(BPT) - Public, private, charter, virtual and more — deciding what school is best for your children can feel overwhelming. You want them to have an education that prepares them for a challenging world while fitting their unique learning styles. How do you know the best option to ensure they thrive?
"The right school will not only help your child learn essential skills but instill a lifelong love of learning," says Carol Lloyd, award-winning educational writer and editorial director for GreatSchools, a nonprofit school guide. "Bottom line: The school you choose for your child does make a difference."
Lloyd knows making educational decisions isn't easy. That's why she offers her advice on the most important things to consider when researching schools.
Testing scores: How does the school perform on state assessments across grades and subjects? Look at the percentage of students who score at or above proficiency. If possible, look at test scores by student subgroup (race/ethnicity and family income). How are students like your child doing?
Student progress: Test scores don’t tell the whole story. It's important that no matter where students start on the educational spectrum, they make progress and continuously learn as time passes. Understanding student progress can give you important information about how much children are learning at this school from year to year.
Equity: Look at how students from all backgrounds are doing. Is there a big achievement gap between different groups? This helps you understand how schools are serving disadvantaged student groups.
Advanced coursework: To understand the academic rigor of a school, research the advanced courses offered. How many students are enrolling in those courses? What’s the average number of advanced courses a student takes at the school? All these details can paint a picture about whether the students are getting the classes they need for college and beyond.
Discipline and attendance flags: Does the school have high chronic absenteeism? Do they suspend some groups of students far more often than others? This might be a red flag that you should consider.
College readiness: If you have a high school student, you're probably starting to think about the future. If you want to ensure your child's school is preparing them for college, research the high school’s SAT/ACT participation and performance.
To check out schools in your area and learn more about school ratings and data, visit www.greatschools.org. You can quickly view this information and easily compare it against other schools you're considering, helping you save time while providing you the necessary information to make a confident decision about your child's education.
"The updated school profiles on GreatSchools display information parents need, and provide support to help them take action," says Lloyd. "For example, if a school has a low Equity Rating compared to other schools in their state, parents will find tips on how to discuss improving the education of all students at this school with teachers and administrators. This empowers parents today and in the future so their children can receive the education they deserve."
Families are seemingly always on the go. From soccer games and school trips to excursions with friends and vacations with the family, people are constantly on the move, exploring new places and experiencing new things. As exciting as these new opportunities can be, it’s equally as important to make sure families – and kids – stay safe and protected at home and on the go.
Tips for Family Safety
How to keep your busy, adventurous family safe
(Family Features) Families are seemingly always on the go. From soccer games and school trips to excursions with friends and vacations with the family, people are constantly on the move, exploring new places and experiencing new things.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Know your neighbors
Help in an instant
AWAY FROM HOME
Tools to take on the road
Advanced Navigation: While built-in navigation systems in cars may just seem like an added convenience, they are also a key safety feature. Navigation systems offer easy access to directions and points of interest on the road, which can help eliminate distractions and reduce the possibility of accidents. Features like voice control can make navigation hands-free and allow you to concentrate on the road.
Smartphone Crash Detection: Today, the technology in your pocket is often more advanced than the cars you drive or ride in. Apps like Sfara Guardian can detect a car crash or incident and dispatch help. Because the technology is on the phone, it works whether you are the driver or passenger and in your car or someone else’s. Roadside assistance has a modern twist, too. If you need help with a flat or a tow, you can request service on your app and map the driver in real-time as he or she heads your way.
Lock Controls: In some vehicles, an adjustable setting allows you to control which car doors unlock depending on which door you open first or how many times you press the unlock button. This feature can allow a driver to safely enter the car on the driver’s side without unlocking other doors and potentially giving access to an intruder. Similar controls can keep mischievous kids from pushing buttons in the back and unlocking or opening rear doors or windows without your knowledge.
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Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. These tips can help you navigate the first few months and incorporate some baby-friendly technology along the way.
New Baby? New Tech Can Make a Big Difference
Innovative gadgets that can make parenting easier
(Family Features) Welcoming a new baby to the family brings with it excitement, challenges and a lot of love. It is also a lot of work. But, there is help… sometimes at the touch of a button. Amy O'Malley, MSN, RN, mother of five and director of education and clinical services at Medela, has pulled together a few tips for navigating the first few months and how to incorporate some baby (and mom) friendly technology along the way!
How many wet diapers? How long did he nurse? Use an App for That!
Give Yourself Some Range with a Great Monitor
Pump Quieter and Smarter
“Breast pumps have changed quite a bit since I had my children,” O’Malley said. “While a double electric breast pump is your best bet, newer models go beyond the basics and connect with smartphones to track activity. Our tech-enabled and quietest pump, Sonata, is comfortable and pairs with the MyMedela app to automatically track pumping sessions and offer personalized tips to help you succeed and monitor your baby. This pump even has many adaptions to meet your needs anywhere and anytime. It has features to help you use it late at night and can adjust based on your changing body shape to give you an effective and consistent experience.”
Find more information at medelabreastfeedingus.com.
Make Temperature Checks a Breeze
You’re not alone. There is tech to help and don’t forget to ask your pediatrician and other friends or family members too. It takes a village to bring a new baby into the world!
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