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  • Writer's pictureVicky Keston

Before the School Search

To kick off a school search, I meet with families for about an hour to discuss their wants and needs. For those either doing it on their own, or for those who would like to think through these questions before meeting, let’s chat about the topics.

  • Describe Your Child. What age, gender, and grade is your child? What is your child’s personality? Do they like to move a lot, sit and focus, sports, books, or arts? What are their favorite obsessions? Do they seem to have any specific needs, whether potential learning disorder, sensory challenges, ADHD, or giftedness? Do they enjoy larger or smaller groups? Anything specific that they’d hope for in a school?

  • Describe Your Family. What are your family’s values around education? Do you have siblings that you’d like to eventually attend the same school? 

  • Geography. Where do you live and work, where will any siblings attend school or childcare? What is your commute? Which neighborhoods work for your family? 

  • School Philosophy. Have you considered any of the different types of schools? Do you prefer public or private school? Are you interested in charter schools? Do you have a preference for a more progressive or more traditional school? Coed or single gender? Religious affiliation or secular?

  • Budget. What is your family budget for either private school or before and aftercare, and do you want to apply for financial aid for either of the above? Will start time affect your budget by requiring the addition of before care?

  • Public School Lottery. If you live in San Francisco, have you learned about the SFUSD lottery? Looked up your Assignment Area school and whether you are in the CTIP1 zone? Do you understand the factors for assignment?

After our meeting, I create a curated school list for my clients and encourage them to research the schools that best fit their criteria. This year, tours will likely be virtual, but the upside is the ability to accommodate more parents without disturbing students. After narrowing down their preferences, the parents connect back with me, and we review essays for private school and the school list for public school. We also can review the financial aid optional essay, and any further questions on strategy. Come March, when decisions are released, we often speak on the phone about the final decision and any options for private school wait pools or public school lottery rounds. 

Need more help?

Vicky consults with families to help select public and private schools in San Francisco in an environment of non-judgment. Her own children have attended both public and private schools, and she believes that each has unique benefits. Email to learn more about her services.

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