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Grade Span

Although most school districts ascribe to the three-school traditional model—elementary school (k-5), middle school (6-8) and high school (9-12)—some schools are breaking the mold and serve a larger range of grades. In many cities, you will find schools serving grades k-8, k-12, and 6-12. Here are some benefits and disadvantages to these new schools.

K-8 schools

An increasing number of K-8 schools have been created in major cities. Proponents report that the continuity allows children to adjust to early adolescence more easily. Moreover, middle school students are more likely to behave better when they serve as mentors to their elementary school peers. Unfortunately, many of these schools lack the facilities of larger middle schools, including well-equipped science labs and gyms. The middle school students also may not have access to advanced level math and science courses.


To remain competitive, schools are spending an increasing amount of their budgets on technology. Even elementary school students are becoming familiar with computers and the internet. In fact, some schools provide each student with a laptop which they bring to school each day. The extent to which schools incorporate technology into the curriculum is important, because students not only use computers to write papers but also conduct their research with the internet, use desktop publishing to have ownership of the publishing process, conduct virtual experiments for science, as well as talk to their peers in foreign countries.

School Compatibility

Is your school right for your family? You cannot answer this question within the first week or month of school; however, over time you will get a sense whether your child and you are happy with the education she or he is receiving.

Your answers to the following questions will help you determine whether the school is a good fit for your child and your family. At the end of the first semester, ask these questions to determine whether this is the right school for you, or if it is time to search for a new school.

Parent Preschool Interview

As part of the admissions process, most nursery schools will schedule an interview with your child. Typically, the director, a staff member or teacher will observe your child in a play group session with a few other children of the same age who are probably also applicants. Your child may be in a class in which the teacher may ask the child to draw a picture or complete a task. Depending on the school, parents may or may not be allowed to be present.

The director or staff will observe your child’s developmental level to decide if he or she is a good fit for the school. More specifically, they will observe:

  • How your child responds to the teacher (i.e., follows instructions).
  • How your child interacts with other children.
  • Your child’s cognitive ability.

Elementary School Entrance Exams

Many parents worry about the entrance exams that their 4 year olds are required to take to enroll in  private and selective public elementary schools. Fortunately, the best ways to prepare your child for these standardized exams are fun. The following activities help children improve their intellectual skills as well as prepare them for the test itself.


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