National School Choice Week is the perfect time to look at your educational options for your kids. Reference our Guide to Schools, Preschools and Childcare in the RGV to help with your decision, do your research, and consider all of your options. This article is one mom’s perspective about what worked best for her kids.
We were followers. We just did what everyone did and enrolled our kids in our local public school. We thought all was well. Little did we know that there is such a thing as school choice, or that we needed it. My little one seemed to learn so much that first year. We didn’t hear from the teacher much and just went to school meetings and events that we knew about. Then, our girls started getting “B’s” and “C’s!” My husband and I were both shocked! Fun Fact: I didn’t get a “C” until I was in 8th grade and I was so scared to show my parents!
On top of that, our oldest started acting out and getting in trouble. One of our daughters even had a speech regression, and we had to start taking her to speech therapy. She was also below her grade level in reading. We made a few changes, and talked more about listening and following rules. Things improved a bit, but their grades were still suffering. Just about the same time, my aunt and uncle started telling us about a charter school in our area: IDEA Public Schools.
We readily applied after attending a Q&A session, and our lives have changed since! I want you to know that you have a choice when it comes to your child’s education. Don’t just blindly follow the crowd. Ask questions, and advocate for your kids!
Our IDEA Top 5
- Their core values: They have 5 core values that are everywhere!. We just love that they also incorporate lessons on how to be a citizen and basic manors, which sadly, we don’t see much of in elementary-aged children anymore.
- Communication: At IDEA, you can call/text your child’s teacher pretty much anytime, within reason. Homework help is just a phone call away, and they also use an app called Class Dojo, which is a lifesaver! I can even text/call my daughters’ teacher before school and let her know she was a bit cranky or not feeling well. If need be, I will get an update from her teacher or the nurse.
- Reachable Goals: Goals are great for everyone, especially when they are little. But I love that IDEA posts goals in the classroom as a way for the students to track their progress. The goals are rigorous, but also within reach. Teachers also send home trackers so you always know if your child is steadily moving towards their goal or if she is having trouble (parents are asked to sign them at the end of each week).
- Celebrations: And I don’t know about you but I don’t remember celebrating any goals in school. At IDEA, they have a goal of being one of the healthiest schools in the nation, so instead of pizza parties and cupcakes, they have celebrations at the end of each quarter for those who have reached their goals! They have had snow day, game day, bubble day and so many other fun activities for the students.
- College Bound: And last but not least, I just love how my Kindergartener comes home talking about college! Most kids don’t start thinking about college until their junior or senior year in high school. But at IDEA, college is everywhere! You can even wear a college shirt on Friday to show your college spirit. My girls want to be Longhorns, so whenever they see a longhorn t-shirt they always beg me to buy them one!
School Choice: 5 Years Later
My girls have been attending IDEA for five years now! And we still love it! All of our girls love to read, achieve great results and are well-behaved. They read above grade level and are named “Royal Readers” after reading one million words in a year! They love going to school and I feel great sending them to a school that is truly getting them prepared for their future.
January 21-27 is National School Choice Week, and IDEA’s lottery closes on Friday. That’s right. So many people love IDEA as much as we do that they have to have a lottery to see who gets in! They have campuses across the Valley, from Rio Grande City to Brownsville, and everywhere in between.
Would you take a minute today and evaluate your own educational options for your kids? School choice is is so important, and I’m so thankful that we found IDEA when we did.
Learn more about National School Choice Week.