deciding factor in choosing schools. I realize it is a measure that does give us some information about a school, but it is far from the whole picture. In elementary school the school grade is derived exclusively from 3rd, 4th and 5th graders’ results on state standardized tests. As a parent, that’s far from the only thing that matters to me when looking at schools for my kids.
Thanks for this observation. It is something we need to look at.