The Decisions and Impacts of School Choice
By. Meredith Biesinger
Title 1, Small district, Rural/Town district, K-12
Once upon a time, there used to be limited K-12 education options for students and their families. There are so many options available that it can be overwhelming for families to decide on the best fit for their child. It can also be equally overwhelming for businesses that are trying to market K-12 schools successfully.
Today’s most common options for K-12 schooling fall under one of five categories: Public Schools, Private Schools, Charter Schools, Virtual Schools, or Homeschooling. Depending on personal preference and short and longer-term goals, there are positives and negatives to any of these options.
Charter Schools and Private Schools typically operate under an initiative based on the premise that students have a better chance of success when connected to three kinds of support. These supports include opportunities to serve or volunteer, close ties to social networks that include friends, neighbors, family, faith communities, and civic groups; and responsive services close to home, including an effective response system built on core values and beliefs:
These core values and beliefs often include:
- High standards: They set and maintain high academic standards for all schools that drive curriculum, instruction, and assessment. All students are expected to achieve.
- Flexibility: All schools—including the least successful schools—are provided the flexibility, resources, and support required to allow all students to achieve success.
- Small, personal schools: Schools and classroom sizes are created small enough to engage all students so that even the most disadvantaged students are connected and supported by their school.
- Effective leadership: School leaders have the autonomy they need to overcome and manage the challenges they will face in building the capacity required to create a high-performing organization.
- Accountability: Schools are held accountable for the academic achievement of all students, including those who have traditionally had lesser success in school.
- Family empowerment: Meaningful family participation is promoted, encouraged, and welcomed.
- Community support: A community commitment is made to creating healthy youth and family development.
Private Schools are funded by student tuition and donations. Charter schools can receive federal funding and can additionally receive funding from investors and charter school boards. Both options provide a little more freedom and autonomy than a traditional public school but often require much more involvement from students and their families.
The desired outcome for these schools is impact, influence, and leverage. Both desire and seek evidence that there have been positive changes in student academics and their overall well-being. Additionally, they look for evidence that can support and increase investments by public or private funders.
Virtual learning can be incorporated into any school option at this point. We witnessed this implementation during the pandemic, and many traditional students are still attending virtual school this year.
For vendors to be successful in marketing towards and partnering with various kinds of K-12 schools, you will need to either 1) Find your niche, and thrive within that niche. Or 2) Create individual success plans for each type of K-12 market.
Success is the common goal for all parties involved. School leaders, teachers, parents, community members, and students all desire progress and positive outcomes. Your success will be inevitable if you rally with them and personalize your resources to match their goals.
Listening, customizing, implementing, and troubleshooting. Those are the key differentiators that set Agile apart from the competitors. Interested in learning more? Contact us directly today.