Finding the Right School For Our Family

Written by: Melanie Schlachter

My husband and I were having dinner with our neighbors recently. As usual, most of our conversation centered around the kids, their schedules, developmental milestones and of course school. While we live on a quiet street in a happening part of the city, we unfortunately don’t reside in one of “the it” school neighborhoods. Had we realized this before moving to our ‘hood (while my son was still in utero), perhaps we would have ranked our real estate must-haves a little differently, but alas we are not moving therefore find the right school we must.

Our school search began well before our kids were old enough to even hold crayons, with a trip to our first NPN School Fair. What a concept! We were able to walk through the gymnasium and gather information on public, private, parochial schools and more, all under one roof! Meeting the parents, teachers and administrators really gave us a good feel for the school and the community. For us, it was an incredibly helpful first step in doing the research and narrowing down our school options.
Since that time close to 5 years ago, NPN’s school fairs have expanded to include both the north and south sides. Plus their regular Chicago School Choice programs help families with a wide range of school search questions – from understanding how to navigate Chicago Public Schools to getting insider tips from admissions directors at some of the area top privates. Not to mention their amazing online school directory, which has great search features (download the new 2013 Preschool & Elementary School eDirectory PLUS check out the brand new My Directory feature!)
We did ultimately find the school of our dreams – all within an easy commute and affordable price range – where our whole family can grow, learn, feel connected, and continue to enjoy the city life that’s a part of who we are. 
We enjoyed dinner with our neighbors that evening, as we frequently do. Although their kids are a couple years younger and not in school yet, its helpful to get other parents’ perspectives and ideas on long-range planning. On our little block I’d say just about every family attends a different school – proof that the city truly does have so much to offer. While I still can’t yet wrap my head around the thought of my kids applying to high schools and possibly commuting on their own, I’m thankful to know we’re set with school for at least the next 10 years!
Neighborhood Parents Network has been connecting a diverse community of families with resources to navigate parenting in the city for more than 30 years. Expectant, new, and seasoned parents come to NPN to help tackle everyday challenges and surprises. NPN makes it easy to find support, trusted school and childcare search, essential information, and fantastic city events. Join our community of more than 6,400 members at
Posted on March 10, 2013 at 6:25 PM