School Choice is important. All children are obviously not the same. Every child has a unique personality, interests, and learning styles. Many children are successful in traditional public schools. However, there are others that do not fit in this same box. Having a choice of educational environments provides parents with options to explore their child's strengths and weaknesses, then match their potential with a school that will help their child success in accordingly. School choice can be provided through public schools within the same district, private school, charter school, home school or any other learning environment families choose.
In 2018, the School District of Indian River County really didn’t have fair and equitable choice options for all students. School choice wasn’t accessible to all students because transportation wasn’t included. Without transportation, it was virtually impossible for working parents to drive their child to the school of their choice and still make it to work on time. NOW, we’ve accomplished great things to make choice an attainable alternative for all students.
In the SDIRC, we opened up seating capacity at schools to create room in our classrooms that would accommodate for the increase in student enrollment. Doing this ensures students opting for a school outside of their zoned area won’t be denied. Schools now establish themes that set them apart from others. Individual schools stand out from the rest as an interest for both students and parents.
The best change in choice programs is, we now offer transportation hubs for children who opt into school choice. This means all children can attend a school of their liking and have transportation provided. When school buses pick up children for schools, parents can rest easy about keeping in line with their work or other responsibilities.
There are two new efforts to reach parents and share our district’s options among many. One way is through the development of a school choice brochure highlighting their theme programs. School choice videos are likewise included for each alternative. Some of SDIRC's school choice programs are provided at the end of this blog. The second effort is hosting an annual community fair expo where all schools share their points of pride. This year our choice and community extravaganza will be held on Saturday October 8th held on the Indian River State College Mueller Campus.
Here are some reasons why school choice is beneficial:
Giving parents options allows the parent to choose what educational environment is in the best interest of their child/ren.
School choice increases parental involvement, accountability, and safety.
School choice is often tailored to the specific academic needs of students.
School choice provides options for low income families.
Students accessing school choice programs tend to have higher graduation rates.
School choice increases competition between local schools.
Students attending a program of choice tend to be more engaged. Therefore, perform higher academically than their peers in other traditional local schools.
Making school choice more accessible and equitable for all students was one of my platform items of my first election to this school board in 2018. I am proud to say, it is a current reality for all children in the SDIRC. Likewise, my support for other options such as home school, micro-schools, charters, virtual schools, including career and technical education has not wavered. I am a champion for school choice. I fully support a parent’s fundamental right to make all educational decisions for their child/ren, and it should be the district's responsibility to support parents in these efforts.
Check out this link on the Florida Department of Education website for more information on Florida’s School Choice options: https://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/
What does it mean to send your child to any school in Florida that you choose? Click this link to find out: https://schoolchoiceweek.com/guide-school-choice-florida/
Here is a direct link to the School District of Indian River County's School Choice Programs and to access the entire SDIRC choice booklet: https://www.indianriverschools.org/superintendent/instructional_innovation/school_choice_programs