Top 10 Tips to Start your School Search

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Written by: Melanie Schlachter

Melanie became involved with NPN shortly after the birth of her first child in 2007 as a member, a volunteer, and most recently a staff member. She is eternally grateful for the lasting friendships and support she received from her New Moms Group, and frequently relies on the invaluable tips and resources from NPN's Discussion Forum on topics ranging across the board. Melanie lives in Andersonville with her husband Christian, son Jack, daughter Clara, and dog Parker.

With NPN's Annual Preschool & Elementary School Fair taking place this weekend, we've compiled our top 10 tips to start your search:

 1 - Determine your family's school search criteria. Consider factors such as cost, location, public or private, schedule, afterschool programs, etc.

 2 - Go to the NPN School page. Check out School Fair details and RSVP, download your NPN School eDirectory, and search the NPN Online School Directory.

 3 - Dip into the NPN Discussion Forum. Access what members have to say about school search, post your own question, or look up past conversations.

 4 - Check out your CPS neighborhood school. Use the school locator to identify your neighborhood school.

 5 - Take advantage of CPS resources. Visit cps.edu and cpsmagnet.org for more information.

 6 - Attend an NPN Parent University School Choice session. Panelists discuss the Chicago school search process and answer audience questions. If you missed the event, check out the video.

 7 - Reserve spots early for school tours and visitation days. Meet with school contacts to help facilitate your decision.

 8 - Attend the NPN School Fair. More than 100 public and private preschools and elementary schools will be represented.

 9 - Seek out valid word of mouth recommendations. Ask friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. for their opinions on specific schools.

10 - Remember, there is likely more than one solution for your family. Try not to get your heart set on one school. Spread your net wide, many wait lists move, and remember no decision is permanent.

Chicago families share fantastic advice on how to navigate parenting in the city in our NPN Parent to Parent blog posts. Download the full NPN fall issue to read more! Did you receive your Parent to Parent copy at home?  If not, visit My Account and change your mailing preferences.

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 11:10 PM

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