I just participated on a panel for a group of parents at a local private elementary school looking to learn more about public and independent middle school options for their children. One parent asked me how many schools had I toured and I was stumped! The number that came to me was around 40, but to be honest, I had never counted. So, when I got home, I dug through paper files, computer files, school brochures and my calendar to find an accurate answer – drum roll, please – over the past 3 years, I have toured 53 Seattle area schools including preschools, daycare, public and private elementary, middle and high schools.
One school is in a Seattle park and teaches all classes outside, so I toured that one in my rainboots and parka, three other schools have pet chickens and two other schools have on-site therapy dogs and many other schools have professional rehearsal spaces, 3D printers within their Maker Space and others have classes in portable building to accommodate construction and growth. We are very fortunate in this area to have such a broad range of schools with something for every student and family. I will keep on touring over the next few months and plan to revisit some schools to learn about their program changes and tour a few programs for the first time.
I attend either Educator Tours (attended by school administrators, teachers and education consultants) or I join on the public tour along with interested families. This year I have toured: *Eastside Prep, The Downtown School by Lakeside that will welcome their first class Fall 2018, Seattle Waldorf High School, Westside School and Explorer West both in West Seattle, *The Overlake High School program, Lake Washington Girls School, The Valley School, University Co-op School, *LEAD Prep and The International Friends School (opens Fall 2018).
I will also be attending events at many public schools and I am waiting for confirmation for their family nights. These nights usually take place in the late January – mid-March and are designed for families that currently live in the school district and want to learn more about their child’s next step school – ie: going from elementary to middle school to high school.
Now that I looked up my school tour number, I will be better prepared to answer that question and it won’t be long before I can say I have toured close to 70 different Seattle area schools! I look forward to seeing new programs and revisiting programs to see what has changed, stayed the same and touch base with the teachers and administrators.