For Antoine Baby, a researcher at the Center for Research and Intervention on Academic Success at the real question is not “what is the best school?” but “what is the best school for my child?
professor in the Department of at the University of Montreal, agrees. Moreover, from the same establishment, some parents will say that it is extraordinary while others will be disappointed. »
We must be wary of word of mouth and the reputation of establishments, which are often overrated, adds Jacques Allard, guidance counselor at Samuel-De Champlain high school in Beauport. Prioritize
We have to think practically, according to our schedule and the organization of family life. Is the school close to home or work? Is school transport provided? Free? Will you survive the stress of traffic jams?
Anxious to keep students in the public network, some school boards, such as the Patriotes (www.csp.qc.ca), in Montérégie, offer transportation to those who attend a school with a special program outside their sector. However, this entails additional costs, which the school board plans to share, on a voluntary basis, with the parents.
Shop and compare
Your child is entering primary school? Start asking about their last year of daycare, because registration is usually done in January before the start of the school year. He’s going to high school? It is necessary to tackle it from its 5th year of primary school: the selection tests and the open days take place during the autumn or the winter preceding the start of the school year.
Visit the school’s website. Most have one, which is often accessed through the school board. Some sites, including that of the Commission scolaire de la Capitale (www. cscapitale.qc.ca), group establishments according to specific fields of study and programs. Others, such as that of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (www.csm.qc.ca), present the fact sheets or the program of many establishments. Parents, such as Sylvain Gagnon, from Quebec, use it to compare essential aspects in their eyes (proximity, cost, homework supervision, etc.).
Take advantage of open days and information evenings
Most schools organize open days or information evenings. This is an opportunity to discuss with teachers, students and parents. “The climate of the school is more important than its results in official examinations,” says Richard Flibotte, spokesperson for the Federation of Parents’ Committees. “If you feel good there, that’s a good sign,” adds Roch Chouinard, from the University of Montreal. But if the place is dirty, it often indicates that people are not proud of their school. How then could students acquire a sense of belonging there? »
Ask the right questions… to the right people
What level of supervision does the school offer? the number of students per teacher? the material they will have access to? Is the library well stocked? What extracurricular activities are offered there? Is the school competitive or cooperative? It is useful to ask questions to the administration, to the teachers, to the parents of pupils, without forgetting the guidance counsellor.
Consult the “educational project” and the success plan
These documents should be distributed everywhere in the spring of 2004. Some schools already have an educational project, drawn up at the request of the previous Minister of Education, even if it was not yet compulsory. However, it will have to be revised according to the new law. On the website of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (www.csdm.qc.ca), there are already information sheets on each of the schools; success plans should be available in late 2004 or early 2005.
Don’t exhaust your child
“Some children, when they appear for admission exams, cry or are sick, says. And many fail on purpose because school is their parents’ choice, not theirs! It is therefore better to provide an alternative solution, without forcing your children to do an exhausting round of selection tests.
Do not hesitate to change schools
This is what physicist Louis professor at the University of and father of two young children, did. Because his eight-year-old son was wasting away on the benches of his public French school in Toronto, he decided last year to settle in Estrie with his family. Waterville is one of four Waldorf schools in Quebec, which offer an education centered on the arts and nature.