Step 5 - TAKE ACTION: Page 1

Make a Plan

This page covers:

  • Coming up with an action plan for the lottery/applying to schools
  • Adjusting your strategy according to the enthusiasm you have for your neighborhood school

So, you’ve identified some schools where you think Junior will thrive – that’s great news, but might also provoke some anxiety, knowing it’s not a sure thing.  Your best bet is to have a plan of action. 

If You Like Your Neighborhood School

If your “default,” for lack of a better term, is a strong option where you like what you’ve seen and think it will be a good place for your kid’s elementary years – then you’re sitting pretty. Your plan will be to shoot for your other option(s) and if you don’t get them – or maybe even if you do – you’ll choose your neighborhood school in the end.

If Private School Is an Option

Cover your bases by applying to the private schools that could work for your family, and going for the lottery if you saw some transfer or charter options that appealed to you.  Be sure to budget your time for the private school applications as they can be time consuming.  Figure out your Lottery option priorities and your Charter lottery choices – go for it all so that you maximize your odds that something will come through for you.  Following a diversified approach will set you up for a successful outcome.  Plot your application and lottery deadlines, along with mandatory school visits, in your calendar so nothing falls through the cracks. 

If Private School Is Not an Option

So, you find yourself not thrilled with your neighborhood school and not able to afford private school. Well, this is the reason we need to reform our schools and shift our priorities as a nation – but we digress… If this is the case, then you go for everything with a significant degree of appeal greater than your neighborhood school.  Go for every Charter lottery that could work for you.  And strongly consider your rankings on the PPS Lottery sheet.  You may like School X a lot, but if 100 people are clamoring for 15 spots, you should rank a school with more favorable odds as number 1 on your lottery request.  You don’t want to blow your wad on a long shot and be left with no transfer options.  And in the interest of throwing enough “stuff” against the wall so that something will stick, think about applying to some private schools that offer scholarships.  You never know what might come your way, but if you don’t go for it, then you know it definitely won’t come your way.  The bottom line is if you want to avoid your default school at all costs then you need to go for every possibility that could work for your family.  Your goal at the end of the school hunting season is to at least have one option (and hopefully more) in the bag. 

Note: How did other families strategize? Follow one west side family's search here; as well as this example from an east side family. 

Make a list of your target school(s) and get out your calendar. Plot out the deadlines and create a To Do list from that.  Depending on how much paperwork is involved, you might want to designate a place to file information so things don’t get buried on your desktop (something we’re sadly way too familiar with…) The last thing you want is to discover, come late March, that you missed your opportunity to participate in a charter school lottery because disorganization got the better of you.

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