School Values Are Just as Important as Academics


Disclaimer :: This article is sponsored by IDEA Public Schools, but the opinions and content belong to the writer.

African-american boy and girl in elementary school doing classwork at Idea Public SchoolsThere is a long list of considerations when it comes to selecting a school for your children: location, educational philosophy, academic performance, class size, diversity, and such. We are lucky we live in such large metroplex because we have options — and lots of them — but that also comes with added time and effort into finding the best educational fit for your family. Truth be told, it can be a bit overwhelming!

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Like anything, there is no perfect choice. There are pros and cons to every educational structure, curriculum, program, etc. It comes down to finding what aspects you value most and deciding what are your “must haves.” You will hear me say it once and then 50 times more: That depends on your family’s needs and the needs of each individual child.

Value the Values

Take it from a parent who’s been around the school block a time or two — managing 504s, ADHD, asthma, and more; it is a wise idea to consider what values are important to you in a school setting. Once you can better understand that, you can then ask the questions to know if your school’s administration and culture match.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not mean finding a school that thinks and feels exactly the same as you do about every single thing. That, my friend, does not exist. However, different school cultures have different dominant values. Maybe a better way to say it is: Each school has its own set of preferences, philosophies, and guiding principles. 

What do I mean? Here are few our family philosophies we encountered and the questions we asked:

  • Discipline :: What types of discipline are used? How and when is it used? How much autonomy does a teacher have with discipline in his or her classroom?
  • Medical needs :: How does the school handle medical needs? Does the school culture support or exclude children with medical differences?
  • Relationships :: What values direct the relationships between administration and parents, between administration and staff, between staff and parents, and between admin/staff and students?
  • Successes and failures :: How does the school respond to successes and failures in the classroom, and how are those defined?

I think you get the gist of what I’m saying without me going on and on. And I also think that your list could be (and most likely is) different than mine. My hope in writing this article — from one parent to another — is that you consider these types of questions when making your schooling choices.

Young elementary girl from IDEA Public Schools playing on the playground.Consider IDEA

That’s why Fort Worth Moms partner IDEA Public Schools sponsored this article because it also believes values are an integral part of education. It proudly promotes its values:

  • Integrity :: taking personal responsibility to model the honest and ethical behavior.
  • Academic excellence :: working together to ensure each student on every campus and in every classroom receives a high-quality education.
  • Results :: setting ambitious goals, holding each other accountable for achieving results, and believe that students will succeed to and through college.
  • Equity :: differentiating support and resources, proactively addressing racism and discrimination, and advocating alongside students and staff to empower them with the opportunities to succeed and ensure the respect they deserve.
  • Family :: fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity by treating every member of the IDEA team and family — students, staff, families, and community — with compassion, respect, and humility.
  • Joy :: creating a positive, uplifting, and joyful environment.
  • “Small stuff” :: paying attention to and carrying out the details — the “small stuff” — that go into effective execution and positive implementation.
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Since 2000, IDEA Public Schools has grown from a small school with 150 students to the fastest-growing network of tuition-free, kindergarten through 12th grade public charter schools in the United States. Does its values line up with yours? It just might be the best fit for your family! The deadline to apply for the lottery for the 2023 – 2024 school year is February 17, 2023. APPLY HERE! (The lottery happens on February 18, 2023, but families are able to apply post-lottery as well.)


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