So Many Choices for Moms and Dads

November 30th, 2010

Category: News

When I completed 8th grade at my local middle school, there was never a question about where I would go to high school.  Along with every other kid in my neighborhood, I simply moved on to the public high school down the street.  There was never a thought of going somewhere else.   

So, last Sunday as my 8th grade daughter and I sat in an auditorium at yet another high school open house, I found myself beginning to cry.  Why was I crying in a high school on a random Sunday afternoon in November?   Was it the fear of sending my daughter off to the unknown world of high school?  Was it pride in watching her take her next step in growing up?  Was it the excitement of knowing the boundless opportunities in front of her?  Sure, it could have been a little bit of all of those things.  However, I fear my tears were tears of uncertainty and confusion as our family wrestles with the decision about where she will go to high school.

Kids today don’t just aimlessly go off to the high school down the street like my husband and I did 25 years ago.  Today, our children have choices—Public, Private, Catholic, Charter or Choice – the opportunities are endless for Delaware students.  However, as a parent, how do I know what is the right choice to make?  While I appreciate the opportunities and advantages available to my daughter, I also question why there isn’t an obvious or easy choice to make?

To add to my uncertainty, our neighborhood public high school is Glasgow High School, which was recently selected by the Delaware Department of Education as a Partnership Zone school.  Like many parents in my area, I am very interested in learning what new options will be available to students as Glasgow plans for substantive changes throughout the school.  What would these new plans mean for my daughter as an incoming 9th grader? In our neighborhood development, it has become nearly impossible to walk to the mailbox without a neighbor stopping to speculate on the changes coming to Glasgow High School.  Parents and friends who once gathered to talk of soccer, the Phillies or the elections now only talk of high school, high school, high school.

Entrance exams, “choice” deadlines, and new school options – it’s a wonder that Moms and Dads can breathe with all of these things looming in the not so distant future.  I appreciate the choices available to my daughter, but also worry about whether we have researched and learned enough information about her options to help make the right decision for her.  The school and district profiles shared on the Delaware Department of Education website have been a great resource for our family.  The DOE website also has a list of Delaware’s non-public schools.   I think it is important to visit all of the schools your family is considering.  A couple of hours spent at an open house can help give you a flavor for the school and allow your child to picture themselves as a high school student.

In a few years I will again be sitting with my daughter at an open house, but this time it will be in a college auditorium.   And I’m sure the tears will come again. 

Nancy Millard



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