Step 2 - REFLECT: Page 4


How Do I Clarify My Priorities?

This page covers:

  • A tool for synthesizing your school search priorities

Okay, now let’s turn all this navel-gazing into a more concrete vision.  The downloadable PDF below will help you synthesize your thoughts about what your child needs to thrive, what will work for your family, and what you’ve gleaned from your past schooling experiences.

Note: If you've come this far in your thoughtful research you might want to take it one step further and ask, What does it mean to be well-educated?, or How should the current school model change?, or even What should a classroom look like based on current research? 

The main goal here is to help you make some choices about what REALLY matters to your family going into your search.  It also helps to illuminate ways that you and your partner parent may agree or disagree, allowing you to start some good, and perhaps difficult, conversations.  Follow the suggestions below to shed light on your priorities and deal breakers. This exercise will also help reveal features that are tolerable (but not ideal), and will help you shape your question list as you explore options. The end result should hopefully be a clearer (but flexible!) vision as you start to research and tour schools.

1.  Print out the PDF below.  This is a list of descriptors for varying aspects of a school:  physical environment, academics, community and practical realities. 

2.  Divide the list into priorities and non-priorities.  You can do this by noting in some way, or by cutting the sheet along the black lines and sorting the slips of paper.

3.  Next, take a careful look at those items that you categorized as priorities.  Sort these into three categories of varying importance:  “Must Haves,” “Should Haves,” and “Would Like to Haves.”  Try to have no more than five to seven items in each category. 

 Download Priorities Tool 

After doing the priorities exercise, tape or copy the list down to use as a reference as you begin your school research and tours. Use it to help reground yourself in your priorities, keeping in mind of course that priorities can change as you see what is out there.

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